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Newsletter Spring 2010 Volume 98

President’s Letter Spring on the Farm Calendar Hoosier Homestead Recipes/Oral histories Photos Heirloom Gardening

President’s Message Since our last newsletter I have come to believe in the old adage “come to expect the unexpected.” First thing Christmas morning I received the news that the United Way building was on fire and there was fear that BCHS may have lost the vast majority of our collection which was being stored there. It was not the news one wants to hear on such a glorious holiday morning. For several weeks, before anyone from our organization was allowed into the facility, reports were surfacing that “the entire collection was lost” and then we heard “well some things are ok.” Of course shortly thereafter the news bounced back and forth from total loss to all was ok. What were we to believe and when could we see for ourselves? It was particularly gratifying that within a short period of time our Executive Director, Julie Hughes had things well organized and a complete plan on paper so we would have a well worked out “road map” to follow. She had covered all bases and was prepared for whatever we would find. Fortunately, as most of you know the Bartholomew County Historical Society was very lucky. The vast majority of our collection was not seriously damaged. Still we were left with the extremely labor intensive job of moving everything to a new, safe location. I am happy to report to you that move has been completed. Martha Smock, BCHS Volunteer of the year 2009, generously donated the use of her building until we can decide on a more suitable home.

Bartholomew County Historical Society 524 Third St. Columbus, IN 47201 Phone: (812)372-3541 Fax: (812)372-3113

A number of people need to be thanked and unfortunately there is not nearly enough space here to do that. I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank Board Member Orwic Johnson. He was there the entire time organizing, packing and moving each piece to the new building. Without his help the job would not have been done. To the countless others who volunteered so much time please know that, on behalf of our Board of Directors, a very grateful President thanks you for all you did. It was not an easy job and BCHS is most appreciative of all your hard work in really horrible conditions. We now look to the future and begin to plan the next chapter. No matter what direction we take there is certainly going to be numerous costs involved. If you would care to help, please feel free to send a donation to the Bartholomew County Historical Society.

Jeff Baker


Spring on the Farm The robins have arrived, so it must be time for Spring on the Farm! This program, a team effort between the 8th grade students of Columbus Central Middle School and BCHS is proving to be even better than the last. Over 800 school children from Bartholomew and surrounding counties will visit the Henry Breeding Farm on Thursday, May 6th and Friday, May 7th from 9am until 2pm. The 8th grade students will be demonstrating a variety of 19th century techniques relating to farm life, including steam engines, weaving, basket making, corn shelling, and more. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the program, please give us a call at 372-3541. We need help doing check-in, parking, etc.

The music group performs for the crowds.

Two students try their hand at corn shelling.

Don’t miss Spring on the Farm May 6th and 7th! Books Needed BCHS is currently in need of additional copies of William Marsh’s I Discover Columbus. If you have a copy that you would like to donate to the Society, please give us a call at 372-3541. We’re also looking for “back up” copies of some old city directories. If you have a copy collecting dust in your basement, give us a call!

Reeves Pancake Breakfast July 24th! Since the first pancake breakfast was such a success, we’ll be doing it again. Look for more information coming soon. If you’d like to help out with the event, give us a call at 372-3541.

