The Brown Count y A ntique Mall
S ampler a t the Nashville Chop House
Blue Oc tober a t Music Center
Have you tried our Meyer Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil with asparagus? It’s springsational!
The Brown Count y A ntique Mall
S ampler a t the Nashville Chop House
Blue Oc tober a t Music Center
Have you tried our Meyer Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil with asparagus? It’s springsational!
Combine Meyer Lemon EVOO with honey and garlic and coat asparagus before roasting. Sauté asparagus in Meyer Lemon EVOO and a little lemon zest and sea salt. Drizzle Meyer Lemon EVOO over already sautéed or roasted asparagus.
We have curated a flavorful collection for your tasting pleasure with plenty to offer for foodies, the experienced cook, or the novice. It goes well beyond the high-quality olive oils and balsamics we built our reputation on. We’ve added jams, pastas, dipping oils, salsas, sauces, and much more. Come in for a tour of tastes and let us be your guide. You’ll be wild about our shop. Shop us online from anywhere, anytime at www.thewildolive.com
~by Chrissy Alspaugh
26 Rick Wilson
~by Rachel Berenson Perry
~by Mark Blackwell
Jeff Tryon is a former news editor of The Brown County Democrat, and a former region reporter for The Republic. Born and raised in Brown County, he currently lives with his wife, Sue, in a log cabin on the edge of Brown County State Park. He is a Baptist minister.
Joe Lee is an illustrator and writer. He is the author of Forgiveness: The Eva Kor Story, The History of Clowns for Beginners, and Dante for Beginners. He is an editorial cartoonist for the Bloomington Herald Times, a graduate of Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and a veteran circus performer.
Chrissy Alspaugh is a freelance writer and owner of Christina Alspaugh Photography. View her work at <ChristinaAlspaughPhotography. com>.She lives in Bartholomew County with her husband Matt and three boys.
~by Paige Langenderfer 64-66 INFO PAGES
Cover: Community Closet
Joyce Snyder and Sally Sanders
Jim Eagleman is a 40-year veteran naturalist with the IN DNR. In retirement, he is now a consultant. His program “Nature Ramblings” can be heard on WFHB radio, the Brown County Hour. He serves on the Sycamore Land Trust board. He enjoys reading, hiking, music, and birding. Jim and his wife Kay have lived here for more than 40 years.
Cindy Steele is the publisher and editor of this magazine. She sells and designs ads, sometimes writes, takes photos, and creates the layout. For fun, she likes to play the guitar or banjo and sing.
Ryan Stacy and his wife recently moved to Pennsylvania and continues to stay connected with our Brown County. He appreciates good movies, good food, and enjoys cultural events. His other interests include reading, photography, and playing music.
Mark Blackwell no longer makes his home in Brown County where “the roadway is rough and the slopes are seamed with ravines” He now resides within sight of the sixth green of an undisclosed golf course. He was born in the middle of the last century and still spends considerable time there.
Julia Pearson wrote for a Franciscan magazine for ten years and served as its human interest editor. She now resides in Lake Woebegone Country for life’s continuing adventures. Julia enjoys traveling and visiting museums of all types and sizes, with her children and grandchildren.
Paige Langenderfer is a freelance writer and consultant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and her master’s degree in public relations management from IUPUI. Paige lives in Columbus with her husband and daughters.
Bob Gustin worked as a reporter, photographer, managing editor, and editor for daily newspapers in Colorado, Nebraska, and Indiana before retiring in 2011. He and his wife, Chris, operate Homestead Weaving Studio. She does the weaving while he gives studio tours, builds small looms, and expands his book and record collections.
Rachel Berenson Perry is fine arts curator emerita at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. She lives in Brown County, where she hikes in the woods, makes ceramic creatures, and writes books about Indiana artists.
*Anne Ryan Miller, lives and works in Brown County. Her studio is located on the historic artist home and studio of Dale Bessire. She is known for her stained glass landscape creations, inspired by her many photographs and memories of the forests and hills of Brown County. View her work at <anneryanmillerglassstudio.com>.
Thanks, Mom, for making it happen!
The third highest point in the state of Indiana is in Brown County State Park, about a mile south of the Abe Martin Lodge. This location was listed as the very highest point in the state until the time of the 1920 census. It is easy to find because a large fire tower was buit there. From the top of the tower, on clear days, one can see as far as Bloomington, 18 miles away. What is the name of that hill in the state park?
The answer to last issue’s mystery was C. Carey Cloud.
With morning temperatures still in the single digits, 84-year-old Truvenia “Toots” Finley makes as quick of a trip as she can from the Community Closet thrift store’s jampacked sorting room to the outdoor storage shed housing donations that won’t fit inside the tiny shop.
The back and forth rhythm of fetching clothing bags and household items that need sorted and priced paces the days Finley volunteers at the nonprofit store at 284 S. Van Buren St.—beneath the back of the Subway restaurant.
Some of her trips are farther, to the enclosed trailer storing donations that the out-of-space shop will pass on to other organizations.
“None of it is convenient,” said Joyce Snyder, the Community Closet’s board president. “We’ve just outgrown our space so fast. We would love to
move into a bigger space to be able to serve our community better.”
The Community Closet thrift store and community-assistance agency will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2024, and the organization can’t imagine a better gift than a larger location to help expand its offerings to the Brown County community.
Established in 1974, Community Closet is a service organization that provides financial assistance, goods, and services to low-income Brown County residents during times of crisis. The nonprofit also donates to more than 20 community organizations including the schools’ weekend backpacks meal program, Shop with a Cop, the Veterans Coalition, and more.
The assistance is possible because of the income generated by the Community Closet
thrift shop, which resells donations of gently used clothing, home decor, kitchen wares, and more. The store is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
With no paid staff, the shop relies on the dedication and availability of volunteers. That allows the organization to funnel every dollar of the store’s net income back to Brown County nonprofits and pre-screened individuals in need.
Sometimes residents need help paying rent; others are welcomed into the store to select clothing and household essentials for free.
The Community Closet provided support to one Brown County man in the fall of 2022 when he said he felt like he was on the verge of losing everything.
