29 October 2014
Bankable cigars. I'm not even sure what that means. But it's patented and belonged to the N. N. Smith Company out of Frankfort, Indiana. In a recent research project in Lebanon, just down the road from Frankfort, I came across a handsome building near its courthouse square that had the company name engraved high above its entry.
I had never heard of the company before, and so I went googling, as I often do just to see what's out there while researching and suddenly a number of photos of old cigar boxes popped up. Mr. Noah Smith's "bankable cigar" was patented in 1917. He built a cigar manufacturing facility in Frankfort in 1919, "the Bankable Building", and then expanded with a second building, remarkably similar to his Frankfort plant, in Lebanon in about 1926. The production capacity of the company reached 125,000 cigars daily. That just seems crazy.
Smith sold his interest to an intermediate manufacturer, until it was sold again to a firm known as the National Cigar Company in 1943. That company began production of a few cigar lines with names tied to Indiana including the "Lincoln Highway" and the "Hoosier Poet" which featured James Whitcomb Riley on the box. The company still exists in Frankfort, running production out of the old Bankable Building: http://www.broadleafcigars.com/tour.htm.
I can't help but think of my grandpa and the smell of cigar smoke writing this one.
22 October 2014
Earlier this year my aunt handed down to me a few family heirlooms, books mostly, that belonged to my Moore ancestors. Of the small collection, the oldest is a chunky little book of Methodist hymns printed in 1829 from the collection of John Wesley. It is well-worn with a leather cover and tiny print. There are a total of 606 hymns packed into this tiny book, of which I know but a small handful-maybe a half-dozen. There is no music, only lyrics, which causes me to wonder what the unknown hymns sound like. It makes me imagine my great x4 grandfather, Andrew Moore, standing and leading his congregation from this little book on the edge of the Indiana prairie in the 1830s.
Scouring the index for hymns I would know, I noticed that they are categorized into themes including birthdays, funerals, and Christmas. And since this is my birthday-time-of-the-year, I thought I would include one of the two birthday hymns in my blog post today. So, in celebrating 46 years in this my 900th post, a hymn I make my prayer.
Hymn 520, verses 1, 3, 6
God of my life, to Thee
My cheerful soul I raise!
Thy goodness bade me be,
And still prolongs my days
I see my natal hour return,
And bless the day that I was born.
Long as I live beneath,
To Thee O let me live!
To Thee my every breath
In thanks and praises give!
Whate'er I have, whate'er I am,
Shall magnify my Maker's Name.
Then when the work is done,
The work of faith and power,
Receive thy favour'd son,
In death's triumphant hour,
Like Moses to thyself convey,
And kiss my raptur'd soul away.
15 October 2014
|The first two (and only two) apples produced from Sycamore Hill Orchard this year-they tasted better than they looked|
|A few of last year's peach crop-none this year|
|2013 vintage grape juice|
|Believed to be the caretaker's cottage steps on the former Vonnegut Orchard|
|Our 2009 trip to the orchard|
08 October 2014
|A view along the Pennsylvania Railroad and Jefferson Street, in Warsaw, in c. 1910. The depot is on the right and the Haines Hotel is on the left.|
|The viaduct at Columbia Street. A plaque in the upper right corner indicates it was built in 1929.|
|Detail of the 1929 bridge|
|Same view as the old post card, but from the opposite direction|
|The Penn Depot, 1893, in Warsaw today.|
|Another possible railroad boarding house, c. 1865, west of Columbia Street.|
01 October 2014
I have a problem purely of my own making. At times I can get a bit bored so I like to give myself "projects". I have a lot of these, and often they go unfinished. Such was the case when I decided to complete a survey of all of the Pennsylvania Railroad structures across Indiana. This would have been from the 1856 line that largely parallels U.S. 30 today. I worked with a budding historian, began in the middle of the route (Plymouth) and worked our way east to the state line. We came up a few miles short before it was time to turn around and head home.
