THE CONNERSVILLE OF TODAY.
What shall be said about Connersville as it appears today? The city has made wonderful strides during the past
decade, but in no one year has it shown a greater growth than in 1916. The centennial year was epochal in many
respects. Never before has the city seen such an era of constructive effort. In the industrial field the Connersville
Manufacturing Company absorbed and occupied the plant of the Connersville Wheel Company, which had been in business
fifteen years, adding altogether about one hundred per cent. to the Central Manufacturing Company's capacity for
production. The Connersville Blower Works increased its capital stock from $400,000 to $750,000 and built a large
brick addition to its machinery room, thereby adding fully one third to its former capacity. The Lexington-Howard
Company built a large addition and reorganized its plant in such a way as to treble its output and at the same
time greatly increase the efficiency of the departments already in operation. W. W. Wainwright & Son built
a large two story addition to their machine shops which increased their space by at least one third. The Hoosier
Casting Company, one of Connersville's newest industries, doubled its floor space with the building of a substantial
annex, and installed a new system of operation which makes it a much more efficient plant.
The P. H. & F. M. Roots Company, the oldest manufacturing institution in the city as well as one of the largest,
built an addition to one of its buildings. The installation of new machinery made a substantial increase possible
in its output. This company, it might be stated, dates from 1859 and is the pioneer blower factory of the world.
The Connersville Furniture Company erected an addition to its west building, increasing its plant by about one
sixth. The buildings of this plant alone cover about four acres.
The Dan Patch Novelty Company, organized in 1912 to manufacture novelty vehicles for children and toys of all kinds,
was reorganized in 1916 and at the same time increased its capital stock to $100,000. It then acquired and occupied
the Connersville Buggy Works, which had been established in 1883. It may be said that the European war was the
direct cause of the re-organization of the company. The National Moorish Tile Flooring Company; the newest concern
in the city, was organized in 1916 by E. P. Hawkins and acquired the building formerly occupied by the carpet factory
in East Connersville. The building was remodeled and enlarged in order to make it available for the needs of the
While the industrial plants just enumerated have all expanded, many of the other factories of the city have added
more men to their force in order to increase their output. All the factories of the city have been running on full
time some of them being in operation twenty four hours a day. There have been no strikes and no lock outs, but
on the other hand there has existed the most friendly feeling between employers and employees.
EVIDENCES OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISE.
This glance at the industrial life of Connersville during the year 1916 sets forth merely the outstanding, salient
expansive movements. It can truly be said that there was a tremendous, almost dramatic quickening of the whole
industrial system of the city during the year.
But the city did something else in 1916 which it never did before and which it will not do again for another hundred
years. It conceived and held, with great success, a three day centennial celebration which was one of the best
of many held in the state during the year. Of course, the city did not do all of this itself, the citizens of the
county had an active part in the celebration and contributed their full share toward its success. In the midst
of all this industrial activity anti stimulated by the centennial spirit, the city and county undertook the raising
of fifty thousand dollars for the county hospital, and the fact that the amount was raised is a tribute to the
thriftiness and generosity of a good people. It should be mentioned in this connectinn that the county during the
year completed a magnificent county infirmary, at a cost of twenty five thousand dollars.
Another evidence of the general prosperity enjoyed by the people of the city is shown by their desire to add street
paving to the city. Since 1912, when the present program of concrete street paving was inaugurated, the city has
payed many miles of its business and residence streets. The value of good roads is recognized by the rural dwellers
as well as by his brother in the city, a fact which is shown by the paving of the road between the city and East
Connersville, and Grand avenue from, the city limits to Roberts parka The pedestal lighting system was extended
in the business district and a new lighting contract entered into with the Hydro-electric Light and Power Company.
The water mains and sewer system were extended and sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements were made in all parts
of the city.
With all of these industrial activities there was a greater demand than ever for men to work in the factories.
The city reached a point during 1916 where it became imperative to increase housing facilities. During the year
every house in the city was occupied, all the boarding houses and hotels were filled to overflowing, and workmen
were often compelled to find quarters in nearby towns. But the business men of Connersville prepared to meet the
situation by employing what was known as an interagent to serve without cost to the homeseeker, in assisting him
to find a place to live. This group of business men, headed by E. W. Ansted, bought ground and let a contract for
the construction of thirty two rental houses to be built in the northwestern part of the city.