The 12-year Brown County resident, recommended for this interview by the Community Closet’s board members but who asked to remain anonymous, said he was working as a federal defense contractor in May 2022 when an on-the-job injury left him in need of knee replacement to return to work. Stuck between surgery delays and the end of his workman’s compensation, the man said he sold everything he could but feared losing the home where he lives with his wife, son, and three grandchildren. The Community Closet stepped in to help with rent and a truck payment.
“I had so much pressure on me, and when
somebody says they’re going to help it’s just such a relief. We’re blessed to be in a community that cares about other people,” he said. Now nearly healed from his end-of-November knee replacement, the grateful community member said he has applied for a reserve officer position with the Nashville Police Department and hopes to give back to the community that helped during his time of need.
The Community Closet gave out more assistance in 2022 than any other year in its history: $25,000.
Susanne Brinkley, the nonprofit’s board secretary, said the group is committed to increasing its giving in years to come.
To make that happen, the store needs more volunteers to work 3.5-hour shifts, which would allow the Community Closet to add days the store is open, she said.
Snyder said the nonprofit also must increase its visibility in the community. “A lot of Brown County residents don’t even know we’re here,” she said, noting the store has begun increasing its local marketing and launched a newsletter with coupons that customers can sign up for inside the store.
But the nonprofit’s biggest hurdle will be finding a new location with more square footage,
Your favorite lil’ music store in Brown County, Indiana 58 E. Main St. Nashville (by courthouse)
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Guild Ar tist Exhibition & Sale
March 10 – July 7, 2023 MARY
Snyder said. The current lack of space is noticeable daily to the volunteers who move donations between the store, outdoor shed, and trailer—as well as to the volunteers who launder soiled clothing donations in their own homes because the store lacks a washer and dryer.
The space limitations prevent the Community Closet from being able to offer furniture to individuals in need, Snyder said. “Families who lost their homes in a fire would greatly benefit from that kind of help,” she said.
Board members have begun exploring Brown County buildings that might be an ideal new home.
Working to fund a down-payment, the nonprofit has launched a building fund that now sets aside 15 percent of store sales for the eventual purchase of a new space. Brinkley said the board is exploring grant opportunities and eagerly would welcome a volunteer grant writer.
Vicki Payne, the board’s treasurer, said nothing compares to being able to help struggling community members, and she can’t wait for the Community Closet to be able to help in bigger ways.
“It feels great knowing the Closet can help folks over their bump and get them back on their feet,” Payne said. “When folks we’ve helped come into the store to thank us, the look on their face is just the best feeling in the world.”
Community Closet thrift store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays. For information, 812-988-6003 or visit “Brown County Community Closet, New” on Facebook.
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It hardly seems fair, but some people have talent and skill in more than one creative endeavor. Rick Wilson, now known for his accomplished landscape paintings, has been a respected bluegrass musician for many years. His father, a bluegrass instrumentalist, moved in the early 1950s from Kentucky to Edinburgh, Indiana, to work at Camp Atterbury military post. He encouraged Rick, the second of five sons and one daughter, to play guitar at an early age.
Rick joined the Harden brothers’ Brown County Boys in 1970. Ten years later the band became Pine Mountain. Frequenting area bluegrass festivals, Rick met notable artist and banjo player C. W. Mundy long before they both realized their common interest in creating paintings. As Rick tells it:
“We’d jammed all night at a bluegrass festival in Westfield in the early ‘90s. The sun was coming up and we were both dog tired, so we sat in my car and talked for a while. C. W. and Rebecca were going to France. I said, ‘Sounds like a fun vacation.’ He said, ‘No, it’s for work.’ I asked, ‘What do you do?’ and he told me, ‘I’m an oil painter.’ ‘No kidding,’ I said. ‘So am I.’”
In 2003, when Rick was laid off after thirty years at Kawneer Aluminum (architectural materials) in Franklin, he decided to pursue fine art professionally. C. W. called and said, “Hey, I hear you’re gonna be an artist. Well, it’s one thing to start a career and something else to maintain it.” He invited Rick to his studio for the next few weeks and then mentored him through his early vocational change. “I owe my career to C. W.,” Rick said.
~story and photo by Rachel Berenson Perry
“Indiana is my home. And I love all the geographical regions here. There’s a neverending array of things to paint.”
Although his paintings sell well and the list of prizes in juried exhibitions is impressive (numerous merit and purchase awards in Hoosier Salon and Richmond Art Museum annual exhibits), Rick continues to work as a self-employed draftsman, producing architectural blueprints at Miller Architects in Nashville. He learned CAD (computer aided design) during his career at Kawneer.
Rick’s current day job and former musical associations aren’t his only Brown County affiliations. While still in high school he lived with the Harden family during the summer, working with their dad at Associated Engineering. “So, I guess I’m an honorary Brown Countian,” he ventured.
His training and ability to
visualize in 3-D is no doubt helpful with his rendering of realistic structures as well as land and seascapes. Though Rick enjoys the challenges of painting crashing waves, the rocky coast, and small fishing villages in Maine, he has explored all the back roads in Brown County looking for ideal scenes. “Indiana is my home,” he declared. “And I love all the geographical regions here. There’s a never-ending array of things to paint.”
Rick considers his works tonalist in style, emphasizing mood and softness of form. Tonalism is derived from the French Barbizon school. “My paintings are a little tighter [than a lot of current landscape artists’],” he said. “The Barbizon school was a precursor to Impressionism.
They loved painting from life, replicating light bouncing off objects. Coming from an academic world, their works were tighter, concerned with brushstrokes and learning about landscape in the early-to-mid-1800s. Barbizon paintings are the ones I seek out when I go to a museum. I drool over them until a guard warns me away,” he laughed. “I don’t want to copy them but capture that mood.” To achieve this, he uses umber colors in his underpainting, which affects the hues of the final image. Compared with bright impressionistic colors, Rick’s landscapes appear more muted.
“I love to plein air paint (on location) and be outdoors,” Rick said. “But I don’t use my plein air pieces for reference when doing
“The Long View.”
RICK WILSON continued from 27
studio paintings. Once I’ve painted something, I don’t want to do it again. I can create a 12” X 16” plein air painting in a few hours, and it will be a similar degree of finished as a studio piece.”
