OC Historical Society Holds Annual Christmas Dinner In French Lick

The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) held its Annual Christmas Dinner on December 4th at French Lick. OCHS President Robert F. Henderson gave the welcome with Chris Lindley providing the invocation.   Attendees enjoyed a most delicious meal catered by Jerry Wall.

Officers and Board members for the coming year were introduced and they are as follows:

Exec. Committee Members:

Robert F. Henderson, President/CEO
Roger Moon, Vice President
Gary Spear, Recording Secretary
Carolyn Clements, Treasurer

Board of Directors:

Terry Cornwell, Chair, Carolyn Clements, Jeff Lane, Janet Newton and Brenda Cornwell.

Henderson expressed his appreciation for the many things accomplished by the Society and its members in 2023

Traditionally, the group does not meet during the months of January and February.  The Society typically meets the fourth Tuesday of each month 7 p.m. at the Paoli Library from March through November.

Henderson related a brief history of Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas” or “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” It was penned 200 years ago, this December.

Chris Lindley gave an interesting and informative program on the history of tea along with the Boston Tea Party, which took place 250 years ago this year December 16, 1773.

Those persons wanting information on the OCHS, becoming a member and/or any of their activities should contact Henderson at 812.653.1212 or visit www.historicorangecounty.org

 

Thats A Wrap For 2023

We'd like to thank all those who visited us during our Annual Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Farmhouse event this past weekend.

We would also like to send a special thank you to all of our wonderful members & dedicated volunteers! Without you none of what we do is possible and we sincerely thank you!

We hope to see everyone again in 2024.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Visions of Home: A Collection of World War II Letters Written Home to Orange County, Ind.

 

Thanks to all who have purchased “Visions of Home: A Collection of World War II Letters Written Home to Orange County, Ind.”

Authors Ron Prosser and Roger Moon presented the Orange County Historical Society a portion of proceeds from the sale of the books. Accepting the check for $1,440 was Robert F. Henderson, president of the historical society, and Carolyn Clements, historical society treasurer.

OC Historical Society Hosts Old-Fashioned Christmas At Farmhouse

Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) hosted its annual Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Farmhouse in Paoli on December 3rd 2023.  The historic Thomas Elwood Lindley House was decorated in part to reflect an 1860s Civil War era Christmas past.  Attendees were allowed to informally tour the farmhouse while being treated to period holiday music performed by the "Wildflowers & Weeds."  Museum volunteers served up cookies and cups of hot cider in the farmhouse kitchen.  The event was well attended with a number of visitors from throughout the area in attendance.   Authors Roger Moon and Ron Prosser were also on site with copies of their brand-new book on sale, "Visions of Home." 

 

Old-Fashioned Holiday Event at The Historic Lindley House

The Orange County Historical Society will once again play host to an old-fashioned holiday event at the historic Lindley House in Paoli this coming Sunday, December 3rd 2023 from 2 to 4 pm.

The nearly 170-year-old farmhouse will be decorated downstairs in part to reflect a simple 1860s Christmas past and will be open for informal touring. Robert Henderson, president of the Orange County Historical Society, said volunteers will be present to share information related to the house. The musical group “Wildflowers & Weeds” will perform period music in the front parlor of the house that afternoon as well.

Roger Moon will also have copies of his newest book, Visions of Home (second printing) available for purchase Sunday afternoon as well. Each book sells for $15 with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Orange County Historical Society.

Hot Cider and cookies will be served.

Visions of Home: A Collection of World War II Letters Written Home From Its Orange County Heroes

Thanks to all who came out to the book signing of Visions of Home last Sunday at the Paoli Library.  It was an ideal time for reflecting on those who served during World War II.  Due to advance sales and the signing event a second printing of the book is now underway.  The books sell for $15 with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Orange County Historical Society.  

 

 

Local Author to Sign Books at Orange County Historic Society Museum

Local author Kevin Tower, of Campbellsburg, will be signing his new book Twisting The Tiger’s Tail Illegal Gambling French Lick And West Baden Springs at the Orange County Historic Society Museum on Nov. 19 from 1-4 p.m. in conjunction with the Annual Museum Open House. 

