Monday, September 30, 2013

Wide Awake in Crawfordsville

In the early 1900's there was a Wide Awake store located in Crawfordsville on Washington Street.  This postcard was recently acquired along with other Montgomery County information.  Unfortunately, the postmark is illegible, the date only shows the 19-- and the two signed names are not distinguishable.  Thus, it is unclear if this is the Wide Awake that was at 124-126 South Washington in 1912 or at 107 North Washington as late as 1924.  The sign seen above "Millinery and Ladies Furnishings" is also impossible to decipher.  The quandaries of a local history librarian!

If you have any photos of early store fronts, recognize this store, or the names on the postcard, please share your knowledge with us!  Call us at 765-362-2242 or e-mail us at

Friday, September 27, 2013

Crawfordsville Cowboy?

There are days when researching history and specifically genealogy you hit a brick wall, fall in a trench, or want to cry because you know there HAS to be information "out there somewhere!" But, then there are times when you are giddy with excitement.  Even though this photograph isn't identified, it is one of those images you have to share and hope someone can enlighten you with an identification.
So, if you know who this rootin'-tootin' cowboy is ... please contact the Local History Department at
362-2242 extension 117 or e-mail Thanks!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Local Poet ... Mary Campbell Crane

Mary Campbell Crane was born in May of 1867 in Crawfordsville to Professor John Lyle Campbell and Mary Ellen (Johnston) Campbell, and in 1896 married Ben Crane (who took over Lew Wallace's law practice with George D. Hurley when Wallace became governor of the New Mexico Territory, 1878-1881).  Mary Crane wrote a book of poems that we have shelved in the local author section (Reference, 2nd floor).   Mary was a true "Crawfordsvillian" and lived here until her passing in 1943.  Thus, her poem The Little Town, is presumably about Montgomery County's seat.

 The Little Town
The little town I live in
Has a hold upon my heart
Which I can't explain, and to understand
You must be of it a part.
O little town, O little town,
Though far away I go, 
I'll always come home again to you
Because I love you so.
Published posthumously in 1945

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Noble Life Ended: Professor John L. Campbell

Professor John L. Campbell spent many years at Wabash College as Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy (among other positions).  In 1853 after studying under Henry S. Lane and Colonel S.C. Willson, Campbell also acquired a license to practice law.  In February of 1864 he delivered a speech at the Smithsonian regarding Galileo.  After this trip to the East Coast, Professor Campbell wrote Morton McMichael, mayor of Philadelphia, encouraging him to plan an international exposition celebrating America's anniversary year.  Mayor McMichael appreciated this suggestion so much that Campbell was invited to attend the first organized meeting on March 4, 1872 and became the Chairman of the Committee (Wabash College granted him a leave of absence, and for two years he assisted the gentleman of Philadelphia with the preparations.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Willow Grove School

In section 20 of South Union Township, there was a school called Willow Grove (school township 27).  If the school was still standing it would be on the East side of 231 S after 300 South and prior to Evergreen Nursery.  (This photo was property of Ben Miller, the last boy on the front row, who is holding the sign).  Mr. O.W. Oliphant is the teacher.

1894 or 1895, Willow Grove School

Back Row: Myrtle Snyder, Ola Snyder, Ida Stephens, Henry McMains, Effie (?) Snyder,
Nannie Miller, Josephine McMains
Second Row: Ollis (?) (O.W.) Oliphant, Floyd Vancleave, Vernie Grimes, Belle Demort (Demoret?),
Wilmer Pickle, Holden McMains, Bertha Miller, Nye Snyder, Weaver Snyder, (?) McMains
Front Row: Elsie McMains, Guy Demort (?), Pearl Demort (?), June Vancleave, Ben Miller
Thanks to John M. Merrell for allowing us to scan the picture. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Four French Horns ...

In 1941 The Crawfordsville High School Band's horn players

Since football is now being played, the band is also making music.  These young ladies were in the 1941 Athenian yearbook.  Kathryn Johnson, Lois Brown, Norma (Sillery) Stout, and Martha (Lewellen) Fruits are pictured here.  The local history department loves to receive photographs of past events and this one is a gem.  Crawfordsville has an amazing history!  Be on the look out for fascinating photos and please consider sharing with us -- it is the goal of the Local History Department to preserve the past!