Crown Point Community Library


The blog and online exhibit center for the Indiana Room.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Indiana Women’s Roles in History

March is Women’s History Month, where we celebrate the contributions women have made to shape our local, state, regional, national, and international communities.  Their contributions may be in government, businesses, schools, science, or numerous other aspects of our society.  Women from Indiana have used their minds and their influence to better our state and our lives.

Eventually working alongside other suffragettes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, May Wright Sewall initially championed women’s rights in Indianapolis.

Gene Stratton-Porter was a naturalist and author who often wrote about her beloved Limberlost Cabin home and the community surrounding it.

Albion Fellows Bacon was instrumental in passing affordable, sanitary housing for the poor after her children got sick with scarlet fever.  She learned that living conditions affected one’s health and she fought for housing and health for communities.

Education about the home and the science behind it came to Purdue University, and then by extension to the rest of Indiana, thanks to Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis.  They created and expanded the School of Home Economics, which was affiliated with the School of Agriculture, in 1913.

One of America’s first multi-millionaires was Madam C.J. Walker, who founded and ran a company making hair and beauty products especially for the black community.  She started the company in Indianapolis.

Crown Point has its own famous woman in Lillian Holley.  After her husband passed away, she was sheriff of Lake County when John Dillinger escaped from the jail.  But that it not her lasting legacy in this community- she lived to 103 years and was an active supporter of preserving Crown Point history and buildings, including “The Grand Ole Lady” Courthouse.

Sources and Further Reading

Indiana Commission for Women

Indiana Women’s History Trail

Conner Prairie: Lives of Women

Indiana Woman Magazine Archives 

Susan Bulkeley Butler Women’s Archives – Women in Purdue History at Purdue University

Guide to Women’s History Materials at Indiana Historical Society

Places Where Women Made History


Indiana Room Display Endorsed as Bicentennial Legacy Project

ibc_legacy_project_sealThe Crown Point Community Library Indiana Room and Reference Department has been officially endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission as a Legacy Project for it’s display It’s Indiana’s Bicentennial! 200 Fun Facts about Crown Point to Celebrate.  The display honoring the 200th birthday of the state of Indiana features fun facts about Crown Point.  It will be exhibited in the lobby of the Crown Point Community Library throughout November, December, and January. The display has been generously underwritten by the Friends of the Library.

Visit the Indiana Bicentennial Commission website to learn more about the Legacy Project as well as other Bicentennial celebrations around the state.

Indiana Bicentennial Commission

Bicentennial Legacy Projects 


Banned Books Week: September 25- October 1, 2016

Indiana Authors who have been challenged or banned, making the lists of top challenged books.  This does not include every Indiana author challenged.

Theodore Dreiser

John Green

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Booth Tarkington

Kurt Vonnegut

Dan Wakefield

There were 275 challenges recorded in 2015 by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom.  John Green was #1 on the list of Top Ten Challenges throughout the country for his book Looking for Alaska.  Books are challenged or banned for any number of reasons and can even vary by challenge; what one finds objectionable, another may see differently.  This is not a new phenomenon; Mark Twain was banned while he was still living; his works are still challenged.  Frequently challenged Indiana native Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five was not only banned in North Dakota in 1973, the book was ordered by the high school board to be collected and burned in the school’s incinerator.  One might be surprised by the books that are challenged, from classics one may have read as a child or in high school such as Lassie and Of Mice and Men to popular books and series of today, from adult focused books to nonfiction books to children’s books and fairy tales.  Even the dictionary has been challenged – in our state.

Sources and Additional Reading

Banned Books Week – American Library Association

Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2015

Frequently Challenged Classic Books

People attempt to ban this book set in Alabama more than any other book in the country (John Green’s Looking for Alaska)

Best quotes on banning and censoring books: The Guardian

Famous Authors’ Funniest Responses to Their Books Being Banned

See the Crown Point Community Library Indiana Room for titles available in the library also.

