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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Busy weekend

On Saturday SJC had a home football game and the marching band performed for the first time this season. I rode my bike out and parked it by a building. When I cam back the bike was gone. I figured that someone had taken for a short ride because the bike is not worth stealing (I bought it for $15 at the city auction last year and have not improved it). Although I quickly found it parked next to a dorm, whoever took it for that short ride was remarkably thoughtless and inconsiderate.

In the evening Mainstreet Renssealer hosted an Oktoberfest. The weather was ideal this year and the attendance was good. As the sky darkened, the local band McGuffin began to play.
 A couple of weeks ago my back-up camera died--the lens does not extend or retract properly, and it may be a software problem rather than a mechanical problem. I had only taken 13,000+ pictures. So I bought another cheap digital camera. My new back-up does not perform well in low-light conditions, and the picture below shows.
 Perhaps the event should have been called Septemberfest. It was held in September, not October, all the music was American pop music, and some of the food had no German associations. However, there was beer so maybe that is enough to make it an Oktoberfest.

On Sunday I went to hear the Prairie-Arts-sponsored violinist Jorge Avila and his pianist Gregory Martin. That event also had a good attendance. The audience gave him a standing ovation at the end and got an encore.
He ended that concert with a couple of pieces by Fritz Kreisler, a violinist born in Vienna. He wrote a number of compositions that he attributed to other composers, which is a bit strange.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Butterflies and golf balls

I saw several attractive butterflies on the little white asters that are blooming everywhere now and I was able, with the help of the Internet, to identify them. They are Northern Buckeye or Common Buckeye butterflies (Junonia coenia).
 I noticed that there was addition to a sign in Brookside park. The people who added the notice on golf balls probably did not realize that in doing so, they took out the most interesting geocache in Rensselaer. It was a hollow bolt that held a tiny piece of paper. It took me several attempts a couple years ago before I finally found it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Old bridges and old pictures (updated)

As you enter Remington from the south, you can see an old Bridge along the west side of US 231.

It was built in 1955 and once carried CR 1730 over Carpenter Creek. It was removed in April, 2013 and will eventually be part of a walking path.

At one time bridges like this were common. Now that most have been demolished and replaced, the last few are deemed worthy of preservation. Only a few, though, are preserved in place, such as the Conrad Bridge in Newton County.

Steinke Funeral Home occasionally publishes pictures of what Rensselaer used to look like. Here is a picture of one of Rensselaer's old bridges, the bridge over the Iroquois on Washington Street in 1910. It was replaced in 1941.

Scrolling through their pictures, the next old picture shows Washington Street in the early 1900s. The large building on the left burned long ago and was where Jack's Uptown Service is now. Next to it and looking much smaller is the building that is now eMbers.

Here is a picture of the old Horton Building.

A picture from the court house tower shows lots of awnings. I remember that my father had an awning in the store he had in Little Falls, MN and I occasionally put it up or down.

In this really old picture of a parade, it appears that Washington Street is unpaved and unbricked. There are also some pretty large trees downtown.

In 1939 the St. Augustine Church was under construction.

In 1957 the turret of the drug store was a prominent feature of the downtown.

Here is a picture of the old Indian School, now Drexel Hall. I think the building will be open during St. Joe's Homecoming if you would like to look inside.

A 1921 view of Rensselaer High School.

Another early view from the Court House tower.

A view of Rensselaer High School from the late 50s or early 60s. Someone who remembers the cars may be able to date it more precisely.

The old armory stood where the Fire Department is now.

In 1949 downtown Morocco was a busy place. So were the business districts of little towns all across the country. Fifteen years later most would be shadows of their former selves as people drove to larger towns to shop.

The old Jasper County Jail was demolished before I came to Rensselaer. It does not look like a jail--no bars are visible.

There is now a parking lot where the old Jasper County Hospital once stood.

A view of the downtown from the 1930s. I do not recognize the buildings and would not know where this was without the information given.

Looking east on Washington Street in 1910.

The old Creamery Bridge on College Avenue.

Repairing the Court House Roof in 1954.

An now for something completely different.

On their Facebook page Alliance Bank linked to an article about a business in Francesville.

A local student at SJC is having a lot of fun making short videos. I especially liked his public service announcement on procrastination. A few years ago one of classes decided that they suffered from a learning disability that we called IPD or something like that. It stood for Involuntary Procrastination Disorder (or something like that). Since it was a learning disability, they thought they should get special consideration.

Fair Oaks Farms has broken ground for a new sit-down restaurant south of the VC.