CHURCH AND SCHOOL EXPANSION.
But not only has the industrial life of the city been quickened; the churches and schools have taken on new
life, and increased their efficiency as factors in the general movement for a better and bigger Connersville. The
school board was compelled to build a large addition to the Maplewood school, an addition made necessary by the
heavy increase. of population in that part of the city. The manual training department of the high school was enlarged
and many other improvements made in the schools in order to meet the growing requirements of the city's increased
population. In the beginning of 1917 the city faced the probability of having to build another school house and
there seems to be Ito doubt that the next year or two will see the erection of the fifth school building in the
The fourteen churches of the city are doing their full share toward making a bigger and better Connersville: The
many charitable and benevolent organizations are active in their respective fields. As the city faces the second
century of its existence it seems to have all the factors necessary for a bright future. It is but one of thousands
of cities of the same size in the country, but the people who call it home would like to have it said that it is
the best. It takes. people of the right sort to make. a good city and Connersville has them in abundance May the
next century show as much progress as the last century.
The first postoffice in Fayette county was established at Connersville on January 28, 1818, which was nearly
a year before the county itself was established, the village being in Franklin county at the time that the postoffice
started. It remained the only postoffice in the county for seven years, Waterloo, the second one established, dating
from May 4, 1825. In fact, there were only three otherpostoffices in the county during the first ten years of its
history, the other three being at Bentonville. Everton and Harrisburg. During the entire history of the county,
covering a period of nearly one hundred years, there have been seventeen different postoffices established; but
with the introduction of the rural free delivery of mail there are only five remaining: Connersville, Evetton,
Alpine, Falmouth and Bentonville. The discontinued offices are Alquina, Columbia, Ashland (later Nulltown); Orange,
Bently, Waterloo, Springersville, Fairview, Harrisburg, Groves (later Melrose), Lyons Station and Philpotts Mills
(later Longwood). At the present time there are ten rural routes connected with the Connersville postoffice, two
with Evertor}, and one each with Alpine, Bentonville and Falmouth. There are also routes from adjoining counties
which furnish service in Fayette county, while some of those in Fayette county extend to adjoining counties.
All the mail which reached Fayette county before 1845 was brought in by the old stage coach or on horseback. During
the life of the canal part of the mail was brought in by boat, but it was not until 1862 that the first mail reached
the county by the railroad. As might be expected, there was no daily mail service to Connersville for several years
after the postoffice was established, and even as late as 1833, the town received mail only three times a week.
With the arrival of the daily packet on the canal Connersville was given daily mail service.
The first postoffice in the town was located in the store of Joshua Harlan, the storekeeper beirig the first incumbent
of the office and Serving as such from 1818 to 1822. In the early history of the town there was not much trouble
in selecting a postmaster and it was not until the salary reached such proportions that the postmaster was able
to devote all of his attention to the office that any difficulty was experienced in the selection of the postmaster.
For many years after the postoffice was established in 1818 the postmaster was compelled to engage in some other
business in order to make enough for a living. The first postmaster to devote all of his time to the office was
James H. Fearis, and since that time the office has been sufficiently remunerative to enable the incumbent to make
a comfortable living without having to engage in any other business. Until the office was raised to the second
class in 1889 the salary was dependent upon the amount of business transacted by the office, but since that year
it has been on a definite salary basis, the present salary of the postmaster being two thousand seven hundred dollars.
For many. years the postmaster performed all the duties of the office, but as the business, increased it became
necessary to provide assistants, the first assistant appearing in 1861. At the present time there are twenty six
employees in the office and seven city, carriers. The city carrier service was inaugurated on December 1, 1889,
the same year the office was raised from the third to the second class. On December 1, 1904, the first rural routes
were established in connection with the local office and others have been added from time to time until in 1917
there were ten rural carriers radiating from the county seat.
