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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finally spring

Last year at this time, baby birds were leaving the nest. I have not seen any baby birds yet this spring.

I did see a tractor plowing a field, so the farmers must be getting ready to plant. Lots of home gardens are already planted, and some people have put out tomatoes. We may have had the last frost but I will wait a while. Last year I lost the tomatoes I started indoors when a late frost got them.


I missed all the fun in town this past weekend because I was visiting sick relatives. I may have caught what they had (or I may have picked it up from someone in Rensselaer last week). I feel OK, but I have no energy. I am tired but not sleepy. So this may be a light week for blog posts.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Rensselaer Horatio Alger

As I was writing about the William C Babcock scrapbooks recently, I googled his sister's name, Margaret Paulus, and found that she had some books listed on Amazon. Searching a bit further, I found that the Saint Joseph's College library had some of them. So I went to see what was there.

The books were less than I expected. They were xeroxed pages of her handwritten genealogies and transcriptions from newspapers along with an assortment of newspaper clippings that had been bound. They had no page numbers and the contents were not in chronological order. However, they did provide some interesting information about early businesses in Rensselaer.

The person who made the Babcocks a force in business was the first William C Babcock, the father of the William C Babcock who kept the scrapbooks. He was born in 1862 and grew up on a farm south east of Rensselaer. His father died when he was eleven or twelve (different sources give different dates) and in 1893 he married Avanelle Daughterty.

In 1894 Babcock sold his farm of 160 acres for $4800 and moved to Rensselaer. In November of 1894 he bought four lots on the railroad between the planing mill and the Paxton Lumber Yard for $395 with "a view of erecting a large hay barn."

Less than a year later he and W. R. Nowels consolidated their grain buying business under the firm name of "Nowels and Babcock."  A newspaper clipping from January 2, 1896 reported, "In 1888 W. R. Nowels purchased the elevator of B. F. Ferguson and for four years the business was conducted under the firm name of W. R. Nowels & Son. In the winter and spring of 1892-3 additional buildings were erected and a complete outfit of flouring machinery was put in and the manufacture of flour commenced, their brand "White Lilly" attaining a very large sale."

In February of 1896 Babcock bought the Osborne Planing mill near the railroad with plans to expand the operation. In March of 1896 W. R. Nowels retired. Babcock continued the grain business but sublet the milling part to D.E. Hollister and Homer Hopkins. In January of 1898 a fire destroyed the planing mill and Babcock decided not to rebuild.

On July 10, 1900 wind blew a corn crib owned by Babcock onto the Monon railroad tracks at Lee. A train hit it and destroyed it.

In 1901 Albert Hopkins became a partner in the Babcock grain business. The firm, now Babcock and Hopkins, tore down the old building and built a new elevator, which was expanded in 1905. This elevator and much stored grain was destroyed by a fire on April 11, 1911. At peak season the elevator employed 22 people. (The picture below shows the elevator in 1902.)


The elevator was rebuilt by the fall, but this rebuilt elevator was in turn destroyed by fire on July 14, 1914. From the newspaper account of the fire: "Practically every person in Rensselaer was at the fire, while they came in large numbers from the surrounding country and from other towns. The light from the tall building gave a red tinge to the sky that could be seen at Monon, Remington, Mount Ayr and other places."

By the time of the fire the firm controlled the grain business along the Monon railroad from Monon to the Kankakee River and also on the Gifford branch line from McCoysburg to Dinwiddie.

Babcock found that Hopkins was stealing from the firm and forced him out, buying his share. The company became W C Babcock Grain Company. In addition to rebuilding the Rensselaer elevator yet again, other elevators were built at Virgie, Fair Oaks, Parr, Pleasant Ridge, and Roselawn. He owned portable loading elevators (I am not sure what those were) at Lee, Moody, Lewistown, Newland, Gifford, and Surrey. He had the largest individually owned chain of elevators in Indiana.

Bad health forced Babcock to give up his business activities in 1928. He died in 1930 at the age of 68.

Babcock was elected Jasper County Auditor in 1898 and served one term. He did not run for re-election because he wanted to devote his time to building his business.

He was one of the first car owners in Rensselaer. There were only two or three other cars in town when he got his first one. When the telephone arrived, the Babcock company had the phone number 5, which it kept until the "Babcock Construction moved their offices to the old Drake home near the stone quarry."