Balancing his architectural work with his professional painting practice limits Rick’s outdoor painting time, so his newly built backyard studio is a necessity. “I can now paint on weekends and in
evenings,” he said. “Before, I was in a storefront in Edinburgh for eighteen years.”
In addition to his other occupations, Rick is on the staff of Plein Air Magazine. He helps with the twice-yearly Publisher’s Invitational Artist Retreats located in the Adirondacks and other locales. Assisting with registration, he also coordinates the evening entertainment. Encouraging artists to bring their instruments for musical jam sessions, he effectively combines his two creative passions—art and music. His accomplishments in both enterprises would make any Brown Countian proud.
Rick Wilson’s paintings can be seen at the Brown County Art Guild, the Indiana Heritage Art room at the Brown County Art Gallery, and at <www.rickwilsongallery.com>. Call 812-371-1699 for studio appointments.
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Call or text Danny or Bob.
Unpleasant weather drives me to check out what is on TV. On one of those recent damp, cold evenings, I took to the remote, and scanned what was available.
Cops—that was what was on TV! Cops and detectives. Every channel and streaming service had a glut of cop shows. I wondered whether the screenwriters were in a big rut or if there is a big law enforcement propaganda lobby that took over television?
It’s not that I don’t find cop shows entertaining; I do, but there is something missing in those stories. I probably should own up to being an O-F—that stands for Old Fellow. I grew up at a time when it was hard to find anything but cowboy shows on all three channels.
In many respects TV cowboys weren’t much different from TV cops—they are both sworn to right wrongs, they both carry guns, they are both somewhat obsessive. And even though I couldn’t put my finger right on it, I felt that there is a fundamental difference between the two.
I fired up my mental “way back machine” and went back in time to a random Saturday morning in the 1950s. Depending on the particular TV station you were tuned to, you could see Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, or a half dozen other “straight shooters.”
In the evenings “adult” westerns ruled the airwaves. They were programs like “Gunsmoke”, “Wanted: Dead or Alive,”
“Bonanza,” and the only one I really liked, “Have Gun Will Travel.” While all the cowboy shows featured generous quantities of gunplay, I think the major differences in the two types of westerns were the ones made for a younger audience had some humor in the story, and the heroes were better marksmen.
The evening western heroes tended to be fairly grim and they had to rely on tricked-out weaponry, such as the Rifleman’s loop-levered 1892 Winchester carbine or the cut-down double barrel shotgun carried by Steve McQueen’s character, Josh Randall. Whereas, the Saturday morning boys were much better shots with standard Colts, Winchesters, and even lassos.
Hopalong Cassidy could shoot the gun out of a villain’s hand at thirty yards. Roy Rogers could do the same while riding Trigger at a full gallup. But I think the biggest difference in TV cowboys is that the the Saturday morning heroes had a code or a creed that a kid could live by. Both the kid’s programs and the more mature westerns were morality plays, but I don’t
remember Matt Dillon ever espousing any particular philosophy.
Gene Autry had a ten-point “Cowboy Code of Honor” and Hopalong Cassidy had his “Creed for American Boys and Girls.” “Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules” was another ten-pointer. Then, there was Wild Bill Hickok’s “Deputy Marshal’s Code of Conduct” that only had nine rules to live by.
My favorite is the “Lone Ranger’s Creed:”
• I believe that to have a friend, a man must be a friend.
• I believe that all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
• I believe that God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.
• I believe in being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight whenever necessary for that which is right.
• I believe that a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
• I believe the “this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people” shall live always.
• I believe that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
• I believe that sooner or later, somewhere, somehow, we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
• I believe that all things change but truth and truth alone lives on forever.
•I believe in my creator, my country, and my fellow man.
That list is a lot for a ten-year-old kid to chew on. But we did, and it made us feel like we were friends or more like sidekicks to our heroes.
I don’t know how many people hereabouts know or remember that there was a movie theater right in downtown Nashville. I didn’t know until I came across a picture of it taken by Frank Hohenberger in a book titled Images of America Brown County by Rick Hofstetter and Jane Ammeson. It was called Melodeon Hall, after a theater mentioned in a Kin Hubbard cartoon, and was operated by Cecil and Leila David.
That photo made me imagine a gaggle of young’uns, decked out in chaps and cowboy hats on a Saturday afternoon, gathered around the ticket booth, practicing their quick draws and the cowboy creed.
Brown County Playhouse
March 4 Dogs of Society
—Elton John Rock Tribute
March 11 Parrots of the Caribbean
—music of Jimmy Buffett
March 18 The Woomblies Rock Orchestra
March 25 Sounds of Summer
—music of the Beach Boys
March 31 O’Shea
April 1 American Fools
—music of John Mellencamp
Over the River and through the Woods
April 7, 8, 14, 15 at 7:30
April 8, 9, 16 at 2:30
April 27 Riders in the Sky
70 S. Van Buren Street 812-988-6555
Brown County Music Center
March 8 Blue October
March 11 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
March 17 Girl Named Tom
March 19 Scotty McCreery
March 25 38 Special
March 26 Lewis Black
April 14 Crystal Gayle
April 18 Cheap Trick
April 26 Brian Regan
April 29 Blues Traveler
April 30 Buddy Guy
May 10 Brit Floyd: 50 Years of Dark Side
May 17 Chicago
Brown County Inn
Open Mic Nights Wed. 6:00-9:00
Hill Folk Series Thurs. 7:00-9:00
Fri. & Sat. Live Music 8:00-11:00
March 1 Open Mic
March 2 Ralph Ed Jeffers, John Gilmore, Brian Babbs
March 3 Zion Crossroads Duo
March 4 Steve Fulton
March 8 Open Mic
March 9 Jason Blankenship, David Sharp
March 10 Ruben Guthrie
March 11 LowLanders
The schedule can change. Please check before making a trip.