The postoffice, has been located at several different places during the last ninety nine. years and has been at
its present site since 1911. In that year it was moved from 408 Central avenue to the newly completed stone structure
which stands at the corner of Eighth street and Central avenue. This handsome building with the site cost sixty
five thousand dollars. In the same year, August 21, 1911, the postal savings department was established in the
The postmaster has usually, if not, always, been of the same political faith as the President. John Tate who served
from 1829 to 1846, held the office, longer than any other incumbent. The complete list of postmasters, with the
dates of their service follows; Joshua. Harlan, 1818-22 John Sample, 1822-29; John Tate, 1829-46; Elisha Vance.
1846-47; George Frybarger, April 5, 1847-December 30, 1847.; Henry Goodlander, 1847-49; Joseph Justice, 1849-53;
Henry Goodlander, 1853-57 John B Tate, 1857-61; Joseph Justice, 1861-63; Romeo Lewis, 1863-64; Alexander R. .Morrison,
1864-66; John Kensler, 1866-74; George M. Sinks, 1874-83; John. W. Ross, J883-84; J. M. Higgs, 1884-89; J. H. Fearis,
1889-94; J. M. Higgs, 1894-98; John Payne, 1898-1902; Miles K. Moffit, 1902-10; S. E. Dehaven, 1910-14; Simon Doenges,
HISTORY OF THE CONNERSVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
By Katharine Heron
The early pioneers in the village of Connersville were aware of the advantages of a library and as early as 1820
a circulating library was in operation in the little hamlet. This little library was only to act as the forerunner
of greater possibilities and to prepare the way for future activities in the ultimate establishment of a permanent
library. In 1825 the Fayette county library, containing one hundred and fifty one volumes, was opened to the public
and was under the management of a board of trustees who were very generous in providing that the library should
be open every Saturday afternoon from one to six o'clock. The secretary gave notice in the weekly paper, the Observer,
that there were volumes in the library to suit the taste and inquiries of all. The librarian further said that
she hoped that the citizens would avail themselves of the advantages of the library and that all citizens over
sixteen years of age might draw books by giving bond and security and the payment of fifty cents a year. The library
was located in the court house.
A free reading room was maintained by the manufacturers and other business men during the later part of the year
1890, and continued as a reading room until the latter part of October, 1893. Bert R. Williams was the custodian
and after his death the vacancy was filled by Alexander James.
On October 2, 1893. a petition from Creighton Wright and others for the establishment of a public library was presented
to the city council, the members of which were W.. J. Cain, D. V. Phillips, W. T. Cortleyou, William Merrill. Thomas
Clark and Peter Lonmel. William F. Downs was the mayor. The petition was referred to the committee on education,
composed of William Merrill. D. G. Phillips and Thomas Clark. On October 16 the committee reported the adoption
of the petition and I. B. Young was appointed to appraise the contents of the reading room.
By a unanimous vote the council decided to make a special tax assessment of one half of one mill for the maintenance
of the new library. W. F. L. Sanders. L. L. Broaddus and Creighton Wright were appointed directors until the regular
meeting in June, 1894. At this meeting, held on June 4. 1894, Mazzie Maffett. librarian, and the trustees reported
that the library contained six hundred and thirty five volumes, one hundred and thirty nine membership cards and
a treasury deficit of twenty five dollars and sixty eight cents. On June 3. 1895, the amount for the maintenance
of the library was raised to five hundred and thirty eight dollars and sixty seven cents a year.
At the council meeting of April 26, 1907. resolutions were drafted on the death of Creighton Wright and Charles
Mount, and the removal from the city of J. N. Huston. Herman Munk and Austin Ready. who had been directors of the
library. The following persons were appointed to fill the vacancies: Mrs. Lillian Wilson Beck. Katharine Heron,
Mrs. Kate Beeson, J. H. Fearis and Andrew Rieman.
INCORPORATION OF THE LIBRARY.
The present library was incorporated under the laws of Indiana on April 29, 1907; and the old library dissolved.
The charter was surrendered and the transfer of the library to the city of Connersville was made with the understanding
that the city should accept said property and assume the management of the same. Thereupon the board of directors
resigned. On April 30 Mayor F. I. Barrows accepted the property on behalf of the city.
