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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


On March 19 the Historical Society held its monthly meeting. An acquisition that was mentioned was a painting of the old Bowstring Bridge that is now the decorative part of the pedestrian bridge linking Potawatomie Park with the downtown. It was painted by Anna Marlin in 1978 when it was north of what is now Laird's Landing. Bicentennial Park has a shelter named for her husband, the Ervin L.Marlin Sr Picnic Shelter. It is near a pedestrian bridge, but not the one in the painting.
 The name "Old Hoover Slough Bridge" was mentioned in discussing the painting and that is the second time I have heard that name in reference to this bridge. I doubt if there is still a Hoover Slough--most of the swamps have been drained. I think that was south of Rensselaer and was the original site of the bridge.

The focus of the program was scrapbooks. While the business meeting was going on, I paged through a scrapbook from E.L Hemphill who served on the battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma during World War I. (Planning for a tea party, tentatively scheduled for June 2, just was not my cup of tea.)
 It had a variety of newspaper clippings and photographs, but what caught me attention were a couple of programs of activities on the ships.
 This one looks like it was a play of some sort. Google does not return anything for "Theda the Vamp Stenog," so this may have been something that the sailors wrote.
My father served on a ship during World War II and I recall seeing some documents similar to this, though I think they were for special meals. That association may be why I found them interesting. I also was impressed with the printing. It must have been done on the ship, which means that they had some kind of printing press.

A second program was for a smoker in 1919. (Does anyone use the term "smoker" anymore in this way?) It appears that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was one of several battleships at Guantanamo Bay because some of the boxers on the program were from other ships.
After the boxing program, they enjoyed some music.
 The U.S.S. Oklahoma was not involved in any battles during World War I. It was still in service on December 7, 1941 and was one of the battleships sunk by the attack on Pearl Harbor. Over 400 of its crew were killed. For more, see here.

For the program at the meeting, we were invited to look at the various scrapbooks on display and find something interesting. One scrapbook that I did not get much time to look at was that of one of the Babcocks. He was a businessman and active in politics. Included in the scrapbook was his delegate ticket to the Republican National Convention in 1932. That would have been the convention that renominated Herbert Hoover, who went on to be wiped out by Franklin Roosevelt in the general election.
A scrapbook I looked at a bit more closely was the Warner scrapbook. It was a Mark Twain Adhesive Scrapbook--Mark Twain invented, patented, and made a lot of money from a scrapbook with prepasted pages. It mostly had newspaper clippings, but the large certificate below stood out. Apparently Charles Warner served as a sergeant at arms at the Republican National Convention in 1912. That was a convention that saw the Republican Party split. It renominated William Howard Taft over Teddy Roosevelt, who then created his own party and ran on it. The result was the election of Woodrow Wilson.
However, the first thing that caught my interest was this telegram. At one time telegrams were an important way of communicating, much like e-mail or texting today. The development of decent long-distance phone service killed telegram, but in 1920 they were still important. Young Helen Warner spent some money to send the news that she had joined a sorority at DePauw University.
Paging a bit further, I was shocked to find that two years later, in 1922, young Helen died. What a tragedy.
There are a lot of interesting stories in the collection of scrapbooks that the Historical Society has.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good snooping!