Spring Calendar May 2010 May 6 and 7: Spring on the Farm 9am-2pm Come spend the morning with the Central Middle School 8th graders and over 1000 students from the surrounding counties. Try your hand at corn shelling, or sample some handcranked ice-cream. This joint venture between BCHS and Central Middle School allows the 8th graders to be the instructors for the visiting elementary students. May 8: Come see us at the Exit 76 Antique Mall! Stop by our booth at the mall, and view some of the photos we’ve been scanning in! May 15: Columbus Literacy Festival at Central Middle School Stop by our booth at the festival and say “hello”. You can even see how you do at “History Bingo”! Last year over a thousand families participated in the free festival. May 22: Saturday Sampler: Puppets 11am FREE! (Ages 4-10) Ever think about designing your own puppet? Here’s your chance! We’re learn about the different styles of puppet making, look at some examples from history and make our own to take home! June 2010 June 26: Saturday Sampler “Masks” 11am FREE! (Ages 4-10) Join the staff and volunteers of BCHS as we celebrate the culture and history of masks. We’ll take a look at some examples and then craft our own mask to take home. (Class begins at 11am, registration is suggested.) July 2010 July 8: Heritage Arts Class: Early American Folk Dolls 7pm Join us as we look into the art of folk dolls. From handkerchiefs, yarn, sawdust, cornhusks and fabric scraps we’ll bring to life several dolls representative of early American folk styles. Great for holiday gift giving! Every participant will make a least one doll. Cost is $5. Registration required. Ages 13 and up. Call 372-3541 to register. July 17: Saturday Sampler: Games Your Grandparents Played 11am Free! (Ages 4-10) There’s still time for you to take a break this summer. Try your hand at hoop and stick, graces or ring toss. Make some clay marbles to take home and continue the fun. Rain or shine, enjoy the morning and come play your heart out…like your grandparents did! July 24: 2nd Annual Reeves Pancake Breakfast 8am-1pm Start your day with a tasty breakfast of pancakes and sausage and listen to the roar of the steam engines. Our second year promises to be bigger and better! Call 372-3541 to register for classes or for more information!

Hoosier Homestead Awards In honor of Indiana's rich agricultural heritage, the Hoosier Homestead Award Program recognizes families with farms that have been owned by the same family for 100 years or more. Indiana family farms may qualify for the following: Centennial Award - 100 years of ownership Sesquicentennial Award - 150 years of ownership Bicentennial Award - 200 years of ownership The program was instituted in 1976 and recognizes the contributions these family farms have made to the economic, cultural and social advancements of Indiana. In the past 30 years, almost 4,500 farms have received the honor. As of 2010, seventy four county farms have received the honor. Recipients of the award take part in a special presentation in Indianapolis. If you would like more information about the award, or would like to nominate your farm, please contact Ashley Tandy at the Indiana Department of Agriculture. E-mail her at or call 317-232-8770. The application can be downloaded from their website or come by our offices at 524 Third Street and we'll print off a copy for you.

Join us at the “The Exit 76 Antique Mall Experience” As we help celebrate their 10th Anniversary 12595 N Executive Drive, Edinburgh, IN Saturday May 8 and Sunday May 9 from 10:00AM to 6:00PM

Oral History Project Help BCHS has started an oral history project! We’re asking for residents who lived in Bartholomew County during the years of the Great Depression and World War II to share those stories with us. BCHS staff will be interviewing those interested and taping the sessions. A DVD of the session will then be available to participants. If you are interested in contributing your stories, please call 372-3541 to set up an appointment. Please consider sharing this important part of the county’s history with us!

Comfort Food This month’s recipe comes to us from Barney Quick, who recommends using fresh herbs from your own garden! Barney says this is a great, quick, summer recipe. Garlic cloves Oregano (chopped) Grape tomatoes (halved)

Olive Oil Basil (chopped) Cooked pasta of Choice

Saute garlic in olive oil, and add basil, oregano and halved tomatoes. Saute ingredients together briefly. Toss with freshly cooked pasta and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Adjust the amount of ingredients dependent on how many you are cooking for. Enjoy! If you’d like a recipe to be included, please drop us an e-mail at or give us a call at 372-3541.