Kurt Vonnegut on censorship of his books (and in general):

“All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!”


On your Mark, Get Set, Hoosier Sports

Summer Reading and the Indiana Room @ Crown Point Community Library

When you think of sports, do you think of famous athletes? Or sports teams? Or sports venues? Do you think of Indiana?

Indiana has greatly contributed to the sports landscape with Hoosier athletes, teams, and venues.

In basketball, Indiana is synonymous with the who, what and where of that sport.  Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Steve Alford, John Wooden, and Bob Knight are just a few of the names that come to mind when one mentions basketball.  James Naismith may have created the game in Massachusetts, but Hoosiers made basketball their own and grew the game into what we love to watch and play today.  Even if you weren’t alive at the time, Indiana folklore is alive with 1954’s high school championship game when Milan High School beat powerhouse Muncie Central at Butler University’s landmark Hinkle Fieldhouse, then known as Butler Fieldhouse.  Professionally, Indianapolis hosts the National Basketball League Pacers and the Women’s NBA Fever.  New Castle is the home to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, which celebrates all levels of basketball.

Nothing screams football tradition more than the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish.  People all over the country pledge their undying loyalty to the men who play every Saturday in South Bend.  Knute Rockne, Joe Montana, and “Rudy” Daniel Ruettinger are names associated with Notre Dame football.  The Colts have been playing in Indianapolis since 1984 and quarterback Peyton Manning has made the city his home as Hoosiers have adopted him as one of their own, too. The College Football Hall of Fame is in South Bend, Indiana, too.

The Nat banner_1500

It may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Indiana, but Hoosiers love their competitive swimming.  Mark Spitz swam for Indiana University.  12,000 young athletes compete on over 110 swim teams throughout the state, making it one of the largest USA Swimming organizations in the country.   “The Nat” in Indianapolis has been holding Olympic Trials for Diving and Swimming since 1984, two years after the venue opened.  It did so most famously in 2000, when Michael Phelps (arguably the most famous swimmer in the world) first qualified for the Olympic Games in Sydney.  He has said “It’s always been a great pool for me to swim in.”

The Indianapolis Speedway has annually hosted the Indy 500 automobile race since 1911.  2016 is the 100th running of the famed race that draws international attention from both racers and fans.


Our collegiate teams have passionate fans that follow them everywhere to show their pride.  In return, our beloved Hoosiers, Boilermakers, Cardinals, and Bulldogs provide us with exciting players, competition, and championships.  Indiana University and Purdue University football teams meet each year to compete for the Old Oaken Bucket Trophy.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has its headquarters in Indianapolis since 2000 as well as the NCAA Hall of Champions.

High school sports are more popular than ever in Indiana, even in our hometown.  Crown Point comes out on Friday nights to watch our Bulldogs on the gridiron, as well as throughout the year to support the 20 IHSSA (Indiana High School Athletics Association) associated sports.  CPHS has won 6 state championships: Girls Basketball 1984 and 1985, Boys Soccer 2011 and 2013, Boys Tennis 1971, and Wrestling 2009.


Celebrate sports and recreation by exploring the many state and local parks, trails, and beaches of this state.  The National Park System is 100 years old this year.

Take a moment to exercise not only your body, but your mind, with all the sports and sports related activities Indiana has to offer.

Sources and Additional Reading

Sports in Indiana

History of our Hysteria: How Indiana Fell in Love with Basketball 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Indiana Swimming

The IUPUI Natatorium History

IHSSA History

See the Crown Point Community Library Indiana Room for titles available in the library also.


Celebrating the Indy 500? Thank the Cobe Cup

2016 is the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 (also known as: The 500, The 500-Mile Race, Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, Indy 500, or International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race {sweepstakes dropped in 1981}).  Although the Indy 500 first ran in 1911, it paused for several years during World War II.  The Greatest Spectacle in Racing may currently run in Indianapolis, but it has its beginnings 134 miles to the north in Crown Point.

Conceived by Ira Cobe, president of the Chicago Automobile Club, the race was intended to bring car racing to the west and create a new race to rival the Vanderbilt Cup in the east.  Cobe chose Northwest Indiana for its vicinity to Chicago and its hospitable landscape.  He planned the event for June 1909, even underwriting the road preparation and telegraph stations that needed to be installed along the route.

The course was 23.27 miles per lap which included Crown Point, Cedar Lake, and Lowell.  Affectionately known as “The Nine Mile,” Indiana Avenue was nicknamed so after the Cobe race since it was the Nine Mile Stretch of track from Lowell to Crown Point.  The roads were smoothed, some new sections built, and parts were coated in macadam at the cost of $21,000.00, starting at the beginning of May 1909.  Time was of the essence since there would be a $500/day delay fee if the road was not completed for the first day of the race.

newpaper with route cropped1993 newspaper with route cropped

Source: A Special Souvenir Edition of you Post-Tribune: Share in the Celebration: A Salute to One Hundred-Fifty Years of Progress in Crown Point (June 21, 1984, Page 5) and The Lake County Star newspaper microfilm collection

May is the first mention of the impending race in The Lake County Star newspaper.  There were sporadic articles each week about the progress of the road and other necessary construction, the potential visitors to the area, and the racers themselves.

The main grandstand was built along IN 55 about 1.25 miles south of the turn onto what is now Joliet Ave.  It served as the start and end point of the race.  Crown Point lumberman, D.A. Root was awarded the contract to supply the lumber and build the stands as well as the walking bridge over the course.  The Grandstands were located on the east side of the street and the parking was provided on the west.

newpaper with grandstand cropped

Source: The Lake County Star newspaper microfilm collection


Photograph Courtesy of The Lake County Historical Museum

Although financial backers and elite racing fans from around the country sat in the stands, most people lined the streets along the course rather than pay $10 for parking and then $5/person for a seat in the grandstand.  Illinois National Guardsmen also lined the course- to protect both spectators and racers.  There was a secondary stand on Main Street at the Square that only had 1 customer and a brass band.

street scene 1street scene 2

Photographs Courtesy of The Lake County Historical Museum

The Western Stock Chassis Championship was planned as a 2 day open road race.  The Indiana Trophy race was only a 10 lap race on the same course for smaller engines, held the first day.  Joe Matson was victorious on June 18th, beating 17 other drivers.  He finished the race in 4 hours 31 minutes and 21 seconds in a Chalmers-Detroit with an average speed of 51 mph.  The Cobe Cup was awarded on June 19, 1909, following the 395 mile race (17 laps) for “bigger engines.”  Driving a Buick, Louis Chevrolet won the staggered start race that included 12 cars.  Chevrolet was victorious not by order of finish, but by his time.  With the average speed of 49 mph, he won in 8 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds, beating the first to cross the finish line by 65 seconds.


Photo source: The Times newspaper

Hoping to be a commercial success and annual event, investors actually lost money.  Expectations were high for filling the newly built grandstand with spectators.  There were estimates for up to 100,000 fans before the race, with actual numbers around 35,000.  Since those fans chose to picnic roadside along the course, it cost backers an estimated $25,000.  The Cobe Cup is considered a success only from a racing point of view.  Assessment included, “Not a racer was spilled and not a car turned turtle.  The pilots went around the curves discreetly instead of precipitately.”  Perhaps this due to the fact that the drivers were permitted to practice the course that included a dangerous, and infamous, S-Curve halfway between Crown Point and Cedar Lake starting June 10th, from 2-4pm, per the public notice on the front page of the June 4, 1909, edition of The Lake County Star.  The S-Curve has since been straightened slightly, no longer the danger it once was.

The Cobe Cup Trophy was presented to Chevrolet on the steps of the Courthouse.  The 5’4” trophy no longer exists, rumored to have been melted down for scrap metal after Chevrolet’s death.

At the time, there was little love lost about the event.  The Lake County Star front page headline on the edition following the race read “THE GREAT RACES ARE OVER. The Crowds Have Dispersed.  Thank the Lord.” along with, “the best part is no one was killed or severely injured and plenty of vendors frosted.”  The full column article mostly recalled the hassle of the race rather than the crowds and notoriety it brought to the area.  Later in the edition, an article headlined “Threaten to Come Again” quoted Cobe as saying “Well, from the way I size up the situation now, I believe that we can repeat our races next year: in fact, I think I can safely say that the second running of the Cobe Cup will be in 1910.  As to our plans it would be hard to say right now, but we are going ahead with our preparations just the same and are going to begin early next time.”

Subsequent races were cancelled and moved to the Indianapolis Speedway, where it was later decided to only hold one annual race starting in 1911- The Indianapolis International Sweepstakes.

song cover

Photo source: IU Collections: INHarmony

Nostalgia has taken over, as it often does.  Lyricist Victor H. Smalley and composer Bernard Adler retold the story of the Cobe Cup race with their song, “I Love My Horse and Wagon, But Oh! You Buick Car.”  Since 1984, there have been annual reenactments of the Cobe Cup- a general cruise along the course with a police escort of cars pre-dating 1975.  More recently, newer cars have been allowed to participate if qualified within the rules.  It was cancelled in 2013 due to lack of local support, but returned in 2014.  In 2015, 90 participated in the cruise, which commenced at the Lake County Fairgrounds and ended there with a celebration and car show.  Want to participate this year?  The 2016 Cobe Cup Cruise will be held at the Lake County Fairgrounds on June 18th.

As you watch the Indy 500 this Memorial Day, say a little thank you to Crown Point- it created the path to The Brickyard.

Sources and Additional Reading

Special thanks to the Lake County Historical Museum for several photographs

The Lake County Star newspaper microfilm, Crown Point Community Library

Early Years of Chicago Area Racing- The Turn of the Century and Beyond by Stan Kalwasinski

The Cobe Trophy Race of 1909: Louis Chevrolet’s big day The Times May 23, 2013

Cobe Cup Race from Cruise IN

The Hub Pages: Travel: Crown Point

Song Image and Lyrics from IU Collections: INHarmony

Regional Streeters, Indiana

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

NY Tribune 06201909

Cobe Cup Information from Lowell Public Library


*****For the past 8 months (note: this was originally posted May 2016), the Indiana Room had a volunteer intern assisting with the collection.  Using a pen name, our intern wrote a blog entry about a part of her experience and something she learned while with the Indiana Room.  We hope you enjoy reading this as much as she enjoyed researching and writing it.

George Ade: Worthy Enough to not be Forgotten

By Penny Lane

Young Ade Mature Ade

Do you know who George Ade is? It’s okay if you don’t, I didn’t know him until a few months ago. In a way, though, it’s rather sad. How did an Indiana man, writer of successful plays on Broadway, host of parties entertaining guests including U.S presidents William Harding and William Taft, and author of stories praised by Mark Twain himself, be forgotten?

George Ade was born on February 6th, 1866, in Kentland, Indiana. If you’re not familiar with Kentland, it’s not as far as you might think. In fact, George and his siblings saw the 1871 Chicago Fire from where they were. George was described as a tall, lanky man who had a striking resemblance to Woodrow Wilson, and from early on, he had a knack for learning. His teacher was so impressed with his essay, “A Basket of Potatoes”, they had it published in the local newspaper when George was only fifteen. “Life is but a basket of potatoes,” George had written, “Keep away from the rotten potatoes and you will get to the top.” Little did he know, George would use this writing style years later when he published his famous, “Fables in Slang” stories.

In 1883, when George was seventeen, he decided to attend Purdue in Lafayette, a college which had opened nine years earlier. George decided to study science, and, unsurprisingly, soared in areas of composition and literature, so much so, he became president of the Irving Literary Society.

George Ade sketch







“George has just heard the dinner bell at the boarding hall”

Besides being president of the Literary Society, George also became president of his fraternity, where he met his greatest comrade, John T. McCutcheon. John was an illustrator, and, along with his older brother, formed a strong friendship with George, which they would keep for many years. George and John’s older brother loved seeing shows at the Lafayette Opera House. George always had an adoration for the world of theater, proven by the plays he would later write.

McCutheon          John McCutcheon

          McCutcheon illustration from George Ade’s “Circus Day”John McCutcheon art 2

After graduating in 1887, George tried advertising for Cascarets, a laxative brand which he’d named. After reporting for two years, George joined his friend, John, in Chicago to work for the Chicago News, which would later be known as the Record. George’s column, combined with John’s illustrations, “All Road Leads to the Fair” had gained massive popularity at the Columbian Exposition, the 1893 World Fair. The popularity of the column led George to have one of his own, “Stories of the Streets and of the Town.” In it, George didn’t cover anything extravagant, or sophisticated, instead, he wrote about the features of everyday life. Living in Chicago, George had access to foreign immigrants (German, Scandinavian, and Greek to name a few), policeman, shop girls, the poor, and many more characters. George published these columns to eager readers until a man named Herbert Stone wanted to officially publish his work. In 1899, George released “Fables in Slang”.

Ironically, “Fables in Slang” was the exact book that gave my attention to George Ade. One day, while browsing in the Indiana Room of the Crown Point Library, I came across the exact same book. I was greatly amused. “Fables in Slang”? Naturally, I knew what fables were, they were short stories that always gave a moral or a life lesson. The fact that someone had written exactly that, only, in slang, interested me. What shocked me even more was the copyright of the book: 1899. “So not only is it in slang, but late 1800s slang?” I wondered, “I have to read this.”

After finding a take-home copy of “Fables in Slang”, I read through George’s story and found many things in his style. Due to his time studying at Purdue (which included the study of languages), George included German rules into his writing, for example: In German, all nouns are capitalized, George does the same thing, and he also capitalizes for emphasis. Historians are correct for labeling George as a satirist. His stories are meant to be humorous and enjoyable. He doesn’t use satire to be snarky or sharp, but instead to make light of what is usually a negative story. While reading his stories, I was surprised to find how much I understood. As a teenager, it can be hard to understand the context of stories written so long ago, especially with so many unfamiliar words. George’s style is formal, while not losing a sense of casualness. Even if you don’t understand all of the words and phrases, you can still enjoy his work and laugh, instead of constantly referring to a dictionary. Here is an excerpt from one of his fables:

“Once upon a Time there was a Broad Girl who had nothing else to do and no Children to look after, so she thought she would be Benevolent.

She had scared all the Red Corpuscles out of the 2 by 4 Midget who rotated about her in a Limited Orbit and was known by Courtesy as her Husband. He was Soft for her, and so she got it Mapped out with Herself that she was a Superior Woman.

She knew that when she switched the Current on to herself she Used up about 6,000 Ohms an hour, and the whole Neighborhood had to put on the Blinders.”

This was taken from the opening of “The Fable of the Good Fairy with the Lorgnette, and Why She Got it Good.” It talks about a woman so snobbish, “Her clothes were full of Pin-Holes where she had been hanging Medals on Herself, and she used to go in a Hand-Ball Court every Day and throw up Bouquets, letting them bounce back and hit Her.” She goes and visits the poor, who, “Knew how to stand off the Rent-Man and the Dog Catcher; but when 235 pounds of Sunshine came wafting up the Street, they felt that they were up against a New Game.” The story ends with an upset child throwing a tomato can at the woman, after she makes his mother cry. The woman gives up her benevolence. The moral of the fable is ironic, stating: “In uplifting, get underneath.”

After “Fables in Slang”, George’s popularity only grew from there. His book “In Babel” sold 70,000 copies. George’s plays, “The College Widow” and “The Sultan of Sulu” gained massive popularity on Broadway, Chicago, and New York. Getting 5,000 dollars each week in royalties, George eventually purchased the Hazelden estate in Brook, Indiana. There, George was known for throwing extravagant parties, housing celebrities such as Harding, Taft, Charles Dawes. Booth Tarkington, and James Whitcomb Riley.

George had lived a full life. He attended Republican meetings, threw parties, travelled to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, gave to charity, and helped erect Purdue’s Rose-Ade Stadium. The only thing he never did was marry. George Ade died May 18th, 1944 at age 78. After his death, he faded into obscurity, forgotten with his writings, left to collect dust. As I said in the beginning, it’s quite sad. He was a man beloved by all, not only that, but he came from our home state, and yet, how many of us have a book of his on our shelves? As said in the Dover Edition reprint of “Fables in Slang”, E.F. Bleiler wrote, “Perhaps this long deserved reissue of his earliest collections of fables will bring him the evaluation that he merits, away from…..the complete neglect that he has fallen into. His fables, I am sure, deserve recognition. They are remarkably perceptive, often brilliantly written, and are still funny and pertinent to the American scene.” George Ade may not be one of the most revered names in literature, but he is worth not being left unknown either.

Sources used

“The Best of George Ade” edited by A. L. Lazarus

“Fables in Slang” and “More Fables in Slang” by George Ade

“Circus Day” by George Ade

Photos found online

From Indiana STEM Grows Indiana Initiative

For the past several years, there has been an aggressive push for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects in our schools and community.  Emphasis on these subjects often overshadow other subjects.

The STEM subjects have also morphed to now be labeled as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics plus Art + Design) in order to recognize the importance of the role that art and design play in a community, and how they are often related and interact to the original STEM areas.

Indiana has many pioneers and leaders throughout its history that championed STEAM before there was such a formal designation.  The automobile industry expanded with Studebaker in South Bend.  Indiana toolmakers invented new ways of farming and helped manufacturers.  Although the telephone is credited to Alexander Graham Bell, several inventors in Indiana helped to shape the modern telephone with new technology.  Indiana architecture is illustrated in New Harmony as part of its creation of an ideal community.

The Crown Point Community Library Indiana Room celebrates Lake County and Indiana STEAM innovation with its collection.  There are numerous volumes documenting the efforts and achievements of Hoosiers in the STEM/STEAM fields and many others.  A few titles are featured below; however, a trip to the Indiana Room will result in many more.

Indiana Built Motor Vehicles by Wallace Spencer Huffman

Indiana Toolmakers and Their Tools by Jack Devitt

The Telephone and Its Several Inventors by Lewis Coe

Indiana Scientists by Stephen Sargent Visher

Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women who Introduced Science into the Home by Angie Klink

Harmonist Construction by Don Blair


Sources and Further Review

 I-STEM Resource Network

Indiana STEM Initiative

STEM Education Coalition


Indiana Afterschool STEM Initiative

2016 is the Indiana Bicentennial – Brush up on your Hoosier State History and Trivia before the year of celebrations.

Statehood Day – December 11, 1816, when Indiana became the 19th state of the Union

State Flag – Designed as part of a contest during the centennial celebration, the flag’s stars represent the states within the Union, with the 19th (Indiana) above the torch of liberty.

State Motto – The Crossroads of America adopted in 1973

State Nickname – The Hoosier State

State Seal – Depicts a scene reminiscence of Indiana at the time of statehood

State Bird – Cardinal

State Flower – Peony

State Stone– Salem Limestone

State Tree – Tulip Tree

State Poem – Indiana by Arthur Franklin Mapes

State Song – On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away by Paul Dresser

What is a Hoosier?Hoosier featureImage_mini

Although the exact origin of the nickname Hoosier is unknown, there are several theories floating around.  Most date from the 1830s, whether it is reference to John Finley’s poem The Hoosier’s Nest, the Greencastle newspaper founded by former governor James B. Ray, or the name of G.L. Murdock’s boat the Indiana Hoosier.  There are many origin theories that have been disputed, but one thing can be agreed upon- Hoosiers own the nickname with pride.


Sources and Further Review

Indiana Historical Society Fun Facts

Indiana Historical Bureau

State History and Trivia (with links to other information)

State Emblems

The Naming of Indiana

The Name Hoosier

Visit Indiana and Visit Indiana: State Symbols

Indiana Bicentennial 2016

Bicentennial Torch Relay


Books Available at Crown Point Community Library

All titles below are available for viewing in the Indiana Room and are not available for check out.  There are numerous books on the history and facts of Indiana, as well as other aspects about the Hoosier State, in the Adult Nonfiction and Juvenile Nonfiction sections of the library available for checkout; please browse our catalog for titles.

Indiana Memories: Collected Works of Arthur Franklin Mapes by Arthur Franklin Mapes

Hoosier’s Nest and Other Poems by John Finley

Who’s Your Hoosier Ancestor?: Genealogy for Beginners by Mona Robinson

Who’s Your County Named for? And Other Hoosier County Facts by Glenda S. Shull

Destination Indiana: Travels through Hoosier History by Ray Boomhower

Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana by James H. Madison

Forgotten Hoosiers: Profiles from Indiana’s Hidden History by Fred D. Cavinder


November is Historic Bridge Awareness Month

November was unofficially declared Historic Bridge Awareness Month in 2006 by  This month was selected by the organization for two reasons 1) it is the anniversary of the demolition of the Shanley Road Bridge and 2) it is a perfect time for reflection since it is the end of construction season and many bridges throughout the country have been torn down or renovated.  The Shanley Road Bridge was located over the Clarion River in Elk County, Pennsylvania, and was 113 years old when it was demolished in 2004.  Many think of covered bridges when they think of historical bridges; however, the structure, age, materials, and cultural significance all factor into what designates a bridge as historical.

Due to the maintenance of bridges and exposure to weather, wood structures often didn’t last long.  The development of covered bridges helped to protect the support structure from the elements, thus ensuring it to last longer than if left exposed.  The additional development of metal truss bridges occurred with the transportation boom of the railroads and then vehicles in the mid- 1800s.  Both are considered historic, especially as concrete bridges became the standard since they were considered more maintenance-free and long-lived than their metal and wooden counterparts.  They were considered old, not historically relevant, and were allowed to fall into disrepair.

It was estimated that at their peak during the second half of the 19th Century, there were over 12,000 covered bridges in the United States, around 500 of them were in the Hoosier State alone.  The first was built in Henry County in 1835.  There were two major builders in Indiana – J.J. Daniels and Joseph A. Britton from Rockville and the A.M. Kennedy family from Rushville.  Combined, they built 158 bridges in Indiana.  100 years after the first covered bridge was built, only 202 remained.  Today, that number is 89.  31 of them are in Parke County, the most in Indiana.

Of the several historic bridges in Lake County, one is located in Crown Point.  The covered bridge located in the Lake County Fairgrounds was built in 1878 by A.M. Kennedy and Sons.  It was originally built over the Little Flatrock River in Rush County.  The Burr Arch Truss styled bridge was called the Milroy Covered Bridge.  Conflicting sources also refer to this bridge as the Shelhorn Covered Bridge or the Shelbourne/Shelborne Covered Bridge.  In 1933, John Wheeler bought the bridge for $25.00 to save it from demolition.  The 85 ft. (plus a 10 ft. overhang) bridge was dismantled and rebuilt at its current location with the help of the WPA (Works Progress Administration).  At that time, the bridge was also repainted as cream with red trim.  The 16 ft. wide, 14 ft. high bridge expands over a gully in the park and can be enjoyed by the foot traffic of those touring the fairgrounds.