The survey yielded some great architectural finds. We documented nearly 40 railroad-related structures on this line. However, my biggest interest was in the stone bridge work that dominated the Pennsy line during their reconstruction of the route in about 1900. The massive rusticated stone abutments and arches have always held a certain charm and engineering interest for me. So, I was all in.
|The legacy bridge between Atwood and Etna Green|
|Creating a stone bridge for a railroad, 1890|
I couldn't have imagined how hard it was to find a photo of bridge-building by railroads!
|A Baltimore & Ohio Railroad-building crew from c. 1920.|
I found that he was Truman S. Turney, born near Accident, Maryland in 1877 to a farming family. He appeared in the 1880 census with his family and then reappeared in the 1900 census in Antelope, Nebraska as a laborer for the railroad. He was single and probably lived in a boarding house or hotel as the crew was passing through. Mr. Turney disappeared from the 1910 census, though I think it is likely he was on a crew passing through and was missed by census takers. He was also married about that time and made it all the way to Greybull, Wyoming where he lived out the rest of his life. He enlisted for the draft in 1918, though I'm not certain he was called to active service. He worked for the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad which went through Greybull in 1905. He became an engineer for the railroad and retired from it in 1945. He died in 1947. His obituary stated that he "went west at the age of 19 and began railroad work in 1911". My guess is that was when he was employed by the railroad versus a contractor building bridges for the Pennsy.
|Greybull, Wyoming in 1909|
24 September 2014
|Hall of Champions, NCAA|
A number of my friends know this about me, so it came as no surprise last week when my more liberal friends chastised me on TR's imperialism and my conservative friends chastised me on his trust-busting and labor sympathizing roles. I figure heck, if he managed to make everyone both love and hate him-he had to be all right.
I've never been an athlete. I've never known the sting of defeat nor the elation of victory in an arena or on the field of play. I have experienced it in the political arena. And I have known it in both business and in any number of community endeavors over the last 20 years. TR had a lot of noteworthy quotes, but one excerpt of a speech he gave in France in 1910, may be his most famous and is certainly my favorite. I was pleased to see it encircling the rotunda of the NCAA Hall of Champions when we visited Indianapolis this summer. This is the most quoted portion of the speech:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Several weeks ago an issue arose in our community that pit neighbor against neighbor. Calmer heads were able to discuss this with a level of civility, but I was taken back by the depth and lack of civility that followed much of the dialogue found on social media outlets and in public meetings. And what most concerned me was, if this rather small issue can tear at the fabric of our community, what happens when something big comes along?
I feel like we've become a people who find it easy to take a stand, welling up adversity with jarring and often inaccurate words rather than doing the hard work of making our community a better place, understanding issues, and then rolling up our sleeves to make something tangible instead of empty words hurled over the internet for our own satisfaction of reading them on a screen. And yes, I realize the irony of typing that statement on a blog. All the same, these critics have not entered the arena, and it would seem TR suggests they simply don't count. This community needs more than critics on the sidelines, we need doers of deeds.
17 September 2014
|Boone County Courthouse rotunda, Lebanon, Indiana|
I try to make a point of visiting county courthouses whenever I land in a county seat I had not previously been in. Only in the last few years did I make a point of photographing them. There's a bit of chance involved since you never know what the weather will be, or if the doors will be open. Here are a few pictures from courthouses I've been in in the last year. Two are of the Neoclassical trend in architecture at the turn of the century, while the third is of the Romanesque Revival style which became synonymous with courthouse architecture at the end of the 19th century.
|Boone County Courthouse, built 1909-1911|
|Union County Courthouse, Liberty, Indiana|
|Union County Courthouse, 1890-1891|
|Union County Courtroom|
|Carroll County Courthouse, Delphi, Indiana|
|Carroll County Courthouse, rotunda floor|
|Carroll County Courthouse rotunda, 1916-1917|
10 September 2014
|Hochstetler Reunion at Old Samuel Hochstetler's Farm c. 1850, in 1913|
|Samuel Hochstetler barn, 1850|
|Jonas Yoder barn detail, 1852|
|Jonas Yoder farmhouse, c. 1880|
|At the grave of my great, great, great grandfather-Samuel Hochstetler|
03 September 2014
|On vacation in the rolling hills of Brown County State Park|
And boy did I ever miss that truck. More than the Mustang I had in college, did I ever miss that black, F-150 extended cab pick-up truck. So in late March, when the Mazda was given its death sentence, I kept my eyes open for another truck. But with the election and work, I never got around to really looking until the end of May. And then I found it-another black, F-150 extended cab-4-wheel drive. And I was hooked, though I tried not to let the salesman see it in my eyes as we walked past it and my head turned 180 degrees.