Tower released his second book titled Twisting The Tiger’s Tail Illegal Gambling French Lick And West Baden Springs, in August. 

Unlike his first book, Early French Lick West Baden Valley Hotels, Clubs, and Boarding Houses which gives readers a glimpse into the hotels, clubs, and boarding houses as well as the people who built, maintained and oversaw them, Tower’s second book is focused on the rich gambling history of the two famous towns.

The new 190-page book is filled with information on the illegal clubs, the individuals associated with the establishments, and stories of corruption, narrow escapes, hidden tunnels, visits from Al Capone and Big Jim Colosimo, and the illegal gambling itself. 

Both of Tower’s books are available for purchase at the museum and would make great Christmas presents for anyone fascinated by the robust history of French Lick and West Baden’s bygone eras.

 

2023 OC Historical Ornament To Celebrate West Baden Springs Hotel

This year’s Orange County Historical Society’s Christmas Ornament, the sixth in a series celebrates the historic West Baden Springs Hotel.  The beautiful glass blue and white ornament will be available for purchase at the upcoming Holiday Open House at the Museum on November 19th from 1 to 4 pm. The cost is $12 with proceeds benefitting the upkeep of the Orange County Historic Museum and its historic collection.

 

Holiday Open House - November 19th

The Orange County Historical Society is finalizing plans for its upcoming “Holiday Open House” at the Orange County Historic Museum set for Sunday, November 19th from 1 to 4 p.m.  The event is being held in conjunction with the annual Paoli Merchants Christmas Open House being held that same day. 

Artifacts and items of historical significance of Orange County’s rich and interesting history can be viewed during the event at the Museum located on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square in Paoli.  Admission will be FREE; however, donations are accepted to help with the museum’s upkeep.

Society members maintain a small gift shop area in the main room downstairs that includes a variety of gift giving ideas.   Gift Memberships for 2024 are also available.

In addition, local Author Kevin Tower will be doing a book signing that day for his new book, "Twisting the Tiger's Tail: Illegal Gambling French Lick and West Baden.

Visitors will find a treasure trove of memorabilia through the years including antique clothing, primitive farm tools and woodworking tools, church records, court records, books and a rare miniature English Tudor dollhouse with furnishings. The museum is housed in the 130-year-old historic Dr. J.H. Sherrod House circa 1885.

A one room schoolhouse is re-created upstairs at the museum, reflecting the early American period along with period a doctor’s office.

As a “Fun-Raiser” the group has once again produced a commemorative Christmas Ornament this holiday season celebrating the historic West Baden Springs Hotel. The new ornaments will be on sale during the Open House event.

OCHS President Robert Henderson said “We would like to extend a special invitation to everyone to stop in and visit us during the Open House event and enjoy the many interesting exhibits and display areas.” This will be the last time the Museum will be officially open for the 2023 season outside of appointment for individuals and/or small groups.

In addition to the Holiday Open House at the Museum members will also once again be holding its “Old Fashioned Christmas at the Farmhouse” on Sunday, December 3rd from 2 to 4 p.m. The historic Lindley House, located on Willow Creek Road will be open that afternoon and decorated in part to reflect an 1860s Christmas.

 

Larry McCart Presents October 2023 Program on Patoka Lake

Larry McCart presented a very interesting and informative program for the recent October meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, "PATOKA LAKE: A SOUTHERN INDIANA TREASURE.  Larry shared a number of interesting tidbits on the lake's history and stories of some of the small Orange County towns i.e., Elon and Newton Stewart that once existed and now are covered by the reservoir.  The Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month March through November at the Paoli Library.  The group’s last official meeting of 2023 will be November 28th 7 p.m.

 


 

A Special Thank You to Jan Dickson

We really enjoyed having our special guest Jan Dickson of The Society of Indiana Pioneers with us for our September 2023 meeting.