Finally, all around Rensselaer streets were being ripped up on Thursday. The fall repaving program is underway.

Update: Here are a few more tidbits to add to this meandering post.

There is a new house under construction in the Sunset Ridge subdivision.
Saint Joseph's College has a new sign on the east side of the highway. It replaces an old brick structure that was demolished several years ago.
McKinley Street (US 231) opened this morning at the railroad crossing. In mid afternoon there were a couple of guys working on the track just to the west of the crossing. They cut about an inch of track off, made some adjustments the to track, and then were preparing a mold so that they could pour hot steel in and merge the tracks together.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The last lunch

Bazz's Eat-N-Sip on North McKinley closed today. I found out about the closing from a note left on the Facebook page of Rensselaer Adventures so I decided I would take part in the last lunch. I was not the only one--there were a lot of people there. The owner has decided to retire and apparently no one wants to take over the business.
 I would like to have taken some pictures of the place, but as I said, there were a lot of people and I try not to get recognizable people in my pictures. So I settled for a couple of pictures of the the wooden vehicles that line the walls above the windows in the small area in which people can sit.

I forgot to ask how long they had been in business. Does anyone know? Also, a couple years ago I mistakenly reported that Bazz's was closing and was corrected. But this time the closing is for real.

If you have any thoughts or reflections on this Rensselaer institution, feel free to leave them.

Reopening in late October

Do you recognize this building?
Here is the view from the front.
Below is what the finished product will look like.
It is the McDonald's by I-65 west of Rensselaer. The sign says that it will reopen in late October. It closed in late July or early August.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Big holes (updated)

This morning I was on my way downtown to see the big hole when I was shocked to see destruction on Front Street. A house that was northwest of Steinke's Funeral Home was missing and all that was left of the large garage behind Steinke's was one of the walls.
 Later in the day I got a better picture of remnants of the house. The front steps were still in place.
 The exterior remodeling of Steinke's is pretty well finished. I had wondered how they would replace the parking lost caused by the addition to the back of the building. Now I know.
 The hole that I wanted to see was the hole at the BP station on the corner of Front and Washington. Workers had removed the gas storage tank and were digging deeper. However, bedrock was in their way, so they were using the little vehicle in the hole that was equipped with a jackhammer to break up the limestone.
 The whole area around the station has been dug out. Right now it is a mess.
 As one house disappears, another starts taking shape. The house that the Building Trades class is building on West Vine is rising and is now above ground.
Update: On Thursday morning two tanks were lifted into the hole by a crane. I missed that, but was there when the workers began to fill the hole. Can you see the gravel being shot into the hole from a truck on the left?
By the end of the day, the tanks were mostly covered.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What is it? (several updates)

What is this strange metal object? I will update once people have a chance to guess the answer.
 Corn and soybeans are the most common crops in the fields around Rensselaer, but every once in a while you can find a field planted in another crop. What is growing in this field on CR 350W?
Update: Below is a picture of the metal object installed.

Update2 Wednesday: The bridge after work was completed for the day is shown below.
Update 3 Thursday: You cannot drive across it, but you can now walk across the bridge. The excavator was busy dredging the mouth of the creek.

McKinley Street rail crossing (Updated)

The morning work began on replacing the road over the McKinley Street rail crossing. There do not seem to be warning signs along the highway to the north--there seemed to be a lot of surprised motorists approaching the construction site.
 The new crossing will eliminate two of the rail lines, leaving only two sets of rails. The style will be new--instead of the plastic that the old crossing had (a piece of which is in between the two nearest rails in the picture above), there will be wooden ties next to the rails.

There will also be repairs to the Franklin Street crossing. There it appears that digging out the asphalt and replacing it may be enough.
I will probably update this post during the week if I take any interesting pictures.

Update: After a days work, the crossing looks very different. The two sets of tracks on the south are gone, but it does not appear that anything will be done with the northern set of tracks, which is a spur line.
 There is a section of track with ties attached that last week was on the west side of the crossing. Now it is on the east side. I am not sure what will be done with it.
 The debris has not yet been removed.
 They did more to the Franklin Street crossing than I thought they would.
 It is all supposed to be finished on Friday.