At that time a law was in force by which the school trustees, the circuit judge and the city council could appoint
library trustees. Accordingly, on May 7, 1907, Judge Gray appointed Mrs. Lillian Beck and Katharine Heron; the
school trustees appointed W. F. L. Sanders, Alfred H. McFarlan and Mrs. Clara E. Carlos; the city council, L. L.
Broaddus and R. G. Wait. Mr. Wait shortly resigned and Mrs. Elizabeth Claypool Earl was appointed to fill the vacancy.
When the decision of the court became known that the Conwell square had been divided into lots and was for sale
at various prices, Mrs. John Wilkin and Mrs. Flora R. Beeson, the latter a director in the old library, conceived
the idea of buying a site for a library. Up to this time the libraries had been housed in rented property. At the
invitation of Mrs. Florea Beeson, six ladies representing the same number of literary clubs of the city, met at
the home of Mrs. Wilkin and formed the Library Site Association. Katharine Heron was appointed to consult with
P. L. Heeb, trustee of the Conwell estate, in regard to the purchase of a site. As a result an option was taken
on the property now occupied by the library at a total cost of six thousand two hundred and ten dollars. Much opposition
was encountered and many discouraging things arose to hinder the work in securing the needed funds. After a thorough
campaign of the city had been made the sum of two thousand eight hundred and sixty six dollars and sixty four
cents was collected and the sum of four thousand dollars subscribed. While in dire distress Lafayette Conwell and
wife came to the rescue and donated the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars, and the library board loaned the
site association the balance. As a result the site association acquired the deed to lot No. 10, of the Conwell
Homestead block on November 16, 1907.
THE CARNEGIE DONATION.
On January 30, 1908, the city council appropriated the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars for the purpose
of purchasing additional ground for the library. The remainder of the necessary stun Was borroweed from four of
the Connersville banks. After all debts had been cancelled negotiations were opened with Andrew Carnegie for the
purpose of getting a donation with which to build a library building. Twenty thousand dollars was asked for but
only seventeen thousand five hundred dollars was received at this time.
The plans of Dunlap & Glossup. of Indianapolis, were accepted and the conducted with Masonic ceremonies. Chalmers
Hadley, secretary of the Indiana library commission, delivered the principal address. To Katharine Heron, secretary
of the board of trustees, was given the honor of laying the first brick of the building.
The furniture of the library is said to be the handsomest of any in the state, and the first to be paid for by
On the afternoon of March 25, 1909, the library building was formally dedicated, the exercises consisting of a
musical program, and addresses by Professor Sanders and Jacob P. Dunn, of Indianapolis.
Instead of the usual title. "Carnegie Public Library," we have over the main entrance "Public Library"
and on the bronze tablets on each side of the doorway one reads as follows:
This Building is the
Gift of Andrew Carnegie
People of Connersville
A. D. 1908.
On the other tablet reads the following:
L. L. Broaddus, Pres.
Elizabeth Claypool Earl, Vice Pres.
Katharine Heron. Sec'y.
Lillian W. Beck. W. F. L. Sanders,
Clara E Carlos, A. H. McFarlan.
On Friday, March 26, 1909, the first books of Our present public library were placed in circulation. For the month
of January, 1917, two thousand nine hundred and two books passed over the desk of the librarian. most of the books
being read by children. What a contrast between the years 1917 and 1825 when no one under sixteen years of age
could "draw a book."
The trustees of the present library board consist of the following: L. L. Broaddus, president; Mrs. E. C. Earl,
vice president; W. F. L. Sanders, secretary; Katharine Heron; Mrs. John Carlos, Alfred H. McFarlan and Mrs. Huston
D. Fearis. Isabell Ball is the present librarian, she having held the position for many years.
The organization of the present Connersville Commercial Club dates from June 13, 1906., but it is not the first
organization of the citizens of Connersville along similar lines. Nearly forty years ago there was an organization
known as the Board of Trade which was organized for the same general purpose as prompted the organization of the
present Commercial Club. As early as 188o the business men of, the city felt the need of some kind of an organization,
and the Board of Trade came into existence as the result of this feeling
While the records of the old Board of Trade have disappeared, along with practically all of the members who were
associated with it in its earlier history, yet it is known that it labored valiantly for the best interests of
Connersville during the decade of its career. Such men as William Newkirk, James N. Huston, William Beck, William
Wherrett, F. M. Roots. J. B. McFarlan, B. F. Claypool and A. B. Claypool were the prime movers in this first organization.
