Monday, November 23, 2015

Wabash Avenue Home Demolished

The house standing at 201 W. Wabash Avenue was torn down today, and the corner lot now stands empty. But earlier this year, Randy Cummings, a descendant of former local resident Forest Cummings, provided the CDPL collection with a photograph of this home, where his grandfather once lived, as it appeared in the 1940s.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Montgomery County Civil War Soldiers Returned Home 150 Years Ago

The American Civil War ended 150 years ago, in the year 1865.  Montgomery County sent almost 3,000 men to war, defending the Union and freedom in this long and bloody struggle.  In 1865 many of these men would return home to the family farm, go to school, or work in town in Crawfordsville.  However, around 500 of these men died from either wounds in battle or disease, and would never see their Indiana home again.  Montgomery County was also home to a number of elite men involved in the conflict including Generals Lew Wallace, Edward Canby, Mahlon Manson, William Morgan, and John Hawkins.  Crawfordsville native, Henry Lane, also played an influential role in allowing Lincoln Republican candidacy in the presidential election of 1861. 
The summer of 1865 was filled with a mixture of emotions in Montgomery County.  There was jubilance for the war ending, sadness for the lost, and confusion for the future.  But above all was an excitement and praise for the return of local soldiers.  The Crawfordsville Weekly Journal promoted a, “GRAND NATIONAL PICNIC, to be held at the courthouse on the fourth of July to give a warm and welcome greeting to the scarred and war-worn veterans.”  Another poem was claimed, “Prolific seeds drop in the mellowed ground, The sword-blade rusts, and blades of corn uprear.”  This was true all over Montgomery county as farm boys returned to work in the fields.
Economically, Indiana drastically changed as a whole since 1865.  Prior to this year, New Albany was the most populated and largest city in the state due to its trade with the South.  However, after Confederate surrender economic activity and industry transferred from Indianapolis and north through the state.  Crawfordsville acted as a crucial crossroads for this time of economic boom and new roads and railroad tracks were laid through the town.  The Crawfordsville Weekly Journal relayed in June of 1865 that, “Considerable business was transferred and the final steps agreed upon to make the construction of the road from Indianapolis to Danville, Illinois a fixed fact.”  The end of the war and Northern victory in 1865 brought considerable transportation, commercial, and overall economic development to Crawfordsville in 1865.
Most of Montgomery County’s native leaders were active in their duties elsewhere in 1865.  Henry S. Lane was still in Washington DC representing the state in senate.  General Lew Wallace was also in the area of the capital taking part in trials for the Lincoln conspirators as well as the Confederate commandant of Andersonville prison.  In the spring of 1865, General Edward Canby oversaw and conducted the Union campaign against Confederate forces at Mobile, Alabama and accepted the surrender of rebel forces west of the Mississippi River.
Without a doubt, 1865 was a major turning point in American and Montgomery County history.  Local families were celebrating the return of their war veterans, and others were mourning the loss of theirs.  It was a year filled with social, political, and economic changes for our local community. Though one thing is for sure, that we would not be where we are today without the impact of the events that transcended time 150 years ago.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

World War I, also known as "The Great War", officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles which was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting actually ceased on November 11, 1918. President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

Because WWI was so devastating, the recurring anniversary of November 11 was established by the Senate and the President of the United States to be a day marked by thanksgiving, prayers, and activities designed to perpetuate peace, good will, and mutual respect between nations.

Help us celebrate Veteran's Day by listening to the stories told by our Veterans. These interviews were originally recorded by the Montgomery County Historical Society.

We also have the Veteran's database available on our website to help you with your

Additionally, we have copies of some WWI letters that can be viewed by clicking on this link: