This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Potato farm ruins

Across the road from the parking lot of the Fisher Oak Savanna lies an extensive set of farm ruins that I visited on the day of the brush pile burning. The man in charge of the day's proceedings told me that at one time the fields to the east grew potatoes, and that the buildings were used to store or process them. Now the land is used for corn and soybeans. I recall that I heard back in 1990 when I worked the census and drove around a lot of back roads down in this area (and in quite a few other areas as well) that at one time there were also onions grown in this part of the county.

Here is one of the most southerly of the ruins. There is a long, narrow concrete floor with the remnants of a structure in the back.
Below you see what is in the back. There are several piles of cinder blocks on the site, and this is the only one I have included.
From the cinder blocks the ditch that drained this area is visible. There are still old people who remember the extensive swamps of this part of the county before the ditches were put in and the area drained.
I do not know what the purpose is of the big concrete blocks shown below. Given enough time, the little trees growing between them will crack and move them.

The structure to the left of the picture is used seasonally as a hunting cabin. I do not think the large sheds in the center are used, but I may be wrong. I did not look inside them.
These stairs were probably once part of a residence on the site.
We are now north of the hunting camp and there is a large concrete floor. The round grain bins on the right are quite new and are currently used for storage. The small building in the center is a weight room.
The platform for the trucks seems to be in excellent shape.
Inside the building is the Fairbanks Morse scale. I wonder if it still works.
Continuing south toward the grain bins, we find the largest concrete floor on the site.
Below is the same floor looking due east. Notice how the fields stretch into the distance. There is nothing but fields for about two miles.
You can explore this area from the air with google maps. The pin on the map is at the north end of the Fisher Oak Savanna, which is the forested area stretching to the south. Go south on S 20E about half a mile and then zoom in. You should be able to see most of the things I have pictured here, plus some stuff that I did not take pictures of. (If you go over to S 80W, you will be able to see Little Creek Campground. It is quite big.)

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