Babcock overcame several serious setbacks. In addition to the fires in Rensselaer, an elevator at Parr burned, and in 1905 the McCoy Bank, where Babcock had substantial deposits, failed.

The Babcock grain company was purchased in 1945 by the Jasper County Farm Bureau, which had been organized in 1927. The purchase of the Babcock grain business tripled the size of the Farm Bureau.

After his death, Babcock's wife and two children inherited his company. His son, the second William Cary Babcock, graduated from Rensselaer High School in 1913 and worked a year as an electrician before enrolling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the Navy after the U.S. entered the Great War, but the war ended before he served. From a soliloquy by his sister after his death: "After his return to civilian life, Bill started building roads in Jasper and Newton County under the firm name of Babcock and Roberts. Seeing the need for crushed limestone for roads, he persuaded his father to buy the small Washburn Quarry in the south part of Rensselaer. There was need for more land to quarry the stone; so land was purchased from Conrad Kellner. The quarry was moved across the river with Ernest Beaver as manager in 1923.

The quarry was then later moved again to its present location on the south side of Emmet Avenue.
The second William C Babcock seemed to be more interested in the construction and quarrying business than in the grain business. It was finally sold by the family after his death to Larry Jenkins and a Mr Ward (the first name was clipped in Mrs Paulus' book.) in 1981.

The third William C Babcock was a marine in World War II. His unit of 90 men was part of the invasion of Okinawa. Of the 90, only seven survived, and only two, one of whom was Babcock, were uninjured.

As for Mrs Paulus, she was interested in history and genealogy, and you can find much of what she did in the Jasper County Public Library. She had two daughters, one of whom predeceased her. Sally Paulus was born in 1931, was valedictorian of Rensselaer High School in 1949 and salutatorian of Hanover College in 1953. She taught some years at Morton College in Illinois and died in 1973.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Festivals

For reasons that have nothing to do with this blog, I recently compiled a list of area festivals. Even though the list ignores Pulaski County, I thought it might be of interest to a few people who read this blog. You can get it as a pdf document at http://ingrimayne.com/festivals.pdf.

Right now White county does the best job at tourist promotion of the five counties I was examining. Now that Jasper County has a tourist tax, a tax on hotel rooms and other places visitors stay, we should be able to get at least to their level of promotion.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Depot rising--updated

I was not planning to post anything today, but then I rode past the construction site of the new Amtrak depot. There is now structure above ground!
 Do you like the way the steel is shaped to look like the old wooden beams that were common on depots built a century ago? A lot more steel will be going into this building.

Speaking depots, the other day I saw two trains but only one usable track. What do you think happened?
A more puzzling question, is why do engines bearing the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) occasionally pass through town? I saw one about fifteen minutes before I took the picture below. There are no BSNF tracks east of Chicago.

Update: On Thursday metal supports for the roof were being put into place.

Another view

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Miscellany 04-23-2013

I am not aware of any big things happening in Rensselaer, but lots of little things are going on. Saint Joe's is getting ready for the Little 500 weekend, with fences being installed along the racetrack. It will be a big weekend there, and several interesting things will be happening in Rensselaer as well.

 Digging has not started on the Farm Credit building yet, though surveyors have marked out the site. Anyone driving through town has seen the garage being added to the Oren Parker House on Park Ave. The Jasper County Interim Report: Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory says this about the house:
The Oren Parker House is an outstanding example of early 20th century residential architecture. Exhibiting elements of both the Craftsman and Tudor Revival styles, it was built around 1917 and survives largely unaltered today.
As technology and living styles have changed, the layouts of old buildings sometimes need to be altered to make them more usable. Hopefully when this project is finished, the garage will look like it was always there.

In the downtown, Unique Threads is gone. I had stopped in to talk to the lady running the place a few weeks ago and did not have the courage or heart to tell her that she did not have a viable business. Some things have to be experienced to be learned--our society overvalues school learning compared to learning through experience.

There is still a bit of work going on at the old Monnett School. The fence around the little playground has been removed and there is landscaping being done. I could not tell if the old fuel tank had been removed or not--the hole was smaller, but there was water in it.

Work continues on the substations. In the one next to the power plant, deep circular holes are being dug and filled with concrete. The one on Melville seems to be at an earlier stage of construction. Trucks are still delivering crushed stone there.
The foundation seems to be completed on the Amtrak depot. The picture below was taken April 3 after the last concrete pour.
For a couple days workers filled the foundation with sand. The picture below shows what they had accomplished by April 5.
Then until this week I did not see further change. On Monday they completed filling the foundation, so now maybe they are ready to start the above-ground construction.

