History

<p>Places of historical significance in Steuben County, Indiana. </p>

Pokagon State Park Pocket Museum

By on Sep 27, 2017 in Family Fun, History, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In 1934 Company 556 of the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived at Pokagon State Park.  One of their first jobs was to build the park’s gatehouse.  The site was recently turned into a pocket museum to commemorate the men who built it. A ghostly life-size image of a corpsman stands guard in the window to greet visitors.  Inside the original fireplace still stands, along with many artifacts from the bygone days of the CCC.  Photos and plaques line the walls of the tiny structure, bringing to life the story of the corpsmen The CCC operated on a system similar to the army.  Enrollees wore military style clothes and used military equipment.  They slept in barracks.  Each bed had a footlocker to store all belongings from clothing to their cleaning supplies, canteens and mess kits. In addition to building a beautiful park, the men often learned skills to use later in life, from finishing high school to skills like carpentry and masonry. The museum is free.  It is open to the public whenever an attendant is at the front gate of Pokagon....

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Angola Civil War Days with the Schiffli Family

By on Sep 27, 2017 in Events, Family Fun, History, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I had never been to the annual Civil Wars Days but I always heard the loud booms from the cannons during the reenactment, so I figured it was time to check it out!  It wan an unseasonably hot day so we wanted to get there fairly early to beat the heat.  We parked and started walking toward the Selman Timber Frame and immediately saw a pretty white carriage being pulled by two beautiful black horses.  Emi made sure we stopped to watch the horses pass by.  As we continued on, there were several vendors selling items ranging from locally made honey to clothing.  In the first tent we came to County Commissioner Ron Smith, who was dressed as Baron Von Steuben (Steuben County’s namesake) and was giving a history lesson to a group  of Girl Scouts.  As we continued exploring, we came upon an area with all sorts of flags.  It was neat to see them all displayed in one spot. Once the kids were finished at the nearby playground, we made our way down the path and passed a dress shop, a fudge shop, a surgeon and candy shop.  Emi and MaKenzy had never had the pleasure of enjoying rock candy, so while were checking out the candy shop Emi picked out a cotton candy flavored rock candy while Mak chose green apple.  We go back on the path and made our way past the surgeon’s tent.  Em was particularly curious but the mannequin on the cot scared MaKenzy.  Next we saw several cannons lined up.  While they weren’t shooting them off, it was neat to see them up close.  There were several tents down the bike trail a bit, but we were starting to get a little warm so we turned around.  We peeked in the dress shop that had pretty dresses displayed and for sale.  We even passed a lady spinning yarn for her handmade rugs. Before we made our way home, we walked through the Selman Timber Frame where they had food for sale, storytelling and raffles.  At the very end of the pavilion, there were several articles of women’s clothing on display.  The dresses and jewelry were absolutely beautiful and I took a photo...

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Cruise to the Monument with the Schiffli Family

By on Sep 27, 2017 in Events, Family Fun, History, Uncategorized | 0 comments

  Last year the girls and I attended the annual Cruise to the Monument in downtown Angola. We had a great time so we wanted to make sure we attended again this year.  In addition to the cruise-in, there was a special celebration for the 10oth birthday of the Soldiers Monument.   When we arrived, we were able to park in the community center parking lot and witness the service honoring our veterans.  We continued to walk toward the Monument, looking at the unique cars while enjoying the traffic being blocked off for a few hours.  The girls first saw a fire truck and just had to get a picture with it.  As we made our way to the mound we saw everything from an old van that converted into a camper, to a lime green hearse all the way to a fuchsia Cuda.  Cars were everywhere-parked all the way around the mound, in the parking lots in all the quadrants and lined up on Wayne and Maumee streets.  There were several organizations selling food and popcorn and there was even a live band up by the Brokaw Theatre.  The girls absolutely loved taking a moment to listen to the music and danced a little bit. I enjoyed running into old friends and co-workers while checking out neat cars, both old and new.  Before we left, Emi spotted one car with a huge stuffed monkey in the back seat and she had to go see it.  When we got up to the car the owner of the vehicle made sure Emi was able to touch the monkey and give him a high five.  I think that made her night!  Once again the annual Cruise to the Monument didn’t disappoint and it seemed like everyone in attendance was having a great time. (Cruise to the Monument traditionally is held annually the third Wednesday in mid-September.)...

