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

Friday, May 13, 2011

The old fairgrounds

Several weeks ago I was at an event at the White House (on Park Avenue)) and I noticed a map of Jasper County on the wall. It was either a page from an atlas done in 1876 or a facsimile of that page. There was an insert on the map showing Rensselaer, and among the things that caught my interest was the Fairgrounds at on the Rensselaer & Bradford Road.
It appears that at one time there fairgrounds were east of where the quarry now is and north of Donaldsons. Horse racing in some form must have been a major source of entertainment for the early fairs. Does anyone know why the fairgrounds were moved and when the current fairgrounds were established?

Just a tiny bit of Rensselaer is south of the river, on what are now Park and Home Avenues. The Iroquois River looks quite a bit different, with a few more curves and a long narrow channel that is no longer there. An artesian well and a sulfur spring no longer exist. I had read about the sulfur spring, but had thought it was a bit further downstream. Many streets have been renamed, something discussed here.

Shown on the map but not captured in the photo is a proposed railroad that would have run west from Fort Wayne to somewhere in Illinois. I have seen it on other, later maps as well. I wonder what happened to it. It is a reminder that many projects never get beyond the planning.

Who or what was Bradford?


Anonymous said...

You find interesting things wherever you go. Good for the Rensselaer Adventurer.

Desert Survivor said...

That sulfur spring might have disappeared awhile ago, but I remember that smell of rotten eggs going by there (at the water treatment plant, right?)

The artesian well certainly sounds interesting, as well as the race track and fairgrounds.

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

I graduated sjc in the early 70's. The college had AWFUL "sulpher water" back then. Maybe it still does? Sometimes when I took a shower, I felt "dirtier" AFTER the shower than before.