I noticed that there was wood rot around one of the windows in the existing station. Maybe they should have used treated lumber inside as well.
In contrast to the slow progress on the depot, the scene at Steinke's is always changing. You can see that the old siding has been torn off part of the building and the building has been wrapped. The foundations for an addition to the back of the building are being prepared.
Steinke's have an incentive to get it done quickly--on-going construction interferes with normal operation.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wet, cold, Earth Day festivities

The rains of this past week have swollen the Iroquois River to its highest level in two or three years. Weston Lake has reappeared, which is my way of saying that the field east of Weston Cemetery has flooded. In a month or two it will dry up again and we will see how many fish and tadpoles are in it as the water disappears.
The river gauge indicates that we smashed the old highs for yesterday and today, with the river flow topping out at a little more than 1800 cubic feet per second. The old highs were in 1969 for these dates. The Lafayette news last night said that the Wabash River would be hitting levels higher than any in the past 55 years. We must have gotten less rain. Though the river is a bit above flood stage, it was was not high enough to cover College Ave or Bunkum Road, which happens when we get really high water. It crested at about 13.3 feet, which is more than two feet below what it was in 2009.
 The high water caused the cancellation of river floats planned for the Earth Day festivities. It seems that whenever there is a river float scheduled, the river will either be too high or too low. But other events went on despite the very cool temperatures. (Did you find some snow on your lawn this morning?) The kids enjoyed the inflatables from Party Town.
 There seemed to be fewer booths this year than in the past. I missed the electric departments bicycle that demonstrated the efficiency of various types of light bulbs and the folks from Nature Conservancy. A new feature this year was a performance by the Irish band, Kennedy's Kitchen. John Kennedy teaches economics at SJC and did a bit of the music included in the documentary film, Everglades of the North.
Among the booths there, the Master Gardeners were giving away trees, Kiwanis Club was giving away children's books, the Jasper County Library was giving away adult books, the Lion's Club was selling food, and Willow Switch was popular with hot coffee and cocoa. Jasper Junction was collecting recycled clothing, books and household items. Until the end of the event their truck was mostly empty. But as the event wound down, it suddenly filled up.
I was told that I really should go out and see the crowds at Jasper Junction on the first Thursday of the month, when everything is half off. I will have to make the effort to see what is happening.

Update: It was winter storm Yogi that gave us the rain and the bit of snow during the week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

William C Babcock scrapbook part 2

A post about a week ago began looking at some of the items in a scrapbook kept by William C Babcock in the early 1930s. This post continues that thread.

Babcock ran for reelection in 1934 and won. I do not know if he served beyond that term--his scrapbooks do not say. The scrapbooks also do not say much about what he did while a representative. A clipping from the Remington Press makes it clear that Babcock thought low taxes were a winning issue.

 I am not sure what this bill is for, but my guess is that it is the bill for a victory party after the 1934 election. It could not be for the 1932 election because Prohibition was still in force then, so the keg of beer would not have been on the tab. Prices sure have risen a lot since then.
 The Babcock scrapbooks have a lot of information about Charles Halleck, who ran for the House in a special election in 1935. Frederick Landis won in 1934 but died shortly thereafter. Halleck, the prosecuting attorney for Jasper County, won the special election. I have seen a lot of pictures of Halleck as an older man. It is strange to see him as a young man.
 Babcock wrote to his constituents urging them to vote for Halleck. Were they friends? Did Babcock recognize Halleck as especially talented?
 Halleck was the only Republican from Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives after his election.
 Lobbying the legislatures is nothing new, as this letter makes clear.
 I am not sure why Babcock included the correspondence about football tickets in his scrapbook. The letterhead gives some information about his business, which dealt in grain, feed, and seeds, lumber and building materials, hardware and coal. He was also a contractor and was involved in quarrying. He was a busy guy.
 He seemed to be an IU fan.
 There were several items in the scrapbook that indicated that he had an interest in aviation. I thought this letter, about a beacon light for Rensselaer, was interesting. Did this result in the beacon light presently at the airport?
I searched for his grave in Weston Cemetery. I thought I found it east of the bridge over the creek, but the Babcock buried there was Frank Babcock. I do not know if he was related to William. Then I found the Babcock headstone overlooking the field on the east side of the cemetery, near the "cave." The WIlliam C Babcock buried there was the father of the William C Babcock in this post. Finally I found two Babcock stones west of the road on the west side of the cemetery. Two William C Babcocks were buried there, the Babcock of this post and his son.

