Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Indiana Historical Marker - Eleutherian College

Eleutherian College
Eleutherian College

Title of Marker:
Eleutherian College
6927 West SR 250, Lancaster. (Jefferson County, Indiana)
Installed by:
2004 Indiana Historical Bureau, Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology, IDNR, African American Landmarks Committee of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Inc., Historic Eleutherian College, Historic Madison, Jefferson County Preservation Council, Cornerstone Society, Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable, and City of Madison
Marker ID #: 
Indiana Historical Marker - Eleutherian College
Indiana Historical Marker - Eleutherian College

Marker Text: 
Side one:
College developed 1854 from Eleutherian Institute, founded 1848. Thomas Craven and anti-slavery advocates in the area created and supported the institution for education of students of all races and genders. This structure, built in the 1850s for classes and a chapel, was purchased for restoration 1990. Designated National Historic Landmark 1997.
Side two:
Eleutherian provided one of earliest educational opportunities for women and African-Americans before Civil War. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South East Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers &
Museums - South East Edition
Brief History By the Author
Eleutherian College
Founded by Thomas Craven in 1848, Eleutherian College became the first school in Indiana that accepted any student regardless of race or gender.
Thomas Craven (March 19, 1792 - August 21, 1860) 
A native of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Thomas' parents were blacksmith Thomas Craven and Emmetje Isbrants. The elder Craven served in the Revolutionary War. As a young man, the younger Thomas migrated to Indiana in 1812, after floating down the Ohio River in a flatboat and arriving in Cincinnati. He went to Franklin County to live. He served as a captain during the War of 1812, serving in a blockhouse in Indiana. He moved into Ohio in 1826 and, at age forty-five, entered Miami University. He achieved his lifelong dream of a college education in 1842. In 1848, he donated land in Lancaster, Indiana, Jefferson County to the Eleutherian College. He engaged in several fundraising trips later on to raise money for the institution. Thomas passed away in 1860 and is interred in College Hill Cemetery in Lancaster.
Founding of Eleutherian College
Founded by members of the Neil's Creek Abolitionist Baptist Church with substantial help from Thomas Craven and Lyman Hoyt, the college opened in 1848. The word “elutherian” derives from the Greek word, “Eleutheros.” That word means freedom and equality. By 1857, the college enrolled eighteen black students, ten of which were former slaves. By 1850 enrollment increased to 200, fifty of which were blacks. When public schools for free blacks opened, the school closed. Purchased by Lancaster Township in 1888, the Township operated it as a public school until 1938. The building still stands in Lancaster. It is a part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
It is open to the public by appointment only.
Call 812-866-7291 for more information.
6927 W. State Rd. 250
Lancaster, IN

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mecca Covered Bridge - Parke County, Indiana

Mecca Covered Bridge
Mecca Covered Bridge
Mecca Covered Bridge 
Built in 1872 by bridge builder Joseph J. Daniels, the 150 foot long bridge spans Big Raccoon Creek on County Road 136 east of US 41. Between 1877 and 1877, Parke County constructed a new gravel road between Rockville and Mecca. US 41 follows most of the route of this road from the Bradfield Corner church to Rockville. The bridge survived four floods, in 1875, 1913, 1957, and 1990. In two of these, the floodwaters rose above the bridge floorboards. A stranded family waited the surge out inside the bridge. The road bypassed the bridge in 1965. Workers refurbished the bridge in 1993. It is open to foot traffic.
Mecca Covered Bridge - Interior Construction
Mecca Covered Bridge - Interior Construction

Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails
Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.72913, -87.32499   (decimal degrees)
39°43'45" N, 87°19'30" W   (degrees°, minutes', seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
Bridgehunter.com ID 16814