Within a year Or two after it came into existence E. V. Hawkins, then the superintendent of the old Indiana Furniture
Company, first became identified with the organization, and it was due to the encouragement of some of the members
that he was enabled to organize the Connersville Furniture Company in 1882. Mr. Hawkins is one of the very few
members of the first organization left in the city.
The Board of Trade evidently passed out of existence sometime before 1888; at least, a notice in the local papers
of January, 1888, states that it had just been reorganized. The meetings of the organization had been held in the
room in the Palace Hotel now occupied by the barber shop, but just where the meetings were held after 1888 is not
known. The Board of Trade was followed sometime in the early nineties by an organization formed along somewhat
the same lines, the Manufacturers Club. This club, as the name indicates, was devoted primarily to the interests
of those engaged in manufacturing, and did not include the retail dealers of the city. Just when the Manufacturers'
Club ceased its active career is not known, but it was prior to 1906 and very likely sometime previous to that
year. Since no official records are available to show what the club did, it is impossible to determine when it
lost its usefulness.
GOOD WORK OF FRANCIS T. ROOTS.
The present Commercial Club owes its origin largely to the inspiration of Francis T. Roots. He had been endeavoring
to effect an Organization of all the business men of the city for some time prior to the actual beginning of the
club in 1906. To this end he planned a trip for fifty business men of the city to Muncie, Indiana, where such an
organization as he hoped to establish in Connersville was in successful operation. He chartered a special train
and the party spent two days and one night on a junketing trip, each member of the party contributing ten dollars"
to bear the expense of the trip. They were welcomed by the Commercial Club of Muncie and shown, over the city.
The result of the trip was the organization of the present Commercial Club on June 13, 1906.
The first officers of the club were as follows: Francis T. Roots, president; W. L. Cortelyou, vice president; R
N Elliott, secretary; J. E. Huston, treaurer. A permanent house committee composed of E. P. Hawkins, A. E. Leiter
and W. L. Cortelyou was appointed to equip the club rooms. The first quarters were in the auditorium building,
where the club continued to live until the present quarters were occupied in November, 1916. The new club rooms,
six in number, are in the Stewart building on East Fifth street. They contain a billiard room, reception room,
reading room, business room and a large banquet hall, as well as rooms for other purposes.
It would take several pages to tell what the Commercial Club has done for the city of Connersville, and only a
brief survey of its labors can be enumerated in this connection. Practically every business man of the city is
a member, while there are a large number of farmers from all parts of the county who have affiliated with the organization,
the club now having a membership of about five hundred. The membership is open to every honest, upright male citizen
of the county who is interested in the vital welfare of his city and county. The club rooms are open at all times
to every organization in Connersville, whether composed of men or women. The rooms are also open to every member,
days and evenings. Sunday excepted, and a porter is always present to attend to the various wants of all who may
visit the rooms.
SOCIAL AIMS OF THE CLUB.
Entertainments of exceptional merit are oftoftenven and elaborate banquets held, at which orators of national
reputation discourse on subjects of general interest. No less a personage than the late Elbert Hubbard was once
a speaker at one of these banquets and paid a glowing tribute to the work of the organization. A part of the "Little
Journey to Connersville," which appeared as a result of Hubbard's visit to the city is given as the concluding
part of this article. George Randolph Chester was also a speaker on one occasion, and the particular feature of
the evening of his appearance was the fact that one of the local members, Earl Williams, a member of the News staff,
recited an original poem which is remembered as the best thing of its kind ever produced in the county. Even the
inimitable Chester rose to his feet and announced that he had no chance to display his talents against such a speaker.