Jan shared with the group how to learn more about Indiana’s pioneer relationships, stories, and ideals as well as Society of Indiana Pioneers records, publications, scholarships, grants, tours, rallies, & programs. Lots of great information.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the special presentation. We will meet again on October 24th 7 p.m. at the Paoli Library.

 

Donation to Orange County Historic Newspaper Exhibit 

Many thanks to our friend and OCHS member Arla Spoonmoore Fraizer who recently donated the typewriter belonging to the late Mary Alice Spoonmoore to the Museum's new Orange County Historic Newspaper exhibit display. The daughter of Frank and Osa Morris, Mary Alice, often know as Slats or Slatty, graduated from Paoli High School and attended I.U. for two years. She married Jack Spoonmoore in 1952 and spent 38 years at the Paoli Newspaper. She passed away in 1992. Accepting the donation was OCHS President Robert Henderson. 

 

 

Pioneer Research Tools and the Society of Indiana Pioneers

September 12th 7 p.m. - Paoli Public Library Meeting Room - Everyone Welcome!

Jan Aikman DicksonJan Aikman Dickson

Explore how to learn more about Indiana’s pioneer relationships, stories, and ideals. The focus will be on frontier research resources online and in libraries for Indiana and the Trans-Allegheny West as well as Society of Indiana Pioneers records, publications, scholarships, grants, tours, rallies, & programs. There may be names in your own family tree that have already been proven to qualify you for Society of Indiana Pioneers membership because an ancestor was here by 1840 in most counties or 1850 in some northern counties.

The Society of Indiana Pioneers speaker for this program is Jan Aikman Dickson, who lived most of childhood in Lawrenceburg and Terre Haute, Indiana. Jan and her husband were married in Milan, Indiana, the home of Jan’s maternal grandparents and the 1954 Indiana State High School Basketball Championship Team featured in the film “Hoosiers.” The Dicksons have 3 married sons, 9 remarkable grandchildren, and one truly amazing great-grandson.

Jan has visited all 92 counties in Indiana, all 50 U.S. states, and 1 territory; but continues to love exploring Indiana most of all. When the Dicksons lived in West Lafayette as adults, Purdue University courses in The History of the Family in America, Indiana History, and The Ideology of the American Revolution sparked Jan’s interest and eventual discovery of over 30 Indiana pioneer ancestors. They came to Indiana as early as 1807 and lived in such Indiana counties as Knox, Daviess, Dearborn, Parke, Vermillion, Fountain, Tippecanoe, and likely others. She also created a map of all the first Pioneer Period land purchasers of Wabash and Shelby Townships of Tippecanoe County, indexed an early county deed book, and learned of some of their stories as well as those of her own ancestors. To discover more about pioneer and colonial lives Jan has visited historical libraries, museums, and courthouses in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Scotland, England, and even Arizona, Michigan, and Florida when the original intent in those three states was a relaxing vacation.

Jan is writing a booklet on 40 loving conflict resolution exercises and serves on the Board of The Society of Indiana Pioneers. Her other memberships include the Indiana Historical Society, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, the Indiana State Assembly Club, and the Tippecanoe County Historical Association. She was made an Indiana “Sagamore of the Wabash,” and received awards from the National Center for State Courts and Conference of Chief Justices for founding the national Judicial Family Institute (JFI) in 1986. Jan continues to serve that nonpartisan organization’s mission of sharing best practices on ethics, stress management, and other areas unique to judges’ households and extended family. She encourages all families today to take heart from Indiana pioneer family stories, and often says: “if they got though all that, we can get through all this!”

 

 

Storm Damage Report - August 2023

A Storm Assessment has been completed at both the Museum and historic Lindley House in Paoli. The Museum thankfully received only some very minor damage with an upstairs window being knocked out and lots of debris and dirt on the front exterior. Sadly, the historic Paoli Courthouse Square has suffered significant damage including the Courthouse as result of Monday night’s tornado. No visible structural damage was found at the historic Lindley Farmhouse but considerable brush limbs etc. are down on the grounds.

