Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Little White House 1960

The Little White House was built in Logansport in 1960 as a symbol of Logansport's friendship for the men of the Bunker Hill Air Force base. 

Credited with the idea to build and donate such a structure were Forest Spencer and Lester Johnston, who became Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the entire “operation”. 

Forest Spencer

Plans for the building were drawn by Richard Wolf. Walter Noakes, Sec. of the Carpenters Union assisted. Construction began in the Wolf Const. Quonset hut on the west side of town, mid August, 1960. Foundation in front of the Barnes Building - Captain Logan Hotel on E. Broadway was laid by Jack Wolf. All materials were donated by 19 businesses from Logansport, Royal Center, Lucerne, Walton and Monticello.

Six hundred hours of labor was donated by members of 8 unions through the cooperation of Building Trades Council headed by Gleason Bundy of Royal Center. 

The cornerstone was laid Sept. 1 at 8:15 p.m. with Mayor Neumann, Forest Spencer and Col. Vincent Crane present; at 10 p.m. a large crane and a truck carrying the main structure arrived, behind them was a line of trucks carrying the columns, floor, roof and other parts of the portico.

At midnight Lester Pottenger, donor of the landscaping, began spreading the trucked in dirt around the structure and planting bushes, assisted by several members of the local Garden Club. Onlookers pitched in; washing the windows and etc. 

Congressman Charles A. Halleck donated an American flag that had flown over the U S capitol on July 4, 1906, the day that the 50 star flag became official. 

Above: Congressman Charles A. Halleck, not wearing a hat.

The Little White House was moved to the Air Base and served as headquarters for "Operation Hospitality"; set on a permanent foundation and used as the reception center and family services office. 

October 25, 1961 news clip

The Commander’s wife expressed sincere thanks for the new headquarters, explaining that 65 volunteer wives of airmen and officers devote 25 hours per month each to the Family Services organization, formed in 1954 to assist airmen and their families. They planned to use one half of the building for an office and the other half for a reception lounge to be known as the “Hoover—Truman Lounge”.

The last news about the Little White House is that it was falling apart. There were those who hoped it would be saved, but I've yet to see a report that someone has saved it. I would venture to say that the building lasted much longer than anyone expected, but that's just my opinion. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Cass County Tornado 1960

Logansport Pharos Tribune July 5, 1960

The Logansport street department, working around the clock to clear the debris from the city's streets, will clear tree limbs from the street and sidewalks back to the property line, according to the department's announcement Tuesday. It is the property owner's responsibility to clear away fallen and broken limbs on their lots and they are asked to avoid pulling the debris into the| gutter and street in front of their property.

Many property owners asked for clarification of the city's attitude after crews with saws had cut trees from lawns and tugged them to the curb and street.

Will Ball, local historian, reported that Sunday's, storm was Logansport's worst in 119 years. The last comparable damage here occurred in 1841 when a tornado took the roof off of the courthouse.

The storm came out of the north and traveled a southeasterly direction, coming at Logansport down from Royal Center, hitting Logansport at College Hill then swooping down into the west side and cutting across toward Eel River Avenue. The path was wide enough to do damage as far as Tenth Street. 

Then it traveled on down Cass County to uproot trees in all of the towns between Logansport and Kokomo.

Logansport Pharos Tribune witness account.

 Eel River Avenue aka "Banker's Row"
 Eel River Avenue
Eel River Avenue
Eel River Avenue is at the western end of E. Broadway, Logansport.

The area between High and North Streets, on Tenth Street was also heavily hit.

Storm damage in Walton, Lincoln and Galveston was limited to uprooted trees.

Two businesses and one residence in Royal Center experienced damages due to fallen trees. The town was without electricity for five hours and telephone lines were down. Several barns were heavily damaged and on the farm of Edward Beckley, a silo was blown over.

Pharos Tribune, July 5, 1960 clip.

