Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunshine Society at the 1914 County Fair

This picture, featured in CDPL's image database, shows the Sunshine Society booth at the 1914 Montgomery County Fair. Anna Willson is shown behind the booth, 3rd from the left. Can you find another notable Crawfordsville resident who went onto fame with her play about a sensational murder?

Maurine Watkins, the author of Chicago, is believed to be the young woman in a white blouse and black hat behind the booth and is standing beside a young man wearing a bow tie. Maurine Watkins was an officer of the Sunshine Society throughout her years of attendance at Crawfordsville High School and would have been a senior when this photograph was taken. Watkins went on to write the play Chicago in addition to writing screenplays in the 1930s.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Christmas Eve Ball invitation, 1858

On a cold December morning in 1858, some of Crawfordsville’s most influential citizens assembled in McClelland’s Hall for a Christmas Eve Ball. One of the invitations to this illustrious event is inset. Notables ranging from Capt. Lew Wallace (not yet a General) to Isaac Compton Elston, Jr. (a member of “Crawfordsville’s first family”) were present for the festivities. Since newspaper coverage was scarce at the time of the ball, the details of the gathering must be left to the imagination.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

1832 Montgomery County artifact discovered

It is quite rare to find an artifact from the earliest days of our county!

A letter written July 8, 1832 by Ripley Township pioneer Tollaver Larsh (1799-1870) was purchased by the library from James Schiele, of North Dakota, in July 2010. The letter was found by Mr. Schiele in a bag of assorted documents and letters obtained for $6 in a Seattle, Washington antique store. No items related to the Larsh family or the Crawfordsville area were included in the bag except the 1832 letter.

Tollaver Larsh came to the county in 1823 and remained here until his death on November 8, 1870. For his obituary, the Crawfordsville Weekly Journal spoke at length on Larsh's "noble virtues and matchless private character." The letter, that Tollaver wrote to his brother in Ohio, is transcribed here:

July 8, 1832
Sir I received your letter on the fourth [xx?] your
letter states that the farm of Sam'l Larshs can be sold
for fifteen hundred Dollars but I do not think
it would be advisable to sell it fifteen hundred dollars
under its value and the money be put in to the hands
of the Executors and one of them a bankrupt and the other
a drunkard when the rents of the farm has bin and
will be sufficient to rase and educate them childern
if it was conducted in a right manner and as for my
part I pray that I may never be an heir and I
hope the childern may live to be there own guardian
and receive and injoy their fathers estate intrests &
as for my part I never intend sineing my rights a way
and consider the rents and rise of the farm greater than any
way the money would be lade out. our frends and
relations are all well in this countary Cropes are
indifferent I have Cleared and fenced fourteen
Acres of land and have it under good cultivation
Since I left four mile [Four mile Creek, Ohio] and I think that does
very well for one hand tell Sister Anna & Lydia
that I am still at my old vocation I still
remain your most affectionate brother
Tollaver Larsh

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Indiana Telephone News 1939

We have a copy of the Indiana Telephone News from February 1939 -- and on the back page of this issue appears the the photos of "Indiana Bell Folks at Auburn and Crawfordsville." Twenty-two Crawfordsville men and women appeared in this collage of photos. Maybe you can recognize some of the names? As numbered, they are (11) Mrs. Miriam Plank, (12) Gertrude Moore, (13) Thatcher Carr, (14) Bertha Stark, (15) Mrs. Marie Mayer, (16) Mrs. June McCulloch, (17) George C. Peirce, (18) Pauline Hamm, (19) Norman Snapp, (20) Mrs. Dorothy Holland, (21) Daisy Busenbark, (22) Stella Hybarger, (23) Mrs. Mary Travis, (24) Edna Bannon, (25) Mrs. Nora Van Scoyoc, (26) Mildred Moore, (27) Thelma Johnson, (28) Mrs. Elva Gallatin, (29) Dale Elliott, (30) Mrs. Pearl McDowell, (31) Madge Scott, (32) Margaret Everhart

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crawfordsville "Then and Now" display

A new display in the Reference Area on the 2nd floor may appeal to anyone with an interest in Crawfordsville's history. Take a trip through Crawfordsville with "Then and Now" images. You may be surprised at how Crawfordsville has -- or has not -- changed over the years. You can also test yourself by trying to identify famous (and forgotten) citizens from Crawfordsville, past and present.

Do you have any old photos of Crawfordsville you would be willing to donate to the library so that we can preserve them for future generations? We make a digital copy of our photos and place the originals in climate-controlled storage. We then make the images accessible on our image database. Even if you have photos that you do not want to donate, perhaps you would allow us to scan them so that the entire community can enjoy them? Contact the Reference Department (Bill Helling) at 765-362-2242 ext 5 or e-mail at

Here is a sample from Crawfordsville c. 1960 and also from the same spot in 2010. Does anything look familiar to you?