Monday, February 13, 2017

New World War I Display at CDPL

     The new wall display upstairs in Local History is all about Montgomery County’s involvement in World War I. 

     Several letters from local soldiers are displayed, giving us a close-up view of what it was like in the trenches. Soldiers’ pictures from the Crawfordsville High School yearbook of 1918 display names that many of us may know from local families that are still in our community.  In the glass case are articles of clothing, awards, and pictures of local soldiers in uniform.  The display on the north wall shows community involvement in the war effort.  Many local residents were involved in YMCA, Red Cross, and other volunteer efforts during the World War I.  There is also a book display of available World War I books on a table by the desk.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Glimpse at Our Past--1869

     If you ever want to know more about our town, take some time to dig back into the old newspapers that we have available.  We have twenty-four local papers on microfilm in the Local History Department.  Here are a few: “Crawfordsville Daily Journal;” “Crawfordsville Weekly Journal;” “Daily Evening Argus;” “ Locomotive;” “Saturday Mercury;” “Montgomery Journal;” “Darlington Herald;”“Saturday Evening Journal;”“Wingate News;” and the “Waynetown Banner.” “Nineteenth Century Newspapers” is available online through our website while you are at the library.

     An opportunity came up this week to have a look at the December  2,1869,   Crawfordsville Journal. It seems some things never change.
    “Numerous complaints have reached us concerning the condition of the sidewalks on both sides of Pike Street, between Washington and Walnut Streets.”

     Here is a place I would have liked to have visited!
     “The ‘Pike Street Accommodation’ is the place to get good Cheese, Crackers, Pickles, Pepper Sauce, Spices of all kinds, Mustard, Halibut, Codfish, Mackerel, Whitefish, Cove Oysters, Etc.”

    Apparently there had been a spate of hog stealing going on. A Mr. R. H. Jones stole eighteen hogs from Mr. Davis, and sold them to someone.  He left town to buy an overcoat and other things, and was caught.  He was arrested, and was made to sit in  jail until accommodations could be made to send him to the Northern Prison the next spring. 

    At the same time, “a hog was stolen from the pen of William Hutchinson, …on Saturday night. Mr. Hutchinson ought to be thankful that the number was not eighteen.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

Building Your Dream Home in 1913

   Continuing on with the “housebuilding in Crawfordsville” theme,” direct your attention to House Design No. 2362.  Does that look familiar?  If you drive on the west end of town, say, on Main Street, you may find several houses that appear to have been built from this plan. In 1913, you could go “house shopping” at Joseph Binford & Sons, 215-217 South Washington Street, and find the house of your dreams.  (This location is now taken by the Crawfordsville District Public Library.)  Find your house, order the truckload of parts, and have it all delivered to your building site.  This is very similar to the “Sears” houses that were popular at the time.

  As we frequently have patrons who are curious about who had lived in their house before, I researched in our Crawfordsville City Directories to find the previous residents of one of these Binford houses in Crawfordsville. You may also use plat maps from several years back to find who owned your land  in certain years.
1914   Reverent B.E. Antrobus    Minister at  First Baptist Church
1924   William A. Shaw  (no vocation given)
1949   Fletcher B. Kerr    Auditor, State Treasury Dept.
1958   Willard Harrison    Allied Van Lines Driver
1971   Clarence Davidson  Officer-in-Charge, U.S. Army Recruiter
(I spoke with the current owner, and had permission to share this information.)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Building Up Crawfordsville for Our Returning Veterans 1945

Soldiers returning from the end of World War II wanted to get jobs, start families, and get on with their lives. In order to supply housing for these men, the Fisher-Daseke Agency, located in the Strand Theater Building on Green Street, offered National Homes to their new home-buying customers. National Homes were built in sections in the factory in Lafayette, Indiana, and then sent on a truck to the building site. There the construction crew would assemble the new home with pre-made walls and floors. A new home could be moved into within two weeks of building, which made getting families into new homes much easier and faster. A new National Home, complete with heating, plumbing, electric wiring, outside walls painted, walks, and landscaping could be yours for around $5000. Fairview Addition, located on the old fairgrounds, was built around  where Hose School would later be built in 1954.  