Joseph J. Daniels (1826–1916)
The son of bridge builder Stephen Daniels, Joseph was native to Marietta, Ohio. Joseph learned the craft of carpentry and bridge building from his father, who had sub-contracted for renowned army engineer and bridge builder Colonel Stephan Long. Long had developed the Long Truss design, for which he received patents in 1830, 1836 and 1839. Stephen employed the design, as did Joseph in his early bridges. Joseph assisted his father constructing many bridges in his native Ohio. Joseph would complete his first solo bridge contract at age nineteen.
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - West Central Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums - West Central Edition
Indiana Bridge Builder
Joseph migrated to Indiana to begin his solo bridge building career. He constructed his first bridge on the Rising Sun/Versailles Pike in 1850. The next year he traveled to Parke County, Indiana to build a bridge. He moved permanently to Parke County in 1853 to build railroad bridges. In 1861, Daniels moved to Rockville and began building covered bridges. He would build twelve covered bridges in Parke County. Nine of his Parke County bridges still survive. He built twenty-eight bridges in Indiana of which eighteen survive. Local lore suggests he build as many as sixty bridges during his lifetime, however historians can substantiate only fifty-three. He built his last bridge, the Neet Bridge, in 1904. The National Register of Historic Places lists many of his bridges.
Big Raccoon Creek in Parke County
Big Raccoon Creek
Big Raccoon Creek
Big Raccoon Creek enters Parke County at the upper end of the Cecil M. Hardin Lake. After exiting the lake, the creek flows southwest to Mansfield Roller Mill and crosses Indian State Road 59 just west of Mansfield. It continues southwest to Bridgeton, then gently curves northwest, crossing US 41. After passing through Mecca, Big Raccoon Creek turns west before meeting the Wabash River just south of Montezuma.
For Parke County shopping, lodging, dining and other attractions, visit:Tourist Information Center
Located in the 1883 Train Depot
401 E. Ohio Street
Rockville, IN 47872

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Canal Front Dry Good Store - Metamora, Indiana

Canal Front Dry Good Store - Metamora, Indiana
Canal Front Dry Good Store - Metamora, Indiana
Visitors to Metamora, Indiana will find this Franklin County Historical Marker
Canal Front Dry Good Store
Canal Front
Erected by:    
Indiana Division of Tourism and the Metamora Shop Keepers 1976
Main Street near Banes Street, Metamora, Indiana (#72 on Metamora Map)
Two story frame of Federal Style built by Jonathan Banes in 1848. First known as the firm of Jenks, Banes and Calvin Jones. Harry and Alvin Blacklidge 1852-57. Mahlon and Milton Gordon 1857-62. Wm. N. Gordon started banking business in west half 1910. Later relocated across the canal, east half was Caroline Gordon’s Candle Shop. Back addition was an old icehouse, upstairs was community hall for dancing, roller skating and yearly traveling medicine show.
Franklin County Historical Marker
Franklin County Historical Marker

