Barn stands on historic Miami County family farm

The family farm still exists, though the numbers would likely show several family farms have been sold off during the last several years. Shown in this week’s photo is a barn, also referred to as a wagon shed, on the Shafer family farm in Perry Township of Miami County in Indiana. It was built in either 1930 or 1940 and is one of the few outbuildings still standing on the farm. The farm is located along State Road 19 just south of the Fulton County line. The shed has sort of a rustic look to it, making it appear older than it really is. Based on its size and shape, it would certainly appear to be a good storage place for farm wagons of various types. It’s a sign of the past because many farms today have pole buildings that are much larger and often used for equipment storage. There was another barn on the farm built in 1874 but the last time I saw it, the barn was falling in and in disrepair. The Shafer farm has remained in the family since 1862 when an 80-acre tract of land was purchased. You may recall a post of mine a few years ago of the retaining wall built by the Winona Interurban Railway. The wall is still there and was built to protect the railway that ran right in front of the Shafer farmhouse.

Old barn in Miami County
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Covered bridge was originally built in DeKalb County

Conner Prairie is a living history museum located in Hamilton County, Indiana. It has been around more than 50 years and I can remember going there on a field trip when in elementary school. If you enjoy history, this is a good place to go! I was there one summer a few years ago and saw this covered bridge. It is now part of the Civil War experience at Conner Prairie. Originally the bridge was built by George Woerntz & Son in 1884 and is the last surviving bridge they built. It crossed Cedar Creek, south of Garrett in DeKalb County near 68th Road. In 1966 the covered bridge was moved to make way for a new road leading to I-69. It sat along the road for six years before it was sold to Conner Prairie in 1972. It was renovated in 2002. The bridge is of the Howe truss style and was originally known as the Cedar Chapel Bridge. Covered bridges are not so numerous and often when you see one, it has been moved there from its original location. There are some exceptions to this and even a few covered bridges still carry automobile traffic such as one in Wabash County.

Covered bridge at Conner Prairie
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Building in Foraker once served as a bank

Foraker is a small, unincorporated community in Union Township of Elkhart County. It is located at the crossroads of county roads 13 and 142. There is a fire department in Foraker and a couple of businesses, but not much else. Shown in the photo is what used to be a bank. It may seem odd now a bank could be supported in such a small community, but keep in mind the Wabash Railroad once passed through and because of its presence there were a few more businesses. In addition to the bank, there was a general store and a pickle factory, as well as a depot for the Wabash Railroad. The bank was known as the Farmers and Merchants Bank. According to the inventory of historic structures for Elkhart County published by Indiana Landmarks, the bank was built in 1920. I am not sure when the bank was closed for business, but the railroad tracks were removed in the 1980s. The building is privately owned now and I know at one time the lot it sits on was used to park vehicles for a business but I am not sure if that is still the use for it now.

Former bank building in community of Foraker
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Building in Nappanee was once full of school students

Old school buildings, particularly those built in the earlier 1900s, are among the most beautiful old landmarks still standing. One example is a building on the north side of Nappanee on Main Street (also State Road 19). Now owned by the City of Nappanee and used as the Elder Haus Senior Center, the building was originally built as a school. According to information provided by the history museum in the Nappanee Center, the building was built around 1918. It housed all grades from kindergarten through 12th, though I am not for sure this was the case during all of the years it served as a school. There was also a small gym in the building and I do know Nappanee High School played home games there until the community building was used beginning in the 1930s. In December 1957, the high school was moved to what is now Nappanee Elementary School but the building on Main Street was still used as a school and was home to Central Elementary School. There is no longer a Central Elementary School in Nappanee because it was closed in the early 1990s. After the school was closed I am not sure of the uses of the building but if memory serves me correctly it was used by the Boys and Girls Club for a while. This old building, now apparently more than 100 years old, still stands prominently in Nappanee. Part of the building was torn down to make room for a parking lot.

Former school building in Nappanee
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Goshen church was built prior to 1900

The city of Goshen has some beautiful old church buildings still in use. Shown in the photo is one of those churches. It is located on Fifth Street at the intersection with Lincoln Avenue. Originally the church was known as First Reformed Church of Goshen. It began as a mission church on North Main Street. Later a lot was purchased at 110 South Fifth Street. A building was built and dedicated in 1893. The original First Reformed Church was known for promoting the growth of the adult Sunday school movement in Goshen. Men from churches all over the city came to Sunday school at the church. Later the church was known as First United Church of Christ. I believe it is now known as Cornerstone Christian Church. Information for this post came from the book “Goshen: The First 150 Years.”