Nor is Williams the only member of the club who is able to meet all foreign speakers in their own field. The first
president, Mr. Roots, was a recognized orator of high rank. E. V. Hawkins, another of the club's presidents, is
a very able speaker, and his, son, E. P. Hawkins, is a worthy follower of his father. E. W. Tatman is another local
member who can face an audience with something to say. And there are others who are able to entertain in a most
It is the aim of the Commercial Club to work in harmonious conjunction with the city and county officials, thus
looking to the betterment of the civic. industrial and commercial interests of Connersville and Fayette county.
It is also their earnest endeavor to be of assistance to the retail merchants of the city in the improvement of
local merchandizing conditions. There is a. close personal relationship between the city and farming interests,
a feeling which is largely the result of the mingling of the urban and rural members in the regular meetings of
There is, probably no better expression which may be used to describe the club than the. one which has been so
often applied to it - "livere." This apt expression is fully descriptive of the club and its members,
each one of whom is vitally interested in the present and future progress and prosperity of Connersville and of
the county of which that city is the county seat. Its officers, directors, committees and members have worked to
build up an organization strong and forceful enough to make it a potent factor in the welfare of the city and county.
It has no selfish ends to serve and no pet schemes to foster. It is free from any alliances save and except the
development of all the resources of the city and county; and expects to continue as in the past an active agency
for the welfare, growth and happiness of the community.
PRESENT OFFICERS OF THE CLUB.
For the past two years the president of the club has been E. P. Hawkins, one of the younger business men of
the city, a son of one of the oldest manufacturers in the city, and himself active in the life of the club since
it started. Mr. Hawkins is one of those men who radiate enthusiasm all the time, a man from whose boundless energy
others derive inspiration. Under his administration the centennial celebration was held and he is conceded to have
been the guiding genius behind the whole affair. He has been untiring in his work in behalf of the interests of
the Commercial Club, and he deserves a credit for the fine showing it has made during the two years .of his presidency,
though the same may be said of every president since the club was founded. Mr. Hawkins was succeeded early in 1917
by Arthur Dixon, another young man of boundless energy, and as well a patient detail worker.
The officers of the club in January, 1917, are as follows : Arthur Dixon, president: M. L. Hull, vice president;
E. P. Hawkins, treasurer; J. A. Remington, executive secretary. These officers with the addition of Judge Raymond
S. Springer, B. G. Powell, A. J. Roth. G. L. Brown, B. M. Barrows and J. C. Mount, constitute the board of directors.
The directors are supplemented by thirteen committees who have their various duties prescribed by the bylaws of
COMMERCIAL CLUB BOYS. BAND.
One of the achievements of the Commercial Club is the organization of a boys band, a musical organization which,
although but one year old, has already made a name for itself On January I, 1916, the club entered into a contract
with J. W. Young, of Bethel, Ohio, to come to the city and organize a boys' band. Mr. Young and his wife are both
accomplished musicians, and the success which has attended their efforts in the city is astonishing. Within a year
a band of thirty six members has been organized and the boys have been trained to the point where they can play
all kinds of classical and popular music. Mr. Young has arranged the orchestration of a large number of the selections
the, boys play. Three times each week since January, 1916, he has met with the band, and on very few occasions
has there been a single member absent from practice. He goes to the homes of the members and gives them individual
instruction, and in this way has been able to build up a band in a remarkably short time. His wife also assists
in giving individual instruction and herself plays in the band. Most of the members are under fifteen years of
age, the youngest member, Edward K. Hawkins, being only eight years of age. The band gave a concert last year which
was a pronounced success, and intends to give one again in the early part of 1917. The members have been fitted
out with handsome uniforms by the Lexington-Howard Company, while the caps were given by the Commercial Club.
