Friday, August 29, 2014

Y.M.C.A. statistics from December 1890 in Crawfordsville

This Y.M.C.A. building held a tremendous amount of Crawfordsville and Indiana basketball history.  Recently, an article was found in the Crawfordsville Weekly Journal telling the statistics of visitors to the local Y.M.C.A. for the week ending December 27, 1890. There were 644 visitors with a daily average of 107. Almost 200 people visited the reading room (we would love to have a picture of that). The parlors and amusements room was slightly less with 139 attendees.  Only 45 people utilized the gymnasium, but there were three gymnasium classes offered. Eight-seven baths were taken, with a daily average of 14.  It is surprising to hear of all the amenities found in this building.

This building was erected in 1888 and was located where the current PNC building is located. There is a plaque at this site commemorating the location of the first indoor basketball game played in the state of Indiana. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

H.R. Tinsley, business man

121-123 South Washington Street, Crawfordsville
Eagle Pencil Company Advertisement, sold at Tinsley's store
H.R. Tinsley was born in Ireland in 1842, came to America in 1851, and served in the Civil War in the 75th division at Xenia, Ohio. In 1866 he called Crawfordsville his home and embarked on a new journey -- becoming a clerk in the general store of Campbell, Galey and Harter. After two years, H.R. and Paxton Campbell (Henry Campbell's* son) purchased the hardware department of the store and located it on Main Street. After five years in business, Paxton Campbell was accidentally killed by a train while on a business trip in Buffalo, N.Y. In a 1905 survey, Tinsley was listed as one of the wealthiest persons residing in Montgomery County. Those listed were valued at having at least $50,000. Because of his declining health, Tinsley turned his business over to his sons (Campbell, John, and Robert) in 1925; he passed away in September 1926.

* Henry Campbell is a local Civil War soldier; the library has a copy of his Civil War Diary.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Buddy" Fire dog (? -- August 25, 1904)

In our collection is found an unusual photograph of a dog posed on a stool. On back of the photo is written:

"Buddy" Fire dog -- Always got on the truck in Crawfordsville. Taken in the late 1800's." 

Some research by CDPL staff member Rebecca McDole uncovered the reason why this little dog was so honored.

Of the dog, page 1 of the Sunday Star on August 27, 1904 said: "The little black dog, called 'Buddy' and owned by Harry Swan, and which was always on hand when the fire bell rang, is dead. It made no difference where the dog was, he would go when the bell rang. If he was shut up in the house, he would race around, barking and awaking the people, so he could go to the fire. On Thursday evening, when the bell sounded the dog was up near the school house, and started towards the engine house. He met the team at Pike street, and in trying to turn around got under one of the horses and received a kick which caused his death. He would jump upon every dog which happened to be on the street as he was going to a fire, and he was almost the same as an attachment to the fire wagon. The fire boys are very sad over the death, and gave him a burial worthy of his place in life."

You can read more about Buddy in Hidden History of Montgomery County (History Press) by Jodie Steelman Wilson, Emily Griffin Winfrey, and Rebecca McDole. Check this book our from the library...or buy a copy at the Circulation Desk!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grimes men serve on police force

James P. Grimes
As the 1900s approached, James P. Grimes served as Marshall and Police Chief for the city of Crawfordsville. Later he also became a successful entrepreneur with his sons in the laundry business.
Fred P. Grimes
Fred P. Grimes (son of James) also served as Chief of Police and retired in 1954 after 32 years on the force. Fred P. was a founder of the Crawfordsville Community Sportsmen's Club and assisted in the operation of the club for 25 years.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Henry Crawford, early merchant

Stone Front -  where Crawford's business was located

Henry Crawford
Henry Crawford came to Crawfordsville as an early pioneer and owned dry goods stores in Waveland and Crawfordsville. At one time his business was next to the Courthouse and was called the "Stone Front." By 1850 Crawford had amassed $29,630 in real estate at the age of 48. After his passing (with a half a million dollar fortune) his family donated his home to Wabash College (Lambda Chi House). It was also rumored Henry Crawford was involved with the Underground Railroad. 

Vaughan & Casey

Vaughan & Casey building (1898 time frame)

Montgomery County Fairgrounds

In 1894 Crawfordsville housed a bottling works plant at 214 North Green Street. P.J. Vaughan and P.F. Casey operated the establishment as Vaughan & Casey. V & C manufactured and bottled soda water, ginger ale, and carbonated drinks. Casey was born in 1856 in Crawfordsville and was in the brick manufacturing business with his brother prior to partnering with Vaughan. P.J. Vaughan was also engaged in the coal business and was born in Lafayette (1858). Vaughan lived in Tippecanoe County until coming to Crawfordsville before the turn of the century. Vaughan was a three-term president of the Indiana State Bottler's Association.