March 15 Open Mic
March 16 Frank Jones
March 17 Silver Creek Revival
March 18 Hommade Jam
March 22 Open Mic
March 23 Dave Sisson Duo
March 24 Slide & Harmony
March 25 Gene Deer Band
March 29 Open Mic
March 30 John Gilmore
April 1 O2R
April 5 Open Mic
April 6 Father Kentucky, John Bowyer, Jayme Hood
April 7 Steve Smith
April 8 Amanda Webb Band
April 12 Open Mic
April 13 Tom Roznowski & Carolyn Dutton
April 14 Gary Applegate & Joe Rock
April 15 Common Ground
April 19 Open Mic
April 20 Nat Myers
April 21 Sean Lamb & Janet Miller
April 22 Lexi Len & The Strangers
April 26 Open Mic
April 27 Michelle Billingsley Band
April 28 Dan Kirk Duo
April 29 Gordon Bonham Trio
51 State Road 46 East 812-988-2291
Country Heritage Winery
Music Fri. & Sat. 6:00-9:00
March 3 Gary Applegate & Joe Rock
March 4 High Street Jack
March 10 Wayne Pennington & Larry Gill
March 11 Cory Michael
March 17 Frank Jones
March 18 Amanda Webb Band
March 24 Rob Lake
March 25 Flick & Rainwater
March 31 Tracy Thompson Fun Bus Tour
April 1 Coner Berry Band
April 7 Ruben Guthrie
April 8 Hubie Ashcraft & Travis Gow
April 14 The Clearwater Band
April 15 Jason Wells
April 21 Cory Michael
April 22 The Paul Bertsch Band
April 28 John Ryan
April 29 Gary Applegate & Joe Rock
225 S. Van Buren Street 812-988-8500
Sycamore Saloon at Harmony Tree Resorts
Wed. Trivia Night 6:00
Thurs. Karaoke & Open Mic Night 8:00
Fri. & Sat. Live Music 8:00
March 3 Ruben Guthrie
March 4 Kelley Isenhower Ike
March 10 JT Hickman
March 11 Piney Woods & the Strip Mall Wonder Band
March 17 King Bee & The Stingers
March 18 The Stampede String Band
March 24 Aiden Brown
March 25 Built For Comfort
March 31 Forrest Turner
April 7 Will Scott
April 8 Cody Ikerd & The Sidewinders
April 14 Foxxy
April 15 Otto & The Moaners
April 21 Paul Bertsch
April 22 Homemade Jam
April 28 Sy Zickler & Albert Nolting
April 29 Flick & Rainwater
1292 SR 135 S, Nashville 812-200-5650
Music at Abe Martin Lodge
Fri. & Sat. 5:30-8:00, in restaurant
Brown County State Park
1810 SR 46 East, Nashville 812-988-4418
Hard Truth Distillery Co.
Most music 6:00-9:00
Season passes on sale thru May for Hot Summer Nights Concert Series
March 3 Homemade Jam
March 4 Pressed in Black
March 10 Zion Crossroads
March 11 80s Prom w/ DJ Axipitor
March 17 Michael Charles
March 18 Dakota Curtis Duo
March 24 Rural Soul Band
April 8 Craig Thursten
April 14 Wildheart Band
April 15 First and Main
April 21 Wayne Pennington & The Poor Valley
April 22 Kickitlester
April 28 Kade Puckett
April 29 Amanda Webb Band
Whiskey Trail running festival 418 Old State Road 46 812-720-4840 www.visithardtruth.com
19th Hole Sports Bar
Music Fri. 7:00-10:00 | Sat. 8:00-11:00
Karaoke nights till 12
March 3 Dave Campbell
March 4 Karaoke
March 10 John Ryan
March 11 Homemade Jam
March 17 St. Patty Party with Clearwater Band
March 18 Justin Lager Band
March 24 Ruben Guthrie
March 25 Caleb Ray
March 31 TBD
April 1 Karaoke
April 7 Steve Hickman
April 8 Eric Hamblen Band
April 14 Doug Dillman
April 15 TBD
April 21 John Ryan
April 22 8 Bit Audio
April 28 Ruben Guthrie
April 29 Past Tense
2359 East State Road 46 812-988-4323 www.saltcreekgolf.com
Ferguson House Beer Garden
Music Fri. 6:00-9:00, Sat. 1:00-4:00 AND 6:00-9:00, Sun. 1:00-4:00
March 31 Ross Benson
April 1 Ciara Haskett 1:00
Magnetically Aligned 6:00
April 2 Breanna Faith
April 7 Kara Cole
April 8 Stant & Moore 1:00, TBD 6:00
April 9 Allie Jean
April 14 Cody Williams
April 15 Married Band of Two 1:00
Kit Haymond 6:00
April 16 Rich Hardesty
April 21 Michael Staublin
April 22 Shyaam Akasha 1:00
Buck Knawe 6:00
April 23 Jason Blankenship
April 28 Dave Sisson
April 29 Breanna Faith 1:00
Travers Marks 6:00
April 30 Sharianne Whetstine
Antique Alley 78 Franklin Street
March Music Sat. 5:00-8:00
April Music Fri. & Sat. 6:00-9:00, Sun. 1:00-4:00
April 1 Ben Fuson
April 2 The Hammer & The Hatchet
April 7 Shyaam Akasha
April 8 Dave Sisson
April 9 Travers Marks
April 14 Sharianne Whetstine
April 15 Breanna Faith
April 16 Laura Connallon
April 21 Ross Benson
April 22 Mikey Goode
April 23 Ben Fuson
April 28 Jan Bell
April 29 Kara Cole
April 30 TBD
15 S. Van Buren Street 812-988-4554 www.nashvillehousebc.com
Full Moon Hikes
Brown County State Park
Mar. 4 Lake Ogle Hike 7:00-8:30
April 7 Lake Ogle Hike 8:30-10:00
1.2 miles-moderate/but night rugged. Meet at Lake Ogle parking lot. No pets on night hikes. 812-988-5240 Eli Major, park naturalist firstname.lastname@example.org
Soup Bowl Benefit
March 19 Seasons Conference Center, 5-7
Tickets at IGA and Visitors Center and the door. Adults $25 (includes bowl), Kids $5. Restaurants serve soups in potters’
Ha y 28th Birthday!
Ser ving you since April 1995 OurBrownCount y.com
handmade bowls. Silent auction and live music. All proceeds go to benefit Mother’s Cupboard community kitchen, providing free meals to those in need.