From the Museum Collection

Did you Know?

This 10-foot-long livestock trough is an early piece of Orange County history from the William Lindley farm. He came on the wagon train with Jonathan Lindley.

Through dendrochronology, the scientific method of dating, based on analysis of patterns of tree rings, Hanover professor, Dr. Darrin Rubino determined this poplar tree began growing in 1522 and was harvested in 1850. Today, the wood in the trough is over 500 years old!

The trough has remained on the Lindley farm, owned for decades by Rachel and Jim Bowen. It was purchased from the Bowens by Saving Historic Orange County (SHOC) and is now being shared with Orange County Historical Society at the Thomas Elwood Lindley House.

Hoosier Author & Civil War General Lew Wallace Visits Lindley House

Attendees of Saturday's "Living History Day" at the historic Lindley House in Paoli had the rare opportunity to meet and interact with Hoosier Author and Civil War General Lew Wallace.   Wallace was portrayed by Civil War reenactor and living historian Terry Furgason of North Vernon.  Despite the soggy conditions the event drew a sizeable number of participants and visitors alike.  Sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society the event included a Civil War Muster, historic house tours, and other heritage type activities.

 

Join us for Living History Day at the Farmhouse

 

May 2023 Meeting - The Buffalo Trace National Monument Project

Our program for the recent May meeting focused on the Buffalo Trace and efforts underway to preserve the rich link to our Hoosier heritage. Thanks Dave Drake, Steve Stewart and Rick Hockett for a most interesting presentation.

Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana Images from the Historic Buffalo Trace Trail in Orange County Indiana

About The Project

The Buffalo Trace has been known by a lot of different names over the years. Vincennes Trace, Old Indian Road, Clarksville Trace, Harrison’s Road, Kentucky Road, and the Louisville Trace. Pre-contact, Buffalo Trace was called Lenaswihkanawea or “buffalo road”. Used by Native Americans for centuries, the Buffalo Trace was an important route for early European settlers and played a key role in Indiana’s settlement and development.

It is David Drake and Steven Stewart's intention to preserve this landmark as a heritage project. They are working at making the Buffalo Trace a national trail through the federal Hoosier Forest for hikers and visitors to marvel at the path their ancestors took. Richard (Rick) Hockett is the third primary member of the group and a retired professional Geologist.  Rick is currently working with Arc-Gis (a GIS mapping system/software) to record the location data.  Once finished, they will have a modern data set of the physical, geological, and historical information. John Anslinger and Lisa Hendrixson also serve the group as Historical Researchers.

With his career study of surveying methods, in 2013 Drake took it upon himself to perform a new survey of the old Buffalo Trace, spending several years searching for its path through the Hoosier forest. Following old maps, he walked through the Hoosier, standing on the original trail his ancestors used to cross the Ohio River. His ancestors came from Virginia, stopping in Kentucky for a couple years, then moving on to Indiana, Drake described, making their stop about 1823. In this survey, Drake covered Dubois, Crawford and Harrison counties, as the road originally brought many pioneers from great distances to many local areas.

(Click on the image below to see a larger version of this plat map.)

Click on the image below to see a larger version of this plat map.

As Stewart grew up in Orange County, he didn't know he lived alongside significant history. He had only known the Buffalo Trace as an old road that ran by his house but was naive about how it was formed. Once he made the discovery about its deep history, he was hooked.

They are working to build a cultural center and national monument to the Trace. "The trail has potential for national designation," Stewart said. Collaboration with parks and interest groups in the area can make this happen, he said.

Our group hopes to publish a broader work covering the entire trace in the coming years. Orange County is right in the middle of the trace and its important history to our state. Orange County holds the majority of the remaining segments of the original trace. This in itself is most significant.

For additional information please contact

David Drake - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steven Stewart - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

SHOC is celebrating National Historic Preservation Month

Our partner Saving Historic Orange County is celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by recognizing the county’s many historic barns. Information about the barns is displayed at the Paoli Public Library. In addition, two free books dealing with barns, are available while the supply lasts. One of the books contains drawings of Orange County barns done by high school artists. The other is a publication of the Indiana Barn Foundation, which promotes the preservation of historic Hoosier barns. That booklet contains a plethora of information about the many styles and components of Hoosier barns.