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Collins Schoolhouse – Lou Ann Homan

By on Aug 17, 2017 in Events, Family Fun, History, Holidays, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I check the back ribbon of my Minnie Pearl straw hat before leaving the house. I gingerly step into Kathy’s car ducking my head wondering how did women drive with these hats? (Perhaps they didn’t?) I notice we are both wearing summer cotton dresses and sandals. This is not an ordinary outing for a Sunday afternoon. No, we are headed to the Collins Schoolhouse to participate in the fifth annual Ice Cream Social. The drive is once again beautiful as we meander over country roads. We pass the schoolhouse and have to turn around. Once Bart Collins helps us find parking, I feel we have been transported to another century. Tents are set up with tables and chairs for the social. Another long table is filled with home grown and homemade cobblers of peach and berry and rhubarb followed by a tub of ice cream. Whereas we are anxious to sit in the shade and visit with folks, we are, of course, drawn into the schoolhouse itself. It is not my first visit. I used to bring my Hamilton students to the schoolhouse when June Collins was still on this earth and giving her glorious tours. We always came in the Autumn. I can remember June ringing the bell and my students, in awe, taking their seats. My wandering eyes followed the trees in the windows…tree leaves of ruby and scarlet and tangerine. It was enchanting. Once in a while I would be pulled out of my daydreaming state as June reprimanded one of my students. Now the tours are given by other members of the family. On this day is it Claudia Smith who welcomes us smiling from ear to ear. We all comment on the glorious weather and step over the threshold into 1877. It is as it was. Perfect. The books are lined up on bookshelves, lunch pails ready to be taken out to sit under the old trees, cursive writing on the board (is that still June’s handwriting?) and desks waiting for students. It is magical. It is  beautiful. It wasn’t always so. This school, along with most one room schoolhouses in America, fell into disrepair and neglect. The Collins School  was saved by the...

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Adventures Had and Memories Made – The Schiffli Family

By on Aug 7, 2017 in Events, Family Fun, History, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Vermont Settlement Festival I remember every year when I was little my dad would take my sister and I to the Orland Vermont Settlement Festival and this year, my dad and I took the girls for some fun! The first thing we went through was the settlement where the girls got to see animal skins, a stuffed beaver, an old time wagon and people cooking their lunches over the fire. The girls were even given homemade soap by one of the settlement men. Next we had to visit the free kid zone bounce houses! They had so much fun I had a hard time getting them out of there. We ate lunch at the park, got some homemade ice cream and Emi even got her face painted. We weren’t able to stay for the talent show or the other fun activities because it was almost nap time but we all had a great time and had lots of fun at the Orland Vermont Settlement Festival, held at the Orland Town Park. This event is held the last full weekend in July and recognizes Orland as the birthplace of Steuben County. The event is put on by the Orland Chamber of Commerce.  You can always find more information at lakes101.org or by calling...

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Our Town’s History – Lou Ann Homan

By on Jul 19, 2017 in History, Steuben County Indiana, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The note came in the middle of January. At first I thought it was a scam email offering me a million dollars if I were to send out my social security number and my bank routing information. The subject line was in large print: MEREDITH. Curiosity does funny things, and while I secretly wish the Duke of Any Country would find me a great recipient and care taker of money, I know better. But, one never knows. I open the email. I blink and read it twice before I realize the weight of the note, the importance of the note and how it was worth more than the million dollars offered to me by the Duke. Meredith writes that she and her mother, both from the Phoenix area, are descendants of the Hendry family and they would like to know more about them. She came across my writings of Louisa Gale Hendry through KPC. I actually sat quietly for a few moments letting this story sink in for me. It is no secret that I love my town and the history behind it. During the Angola Carnegie Library Centennial Celebration I portrayed Louisa Gale Hendry at the library. I loved researching her and learning all I could with the help of Peg Dilbone, our county historian. I wrote back immediately. We chatted through a few more emails until I got the note that she and her mother Yvonne and sister Claudia would come here to Angola to see their family history with their own eyes. I took my note up to the library and found Peg, as usual, working away. We sat knee to knee talking about this event. Peg had already made a list of all the places we should go. Even Peg’s list made my head swim a little. “We can’t possibly do all of that in two days!” I remarked to her. But Peg has an uncanny way of raising her eyebrows to adversity. I just had to smile. A few more emails, a few more months and the day has come. I want the day to be beautiful with blue skies, wispy clouds, and a cool breeze coming off of our 101 lakes. It is...

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