Brief History by the Author
Ice House
Cutting the Ice
The icehouse was a common structure in the Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century in the days before artificial refrigeration became common. During the winter months, farmers and icemen would cut ice from local ponds and lakes after the ice had gotten about a foot thick. Because snow cover will slow the freezing process, many times the workers would remove any snow cover from the pond so the ice would freeze faster. First, they would use a handsaw to cut the ice into long strips. Then they would cut the strips into blocks; lift the blocks from the water using a special tool called an ice tongs. After cutting, they would load the ice blocks on horse drawn wagons and transport the ice blocks to the icehouse. A team of men could cut and transport several tons of ice a day.
Storage and Use
Upon arrival at the icehouse, the men would load the ice into the icehouse. The icehouse was insulated with sawdust or straw to help maintain the freezing temperatures needed by the stored ice. They loaded it in layers, packing either sawdust or straw between the blocks and layers, until the icehouse was full. Properly packed ice would stay frozen until the following winter. During the summer, the iceman would load blocks of ice onto a horse drawn wagon and deliver ice to homes that had iceboxes. Children often followed the ice wagons, picking up fallen chips of ice for a cold, summer treat. Most homes had iceboxes for storing milk, butter, cream and other food items that needed refrigeration. The icebox was usually constructed from wood. The walls, back and doors were hollow, lined with zinc or some other non-corrosive material and insulated with sawdust, cork or seaweed. The ice compartment was in the top, which allowed the cooled air to circulate down into the food storage compartments below. Many of the iceboxes had drainage taps to drain the melted water from the ice compartment, a daily chore.
Driving the Canals and Rivers  Auto Trail
Driving the Canals and Rivers  Auto Trail
Homemade Ice Cream
During the summer months, the frozen ice provided an additional treat. On holidays like Decoration Day (Memorial Day), Fourth of July and Labor Day strong armed men would take chips of ice to make ice cream in an ice cream maker. The ice cream maker consisted of a wooden bucket that had a metal tub inside. They filled the metal tub with their ice cream mix and inserted a metal paddle into the mix. After placing a lid on the tub, they placed it inside the wooden bucket. The ice cream maker had a specially made gear mechanism that allowed someone to turn a crank that spun the tub inside the bucket. The paddle inside the tub would also turn; mixing the ice cream as it froze, keeping it from becoming a frozen, solid mass. They placed ice chips in the area between the tub and bucket and sprinkled salt over the ice chips. Men would then spend an afternoon taking turns turning the crank, spinning the tub inside the ice/salt mix. A hole in the side of the bucket allowed cold water to escape as the ice melted. Occasionally the ice would have to be replenished and more salt added. The spinning tub in the ice/salt mix slowly froze the sweet concoction inside the tub, which turned harder and harder as the ice cream froze. At length, the ice cream was ready for the waiting crowd to sate their appetite for the rare summer treat.
By the 1930's modern refrigeration began displacing the icehouse as a fixture in American towns.
Traveling Medicine Show
In an age of uncertain medical practices that included bleeding, sometimes using leeches, cold baths and skin blistering agents, people often turned to other means of affecting cures for their various ailments. The traveling medicine show answered this need, in spite of the dubious concoctions offered by the people running the show. The medicine show also provided an entertainment venue not available to many small towns across Indiana in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.
Began the Age of Advertising
The patent medicines offered by the operators of these shows became the first products using modern, mass advertising techniques. Before the show came to town, promoters would place posters along the proposed route of the show, advertising the shows, medicines and other information about the event. The advertising stressed that the medicines used rare, exotic ingredients that promised miracle cures to the buyers of the medicine.
The Medicines
Commonly called "patent medicine" in spite of the fact that very few were patented, the medicines consisted of cheap materials sold at a high price. The ingredients commonly consisted of cocaine, opium, and/or high concentrations of alcohol. The addictive nature of these medicines encouraged continued purchases of the "medicines" after the event. Buyers could order the medicines by mail order, or sometimes at local stores, after the show left town. Many of the liniments and ointments advertised the main ingredient as "snake oil," which many people at the time considered a cure all. Many times the operator of the show mixed the medicines in his "medicine wagon" before the show.
The "Doctors"
Often called "doctor" or "professor" the operators of the traveling medicine shows were nothing of the sort. Talented entertainers, they would use the power of entertainment, persuasion, jingles, fear and testimonials from "cured" patients.
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South East Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums - South East Edition
The Medicine Show
The medicine show consisted of the "Professor" hawking his product, interspersed with entertainment acts that usually included juggling, a flea circus, musical performances, a magician and other forms of entertainment. The Professor would talk about the benefits of his offering, and then break to allow the entertainers to soften resistance to his pitch. This pattern would repeat several times during the show, which was free to all comers. The operator also used planted shills in the to provide "unsolicited" testimonials and "plants" that would come forward with an obvious affliction, such as a limp, who would be miraculously "cured" after taking a swig of the "medicine."
Regulations and Better Medicines
These patent medicines did not really cure any of the illnesses they purported to cure. Many of them caused more problems than they solved because of their addictive nature. Their use also discouraged people from going to a real medical doctor for treatment. By the early Twentieth Century state and federal lawmakers began passing laws regulating medicines. Medical science began producing reliable, consistent drugs. The two developments caused a decline in the traveling medical show. The tradition lives on in the names of many popular musical groups. Many of the terms used today, like snake oil, quack and several others live on in the language.
From the Author's Book:
Driving the Canals and Rivers  Auto Trail

Franklin County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission
18 West 10th Street
P.O. Box 97
Brookville, IN 47012