Cass, Miami and White Counties were all affected by this storm. It left two dead, twenty injured and around two million dollars in damage.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The D M Watts Building

Schrader’s Auto Store – “D M Watts 1901” engraved at top of building
116-120 S. Sixth Street, Logansport, IN

Logansport City Directory  Listings:
1897-98 - Daniel M. Watts sells agricultural Implements
1899-1900 – Daniel M. Watts same as above listing
1911 – Daniel (& his son) Harry E. Watts now sell agri. Implements, buggies AND automobiles
1915 – 116-120 S. Sixth also has apartment listings (names of people living in second floor apts.) Note: The Watts’ lived on Helm Street.
1926 – Harry E. Watts “battery service”
1930 – H. E. Watts agri. Implements, buggies

1939---Miller Motor Sales located at this address

1941 - Miller Motor Sales

Above clipping - Logansport Pharos Tribune, August 3, 1901

Above clipping from the Logansport Pharos Tribune also 1901.

2017 view as building is being prepared to house Legacy Outfitters and Black Dog Coffee. 

March 8, 1900
Logansport Pharos Tribune
At a late hour last night the boys at the North street engine house were wakened from their slumbers and informed by a resident of that locality that a stove in the agricultural ware rooms, owned by D. M. Watts, just north of Maurice's butcher shop, was burning at full blast and that there was danger of the building being set on fire by the overheated stove. One of the boys quickly donned his wearing apparel and went to the scene where he found a red hot stove, which would no doubt have been the means of setting the building on fire. The gas was turned off by the firemen, and this morning Mr. Watts was informed of the affair. He informed the fire boys that he is positive he turned down the gas before leaving and is under the impression that someone else, who has no right, carries keys to the building, and that they probably entered the building and turned on the fire in order to warm themselves. Mr. Watts says a careful watch will be kept for the individuals and if caught they will be given the full benefit of the law.

1917 – Obituary for Daniel M. Watts, for many years a dealer in agricultural Implements in Logansport, died this morning at 4:30 at his home, 921 Helm street, aged 61 years, death being due to diabetes, from which he had been a sufferer from a long time but which did not become acute until about two weeks ago, when he was compelled to relinquish his business. Mr. Watts was the son of William and Elizabeth (Daily) Watts and was born in Noble Township, Cass County January 2, 1856. He is survived by his wife, one daughter, Mrs. Alice Patterson, and three sons, William N. H. Watts, Ernest Watts and Harry E. Watts, all of this city. Deceased was a member of Eel Hirer lodge I. 0. 0. F., Purity Rebekah lodge, Woodmen of the World and the Ninth Street Christian Church.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wabash River Flood 1959

February 11, 1959 (Wednesday) Logansport Pharos Tribune, page 1

Worst Flood Since 1943


  The worst Logansport flood disaster since 1943 appeared to be nearing an end Wednesday noon as the Wabash River remained virtually stationary for a period of several hours just below the 19-foot mark. Local authorities were hopeful that the river had reached its crest after climbing less than two-tenths of a foot since 7 a.m.

  Thirty-two Logansport homes had been evacuated with the help of Logansport National Guardsmen Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Both the National Guard armory and the vehicle storage building were half full of appliances and furniture of all kinds removed from flooded homes in the south and west parts of the city. Working cooperatively with the Cass county sheriff's department, city and state police, the twenty National Guardsmen and two officers headed by Lt. John Fillmore spent the entire night on flood duty and were still hard at work Wednesday.

The first call authorizing ten Guardsmen and one officer for flood duty was received at the local armory at 5 p.m. Tuesday as the result of a telegram from the Cass county commissioners to Gov. Harold Handley. At 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Wayne Schaefer, Cass county director of Civil Defense, called Governor Handley for more help, and ten additional Guardsmen and another officer were called out. Law enforcement officers, civil defense officials, and Red Cross workers also were working virtually around the clock to aid flood victims.

Scores of homes in Logansport were without heat Wednesday as their basements began filling with water from overflowing sewers. The Washington grade school, closed Tuesday when water backed up beside the building, remained closed Wednesday. The Eighteenth Street Bridge remained the only link connecting the Southside with the main part of the city Wednesday after high water closed both the Cicott street and Third street bridges to automobile traffic. This created a traffic jam on Eighteenth Street and at one time cars were lined up a half mile on U.S. highway 35 and all of the way to Seventeenth Street in the other direction. Many people were late for work Wednesday morning due to the traffic tie-up.