Update 2: On Tuesday morning workers removed a section of track, complete with ties, from the crossing and replaced it with the section of track show in the fourth picture above. They worked a while trying to align it on both ends with the existing track. However, what really caught my interest was a tamper. I remember them from when the MOW crew came through town in 2009.
Tampers smooth the track and have a weird-looking extension on their front to sense how flat the track is.
I kept waiting for the tamper to go into action, but it did not on Tuesday. However, I found it busy tamping on Wednesday and took a little video of it. Notice that it lifts up the track as it tucks rocks under the ties. Seeing it brought out the little boy in me--I was fascinated watching it in action.
Another machine was shaping the ballast and then cleaning from the ties. This machine may be called a ballast regulator. There were machines like it when the MOW crew was in town, and of course they had a lot more machines as well.
By Wednesday night the crew was beginning to install the wooden ties along side the rails that will be part of the crossing. My guess is that they will finish that tomorrow and on Friday they pave the crossing.
Update 3: I was wrong on my speculation yesterday. On Thursday the workers seem to have completed the resurfacing of the road and at the end of the work day were sweeping the dust from the road. I do not know what is left to do for Friday.
The railroad gates are going to be quite far away from the tracks on the south side of the crossing.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A short post today

A week ago I had a picture of the unfinished floor in the high school gymnasium. This morning I peeked in again and all the floor boards appeared to be installed. There still is some finishing of the wood left, and the bleachers need to be moved. But it appears that the project is almost done.
 As I was leaving I saw a helicopter leaving the hospital and took a picture. It flew off to the south.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

RCHS Homecoming parade 2013

This is homecoming week for RCHS and tonight the school had its homecoming parade. I stopped by the staging area to see what to expect and to take a few pictures. Near the front of the lineup was the high school band and the girls golf team.
 Not too far behind them was the freshman class float.
 I decided to watch the parade from the turn in the road where the highway leaves College Avenue. I got there a bit early so had some time to kill. While waiting I noticed the front on the telephone pole. Is there any other pole in town that challenges this one for the most nails and staples? The nails and staples continued up the pole for another two or three feet, and down the pole for the same distance.
 Finally the parade got started. The sophomores had a float with a teepee, and the banner on the other side said "Lasso the Indians."
 This large group was the middle school cross country team. They were having a good time throwing candy. The high school cross country team also was in the parade, on bikes, but their numbers were not as impressive. And what would a Rensselaer parade be without a tractor? The Future Farmers of America provided one.
 The juniors wanted to teepee the Indians.
The seniors also had a teepee. Gee, I wonder who Rensselaer will play in football on Friday. West Lafayette? Central Catholic? Delphi? BC?
 The firetrucks of the Rensselaer fire department brought up the end of the parade. Each engine carried part of the football team. There are a lot of members of the football team.
It was a good parade--not very long, and lots of candy for the kids.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lots of changes (Updated)

There are a lot of changes happening in Rensselaer right now. Rico's Restaurant has closed. It is still available for bookings for events of 50 people or now. Rico's gift cards can be used at Marti's Place at Ramsey's landing in Hebron.
 Across the street Farm Credit is moving into their new building. They should be open for business at their new location on Friday.
Here is a last look at their old office. The picture was taken on Monday--note the boxes on the floor, preparation for the move.
 A number of things are going at Saint Joseph's College. Work on the chapel exterior continues. Some bricks had been removed, giving the front a strange look.
The pond is getting new electrical wiring, and electrical wiring was being run under the highway to the site of the old sign on the east side of road. (I have a post somewhere about the demolition of the old structure on that site, but I cannot find it.) There will some kind of new sign put up there. There is work in the basement of Halleck, where water damage in the basement has inconvenienced the band and patrons of Core XI.

Renovation at Walmart continues. Dales Steak and Chop Shop is close to opening.

Downtown, the Dr. Pellicore has vacated her office. It is available as of October 1.
Renovations continue on the BP station. Busy Bee will close this weekend for the winter--another sign that summer is coming to a close. While watching the demolition of the bridge in Weston Cemetery, I noticed that workers were planting some new trees. One replaced the bent tree near the mouth of the creek. Over at the LaRue Pool, the fence was being painted.

Do you recognize what recent change this picture shows?
I think Rensselaer Central High is having homecoming this weekend, which means that there should be a parade later this week. I cannot find any info about it on the Rensselaer Central Schools website.

Update: The High School Homecoming Parade is scheduled for Thursday evening at 6:30, starting from the Monnett parking lot.
I was right that something was brewing for the McKinley Street Crossing. That crossing and the Franklin Street crossing will be closed Monday thru Friday next week for repairs.
The old Farm Credit office is in the same building as the Fifth-Third Bank. If there is some other tenant prepared to move in, the ladies at the 5/3 Bank did not know about it.