 

 

Paoli 4th Graders Enjoy Visit To Museum

 

We always enjoy having school groups visit us at the Museum. These Paoli 4th Graders are among those visiting during the month of May. The O.C. Historic Museum is now open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other times available by appointment. Admission is always FREE; however, donations are accepted to help us defray the cost of upkeep and maintaining the historic collection.

 

 

2023 Annual "A Night at the Museum"

The Orange County Historical Society was proud to have once again partnered with Mr. Chris Lindley and Paoli High School's Advanced U.S. History class to sponsor the "Best of Show" Gold Award for the 2023 Annual "A Night at the Museum" event held on May 7th

This year's theme was "Chicago: The Second City's First Century and the making of Modern America."

The Best of Show Winner was Lily Stroud who is shown receiving her certificate and cash award with Mr. Lindley (left) and OCHS President Robert Henderson (right).

 

Orange County Community Foundation Contribution - March 2023

 

The Orange County Historical Society received a tremendous boost during its first meeting of 2023 held on March 28th at the Paoli Library. Imogene Dedrick (far right) , Executive Director of the Orange County Community Foundation presented a check to OCHS in the amount of $7,850 to go towards the Society's purchase of a microfilm reader as part of the Historic Paoli Newspaper Project.

The reader when purchased will be placed at the Paoli Public Library along with scanned reels of the newspaper collection for the purpose of historic research and genealogy work. Also pictured during the presentation was l to r OCHS Treasurer Carolyn Clements, President-CEO Robert F. Henderson and Vice President Roger Moon. Not pictured was Terry Cornwell, OCHS Board Chair.

Henderson speaking on behalf of the Society's Board of Directors and membership expressed his appreciation to Dedrick and the OCCF for their partnership and support in the newspaper preservation efforts.

Photo Credit: Valarie Moon


 

Orange County Historical Society Meeting - March 2023

 

Roger Moon (right) and Ron Prosser (left) presented an interesting and informative program for the first meeting of 2023 of the Orange County Historical Society held last Tuesday night at the Paoli Library.  Moon and Prosser have been working the last few months gathering World War II era letters that were originally printed in the historic Paoli newspapers from the 1940s.  The end result of the project will be a forthcoming book, "Visions from Home." with proceeds benefitting the OCHS. 

 


 

The Sun Has Set On Our 2022 Season

We'd like to thank all those who visited and supported us during this special 50th Anniversary year, including who everyone who attended our Annual Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Farmhouse event this past weekend.

We would also like to send a special thank you to all of our wonderful members & dedicated volunteers! Without you none of what we do is possible and we sincerely thank you!

We hope to see everyone again in 2023.

May there always be a lighted candle in your window.

Happy Holidays everyone!

 


 

Annual Christmas Dinner

The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) held its Annual Christmas Dinner on December 1st at the historic Lingle Room in Paoli.  OCHS President Robert F. Henderson gave the welcome with Chris Lindley providing the invocation.   The tables decorated festively for the occasion with a delicious meal being catered by Jerry Wall.  

  

A brief business session followed dinner with President Henderson highlighting some the historical society’s activities from this past special 50th Anniversary year. 

Officers and Board members for 2023 were installed and they are as follows:

Exec. Committee members:

Robert F. Henderson, President
Roger Moon, Vice President
Gary Spear, Recording Secretary
Carolyn Clements, Treasurer

Board of Directors:

Terry Cornwell, Chair, Carolyn Clements, Jeff Lane, Janet Newton and Brenda Cornwell.

Henderson expressed appreciation for the many things accomplished by the Society and its members noting the sizeable undertaking taken on by the group for the Paoli Historic Newspaper project.

Traditionally, the group does not meet during the months of January and February.  The Society typically meets the fourth Tuesday of each month 7 p.m. at the Paoli Library from March through November.