The most evident reminder of the Babcocks, however, is the quarry.
Update and a correction: I was wrong about the dates served by Babcock in the Indiana House. He served from 1924 until 1936.

 I may be done with these scrapbooks, but I probably will have some more posts on this the Babcocks. Digging around some more, I have found that their business ventures were an important part of Rensselaer history.

In 1945 Farm Bureau purchased the Babcock Grain elevators in Rensselaer, Lee (White County), Pleasant Ridge, Parr, Fair Oaks, Kersey, and Roselawn (Newton County).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Opening, changing, and closing

This morning the new Louck Family Medicine facility had its ceremonial ribbon cutting. If you have followed this blog for the past year, you may remember some of the posts that showed the new building in various stages of construction. (For example, here, here, and here.) The old location for this medical practice was in the College Mall between Devons and the Fiesta hair salon.
 Currently there are three providers working from this office: Dr. Louck, Dr. Finley, and Wanda Gifford, a nurse practitioner. The new office has two and a half times the space of the old office. Behind the reception room the hallway leads to one of three nurses stations.
 Associated with the nurses stations are examining rooms, fourteen in all. They are pretty standard looking, and much bigger than those in the previous office.
 Below is the same room but showing the other wall.
 One of the nurses stations can handle two practitioners, so there is room for another provider in the facility. Besides the three providers, 12 staff members work in the office.

Below is a procedure room where minor medical procedures such as removing moles can be preformed. It is equipped well enough so that it could handle the delivery of a baby if needed.
It is a very nice facility.

There are a couple of other changes south of town. The Pak-a-sak is now serving Marathon gasoline rather than Shell.
 And didn't there used to be something on this sign? It is always sad to see businesses close.
(The pictures are dark because I took them during a brief shower this morning. More showers are expected later today--I hope we do not get what Chicago is getting.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

eMbers is now open

I had an opportunity to take a peek inside of the eMbers event hall on Monday and because I have been watching the transformation of this building for over two years, it was an opportunity I could not pass up.

Entering the building, you see a large, unbroken space that can be filled in many different ways for many different kinds of events. The building itself is made of two parts. The front part dates back over a hundred years and the back part, which is beyond the doorway at the back of the picture below, was constructed about 60 years ago.
For some comparisons to what this interior looked like two years ago, see the post here.
 When filled with tables for a meal, the space can hold about 200 people. If it is used for a reception without the large tables, it can hold about double that number of people. If you rent the space, you get to use the chairs and long tables. You can also use other furniture, but you may have to rent that from other vendors.

The old metal ceiling has been retained, though it has been painted a darker color.
 The bar is new, and was made from wood from the old gym floor that used to be at the Monnett School. The floor of the building has been cleaned up and sealed, but it has not been sanded so it retains the dark color it has acquired over the past century. The wall in the background is the original brick wall that supports the building. It is about four layers thick. In the background and to the right  you can see the women's restroom.
 Behind the bar is the old safe that may have been installed during construction of the building. It has been moved, and that was a day long project. The safe is locked and if you can unlock it, the owners will share the contents with you. (A challenge for any safe crackers who read this blog.)

eMbers has a liquor license that allows them to serve liquor at private parties. For public parties, they need to give advance notification to the state.

As you leave the older part of the building, you leave the wooden floors and walk on concrete. This area has the restrooms and since there is no basement below, installing the plumbing was a challenge. In addition to restrooms, there is a small room that can be used as a bridal room for wedding receptions.
 A small kitchen area is also in the back. The facilities here are not meant to allow complete preparation of food. Rather people are supposed to prepare food offsite and it can then be kept warm here until it is served.
The event hall can be used for a wide variety of events--wedding receptions, showers of various types, many types of parties (there is special pricing now for graduation parties), business meetings or luncheons, and anything else that people can think of. If people want to plan everything themselves, they can do that. If they want help, the Musches can help them with planning. (Janelle Musch is an event coordinator at Purdue, so she has the background to help with just about any type of event.) You can use any caterer you desire, but if you have no ideas for catering, eMbers can make suggestions.