April 28-30 | Various Brown County locations | Wildflower and birding walks, wetland hikes, nature photography. Hikes and programs are held at T.C. Steele State Historic Site, on established trails, and natural areas including DNR properties, Hoosier National Forest, Indiana University, Sycamore Land Trust and Nature Conservancy lands. For info on T.C. Steele site’s programs: 812-988-2785
Features the Marie Goth Estate Collection, +contemporary art by more than 40 artists.
March 10-July 7 Guild Artist Show
48 S. Van Buren St. 812-988-6185
Features works by 60 contemporary artists and early Indiana masters
Corner of Main St. & Artist Dr.
Now-March 31 Permanent Collections show
April 1-May 14 Nancy Noel’s spring show: Spring Flowers, Summer Breezes
April 8-May 14 Mabel B. Annis Student Art
Competition, Reception April 8 1:30-4:00
By now, it’s probably safe to say that Justin Furstenfeld has exceeded expectations. When he, his brother Jeremy, and some friends first dusted off their brand of catchy alternative rock as Blue October in Texas back in 1995, they probably didn’t foresee just how big they would blow up—or how long the explosion would reverberate. But Blue October ignited quickly, filling tour dates and recording albums at a pace that few bands could hope for. Within a few years, they’d
secured a deal with a major record label; within a few more, they were playing the late night shows, opening for the Rolling Stones, and getting very close to the top of album and video charts. And now, nearly three decades into their career, Justin Furstenfeld is still exceeding expectations, writing more songs than ever, keeping up a regular recording and touring schedule, and not giving any indication that any of this will slow down any time soon.
“Sobriety and gratitude,” Justin tells me when I ask him how he’s done it. Before getting sober eleven years ago, he says, he might have let Blue October’s success go to his head a little bit. “I took everything for granted, I led my life like an egotistical, ungrateful little brat,” he admits. But the different path he took changed all that.
“I’m just so grateful, so humbled that I’m able to take memories and feelings and make songs. I’m gonna stay right there, do this the rest of my life, jump on every opportunity one hundred percent, and spend the rest of the time with my kids. I’m the most successful man you’ll ever talk to,” he says of exceeding those expectations for himself.
With Justin’s attitude, Blue October’s songwriting changed too. For one thing, his
songs got a lot happier—which isn’t always an easy transition in rock music. “It’s hard to write about gratitude and peace” without coming across as cheesy or nerdy, he explains. “But I’ve only just tapped into it. I have so much more to write about.”
It may take a lot of hard work to be as happy as Justin is, but over several lineups in the band and eleven studio albums, Blue October have nailed down their process. After Justin and Eric Holtz, his writing partner, come up with a song, the band are given their assignments. “We’ll say ‘Okay, this day you’re coming in to do this part, and this day you’re coming in to do this part,’” says Justin. Everybody’s ideas are brought to his studio for recording, which keeps the music fresh and creative. The result: “We just write so much. The guys were like ‘Hey, can you narrow it down to maybe forty songs?’” he laughs.
That kind of songwriting volume isn’t a problem for Justin, though. It’s actually what’s fueling Blue October’s next three releases. And he won’t deprive his audiences of his newest material. “I can’t keep anything quiet,” he says. “I’ll always play my music
for them, and give them little insights as to what we’re about to put out.” But long-time fans can be assured that they’ll hear songs that go way back in Blue October’s repertoire too, Justin promises. “I’ve gotta play all those, because that’s what people love. These people have been coming to see us for twenty years.”
Covering all their bases onstage is why Blue October often plays for more than two hours every night on tour. To play less, Justin says, feels like he’s cheating people out of what they paid for their tickets. “Our manager’s always like, ‘Just play for an hour and twenty minutes!’” he laughs. “But we have so many songs, how do you make everybody happy?”
As for what we can expect on March 8 at the Brown County Music Center, Justin credits his road crew for making Blue October shows a top-notch production. “We just get up and jam, but without our crew it wouldn’t be any kind of show at all.”
For more information about Blue October’s appearance at the Brown County Music Center, please contact the box office at 812-988-5323 or visit <www.browncountymusiccenter.com>.
In the spring of 1907, Theodore Clement Steele made a trip to Brown County to look for property for a studio home. He preferred a tract of 60-plus acres about a mile and a half off the main road leading to Bloomington. In April he returned with his bride-to-be, Selma Laura Neubacher. The road was muddy with shelves of protruding rock. To make it easier on the horses, they climbed through the underbrush on foot. Theodore told Selma, “My dear, if you think you can manage to live in this wilderness, we will build our home here—on this hill.”
With the land purchased and local builder, Bill Quick, hired, Steele stayed in a one-room squatter’s cabin on the property to oversee construction of the house, while also working on a portrait of William Lowe Bryant.
Selma gathered items for the house design and made portfolios of stencils and drawings. Her eye for textiles and decorative arts gave her a distinctive flair.
Selma wanted a cellar built under the house— rather than a hillside pit. The studio, living and
dining rooms were one, 20 by 30 feet with a beamed ceiling 14 feet high. Selma’s fireplace was in the middle of the long south wall. Except for the plastering, all the work was done by Quick and his two assistants. One of the carpenters, Ogle, built the fireplace and his father built the throat of the chimney. Payroll was $17.50 per day for three carpenters, two grubbers, and two teams for hauling supplies.
On August 9, a simple wedding uniting Theodore and Selma was followed by a train ride from Indianapolis to their hilltop home. The bride wore a soft gray jacket suit of silk crepe and colorful hat. Arriving in Bloomington, they took a wagon to Belmont Hill where their neighbor, Mrs. Parks, asked them into her kitchen. The neighbor’s sons took the luggage to the Steeles’ new home and stabled the horse for them. Under nightfall, the Steeles walked the final quarter mile in wedding clothes. Forest trees edged their sleeping porch.
Water was had from a rain barrel and hauled from a well in Belmont, then stored in the cellar. The kitchen had no storage, with doors and windows
in all walls and the cookstove occupying most of the floor. Selma secured Bill Quick to build open shelves and hang strips of wood for utensils. A closet door was reset to open kitchen-side for dishes and linens. Adjoining the kitchen were small bedrooms and dressing rooms. A screened eastside porch was used as a dining room. The screens caught the wind, giving the house its name: The House of the Singing Winds.
