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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Odds and ends from Veterans Day

The annual Veterans Day ceremony at Weston Cemetery featured an invocation by Fr. William Stange and an address by Mayor Steven Wood. The Mayor's speech was about stories behind the names on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. The event was well attended. (Visit Rensselaer has better pictures than I have.)
 After the program ended, I talked to one of the librarians about the project to digitize yearbooks. The scanning of yearbooks is being done in a prison in Oklahoma. The scans are returned to Rensselaer as jpegs, and then after some work locally by the IT person (who you probably know from Visit Rensselaer), they are sent to the Internet Archive at There they are made searchable. My guess is that they have software that does optical character recognition and they attach an index file to each jpeg.

I linked to the 1922 Chaos yearbook in my last post. Looking at a few pages, I recognized one of the seniors from 1922.

Irene was my neighbor for many years. She was a wonderful person and I greatly admired her. She did not have any activities listed in the yearbook, but that may be because she lived in the country about six miles south of Rensselaer. I recall her talking about riding her horse to town and taking it to the livery stable and then walking the rest of the way to school. It was apparently not cool then to be seen riding a horse to school.

Workers are constructing a retaining wall next to CTS Tires. The lot will become parking.
Another view.
I have been preparing for winter and as part of that preparation I took a load of scrap metal to Rensselaer Iron and Metal. I was surprised by how much metal prices have declined. In April "tin" was $70 a ton; this week it was $35. Aluminum cans were $.52 a pound in April and are now $.38 cents a pound. I recall reading that China has cut back on purchases and that seems to be the reason for the decline.

Some people took shots at the former owners of Slice of Pie Pizza both in the comments of my post about Mt Hood Pizza and on the Facebook link. I recall asking him why he would invest thousands of dollars into a place he was renting because it generally does not pay to make major improvements to a property you are renting. He told me that he had a 30-year lease at favorable terms and did not care what happened after 30 years. If you recall, the building had been a laundromat and then sat idle for a number of years, though there was a short-lived vacuum cleaner business in the front end and a pool hall in a back room. The building was unusable without major changes and those major changes could only come with a change in ownership or a long-term lease similar to the one that Slice of Pie had. Consider some other Ike Donnelly buildings. The building at the corner of Clark and Cullen remains vacant, though the new owner offers to remodel to suit a new tenant. The old Johnny Rusk building was purchased by the county for very little and torn down. The long building next to Pizza Hut is an eyesore that has been mostly empty for years. The laundry building next to Iroquois Park is vacant and given the potential liabilities of buildings that were once laundries, it may be unsellable. If Slice of Pie had not renovated the old laundromat by the bridge, it would be another vacant building with no future.

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