Nine new homes were set to be built as soon as the war with Japan ended. If you look around Crawfordsville, you will probably see other neighborhoods, such as Athens Addition, that were built after the war to house returning soldiers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Now Here's a Wild Bull Story for You!

On July 11, 1945, you didn’t have to go far to find a wild  west adventure in our town!  About 4 a.m. at Ben-Hur Packing Company, 802 Covington Street, fourteen bulls escaped from their enclosures and roamed the streets of Crawfordsville!  Boy, howdy, that must have been some round up!  By noon almost all the bulls had been captured, except for three who continued to wander up and down streets and alleyways of the northwest quadrant of the city. Imagine turning down Cherry Street from West Market and staring into the face of a crazed loose bull!  Just before noon that day, Officer Paul Branagin and some packing plant workers found one bull  in the backyard of a house on Cherry Street. He had his gun, but allowed one of the workers to kill the loose bull. One bull managed to get as far as Vance Street between Main and Market Streets!
Officer Branagin
Harley Cunningham, a local pilot, used his flying skills to help locate strays in the vicinity of the packing plant.  It was feared that the livestock had strayed east over the creek, or as far as Oak Hill Cemetery.
The excitement was over just after noon as most of the bulls were corralled blocks away from the plant and later transported back there to meet their fate.

Jennings B. Miller and Sam Harris were the managers of the plant, which later became known as the Sam Harris Packing Company. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Caring for the Orphaned Children of France--1917

    During the First World War, many appeals for relief for war-torn Europe were made to the people of Montgomery County. The YMCA, the Red Cross, Liberty loans, and the American Society for Relief of French War Orphans all made special pleas to our populace. Many churches, Sunday Schools, ladies' groups, and others responded to the orphan appeal, and as a result, within two weeks in May of 1917, fifty French orphans were "adopted" by people in our county.
orphaned children in France, 1917
   One cent a week from each of seventy people in an organization was enough to save the life of a fatherless child in France. The mothers of these children were able to collect every cent of these donations through their post offices and use the money to clothe, feed, and school their children. All handling costs were supported by private funds. Groups in our community that supported this appeal and helped relieve the suffering of these poor children were the high school homemaking class, the While Away Club, the Monday Bridge Club, and the Dorothy Q. branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Miss Ristine, a young woman of our city, and a favorite of the youngsters in town, held a reading hour at the college, and charged ten cents per child. These funds were also contributed to the orphan fund, and gave our town's children a way to help with the relief effort. Many local families also "adopted" French orphans, such as the Detchons, Durhams, Campbells, McNutts, Goodbars, Postons, Dr. Swope, and the Dr. and Mrs. J. N. Taylor family. Many families received letters from their supported child, and shared them with the newspaper.
young women of Crawfordsville High School

 The Amici class of the First Methodist Church supported Simone Lepape, while Miss Cowan's advanced homemaking class used their funds for Marie Lenoir, of Paris.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 7, 1941--The Year That Has Lived in Infamy

   We have struggled during this election year of 2016 with the effects of too much news.  Imagine December 7, 1941, when all our information came either from the newspaper or the radio. The Journal-Review reported on December 8 that hundreds of people stood outside their building on Green Street waiting for and reading Associated Press bulletins as they were received on the news wire.  

   Here is part of an original bulletin from that day.
“WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 - (AP) - Japanese airplanes today attacked American defense bases at Hawaii and Manila, and President Roosevelt ordered the Army and Navy to carry out undisclosed orders prepared for the defense of the United States."

   And that was all they knew.  Several county residents were already in the Armed Forces, and families were worried about their role in this new engagement with the Japanese.  John C. McIntyre was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Virginia, based in Hawaii. B. F. Suverkup, had been stationed  aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma, which had been damaged in the attack,  as an aerial photographer,  but he had been recently moved to another ship, and was on his way home for Christmas.

1940 Stewart Warner Radio
  The Crawfordsville basketball team was in Columbus for a game, and heard the news while eating.  They kept up with the news on the way to another game by listening to a portable radio.

  People attending movie performances at the Strand Theater, just down the street from the Journal-Review, were updated by means of the public address system. When war was declared, the show stopped, and all stood to sing the Star Spangled Banner.