In your Own Words (Snippets of BCHS oral history interviews and stories) This issue’s stories come from C. Robert Wolfe and his book School Days– Depression Years: Growing Up in Columbus, Indiana in the 1930’s. "Almost every boy, at one time or another, has had his 'toy soldiers'. World War I was fairly recent history, being only fourteen to fifteen years earlier. You could buy toy soldiers, usually made of lead or sometimes of iron. I came into possession of a mold set consisting of two halves of a mold, a clamp to join them and a long handled electric heater pot. One could melt lead in that pot, then pout the liquid in the mold. Each set of molds had four figures in different positions. In this way, I could make my own soldiers. I was fortunate enough to find about a four foot section of a zinc drain pipe. Zinc has a lower melting point than lead though it is softer. At any rate, I developed quite an army! If battles we waged with toy armies had counted, oh how we would have revised history! It kept us busy for hours at a time. We also made "board games" including a spinner for determining the number of increments for moving our icon. It passed alot of time. All these things were made using our imagination and improvising with whatever materials were at hand. Those things meant a lot more to us than if someone would have bought them and presented them to us.”

Heritage Arts Classes Thanks to all who have participated in the Heritage Arts Classes. Here’s a look at some of the activities we’ve done in the last year.

Heirloom Vegetables and Flowers Many of you called in and shared your fond memories of Victory Gardens during the war years. Several of you also mentioned specific vegetables or flowers that used to be grown that are difficult to find now. You may have been looking for an heirloom variety. As with most things in history, everything old is new again, as heirloom gardening is making a resurgence. What exactly IS an heirloom plant? Experts disagree on the specifics, but will generally agree that heirlooms are 1) old 2) open pollinated cultivars 3) of high quality and easy to grow. Some of these plants have been passed down from generation to generation. How old is old? Most heirlooms were introduced before 1950, and many varieties of heirlooms may be between 100 and 150 years old, although there are some European varieties that go back three or four hundred years. The Pattypan squash that is still popular today dates from pre-Columbian times! The Pattypan, and other heirloom varieties are open pollinated. This means that if you save the seeds, the plant produced by the seeds will have the same traits as the parent plants, and remain true to type. Today’s hybrid plants may produce sterile seeds or if the seed does sprout, the offspring will have different characteristics from the parent plant. With heirloom seeds you can keep saving them and passing them along and you don’t need to purchase new seeds every year. The last description of the heirloom plants is what makes growing them so attractive: quality. Many people are drawn to heirloom vegetables because of a more robust flavor or resistance to disease. Heirloom varieties often offer unique colors and shapes, too. The Moon and Stars Watermelon, popular in Victory Gardens, has an unusual splash of yellow on a green background, resembling a big moon surrounded by yellow stars! Thinking about trying an heirloom vegetable variety this year? Try one of the following tried and true options: Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Scarlet Nantes Carrot, Golden Bantam Corn, French Breakfast Radish, Paris White Cos Lettuce, Hubbard Squash, Bull Nose Pepper (grown by Thomas Jefferson!), Brandywine or Cherokee Purple Tomatoes. For flowers, try Empress of India Nasturtiums (you can eat them), Autum Beauty Sunflower, Old Mexico Zinnia, Sea Shells Cosmos, Painted Lady Scarlet Runner Bean and Lady in Red Salvia. Humans have been saving seeds for over 10,000 years, and so did many generations of farmers and gardeners, so experience the tastes of yesterday and sow some seeds of history!

For more information oabout heirloom gardening, take a look at William Woys Weaver’s book Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, or ask at your local garden shop!

Board of Directors 2009-2010

Julie Hughes – Executive Director Susannah Winblad Von Walter-Office Manager Michael McIver Orwic Johnson Bob Schwartzkopf Laura Thayer

Harry McCawley-County Historian

The Bartholomew County Historical Society is a not-for-profit corporation chartered in 1921, and located at 524 Third Street in Columbus, Indiana. The building features local history exhibits and is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9:00am to 4:00 p.m. and other hours by appointment. The research library is open to the public during normal business hours. For more information:


Phone: 812-372-3541 Email: Website:

Bartholomew County Historical Society 524 Third Street Columbus, IN 47201 Dated Material

President Jeff Baker Vice President Amy Kaiser Treasurer David Dailey Secretary Linda Nay

BCHS Staff

Bartholomew County Historical Society - Newsletter April 2010  

The Bartholomew County Historical Society's newsletter for April 2010