The really big news is that on April 26 and 27 there will be several events to which the public is invited. Some of them are limited to those over 21, but on Saturday the 27th from 4 to 7 there will be an open house and tours for all ages. (See the sidebar for more information.)

eMbers has an excellent website at embersvenue.com and actively posts on Facebook. You can find more (and better) pictures there as well as a lot more information.

****

And now for something completely different: Fifty years ago, on April 17 1963, an F4 tornado touched down near Kankakee, Il and traveled 76 miles though Illinois and Newton and Jasper Counties, lifting before it came to Medaryville. At the time the 76 miles was a record length for a tornado. The tornado destroyed many houses and there was looting that followed the tragedy. Do you remember it?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another tax rant

I would like to say that it is time for my annual tax rant, but I cannot find one from last year. So it is not an annual rant. (But see here, here, and here.)

I wanted to file early this year because I was due money. It is not good to get a tax refund because a refund means that you gave the government an interest-free loan, but I am no longer in control of payments to the government. My pension fund, TIAA-CREF, withholds 20% of distributions, which is an absurdly high level for my circumstances. I was not able to file early because one 1099 form had a mistake and had to be corrected and another was very late. When they finally arrived, I logged onto a free-file website, but when I was almost finished I discovered that a form I needed would not be available until mid March. So I ended up giving the government a much longer loan that I wanted.

The government no longer sends out paper instructions or forms and the library did not get the printed instruction booklet until March. A reason for the delays is that congress keeps changing the code until the end of the year. The government wants people to file electronically but you cannot do that on the IRS website. My little bits of income come from several sources, so I end up filing forms B, C-EZ, E, and SE. The tax code is so complex that a whole industry has grown up to help people deal with it, and that industry has a vested interest in fighting any efforts to simplify the mess. Perhaps if those in congress could be required to fill out their own tax forms we would have a reasonable system.

One strange result for me this year was that I ended up paying a lot more in state/local income tax than I did in federal taxes. The federal taxes allow a large standard deduction and a large personal exemption, which lowers taxable income a lot. The state allows only a $1000 personal exemption, a level that has not changed since the late 1980s. The other reason for the high state/local tax is that Jasper County has the second highest county tax in Indiana. The county tax on $10,000 for Jasper County residents is $311.40, only slightly lower than Pulaski's $313. Corresponding taxes are $110 in Tippecanoe, $132 in White, $229 in Benton. The reason that our income taxes are so high is that the county council prefers to tax income rather than taxing property. Anything can be taken to an extreme, and our county council has taken the tax mix to an extreme. I will not vote for any candidate for county council who supports the present tax mix.

On a vaguely related subject, I have been wondering when I should start collecting Social Security benefits. A person can start taking Social Security at age 62, but the monthly payment is low and that level is then locked in for the rest of one's life. Each year of delay until age 70 raises the benefit level. In choosing the age at which you start collecting, you are making a bet on how long you will live. If you expect to die quickly, the best bet is to collect early. If you expect to linger on and on, delay is the better option. To find my break-even age, I solved an equation similar to this one:

(Monthly benefit @ 65)(x + 60) = (Monthly benefit @ 70)x

Based on the numbers that Social Security gave me on line, I should delay taking benefits if I expect to live beyond 81 years. Based on family history, there is a good chance I will not live to 81, but delay is a form of life insurance--protecting against the risk of living a long time. (The above calculation ignores interest and benefits to a surviving spouse.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Potting plants

The high school ag classes are getting ready for their plant sale for Mother's Day weekend, planting and repotting plants in the high school greenhouse. Most of the plants that they will have for sale on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11, are decorative annuals, but they will also have some tomatoes and other vegetable garden plants available.
This is an annual event that usually gets a good turnout. This year they will have more plants for sale than in the past. I do not have the times for the sale yet, but will post them on the sidebar when I get them.

Spring is finally here. The lawns have turned green and some people have already started mowing. I heard a mower in Weston Cemetery this morning and it took a while to figure out what that unfamiliar sound was. The maple trees are finished blooming and the magnolias are ready to open their buds. We may still get some cold nights with frost ahead of us, but it now looks and feels like spring.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pippin

There is one more chance to see a local theatrical production this weekend--Pippin at the high school. It is double-casted, so the scene below will look different on Sunday afternoon.
The play is based very, very loosely on historical figures, Charlemagne and his illegitimate son Pippin. It was written in the 1970s and has a 70s feel to it. Pippin wants to find meaning and fulfillment and no conventional roles satisfy him.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Drowsey Chaperone

Tomorrow night (Saturday) will be the last performance of The Drowsey Chaperone. SJC has presented better musicals in the past, but I do not recall a funnier performance. It is highly entertaining and well worth the time and money to attend. The crowd on Friday night was one of the largest I have seen at any of their stage productions.
A RCHS graduate was the drowsey chaperone and did an excellent job.