Henderson related a brief history of the 1897 legendary editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Kirby Stailey performed a program of Christmas music for the closing out portion of the meeting.

Those persons wanting information on the OCHS, becoming a member and/or any of their activities should contact Henderson at 812.653.1212.

 


 

50th Anniversary Celebration

Orange County Historical Society members and guests celebrated the Society's 50th Anniversary during their last regular meeting of 2022 held November 22nd at the Paoli Library.  The present-day historical society was formed 50 years ago in November, 1972.

Those on hand for the celebration included left to right Charter Member and Board Member Janet Newton, Vice President Brenda Cornell, Board Member Jeff Lane, President-CEO Robert F. Henderson, Longtime OCHS volunteer Duane Radcliffe, Treasurer Carolyn Clements, Past President Chris Lindley and Board Chair Terry Cornwell.

 


 

Orange Historic Museum Holiday Open House November 20th

The Orange County Historical Society will host its annual “Holiday Open House” at the Orange County Historic Museum in Paoli Sunday, November 20th from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is being held in conjunction with the annual Paoli Merchants Christmas Open House being held that same day.  The Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.

Artifacts and items of historical significance of Orange County’s 200 years of rich and interesting history can be viewed during the event at the Museum located on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square in Paoli. Admission will be FREE; however, donations are accepted to help with the museum’s upkeep. This will also mark the last official day of operations for the museum this season.

The Museum Gift Shop will have a number of unique and interesting items for sale that day for the “history buff” including the Society’s new 2022 Christmas ornament celebrating the historic Monon Trestle at Paoli. A limited number of the Paoli Historic Newspaper “History Mystery” Totes will be available as Commemorative Bundles of historic Paoli papers of the past.

In addition, local author Kevin Tower will be signing copies of his latest book, Early French Lick West Baden Valley Hotels, Clubs, and Boarding Houses, which will be available for sale in the gift shop.

For more information on the Orange County Historical Society or any of its activities please contact President Robert F. Henderson, 812-653-1212.

 


 

Old-Fashioned Holiday Event at The Historic Lindley House

 

The Orange County Historical Society will once again play host to an old-fashioned holiday event at the historic Lindley House in Paoli this coming Sunday, December 4th 2022 from 2 to 4 pm.

The nearly 170-year-old farmhouse will be decorated downstairs in part to reflect a simple 1860s Christmas past and will be open for informal touring. Robert Henderson, president of the Orange County Historical Society, said volunteers will be present to share information related to the house. The musical group “Wildflowers & Weeds” will perform period music in the front parlor of the house that afternoon as well. 

Hot Cider and cookies will be served.

 


 

Help Us Save Paoli Historic Newspapers!

As the sorting and inventory process has continued, Orange County Historical Society members have announced some new offerings in the popular “History Mystery” packets of old Paoli newspapers presently being made available to the public. The suggested donation for a History Mystery packet is $10.

Society President Robert Henderson said the following options now are available, with opportunities for picking up History Mystery totes being Friday, Oct. , 14 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Orange County Museum on the Paoli square:

1. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.

2. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 30s, 40s and 50s (four per decade).

3. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 1960s.

4. A tote with 12 randomly selected newspapers from the 1970s.

A tote of 12 newspapers from the 1980s or the 1990s, is also available upon request.

In addition, Henderson said that Society members will also be set up outside at the old JSI building on hospital road on two Saturdays both October 15th and October 22 from the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anyone wishing to purchase one of the totes. Also, for the first-time individual commemorative type issues may be obtained on these two dates only for anyone wishing to have a specific dated paper related to a birthday, graduation, anniversary etc. Note: Some years are very limited and, in some cases, may not exist or be available. Henderson encourages those interested to please try and have specific date and year for the paper they wish to obtain. Individual copies will be available for a suggestive donation of $5. This will be a very limited type offer. Proceeds from the commemorative paper sales will benefit the historical society’s Historic Paoli Newspaper Preservation Project.

 


 

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