This photo was taken at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in the early 1900s. The advertisement in front of the horses is for Vaughan & Casey Coal.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crawfordsville Police Department: August 16, 1945

Today's Crawfordsville Police Department is made up of at least 30 officers. Back in the 1940s, however, that number was much less. Here are the men in the Crawfordsville Police Department in a photo taken on August 16, 1945.

Top row (left to right): Leslie Shelton, Lester Johnson, Wilbur Decker, Edgar Zachary, Ralph Haffa (or Hoffa), Howard Conner, Ralph Linn, Robert Durber.

Middle row: Edwin Sommer, Theron Beeson, Thomas L. Cooksey [Mayor of Crawfordsville], Raymond Kostanzer, Clark D. Jones [Clerk and Treasurer].

Bottom row: Paul Branagin, Charles Johnson, Fred Grimes, Fred Cunningham, William Hugh Zachary.

Compare the August 1945 force with that of August 2014 Crawfordsville Police Department

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crawfordsville Commerce

The display featuring past merchants is complete. If you have a chance to stop by the second floor of the library you will be fascinated with the photographs. You will love seeing what Main Street looked like in the 1860s and East Main in the early 1900s. Cheap, fun, exciting entertainment at the library! Come visit today!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Letter addressed to Mary Catherine Naylor -- August 9, 1834

We often come across documents that are of great interest for those who want to understand life in the early 19th century. This letter was addressed to local resident Mary Catherine Anderson (married to Isaac Naylor). Her sister, Lydia Jane (Anderson) Merrill wrote the letter on August 9, 1834 from Indianapolis.

Read the entire letter (.pdf)

My Dear Sister, It is a long time since I have heard from you I wrote to you by Franklin Merrill the particulars of my dear babes death, have not heard wether you received the letter or not I expect you in before this time Mr. Merrill has been at home two weeks his return has cheered us up a good ell If I could see Jane I would be made up she is at her GranFathers in Peacham Vermont I received a letter a few days ago she is well pleased and would be well contented if we [missing text] rite often to her, her last letter was dated July 14 and had not heard of her Sisters death she sed she had not heard a word from home except a letter that was written three days after she left we have written five letters to her I think some of them will get thare. Poor girl she little thought when a letter should come would bring her such afflicting news I never saw a sister so rapt up [missing text] as she was with Elizabeth I believe I mentioned it to you that she had joined the Presbeterian church a month before she left home  I want to tell you a good many things but am tired and sleepy do wright to William I don’t know what he will think of me give my love to him and my new sister give him som good advise he don’t say anything about religion or churches I would like to see him very much thare has been a good ell of sickness in this place among children perty much Mrs. Ruten is recovering how has Dorothy got right and tell me all you now or if you don’t come and see us we don’t look very stylish at present it is thought that the bank will goe into operation in November but not certain Jane went to Morristown and spent a week thare very pleasantly saw Mr. Bush Mr. Merrill saw the house in New York that we lived in and the grave yard that P[missing text]lays in but saw non of our relations had now time [missing text] I have done all the work for a long tho a good ell goes undon I have two boys that help us considerable tell Sara Jane I want to see her and Elizabeth we have a terable time picking woll have but little and that is hardly worth picking

Good Night

I remain your affectionate

Sister Jane

Mr. Palmer’s family are very pleasant

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where was this?

A recent question among staff in the Reference/Local History Department led to this photo, taken in Crawfordsville on June 13, 1916.

Can you tell where it was taken? This corner still exists today.

Hint: It was the dedication of a marker on the site of the original building of Wabash College.

Hint: It is not anywhere near the Wabash campus today.

Give up? Take a look at the present-day spot on Google Street View. The marker may have been changed over the years...but the house behind the crowd has survived.

Do you enjoy Local History as much as we do? Do you have anything you want to share with us? Photos, letters, maps, brochures, diaries, etc? Contact us at 765-362-2242 ext 117 -- we would love to hear from you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

100 years ago today: Fatal accident

On August 1, 1914 the inbound Northwestern traction car hit the East End fire wagon at Woodlawn and Pike St. (NW corner), turning the wagon over and throwing the firefighters. Wm. Otis Stephens was on the wagon along with John Hurley, East End chief, who was injured. Fireman H. Clarence Williams was killed.

You can see the same spot, almost 100 years later, in Google Street View (the corner was mapped in 2013). The house in the background has been modified somewhat, but it is the same house shown in the photograph. The interurban ran along East Pike Street on its way to and from Lebanon.