At a reception before the play, Kendra from SJC asked me if I had seen the Jessica Harris interview on the SJC website. I have now, and I especially liked her answer to the last question. Of course not everyone would agree with her. I talked to a senior at the reception who had taken economics classes from me when she was a freshman, my last year teaching, and she told me that I had given her the only two Bs in her four years at SJC. Everything else was an A. Sorry about that, Lindsey.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Internet adventures

Did you know that there is a small (about 20 employees) software development company in Francesville? I did not until I found them in the want ads of the Rensselaer Republican. Adaptasoft has developed a product called CyberPay that it sells to payroll service bureaus. The company was established in 1996.

The Lake Village Old Photo Page on Facebook puts up lots of old pictures. I thought these two were especially interesting, with the comments giving a bit of history from the Roselawn area. (To find the comments, go to their timeline and find their entry for April 9, 2013.) The camp was founded by Alois Knapp. When he retired to Florida, he sold it to Dick Drost, who renamed it Naked City and gave it a very different emphasis.

Here is a blog with a whole lot more.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Groundbreaking for the Steinke Funeral Home renovation

This morning (Wednesday) Steinke Funeral Home had a groundbreaking ceremony for an extensive renovation project. Before the posing for the picture, a pastor said a short prayer and noted that those in the funeral home business performed an important service in helping families deal with death of loved ones.

The Funeral Home will stay open during the renovation. The architects, who are from St. Louis and specialize in funeral home design, have planned out how they can block off and renovate certain parts while other parts remain in use. In addition to changes inside, there will be a portico around the front of the building (which you can see in the picture below) and an addition to the back of the building.
Tecton, the building contractor, recently finished the Louck Medical Building, which is now open. Lana Williams is a former Rensselaerian who graduated from RCHS about twenty years ago.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

William C Babcock scrapbook, part 1

A week or two ago I posted about scrapbooks at the historical society museum. I only briefly glanced at one done by William C Babcock, and I decided I wanted to take a closer look. He was a Rensselaer businessman and served in the Indiana House of Representatives for at least two terms. I have not been able to find much about him, but I think his cemetery record is here. It does not appear that he has any surviving descendants.

The historical society has two scrapbooks of his, one for the years 1931 to about 1933, and the other from about 1933 to about 1935 or 1936. They contain a wide range of items such as membership cards. (Note the signature on the Hazelden Country Club cards.)
 His membership card for Curtis Creek was on a different page.
I think this sample ballot was for 1932. He is listed second under the Republican ticket. The other notable name on the ballet is listed fourth, Charles Halleck, running for Prosecuting Attorney. Part two of this post will have more about Halleck.
 Babcock was named after his father, and in turned gave his son the same name. The school recorded the son's height monthly when he was in first grade.
Below is a questionnaire from the Indianapolis Athletic Club. I suspect many state representatives used their facilities while the legislature was in session. I do not understand it what the purpose of the questionnaire is, but I like the response the question, "Do you especially desire a Chairmanship?"
 Among the organizations that Babcock joined was Rotary.
 In 1932 Indiana had twelve congressmen. Lake County had enough people to be its own congressional district, but Allen County (Fort Wayne) did not.
 Babcock had a questionnaire from the Indiana Anti-Saloon League in his scrapbook. I wonder if its inclusion meant that he did not bother to reply to them.
 Babcock ran a grain company and he seems to have had an interest in a quarry in Monon. During the early years of the New Deal, the Roosevelt administration tried to raise prices and wages by edict through the NRA (which was not the National Rifle Association.) The NRA was declared unconstitutional in 1935. I have never seen a convincing argument that it a good idea. Most economists who have spent any time looking at it conclude it was a program that impeded recovery. Here is that argument.
The stamp of the NRA suggests that these prices were approved by the government.

I assume that the Babcock Quarry is named after him.

I will include more tidbits in a future post.