In a collection of old Gaelic tales that Selma had given Theodore for a birthday gift was the passage: “Every morning I take off my hat to the Beauty of the World.” Gustave Baumann, a leading artist in wood-block printing, carved this salutation over the Steeles’ fireplace—his only stone carving.
Selma opened their door to the curious who wanted to see the “under-the-house cellar,” kitchen cupboard, open fireplace, screened-in porches, and ventilated outhouse. Selma’s paisley shawl collection, the player piano, stuffed peacock, and endless shelves of books were exotic to behold. Adult men and women got down on all fours to feel and see up close the oriental rug in the great room.
Passionate for landscaping and gardening, Selma secured wagonloads
of manure and leaf litter to build the soil. Agricultural bulletins given to neighbors were used as fire starters or padding for their rag rugs. The formal garden and hillsides of daffodils inspired Theodore to paint garden and floral subjects.
At first, Theodore’s portrait painting made wintering in Indianapolis a logical pattern. But their hearts were with their Brown County hilltop. A neighboring farm was purchased, and additions made to the house.
The perfect studio was realized: a barnlike building with a gambrel roof and wall of north facing windows. Opened free to the public, Selma welcomed all visitors, as Theodore painted early in the morning.
Tragedy brought darkness to the Steeles in 1924. Selma’s sister Edith joined the household after several family deaths. Then an autumn fire spread across the hillside, threatening buildings and the house, prompting Selma to ban picnics.
Theodore died two years later on July 24, 1926, after a time of declining health.
During the Great Depression, Edith and Selma grew much of their own food and raised chickens. They charged 25 cents for studio tours and rented cabins to tourists. Selma sold six paintings to Indiana University in 1931.
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Dedicated to keeping her husband’s artistic legacy alive, a proposed agreement with Indiana University to take control of the T. C. Steele artist sanctuary fell through. Selma contacted Charles A. DeTurk, director of state parks, lands and waters. He was instrumental in the completion of a warranty deed and instrument of gift to the Indiana Department of Conservation on July 11, 1945. Selma and Edith continued to live in a portion of the house and kept a garden.
Selma Steele died on August 28,1945. Her sister Edith lived alone on the Brown County art sanctuary for nine more years.
The property is now known as the T. C. Steele State Historic Site, located one and a half miles south of Belmont, between Bloomington and Nashville, at 4220 T. C. Steele Rd., off State Road 46. There is a Singing Winds Visitor Center offering tours of the house and studio. The gardens have been restored and are a must-see in the spring.
The book The House of the Singing Winds, originally published in 1966, and a revised edition by Indiana Historical Society Press, 2016, can be found in libraries and in Nashville at Fallen Leaf Books.
If you want to rise to the gustatory heights, sometimes you’ve got to climb.
Accordingly, I made the journey up the hill on north Jefferson street to the Hotel Nashville, where, perched high above the Peaceful Valley, the new Nashville Chop House is drawing crowds with the finest quality locally sourced meats and house-made specialties.
It was a Saturday night, the parking lot was full, and so was the Chop House—one big dining room and a small bar. I got seated in the bar, but at a table, which was not so bad.
The bar, called the “wardroom,” has a military theme. A wardroom is the officer’s mess on board a warship and “mess” is what the navy calls the dining room. The Nashville Chop House is veteran owned and operated and the cozy bar room is covered with military memorabilia. I overheard the bartender relate that he was a veteran of both the Army and the Navy. It has a nice little horseshoe bar that seats about a dozen people.
I like a good steak. I wish I could try everything on the menu, but alas, my days of hogging down huge portions of food are in the rearview. I wanted a nice juicy steak with a baked potato and a salad on the side.
But first, as I was seated in the bar, it seemed only fitting that I enjoy a cocktail apéritif, a digestive, as it were, and I had a hankering for an Old Fashioned, just like dear old Dad used to make.
I had in mind the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, but I wanted to save digestive space for the main event. They also serve fresh bone-in wings, twice baked potatoes, and steak bites as appetizers.
Instead, I had a nice Chop House salad with fresh iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, cucumber, red onion, cheddar cheese and a home-made balsamic vinegar dressing. It was a nice big salad, and gave me something healthy to do while I awaited my steak.
There’s also a chef’s salad on the menu.
The Nashville Chop House serves a Fischer Farms “Can-Can Pork Chop—a glorious Tomahawk cut of pork loin with the belly attached.” There’s an “Aviator Chicken,” bone-in chicken breast with the drumettes attached, and even a fish of the week.
But my sights were set on a steak.
Their menu states that the premium steaks are above prime cut, dry-aged “artisan style” beef from Legacy Maker Farm in Lafayette.
There’s a fourteen-ounce New York Strip and a Wagyu Denver steak in six and ten ounce iterations.
I decided on the petite filet mignon. I’ve grown to feel that six ounces of good steak is about right for me.
I couldn’t help but notice, about halfway through my meal, that the fella at the next table had ordered the ten-ounce filet, and I must admit that, for a moment, I was somewhat covetous. Story of my life—I always want what the other guy ordered.
Still, the steak I got was delicious; tender, moist and perfectly cooked the way I like it, which is a little more done than your average cook likes his meat. They tend to like it rare, and sometimes take a “medium well” order as an insult, or worse, a provocation.
You can order toppings: garlic butter, garlic mushrooms, blue cheese crumbles—but I wanted to taste just the steak.
It was very tasty and satisfying.
There’s something about being in a small space with a bunch of happy people on a weekend evening, having a few drinks, eating good food, that appeals to the social animal in us.
As my meal progressed, I began to get happier and more mellow, I felt that somehow, despite clear evidence to the contrary, all was right with the world. At least in that moment, at least then and there. I had been subsumed in a kind of steak nirvana.
If you are familiar with my methods and practices, you can probably surmise that I did not leave this meal until I had had a little bite of something sweet.
A slice of cheesecake covered in cherry goo did the trick. I took my time and savored it, and I was profoundly satisfied.