The membership of the band is as follow: J. W. Young, director; cornets, Carl Stoll, Harry Reeder, Lindley Clark,
Burdette Walker, Howard Schneider, Donald Schneider, Paul Davis, Bertwin Keller, James Nash, William Snyder; trombones,
Earl Reeder, Rupert Hubbard, Frank Hendrickson, William Cloud; baritone, Schubert Tate; basses, Basil Hubbard,
Russel Campbell, Theodore Rockwell; tenor, Talcot Keller; piccolo, Glen Johnson; saxaphone, Ralph Riggs, altoes,
Arthur Neal, Mrs. J. W. Young, Luke Beeson, John McDonough, Dale Flint and Edward K. Hawkins; clarinets, Thomas
Clark, Keith Veatch, Marion Smith, James Fettig, Arthur Deaton, Cecil Altenbach, Walter Bradford, Almon Hall, Joseph
Obrecht, John Wellman; drums, Roland DeVor, Edward Stone, Caswell McNaughton. All the members of the band are now
in the public schools of the city with the exception of Mrs. Young, the wife of the leader, Earl Reeder, Rupert
and Basil Hubbard, Walter Bradford, Roland DeVor, Paul Davis and Theodore Rockwell.
"A LITTLE JOURNEY TO CONNERSVILLE "
In the fall of 1914 the late Elbert Hubbard, one of America's greatest globetrotters and a man whose descriptions
of places and things are known wherever the English language is spoken, paid a visit to the city of Connersville.
He had written of 'journeys" to famous cities all over the world, and it is said that no city as small as
Connersville was ever included in the long list of cities which he has chosen as fit subjects for his celebrated
"Little Journeys" Be that as it may, he came to Connersville in 1914, and as a result of his brief sojourn
here he gave to the world one of his inimitable classics - "A Little Journey to Connersville." It seems
particularly appropriate to insert that part of his brochure which relates to the city proper. It follows:
Recently I attended a banquet of the Commercial Club at Connersville, Indiana. In all, I attended about a hundred
banquets, luncheons and "get-together" talkfeast during the year. A few of these I remember.
This Connersville bunch was a little different from any company that I have ever met with. The men present looked
like ball players. They were a sober, slim, earnest lot, who had cut out the booze and bromide, the foibles and
the frills, and were there to get ideas, if by chance any were dropped from the oratorical Zeppelin. Here was a
town of ten thousand people - the county seat of Fayette county.
A hundred of the members were farmers. When you get three hundred intelligent men in a town of ten thousand people
to get together at a luncheon, you are doing something very unusual. And I saw I was in the presence of an unusual
crowd - happy, healthy, bronzed, good natured, out of door men.
Oratory is a collaboration between the speaker and the listener. In fact, the listeners key the caloric, and any
audience that does not get much, probably receives what it deserves.
At this banquet the waiters were members of the club. All members under twenty five years of age are liable to
be conscripted. Any man in the Connersville Commercial Club who is requested to do a thing is never asked twice.
The rule is imperative. And yet it is not a written rule, but the idea is abroad that any man who is requested
to do a certain thing for the Commercial Club, the town, the county or the state is complimented, and shall obey
without back talk, criticism or questioning.
And in all my attendance at banquets I have never yet known of an instance where the members acted as waiters and
did the so called "menial work". And yet John Ruskin said that menial work was the only work that was
necessary - the rest was superfluity.
This banquet was in charge of one of the members, and he had drafted into his service anybody whose services he
needed. The hall was beautifully festooned with autumn foliage and wild flowers - goldenrod, wild asters of a dozen
varieties. climbing clematis. sumac, and rustling oak leaves. The tables had pyramids of apples and grapes. The
whole thing was bounteous as a harvest festival. Many of the good things were home grown, and were provided by
the farmers present, free of cost.
The big auditorium where the banquet was held is owned by a stock company, all of whom are enthusiastic members
of the Commercial Club. This company also owns the theatre underneath, and in the building enough offices are rented
to cover the "overhead" Do not feel sorry for Connersville.
Connersville has the look of prosperity. It is the proud boast of the town that it has more miles of good pavement
per capita than any other town in America. I would rather accept the proposition than dispute it and it looks to
me as if the statement were well within the limit. This thriving little city is situated amidst a wealth of foliage.
Beeches, sycamores and maples give it a freshness and a beauty that are delightful.
On taking a little run out into the country I discovered that the multiplicity of peaches, pears, melons and sweet
potatoes with which the tables were burdened the night before, were so cheap and plentiful that they could be had
almost for the asking.