Old church building in Goshen

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Building in North Webster is more than 100 years old

This week my post is of a building in downtown North Webster that sits directly behind the White Front store building I posted on last week. The building is located on Washington Street, just off Main Street in North Webster. It was likely built before 1900. The Kosciusko County GIS shows 1900 but that is often a default year listed because the exact year is no longer available. But looking at the building, I would guess it was built prior to 1900. Of course this building has had multiple uses in its history. It has served as a pizza place, a restaurant, a tackle box store, a builder of wooden row boats and probably others. Someone posted on the Growing Up in North Webster Facebook page it was one of North Webster’s early movie theater and also the home of Griner’s Potato Chips. Another post indicated pontoon floats were made there. I wonder if it was a livery stable or if wagons or carriages were built there? I am not sure of the current use of the building to be honest.

Old building in North Webster

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Commercial building has a long history in North Webster

Shown in this week’s photo is one of the oldest commercial buildings in all of Kosciusko County. It is located on Main Street (State Road 13) in North Webster and is often referred to as the White Front Store building. For multiple generations, this building was owned by the Bockman family. John F. Bockman, a preacher from Ohio, built the original White Front in 1860. At that time, a little bit of everything was sold in the White Front Store so it could be compared to today’s Walmart. Also in those days, people bought things on credit and when they got paid, they would come in to settle their account. Or they would bring crops in as a form of payment. William H. Bockman, a son of John, took the business over and then later his son, Howard and brother Carl took it over. John W. Bockman, a son of Howard, started working there at age 12 and drove a huckster wagon, a pickup truck with a covered back. He drove around Webster Lake selling goods out of that wagon. John served in World War II and came back to work in the store, taking ownership in 1961. The store depended on the lake residents and that meant winters were hard because those residents were no longer living at the lake. The Bockman family owned the store until November 2007 when it was sold to Carole Shelby. I’m not sure if she still owns the building, but I know she is retired now. Thanks to Marsha Greenstein, a daughter of John Bockman, who provided this information to me.

Former White Front Store in North Webster
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Building in Warsaw once served the interurban railway

I’ve posted on here many times remnants of the Winona Interurban Railway in various locations. Today is another one. This one is located on Detroit Street in Warsaw, which is also State Road 15. The building in the photo served as a car barn, or maintenance building, for the Winona Interurban Railway. Interurban cars were pulled off the main line nearby and parked inside the building. Maintenance could be done as needed or the cars possibly stayed in the building overnight until scheduled runs started the next day. I would assume the car barn is where the cars were kept. I’m not sure when the car barn went into use but it was used in Warsaw until the line was no longer used for passenger service in 1934. After that it may have still been used for a few more years. I do know the Union Tool Corporation started in about 1942 and they are still in the building. The owners of Union Tool were nice enough to let me take some photos and answered a few questions for me also. The north end of the building is the oldest part and that is what you see in the photo. There was a large overhead door to allow for interurban cars to be pulled inside.

Former Winona Interurban Railway car barn in Warsaw
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Cemetery a reminder of a small community near Warsaw

Monoquet is one of those “ghost” towns that existed a long time ago. It was platted with lots and even a few streets. There were also a few businesses including a newspaper at one time. It was located near the Tippecanoe River and State Road 15 in what is now the north side of Warsaw in Kosciusko County. Shown in the photo is the Monoquet Cemetery, a pioneer cemetery no longer accepting burials. It is just off the east side of State Road 15 near the Tippecanoe River bridge. There are many old tombstones or grave markers, some of which date back to the very early years of the county. Some of the markers have become unreadable due to age and wear and tear. Monoquet is a Native American name and he was once a chief in the Potawatomi tribe and had a village near the location of the cemetery. Later the Native Americans were forced to live on a reservation about midway between Warsaw and Leesburg along both sides of what is now State Road 15. There isn’t much else to remind us of Monoquet other than the cemetery. If you Google Monoquet, Indiana, it will tell you it is an unincorporated community. There is also a Monoquet Road. A few houses remain in the lots, but most of the lots or streets have been vacated through the years. Fortunately something remains to remind us of a part of local history.

Monoquet Cemetery in Warsaw
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Site of former feeder dam for canal in Wabash County

The Wabash & Erie Canal was an important piece of local history. At a time when movement of goods was often hindered, it opened up trade and shipping when roads were still primitive. Shown in the photo is a sign indicating the site of a feeder dam for the canal. I am told by the Wabash County Historical Museum a feeder dam essentially blocked up small races and streams/creeks to supply a constant flow of water to the canal. It was located at Lagro in Wabash County. Not shown in the photo is what used to be the tow path for the canal. The canal required a constant flow of water because of both spillage and leakage. There are other interesting canal remnants to see nearby.

Site of former feeder dam in Wabash County
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