Fairgrounds Bridge

Organizations to preserve our transportation heritage exist on state and national levels.  The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, the National Center for Wood Transportation Structures, plus others raise awareness and money for preservation.  The Indiana Covered Bridge Society works to preserve and restore this part of our heritage.  State and local governments are recognizing the significance of these structures and are including maintenance costs in their budgets.  Many bridges are included on the National Register of Historic Places.  In addition to these measures, there is a certain sense of nostalgia that comes with older bridges and appeals to the folklore of the past.

Next time you are traveling, take notice of the bridges you cross.  Were they around 50 or 100 years ago?  Will they be here in the next century too?


Sources and Further Review


Also see these titles, plus many more, at Crown Point Community Library.

Parke County: Indiana’s Covered Bridge Capital by Marsha Williamson Mohr

Iron Monuments to Distant Posterity: Indiana’s Metal Bridges by James L. Cooper

Covered Bridges in Indiana by Wayne McClellan Weber


MAKE A FAMILY COOKBOOK210913_iopencookbookbg

Celebrating Family History Month and National Cookbook Month with One Project


Family History Month

What is Family History Month?  It began with a Congressional resolution in 2001, and is still celebrated every October, to promote “the human family” by organizing and learning about our own familial roots.  There are numerous ways to celebrate your family – organize your family tree, preserve your photos, visit a family site, or a plethora of other ways, including celebrating your family’s heritage through food.


National Cookbook Month and Eat Better, Eat Together Month

National Cookbook Month is celebrated since so many cookbooks are published in October for the holiday season.  In fact, October 12th is Cookbook Launch Day in the publishing world.  There are bounties of cookbooks with nods toward families and heritages that may provide you with inspiration.

In addition to National Cookbook Month, October celebrates food and family with Eat Better, Eat Together Month.  The EBET campaign began in 1996, when Washington State University started a social marketing campaign to promote family meals.  The campaign grew to include making healthy choices around the table, which leads to healthy choices in daily life.   An eventual tagline was developed as, “Set the table for the family, set roots for a lifetime.”

Your family can celebrate all three by creating your own family cookbook.


Creating a Family Cookbook

There are multiple ways to create a family cookbook, but the best way is to jump in and get going!  There is no right or wrong way to create something your family will appreciate.  Start with these steps and watch your project percolate.

  1. Gather recipes from family members

Call, email, write family members to give you their favorites- they can be multi-generational recipes that have been passed down or new ones the current generation likes to serve.

  1. Organize the recipes

Find an appropriate organizational pattern and start typing!  By decade, by type of food, by region, or another way that works for your family, just get those recipes in writing.  Are they verbal recipes?  No problem, write the recipe yourself (both formally and how it was told to you).

  1. Find photos or other family memorabilia to put with recipes

You’ve put Grandma’s Apple Pie recipe in the book; maybe a photo of her serving the pie, or even her handwritten recipe next to it makes it all the more meaningful.

  1. Produce the cookbook

Whether you have it professionally printed or you just make copies for relatives, share the food and the love.

  1. Cook the food and enjoy together

Go to the store, get the ingredients, and start cooking!  Then gather around the table and enjoy the food and memories.


Read a good book with the theme of family and food

The Crown Point Community Library has numerous books for checkout, and to read in the Indiana Room, about family and food: fictional stories that center around a recipe, for children and adults; cookbooks for any occasion with the call number 641 in both the Adult and Juvenile Nonfiction sections; and even scrapbook and memoir resources to help you create your family cookbook with 745 and 808 call numbers.

Among all the titles available, here are a few to help inspire you as the idea of your family cookbook marinates in your mind.

Tia’s Tamales by Ana Baca

Eggs over Evie by Alison Jackson

Pie by Sarah Weeks

Recipe Box by Sandra Lee

The Quilter’s Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Man with a Pan edited by John Donohue

Recipes from Across Indiana




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