small (very small) town parade on Memorial Day

Tyner, Indiana. It's a small, small town-population I'd guess less than 200. The little community started having Memorial Day parades a few years ago now-usually only about 5 entries and maybe 50 observers. I was invited to the parade by one of its faithful yesterday and she said they were going to have an astonishing 60 entries AND a flyover!

Here is a historic photo of Tyner. I think the only building still standing from when this picture was taken is the block building in the middle of the left hand side of the photo. The "new" grocery is located where the smaller frame building is in the right side of the photo.

The Independent Order of OddFellows-Tyner Lodge #821 is one of only a few remaining IOOF chapters around these parts. The Tyner Oddfellows are famous for one thing: Fish Frys...which prompted this "mobile fyer".

So, I talked the family into going to the parade. The kids were excited about the potential for candy. We drove into the town that is at the crossroads of two county roads, no highways, and as we drove into town the county reserves were there helping to guide traffic into a mowed field between the edge of town and the cemetery where the parade would end. We found some shade under an old oak on a grassy knoll at the curve in the road leading into town. You could sense the energy in the little town as its population more than doubled, lining its little main street.

Antique tractors (I counted about two dozen), old cars, a few floats, the local consolidated school marching band, the township fire department and the Boy Scouts all snaked their way through town around the bend by the Methodist church past us and on to the cemetery. I've never been to a smaller parade, nor to a smaller town who has a parade-so that has to say something for the folks in Tyner.
Here is the infamous Huckleberry appears she is waving flurtatiously to the young man with the bike.

Tyner was platted in 1855 as "Tyner City" by three men, one whose name was Thomas Tyner. Tyner aided in the movement of state records from Corydon to Indianapolis. Several of the streets' names came from Cincinnati where the founders were from. The grid followed the existing railroad which angles northwest toward Chicago. So Tyner is one of only a few towns I am aware of whose grid does not lay perfectly north/south. This is why there is a bend in the street by the Methodist church on the east side of town. A buddy of mine who regularly reads this blog and now is living in Washington state, grew up in Tyner. His dad ran the post office for years and now his sister does. He told me once that Tyner lost out to Valparaiso for the location of a university (yes, Valpo University), but instead landed the first county infirmary which subsequently moved away in 1892.

One of the most infamous folks hailing from the Tyner area was the Huckleberry Queen. Quite possibly more myth than truth to her story, she was essentially the madam of the huckleberry marsh which nearly enveloped the town on three sides prior to county-wide dredging and draining. This marsh was part of the vast Kankakee Marsh and the huckleberry crop produced significant revenue for the young men who flocked to the area to pick, and they evidently spend their loot too.

We strolled downtown after the parade. Downtown consists of two commercial buildings across from each other at the main intersection, the only four-way stop in town. Both were groceries at one time I believe, although only the one operates as such today. We went inside, as recommended by my friend, and aside from the fact it was all new-it felt like a small town grocery. Good luck Tyner, may your parade continue to grow!


the back door said…
you left out the horse troup!!!
vanilla said…
I don't much care for big city parades; but small-town parades that reflect the pride of the locals can be great fun.
PNW Hoosier said…
Oh, how I miss the IOOF fish fry. Good to see that the little town still has some life in it. The last time I was home, it looked a bit deserted.
Anonymous said…
Join the fight to name the Tyner, Indiana post office after radio broadcast legend, Ray Grossman.
Anonymous said…
Take a look at:
Anonymous said…
You have some errors in your post! For one, the present store is the same building in the picture, not a "new" one.
Anonymous said…
Good thing the name of the Post Office wasn't changed, but to bad it is in a state of suspension!
Noral said…
Just stumbled across this blog. I grew up in Tyner; my mom was born in Tyner and lived her entire life there, dying at the age of 90. My dad, along with his brother, ran the garage. My grandfather was postmaster for twenty-eight years. I'm in the process of creating a website devoted mostly to photos. It's just the beginning but it's here: Lots of photos relating to Tyner and the School.
Bruce Saxton said…
Bruce Saxton

I grew up inTyner! Riding bikes up and down those streets
with Brett Klingerman, David Bolerfer, and Richard Reese among others.
It was a wonderful time in the 1960s to live in a small town.

Thank you so much for posting this blog!!!
Tyner was really a little piece of heaven for me as a child


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