Connersville is beautifully lighted with cluster lamps and a multiplicity of electric signs. The show windows alma.
the streets reveal a degree of art which one does not look for in a country county seat. Prosperity without affluence
was evident on every band. In Connersville you will look in vain for slums. Here is neither poverty nor riches.
And there is work for everybody who wants to work. You can always tell a house that is owned by the man who lives
in it. Renters are a careless lot.
Backyards reveal character. And my guide, I noticed, was rather proud of sending his automobile up alleys, which
were paved with brick. And these rides through the alleys revealed to me the backyards, which were free from lumber,
garbage, trash many of them devoted to flowers, others to vegetables, some with delightful stretches of soft, smooth
In a bird's eye view of the town in a run of an hour we counted twenty two distinct factories. Most of these factories
were one story - some of them with sawtooth roof built of concrete or brick. Some of the factories were situated
in little parks, with a forest of catalpa trees, foliage plants, and well kept hedges surrounding them.
And usually there were concrete roadways. The railroad folks, even, had caught it, for the station, I noticed,
was built of art brick, with warm, red tile roof.
BUSINESS MEN'S CREDIT EXCHANGE.
The Connersville Business Men's Exchange was organized by A. Bogue of Rushville in February, 1916. The purposes
of the exchange, as defined in the prospectus, are to assist members in the collection of accounts; to assist debtors
in. paying them; to protect members against spurious advertising schemes and to strengthen the community by unity
The offices are located in the Jemison building, Central avenue. A. E. Leiter is president; John G. Powell, vice
president; Ellen Tressler, treasurer, and A. Bogue, secretary. The board of directors includes the foregoing officers
and Frank Hassler, F. B. Holter, H. L. Rouse, William Luking, Fred Heeb and Vernon Henry. In February, 1917, the
membership was seventy.
SOME HISTORIC LANDMARKS.
In the history of every city there are certain landmarks marking the progress of its growth.and.Connersville
is no exception to this rule. The appended list of dates and events sums up very briefly some important landmarks
in the history of the city. The list might be extended indefinitely, but the facts enumerated will give at a glance
most of the important events of the city.
1868 - John Conner, the first white man, located in Connersville.
1813 - The first. plat recorded.
1818 - Postoffice established.
1819 - County seat established at Connersville.
1821 - B. Conwell and George Frybarger located in Connersville.
1824 - The first newspaper issued in the city.
1827 - David Hankins located in Connersville.
1828 - The county seminary opened with Samuel W. Parker as principal.
1833 - The "Indiana Gazetteer" credited the village with a population of five hundred.
1845 - The White Water canal reached Connersville.
1849 - A combined court house and jail was erected; also the present town hall.
1851 - The first telegraph line reached the city.
1852 - The Bank of Connersville was established.
1857 - County erected its first infirmary.
1859 - The present firm of P. H. & F. M. Roots was established.
1862 - The first railroad, now the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western, reached the city.
1865 - The First National Bank was established.
1866 - The names of the streets were changed and in the same year the streets were first lighted by coal-oil lamps.
1868 - Fifty two dwellings were erected this year at a total cost of $150,152.
1869 - Connersville became a city as a result of the election held on June 16, 1869, when three hundred votes out
of three hundred sixty five voted in favor of making the change.
1870 - The city was first supplied with waterworks plant: the same year a permanent fire department was established.
1875 - The city was lighted by gas for the first time.
1880 - Present jail erected.
1882 - The first telephone system was installed in the city.
1887 - First daily newspaper appeared.
1889 - The postoffice advanced to second class and city carrier service established.
1890 - The court house was remodeled and given its present appearance; the first electric-light plant commenced
1891 - E. W. Ansted established the first one of his series of factories.
1903 - The free fair was established; the present high school building was erected.
1904 - Rural free delivery was established: the first interurban railway reached the city.
1909 - The public library was opened.
1910 - The present waterworks plant was erected.
1911 - Hydro-Electric Light & Power Company commenced operations; new postoffice occupied for the first time.
1912 - The city began concrete street paving.
1916 - New county infirmary opened.
1917 - Fayette County Memorial Hospital started.
1917 - Consolidation of two electric light companies under the name of the Hydro-Electric Light and Power Company.