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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parr

Parr was established in 1895 along the railroad to provide a shipping point for agricultural products, including livestock. Today its most prominent feature is the large elevator.
Unlike many of the little settlements that remain in Jasper County, Parr is more than a group of houses along one road. Parr has four east-west streets and three north-south streets, several quite short. In its early days it had two or three general stores, and in its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s it had gas stations, garages, a pool hall, a barber shop, a creamery, and a blacksmith shop, according to the memories put down in History of Jasper County, Indiana (1985). It also had a park south of 114 at the crossroads. And like many other little settlements along the railroad, it had a pickle factory, the Claussen Pickle Factory.

The building below was once a commercial building and for some reason the Jasper County Interim Report likes it. The Report says it was built about 1910.

The Parr school was built in 1917 (or 1916) and was originally a three-room building. In 1938 a small gymnasium was added that was also used for community events. For some years it had grades 1 through 8, and those who attended it went to Fair Oaks for high school. In 1959-60 it had only grades 1 to 6 with and enrollment of 58 and two teachers. It was closed in the spring of 1965.

I do not know if there is any way to get inside of it. I am sure the interior would be interesting.
The most intriguing sentence in the History of Jasper County, Indiana (1985) about Parr was this one: "The location and times of operation of a couple of stills were well kept secrets along with the particulars of the Ku Klux Clan meetings." (p. 263)
I have heard from some people older than I am that the Jasper County Klan was quite active in the 1920s and 1930s. There does not seem to be much written about that bit of local history, but maybe it is something that people would rather forget. (The Indiana Klan was huge in the 1920s and a powerful political force until scandal brought it down. According a map on Wikipedia, Jasper County was a hotbed of Klan activity in the 1920s. Unlike the Klan in the south, the purpose of the Indiana Klan was not to maintain segregation. Although the Indiana Klan was anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant, it was a more complex phenomenon than modern stereotypes of the Klan suggest.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the Indiana Klan link, Bob. About three years ago, I discovered that my maternal grandfather and his brothers were very active in the Klan in Clinton County. My 88 year old mother didn't even know that. She thought he went to one meeting, thinking it was a Grange meeting, and walked out.