Monday, September 26, 2016

You May Now Redeem Your S & H Green Stamps at George Graham's Store!


  In November of 1916, The George W. Graham Co., at 117-123 N. Washington St., (Cornett’s Furniture Store in 2016) announced that his store had made arrangements with The Sperry and Hutchinson Green Stamps Company to offer cash stamps with every ten 
cent purchase.

  A parlor area upstairs would soon be restocked with all manner of goods for which customers could redeem Green Stamps. I’m sure that many a homemaker in the Crawfordsville area was delighted to know that she could keep saving her Green Stamps and redeem them to get items or, “premiums,” needed for her kitchen, or a nice lamp for the parlor. Many a toaster made its way into local kitchens due to shoppers’ diligence in saving stamps.

Sperry and Hutchinson began selling their Green Stamps to businesses across the country in 1896.  Retailers would give them to shoppers for every ten cent purchase.  This marketing ploy helped to get more shoppers into the stores and to get them to spend more money once they were in the stores and shoppers were happy to receive goods with their stamps, so everyone was happy!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Crawfordsville in 1908--What a Wonderful City!

What a modern and accommodating city Crawfordsville must have been in 1908!

Why, we had eight livery, feed, and sale stables in town, along with a wagon and buggy supplier at 121-123 S. Washington (J.M. Thompson Insurance building).  Four farriers worked here to serve your horses.  The Crawfordsville Ice and Cold Storage on the corner of Franklin and Hocum (?) Streets could deliver ice to your home.  For your smoking needs, five shops sold cigars (most in the LaRose on Main building).  If you needed a trip out of town, you could buy your train tickets at the Big Four Station—corner of Washington and Franklin Street-- or at the Indiana Northern Traction Station  located where Tri-County Bank building is at 224 E. Main Street. If it was Friday night, you could find fun at any of the seven billiard halls in town. 
For other personal needs, there were 29 grocery stores located in Crawfordsville, along with two casket companies on West Main Street.  One was located on the same property  as the former Lew Wallace Inn.
Crawfordsville was quite famous at the time for having two brick factories--The Crawfordsville Shale Brick Co., located one mile north on the Monon line;  and the Poston Paving Brick Company at E. College and Vandalia Streets.                                       
workers at the Poston Brick Factory        
Crawfordsville in 1908 must have been quite a bustling small city.  Wouldn't you love to go back in time and visit some of these old places?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Vision in White--The Making of the Ben-Hur Building

    It took eight years to get the ball rolling on this magnificent building, but once the decision was made to build it, it only took one year. The Ben-Hur building, dedicated in May of 1912, was originally the home of the Supreme Tribe of Ben-Hur, a social organization that included women. The Tribe sponsored baseball and basketball teams, drill teams, bowling, and other social events.  Insurance was offered to members, and eventually over 130,000 members belonged.

  This building would come to occupy the corner of Main and Water Streets, which had been the site for the original office building for the Tribe.The new building was completed in one year, with no injuries reported, which was an accomplishment for such a large undertaking.
    The original cost was $150,000, which translates to $3,750,000 in 2016. The intention was to make it as fire-proof as possible, so all walls were constructed of concrete reinforced with twisted steel bars--220,757 linear feet of it! That beautiful white terra cotta tile sheathing that we all love? That is composed of 8650 pieces of white tile, and took 2450 barrels of cement to attach.  
    All wooden finishes inside the building were mahogany, including the front and vestibule doors. There were also two elevators installed.
     The contractors made sure to use materials available or made locally when possible, making this truly a home-town building.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Montgomery County Fair—1906 style!

                                                                                   It’s just past county fair week for 2016 in Montgomery County!  Animals, competitions, 4-H!  But it didn’t always look like it does today.  In 1906,  horse racing was the big event, and horses and riders came from all over to compete for $300, $600, and $1000 prizes.  $1000 translates to over $25,000 in 2016, so to say that our county was becoming known as a pony center was not an understatement!  There was competition with livestock and flowers.

                                                                                                                            Newspaper readers were urged to not miss the octopus in the wild animal exhibit!  And everyone would want to stop to see the pair of three-legged chickens from Fort Wayne.  Every night a daredevil would ascend in his hot air balloon and fly aloft over the crowds.  And talk about crowds!  Buggies and carriages would line the streets, and over 1000 picnic baskets were checked in on just one day of the fair! The interurban ran in and out, and on one occasion, crammed 156 people on a car meant for 60. That must have been some fair! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Montgomery County Citizens Counted in Far Away Places

Company K, 44th USV Infantry, c. 1900

Believe it or not!  This photo was taken on Cebu Island, Philippines, in 1900, during the Spanish-American War.  When this picture was given to the library,  only one soldier from Montgomery County  was identified--Charles C. McClure, a musician,  sixth from the right sitting on the ground.   How were 7 more residents of our county identified in this unit?   CENSUS RECORDS!  The United States took a census in the Philippines of our soldiers during the war there.  Who knew?  

(Compiled from the 1900 U.S. Census Enumerated at Balamban, Cebu Island, Philippines, 1 June 1900):
Oliver R. Fry, Sgt., 1001 W. Wabash Ave., Crawfordsville
John C. Maxwell, Sgt., Crawfordsville
James C. Holmes, Cpl., 707 E. College St., Crawfordsville
Charles C. McClure, Musician, Mace
George R. Hamilton, Pvt., Darlington
Herbert Morgan, Pvt., 708 E. Market St., Crawfordsville
Claud Reese, Pvt., 310 Beach St., Crawfordsville

Monday, August 22, 2016


Ben-Hur has hit the theaters again! The bestselling, academy award winning film adaptations of Ben-Hur were inspired by a novel written by General Lew Wallace in 1880. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was known as “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century.” Lew was from Indiana and Crawfordsville was his home.

Mr. Wallace started his career as a lawyer, wrote books in his spare time, and then became a General and served in the Civil War. Lew and his wife Susan had one son, Henry Lane Wallace.

Lew Wallace’s great-great granddaughter Carol Wallace is also a writer and will be presenting her new book, an updated version of Ben-Hur, at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum on September 8th, 2016. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Good Old Summertime!

“In the good old the good old summertime…” Ahhh, out in the fresh air, a canoe to paddle around, and a pretty girl by his side. A perfect summer day in Indiana. An especially prized place for just hanging around and being with friends in Montgomery County has always been Shades State Park. Originally called “The Shades of Death” because of early murders in the area, and its deep ravines and forests, Shades State Park has been a “stomping ground” for nature lovers since early settlement in the area. As early as 1867, it was suggested by some Wabash students that this beautiful wooded area near Sugar Creek become a resort. In 1909, three local men got together and bought the park land, and eventually Mr. Joseph Frisz singly owned the property.  His family ran a hotel there and Mr. Frisz became well known as a naturalist.  Even during the 1930’s depression, he would not sell any trees to help out financially--”You are asking me to cut off my right arm!”  At his death in 1939,  the Kiwanis, along with the community’s help, purchased the property and gave it to the state.