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?

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