Wednesday, October 7, 2015

First Crawfordsville Fair

Photo taken at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds - Pat Cline Photo
One of the fun things about genealogy research is that it uncovers other fun facts along the way. For example, while searching for obituaries, a CDPL staff member ran across a mention of the first Crawfordsville fair. The brief column was found in the Crawfordsville Daily Journal, Sept 3, 1914, titled "First Crawfordsville Fair 61 Years Ago." Apparently, the first fair was held in 1853 in an area called Dunn's Grove, which was located in the western part of the city (near Vance Street). The fair was then moved to Englewood in 1862. After a number of years at that location, it moved to its present home on Parke Avenue.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eleanor Lambert 1903-2003

Eleanor Lambert was born August 10, 1903 in Crawfordsville, IN. After graduating from Crawfordsville High School, Lambert attended the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. After eloping to Illinois with Wills Connor, she enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute with the intention of becoming a sculptor. However, the restless couple left for New York City where their marriage ended in divorce. She then married Seymour Berkson and they had one child together, renowned poet, Bill Berkson.
Lambert adjusting a model in New York City, 1964

Eleanor actually began her career as an advertising agent and opened her own agency in Manhattan representing mostly artists and galleries. In the 1930's she was the Press Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art and helped found the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1943 Eleanor was Press Director of the New York Dress Institute. She was responsible for founding the International Best Dressed List and The Coty Fashion Critics' Award. However, she is most notably known for founding New York Fashion Week. Presently, it is one of four major fashion weeks in the world, with the other three being in Paris, Milan, and London.

Eleanor Lambert was crucial in promoting American fashion world-wide: she is credited with putting it on the map. In 1959 she was asked by the US Department of State to present fashion for the first time in countries all over Europe, in Japan and in Australia. In 1962, she created the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Currently, fashion is a $1.2 trillion global industry with $250 billion spent annually in the United States alone.

Eleanor Lambert was 100 years old when she died on October 7, 2003 in New York City. Fashion historian, John Tiffany, wrote a book about her life, career, and contributions to the fashion world. The book is titled, "Eleanor Lambert: Still Here."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Joseph Stephen Crane, 1916-1985

Joseph Stephen Crane was born in Crawfordsville, IN on February 7, 1916. The Crane family owned the Stephenson Crane Cigar Store located on South Washington Street. Crane graduated from Crawfordsville High School where he was active in drama and debate. He then attended Wabash College, graduating in 1937 with a degree in Business. In 1942, Crane married the famous Hollywood actress, Lana Turner. They were actually married and divorced twice. They had one child together, a daughter, named Cheryl Crane. When Cheryl was 14 years old, she fatally stabbed her mother's boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato (Johnny Stomp). He was a bodyguard for mobster Mickey Cohen. Stompanato was known to have been abusive to Lana and the murder was ruled a justifiable homicide.

Stephen Crane actually enjoyed his own brief Hollywood career starring in three Columbia Pictures productions. The Oscar-nominated film "Tonight and Every Night" featured Crane alongside screen goddess, Rita Hayworth. However, Crane was more notably known as a restaurateur. He developed, owned, and managed The Luau, Kon-Tiki, and Ports o' Call restaurants. The Luau was very famous in Hollywood and was frequented by many film stars. The Kon-Tiki restaurant was popular in Sheraton Hotels throughout the United States and Canada from 1958-1978.

Crane died on February 6, 1985, just one day shy of his 69th birthday. He is buried in Crawfordsville next to his parents at Oak Hill Cemetery. Lana Turner died in 1995 of throat cancer. Cheryl Crane has written her own book, "Detour: A Hollywood Story," and is a realtor living in California.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Who was the first person to be buried in the Ladoga Cemetery?

Elizabeth Myers wife of John Myers died September 8, 1833. Elizabeth was the first person to be buried in Ladoga Cemetery. Ladoga, Montgomery County, Ind. (old section). This photograph was taken in 1999 by John H. Britts.

View the cemeteries of Clark Township

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Montgomery County (Indiana) Naturalization Records

We have a new database online, a database that we are excited to offer you! The library has some naturalization records from the 19th and early 20th centuries that will offer much help for genealogists researching their ancestors. So give the new database a look:

Montgomery County (Indiana) Naturalizations  (

This index of naturalization records links to several types of digitized documents: transcriptions, photocopies of original documents, and original documents (when available) in .pdf or .jpg formats. Some names link to more than one document.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do you recognize this street?

Postcard, circa 1913, showing the north side of Main Street, looking toward the Montgomery County Courthouse. The tallest building, in mid-photograph, is the Crawford Hotel. Tracks from the interurban or streetcar are visible in the road. Several buggies with horses are standing in the street. The postcard is addressed to Miss Marie Woerner, 2433 Central, Indianapolis, Indiana, and was mailed in August of 1913.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21, 1914

"July 21, 1914, Papa (Charles) with the haywagon."

Charles Busenbark stands atop a large hay load in a wagon pulled by one horse. 

This image is from a family scrapbook loaned by Walter Terry; the pages were scanned by the library (August 2011). The scrapbook contains more than 600 photographs; 141 images were added to this database (series: 20110815). Most photographs are from Montgomery County, near Whitesville. A photocopy of the scrapbook is available in CDPL Local History if you want to thumb through it!