When we landed on a price, and they gave me a trade-in, sight-unseen, I figured I had made out all-right. And when the Mazda broke down halfway between here and the dealership, and they offered to tow it in, I knew I had made out ok.
The truck looks quite at home here on the farm. And she's already been everywhere man (reference to a Johnny Cash song): Indy, Ft. Wayne, lil' Nashville, hauling a kayak to Sugar Creek, Lebanon-and points between. All of a sudden transporting tables and chairs and my extension ladder to my dad's became so much easier. And it seems more appropriate to be driving it up the hill behind the barn than the Mazda, may she rest in piece.
29 August 2014
|Waiting for the parade to start under the watchful eye of the elephant|
That something was my whole summer. At least that's what it felt like. And while I missed blogging, the fact is, I don't know that I had the mental concentration to make even a sloppy attempt at a decent post. Here's my attempt, after a nearly four-month long hiatus.
May. May brought with it the primary election for county commissioner, in which I was a candidate among four. I could bore you with all of the political wrangling that took place, but I won't. I will tell you that there was no one more surprised than I when the returns came in at the GOP election-watch, and I was on top. Since the Democrats decided not to slate anyone at the end of June, I stand unopposed in November, and assuming I'll get at least one vote, will be sworn in in January. I spent three days picking up my signs in May. I plan to put out a lot less in October.
May also brought our family reunion and the departure of my brother's family for Fiji. Work opened up for me in Lebanon, Attica, and Zionsville-which required a trip south.....and since I was in the area, it culminated with the first of three trips this summer in a kayak down Sugar Creek. By the end of the month, I bought a truck.....this too shall be blogged.
June. The Historic Michigan Road Association, along with the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association, hosted the Indiana Byways Conference for which a reception was held in our barn. By the end of the month a group of six guys headed back to Sugar Creek and a 2-night stint in a tent. This time, we saw two eagles.
|On vacation in lil' Nashville|
|At the state fair|
The fall looks almost as busy, but maybe more manageable. Which should permit me to get back to blogging. Meanwhile, it's blueberry time around here....and that offers its own busy schedule for parades, parties, and so on. Have a great Labor Day, remember the worker who built this country, and I'll see you in September.
10 May 2014
07 May 2014
First off....for the record....it is 10:10 a.m. on election day. I've already voted and have no idea what the outcome will be. I say that because if I win in the Republican primary tonight, I don't want this to come across as gloating. And if I lose, I don't want this to come across as sour grapes. This post will go up tomorrow win or lose. This is intended to be both therapeutic for me and seasoned with humor.
Here are several observations I've made from stumping on the campaign trail.
I should maybe drop my middle name from my campaign literature. I'm not sure how, but some people get confused that I'm running for the west precinct, or West Township, or some other office related to being in or of "west". I thank my great-grandfather, Wesley, for the confusion and in turn he can thank John Wesley.
Or maybe I should just change my name to that of a candy bar. In speaking with one lady at Marbucks (our Martins grocery has a Starbucks in it...hence my name for it), and engaging in several important issues with her, she indicated that one of the other candidates gave her a candy bar so she committed her vote to him. Based on the issues important to her seems like a bad trade for a candy bar. I'm not going to buy votes with candy bars.
But I will buy votes with shamrock shakes. One young man I teach Sunday School with turned 18 several months ago, so I said, John, we need to get you registered to vote. I offered to help him through the process at the clerk's office and suggested afterward we could grab a cup of coffee or something-thinking it would be great to get to know him a little better. But, time was of the essence the day he registered, so we just went through the drive-thru and I bought him a shamrock shake.
I attempted a grass-roots campaign with social media. I now owe over 100 Facebook friends a major party since they met my challenge of 100 shares of my campaign video. I honestly didn't think it would happen.
Lots of folks have offered to pray for me...and that's great and all....but I sure am hoping the roughly 20 nuns I sat down with to discuss the current state of politics in the county are thinking of me today. I can't think of a better defensive line, nor can I recall feeling more at home ideologically when we met. Maybe it was because there was apple pie and coffee involved. God bless 'em.
