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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recent acquisitions

The Jasper County Historical Society is between exhibitions right now, so it is featuring recent acquisitions and resources. The curator had not yet marked the first recent acquisition that you see when you enter the building, a water fountain (bubbler?) that was once in the Jasper County Court House.
In the entry way is the old cancelling machine that was once in the Saint Joseph's College branch of the Rensselaer Post Office. The sign says it was discarded in 2003; when do you think it was put into service? It looks like it served for many years.
Just inside the main room is old laundry equipment from 1890. I remember wringer washing machines from my childhood, but they were not this old. It was donated by Leon Biggs. Was he the owner of the auto junk yard that was a bit south of McCoysburg? I remember it as being a really interesting place.
The plaque from the old jail that was demolished in the summer of 2010 is another acquisition. It is not especially old, but it does represent a part of area history.
Some acquisitions are small. The truck commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Jasper County Fair and comes with its box.
Another anniversary is represented in the uniform of the fife and drum corps that was formed to celebrate the country's bicenntennial in 1976. A plaque at the fairgrounds also recalls this short-lived organization.
There are also many signs in the museum highlighting the various resources that the museum has. I thought their collection of scrapbooks was especially interesting. Some were donated and others were made by the historical society in past years.
I asked what sorts of things that the society would like to see donated. The number one request was for old pictures of buildings or people. You do not have to donate the original--the society would be happy for a copy and is hoping to get a scanner (another possible item that one could donate) so that they could scan in pictures for people who want the original copies.

Speaking of old pictures, the Remington Historical Society had a picture of downtown Remington from about 1940 on their Facebook page a few days ago. I think every building in that picture with the exception of the water tower is now gone. It is a reminder that sixty or seventy years ago life in small towns was very different from what it is today.

There is a Lake Village Old Photo page on Facebook. Maybe the Jasper County Historical Society could encourage something like that as well.


Gene said...

The junkyard was owned and operated by Leon's older brother, Howard Biggs. Leon was a truck driver and also owned and operated the Catfish Farm near Trail Tree Truck Stop. I grew up with the Biggs boys and we were friends for the entire 40 years that I lived in Rensselaer.

And I remember well the old bubbler fountain. I drank from it many times back in the 1940s, and also from the one located on the street outside the courthouse. across from the movie theater.

Ah... memories.

Anonymous said...

Gene has it right about the old bubbler fountain. The good old days, it seems, should come back.

Anonymous said...

The historical society does accept donations that are appropriate to its mission. Thank you for showing some of the more recent acquisitions. We really love the old photos, like you mentioned, and it would be lovely it people would let us scan their photos for our archives. Judy Kanne