Casey Winningham approaches stone carving with an artist’s passion and a historian’s sensibilities.
He repairs old headstones and makes new ones in the hand-tooled style of master carvers of the 19th century.
Previously a blacksmith, he began carving stone as a fulltime vocation about 20 years ago.
But the seeds of that passion were planted when he was only 10 years old, visiting his grandfather in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.
Winningham says his grandfather was the family historian, and he remembers a walk the two took in a family cemetery. The grandfather would point to a stone, with no name or dates on it, and tell Winningham which of his relatives was buried beneath it.
“I thought, Grandpa, when you’re gone, who’s going to know who’s under that rock?”
Years later, he said he “gave himself permission” to carve headstones for those family members, even though he was just beginning to learn the craft.
Though he lives in Owen County, Winningham has close connections to Brown County, as it holds some of his favorite spots for tramping through forests and streams, looking for fossils and geodes.
His best-known work in Brown County is a monument to Henry Cross, who created Stone Head in 1851 in Van Buren Township. The original sculpture—part folk art, part road marker and part historical artifact— was destroyed by vandals in 2016. Winningham was commissioned to make the monument.
After carefully researching Cross’ artistic style and use of fonts, he finished the monument, made from stone which Cross himself had cut from a nearby quarry. Winningham was honored in 2017 at the Brown County Art Gallery’s collector’s showcase exhibition and sale.
Henry Cross created about 100 headstones in Brown County, and lived a few miles from Stone Head.
Jon Kay, director of Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University, says that in a lot of ways, the old stone carvers like Henry Cross served as Winningham’s mentors. Kay said it is appropriate that Winningham did the monument to Cross because he can see the way Cross carved lambs, willow trees, and other motifs, as well as the precise lettering.
“Casey pays homage to history and those techniques and also allows people to have a connection with someone who will make the thing that will actually outlast you,” he said.
Compared to modern mass-produced headstones, Kay said Winningham’s work is “a much slower, thoughtful process.”
Winningham has created or repaired thousands of headstones across the country, including two in a cemetery west of Nashville.
Seventy percent of his work is restoration, he said, at a pace of about 200 headstones a year. During winter months, he works on carving replacement or new headstones, though he says he prefers restoration work.
He came into the trade of stone carving much like he did other activities in his life, out of necessity. He would see an object he liked, but knew he couldn’t afford to buy it. If he wanted something like that, he had to make it himself.
Born and raised in the Muncie area, he worked first as an emergency medical technician. Then he moved to South Dakota where he took up blacksmithing. He moved from there to Ohio, and then back again to Indiana.
Things he learns about one type of artwork are often applicable in another area, he said. As a blacksmith, he
might create a gentle sweep in a piece of iron and later use that balance when carving stone.
After moving back to Indiana, Winningham didn’t have the workspace to continue his blacksmithing, so he was looking for another line of work when he saw a video by master stone carver Walter Arnold of Chicago. Geography also had something to do with the decision, since
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southern Indiana has some of the finest limestone in the United States. Carvers across the nation pay large shipping bills to have the heavy stones delivered to them; Winningham simply goes to the quarry and picks out the stone.
He describes himself as selfeducated when it comes to arts and crafts.
“I get real focused, or obsessed” with a topic, he said, and devours books on it, talks to people who are experts in the field, and immerses himself in the craft. Most of the space in his workshop is taken up with stone and the tools he uses to carve it. But it also holds evidence of his varied interests, including a detailed scrimshaw powder horn, carved pipestone, stained glass, a kachina doll in the style of southwestern Native Americans, and a miniature replica of Lewis and Clark’s wooden longboat.
He has shared his knowledge with other carvers, including Sidney Bolam, who lives in northern Brown County.
“As a fellow stone carver, we always enjoy talking shop,” she said. “I don’t do (much) lettering work, and that’s almost exclusively what he does. So, we always have a lot to talk about in regards to tools and techniques.”
Bolam said Winningham’s “gentle and introspective nature” makes him a good match for memorial work, and his study of historical techniques and styles makes
his process nearly as interesting as the final product.
Since about 1900, most headstones are sandblasted, not carved, Winningham said. At modern monument companies, computers are used to cut designs and lettering into a rubber mat which is placed over the stone before blasting. This results in uniformity.
“You lose all individuality, creativity and uniqueness,” he said.
“I have a hunger to reach out and look for new ways. I just want to continue to evolve in my craft until the day I die. People ask me why I don’t make my own headstone. If I would have made it seven years ago, I would now be so disappointed in it, because I keep getting better.”
More information: <email@example.com> or <caseywinningham.com>.
Jon Kay, director of Traditional Arts Indiana, thinks it might be time to consider making a copy of the missing bust of Stone Head, and placing it on the original base.
“It’s been long enough now that it’s obvious we’re not going to find more pieces of it,” he said.
Though he was initially opposed to the idea of a replacement head, he said time has changed his mind.
“I would think of it more like the reprinting of a book rather than making a replica.”
Now, with 3-D printers and other modern technology, it is possible to reproduce a more exact copy of the missing head, Kay said. Such a venture would require crowd sourcing from lots of people, with as many as 500 photos of the original work, taken from every angle.
He said the marker, credited to Brown County stone carver Henry Cross in 1851, had been in a fragile state even before unknown vandals removed the head on Nov. 6, 2016.
Cross created the Stone Head monument and mile marker as payment for a “road tax” when land owners were expected to work on new roads or pay someone to do it for them. He carved the head in the likeness of a township trustee at the time, and he may have carved similar markers which have since been lost.
Kay also believes the original marker may not have been solely Cross’ work, since the lettering and carving on it are not of the quality of headstones known to have been carved by him. Kay said Cross had several employees who worked with him, including his son, and they may have helped carve the original piece.
“There are some that can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.”
These words printed in a book titled A Sand County Almanac, were written by scientist and biologist, Aldo Leopold. The book has occupied a prominent place in my library since I was first introduced to it as a student in the 1970s. Like Leopold, my professors knew the study of natural resources was more than just a discipline. Learning technical forestry and wildlife science was a human endeavor—how to work for the land and the people who inhabit it. We were to look for qualities any good manager should possess, not just those needed for wildlife and forest work. Good habits of a human resources manager, understanding how people act, how people live and work together, were also qualities for a natural resources manager. Psychology and sociology classes were requirements outside the school of natural resources. We learned how the human animal functions in its ecosystem.