Shameless self promotion is a difficult thing for an introvert.
When my wife and I voted, my mother came in the doors to the community hall......without my dad. "Mom, where's dad?" I asked. "I don't know....he was supposed to come with me, but I think he's in Bremen." My dad avoids things like this....he, along with a LOT of other Hoosiers, don't like to have to declare party affiliation. It seems like there could be a way around this. Meanwhile, I've been driving around for the last 3 hours trying to find him to escort him to the polls.
I already know that I have lost the used car lot vote. If used car lots, mechanics garages, muffler shops, etc. can vote I am in big trouble. All three of my fellow-candidates are in those lines of work and without hardly an exception these establishments have one or a combination of their political signs. Notice: I am in the market for a low-mileage truck....part of the deal includes removing my competition's signs.
Speaking of signs....one thing that has always rubbed me raw is the willful violation of the city and county sign ordinance which prohibits signs from being placed on any public property or right-of-way. So I am extremely cautious about where my signs go. The other guys-not so much. I've never understood how people can vote for someone entrusted to uphold the law when they knowingly break it. But, hey, sticking to my principles-win or lose.
Adversity builds character. It also costs a great deal of time and money. Things like having "late ad" boldly printed over your newspaper ad, the wind mysteriously taking away both signs and wire frames planted a foot into the ground, and finally receiving the Republican mailing list the morning after your mailer landed in voters' mailboxes are all great lessons in character development.
Based on my door to door glad-handing, I may well be related to one-quarter of the county. Heck, one of my competitors is a cousin.
I can only handle so much fish. Though last Saturday was a spaghetti supper. Oddly enough, I was the only politician there but after getting a tongue-lashing from one older gentleman about not attending "HIS church's fish fry", and consequently losing his vote, I figured I had better attend HIS church's spaghetti supper Saturday night. The supper was a benefit for the church. On Monday morning I saw him at Marbucks. I asked "Hey, why weren't YOU at YOUR church's spaghetti supper?" The other old folks at the table got a good laugh out of that one.
What would you expect to be the most frequently asked question on the campaign trail? Taxes? Roads? Economic development? Nope. Not even close. The most frequently asked question was "How are you going to be able to get along with those other commissioners?" Telling.
Some folks were disinterested during my door to door campaigning. Only one was hostile. I apologized and told my mom that I would be back to pick the kids up later.
One lady was truly confused. She let me know that she had already voted for someone else but couldn't understand how I could be on the Republican ticket. She said "Aren't you a democrat?!" I said, nooo. She said "Well you used to be a democrat!" I said, nooo...you must have me confused with someone else. Still with a bit cross and confused look in her face I said "Well-the Republican mayor appointed me to the plan commission way back, and then I ran and won my city council seat on the Republican ticket." Hoping that would persuade her. Then she said her name. Ooops....oh yeah....her husband and I differed on a pretty major issue 14 years ago and I didn't tow the party line. That's me-guilty as charged.
Fortuitous and timely. That describes my visit to the assisted living facility the day before they voted. My wife says I have a great rapport with older folks. I think it's because I have an old soul. And I also have an exhaustive wealth of useless historical information about most towns and buildings in a 20 mile radius.
While on the trail....I asked if one individual would vote for me. He countered with "did you vote for me?" I wanted to so badly ask if that was his litmus test because I'm thinking he might have been surprised by a few answers he would have gotten from others.
I have avoided "gauntlet style" campaigning where one would lay in wait for unsuspecting voters going in or out of a fish fry or other venue. I would much rather go in and break bread with neighbors and friends and get to know a handful who may or may not vote for me. To me, that's what building community looks like. It may not win elections-but it is better for the soul.
Finally-there are good people all throughout our county with some really wonderful stories. I'll be humbled either way tonight when the results come in. If I lose, that will be a humbling experience for certain....but if I win, or lose for that matter, I will be and have been humbled by the kind words and support that I've been shown by folks who I've gotten to know recently or have known for years. And it makes me wonder if people just talked with each other......if we just worked together......how much better our communities would be.