Leopold graduated from Yale school of Forestry in 1909 and was first hired as an assistant forester for the U.S. Forest
Service. It was in this capacity he witnessed how western lands were utilized and impacted by livestock allowed to graze on federal lands. By 1922, he submitted a formal proposal for the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area.
Leopold saw conservation working only when applied with a deep sense of awareness. As we depend on nature for all living, necessary things—food, water, wood, oxygen—we must monitor our lifestyles in order to live compatibly with the natural world.
He said, “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher standard of living is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us in the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque flower in bloom is a right as inalienable as free speech.”
During his time, geese overhead and a pasque flower (one of the first perennials to bloom in a Wisconsin spring), were still uncommon. Now, of course, we see geese everywhere in the Midwest, but the pasque flower may be one to add to our search list. Both occupy a place in the ecosystem. And though important in their own capacity, he mused, “What merits to mankind might they possess?”
Leopold’s acceptance, and maybe his appeal, meant being direct, to write what he observed, even of pending doom. He speaks with caution and an awareness of consequences. Resource exploitation and habitat destruction were already pressing issues.
A Sand County Almanac was published in 1949. Leopold, a chair of new game management department at the University of Wisconsin, became disillusioned with man’s regard to the natural world. He said, “Conservation…is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our concept of the land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Leopold includes the human emotion of love. Can we love and respect the land the way we love and respect our spouse, our children? If I borrow something from the land, like I borrow something from a neighbor, ethically I am required to return it. Can I do this with the land?
Maybe not. To borrow something implies it’s returned unmolested and unchanged. But development of land means it will never be returned to its original state. In Brown County, we are obliged to
decide what land requires while meeting the public needs.
An idea of ecological conscience evolved on how to encourage mankind’s thoughtful existence with the earth. He called it the “Land Ethic,” reflecting a conviction of an individual’s responsibility for the health of the land. “Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal and conservation is our effort to understand and preserve this capacity.”
I’ve often wondered if my professors knew what impact Leopold had. Understanding man’s existence with the natural world was an important lesson. They saw us as young and impressionable, while we were excited. Anxious to work in some capacity of natural resources, we were to be guided by Leopold’s words. What we gained from formal class lectures and labs was reinforced by our time afield and in the woods. But as any resource manager knows, it’s the people they work with, and for, that will determine how well we live on the land.
Many people spend so much time at work that it begins to feel like home. But for Cheri Sumter, work literally is her home.
When she bought the Brown County Antique Mall 28 years ago, Cheri was looking for a fresh start. She had just finished a 30-year career at the phone company in Indianapolis and was ready for a change. When she heard the mall was for sale, Cheri jumped at the opportunity.
“I bought the property as a residence and a business,” she said. “The main floor is an antique mall and the second floor is where I live.”
The property, located 3 miles east of Nashville on Indiana 46 East, had been operating as an antique mall since 1972, but Cheri knew nothing about running an antique mall.
“It was all new to me,” she said. “I was in my 40s, I didn’t collect anything and I had never run a business. But, I was motivated to learn.”
She divided the property into spaces that antique sellers could rent. “A lot of people think that it is all one big store and that I own
and sell everything,” Cheri said. “The reality is that there are dozens of merchants selling items.”
The Brown County Antique Mall has about 75 spaces that merchants can rent.
“In 28 years, I’ve never had an empty space,” Cheri said. “I always have a waiting list of people that want to rent a space.”
Sellers mostly live in Brown County and surrounding counties, but Cheri said she has had sellers from as far away as Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Chicago. One current seller lives in Ohio.
“It really is an interesting business,” she said. “Some people only have a space in our mall, but several of them have spaces elsewhere. One seller has 28 spaces across the state. People have different reasons for doing it. Some people like the hunt for items. I even had one lady who was a dumpster diver.”
Sellers pay a monthly fee for a space in the mall.
“It is their own business inside the mall,” Cheri said. “Each space has a sign to show the name of the seller. They set up the space. They price the items.”
Three of Cheri’s grandchildren rent spaces in the mall.
“I am teaching them about the business,” she said. “It is a good learning experience for them because they are learning about money and investing and just business in general.”
The mall employee works at the counter and checks out customers.
“Each seller has an assigned number,” Cheri said. “That number is on each price tag so that we know who the sale goes to.”
Items for sale mostly fit into two categories: antiques and collectibles.
“People collect everything. I always say, if I grew up with it, it’s a collectible,” said Cheri, laughing. “A lot of people don’t realize that an item has to be more than 100 years old for it to be considered an antique.”
While she has never considered herself a collector, Cheri said she has grown to appreciate the stories behind the items.
“History was my worst subject when I was in school,” she said. “But when you talk about the items that people used in their homes and in their everyday lives, it puts a whole new spin on history. Now, it’s my favorite subject.”
As she approaches her 30th anniversary in business, Cheri said talking with customers is still her favorite part of the job.
“I love talking to people and learning where they’re from, what they do and what they collect,” she said. “I have many repeat customers and long-time customers and it has been fun to see them over the years. Some even come back with their kids and grandkids years later.”
Some customers buy items to decorate their homes, while others buy items to add to a growing collection.
“It just really is a very interesting business,” she said.
“Everyone has a very unique reason for why they want an item.”
While most customers are relatively local, Cheri said a handful of celebrities have visited the mall including various Indiana governors and their wives.
“Tony Stewart stopped and bought fishing lures,” she said. “And (Hollywood producer) Jerry Bruckheimer’s wife came in. She had a whole entourage of bodyguards with her. She was renovating a space and needed some items to decorate with.”
Cheri said she has no plans for retirement and is always thinking of ways to grow the business.
“Every year, I’ve tried to do something to enhance the mall. I have added additional rooms, built two additional buildings, and built a two-story, five car garage for storage,” Cheri said. “I always want to continue to grow and learn.”
The Brown County Antique Mall is open 362 days a year, every day but Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.
For more information, visit <www.browncountyantiques.com>.