  Fears were expressed for the safety of the Eighteenth street bridge because of the heavy load of traffic, and orders finally were given to limit the traffic to one way. Six cars were permitted to travel over the bridge at one time, with the last car handing a flag to the officers on duty so traffic could move in the opposite direction. By Wednesday morning most of the streets on the south side were closed to traffic, along with West Wabash avenue, Front, West Melbourne, Wilkinson, West Broadway, First street off Market, Third street at the underpass, all of Biddle's j island, and Market street west of Cicott. As a result it was necessary to reroute traffic on U. S. 24, U. S. 35, and State Rt. 29 and 25 through the city.

  Despite the fact that Goose Creek overflowed, sending the water across Cicott at the turn of State Rt. 25 into Logansport, some motorists were foolhardy enough to try getting through the icy water. As a result National Guardsmen had to push some cars and even trucks which stalled there. Guardsmen also rescued a carload of young people in a car which stalled in front of Berkshire's. Three trucks were being used by the Guard on a round-robin basis, plowing through water four and a half feet deep to reach some of the flooded homes. Each truck was manned by a driver and four men. While two of the trucks were out evacuating homes in the flood zone, the third was having its brakes thawed out at the armory. This was necessary to keep the brakes on the 2% ton trucks from going out completely. Some people in the flood area waited too long to call for help. At 613 Bartlett Street for example, Guardsmen found the water too deep even for their big trucks to get through. They were driving through the icy water up to the floor boards of the trucks and many of the Guardsmen were wet from head to foot by the time they had finished loading appliances and furniture on the trucks.
Above - a car tries to go through the flood waters - Washington Elementary School in background.

Although they had a mobile unit with a two-day radio in use, the radio went out of commission during the morning, hampering the communications between the men and the armory. Approximately 300 Logansport telephones also were put out of order at midnight in the Melbourne and Helm street area when water seeped into a cracked phone cable under Front street. Linemen had the necessary repairs made by 6 a.m. The business district began to feel the effects of the flood Wednesday as the water spread across Broadway and Second Street in front of the W-S-E Motor Sales, and it also spread across Market Street at First street. The dripping vehicles which went through the water spread a layer of ice for a distance of several blocks in both directions, adding to the hazards of motorists. At Georgetown, the situation remained unchanged, with all of the 100 residents of the village evacuated except for the six men left behind to guard against possible looting of the flooded area. Water also was around cottages at Miami Bend, Guardsmen having moved two families out there with the help of the local Radar unit. Ice was reported gorged again below Georgetown as more kept coming down the river with the flood waters. The water at Georgetown was reported six feet deep.

February 12, 1959
The Wabash River has passed the “nuisance” stage and moved toward disaster level. Water is creeping near to the business district. An additional 20 families have been evacuated. This makes 55 families, total, moved out of their homes. Emergency housing and feeding stations have been set up by the Red Cross including one at St. James Lutheran Church.

There is deep water on Broadway and traffic is being detoured. Water surrounds the Pennsylvania Depot on Fourth Street. Wheatland Avenue, Cicott Street and W. Market are all flooded.

National Guardsmen and Civil Defense were called out and moved people and furniture. Eighteenth Street Bridge is the only means of travel between the south side and the downtown – and there is a limit of 6 cars at any one time on that bridge due to concern over the strain of the flood. No trucks are allowed; they must continue on to the Cass Station Bridge to cross.

February 12, 1949 Logansport Pharos Tribune (above)

February 14, 1959 (Saturday) Logansport Press page 1

Clarence Quillen, city electric line foreman who took part in rescue work at Georgetown, wonders what became of a light truck that he saw swept away by the ice Tuesday morning. Quillen said he was on the north bank of the river above Georgetown when the ice broke and jammed again and sent water and, ice over the banks.

Across the river a light truck was on a low spot in the road. As the surge came, the truck driver jumped out and ran for high ground nearby. The ice overwhelmed the truck, which Quillen believes was pulled into the river. In any event, he knows the driver got out but he never saw the truck again. The incident being across the river, he is curious as to who the man was who had the narrow escape, and if the truck has been seen since.

Catfish Found In Basement Of Store

A small catfish that got washed back into a sewer pipe came to an untimely end in a down town basement. Water which backed into the basement under the Chas. Young & Son appliance store at 315 Fourth street, was pumped out yesterday to reveal the misplaced catfish.

Gorge ln The Eel East Of Adamsboro

Eel river, it turns out, is not clear of ice by any means. Above Adamsboro the ice is still jammed and gorged. Several islands there impede free flow of the ice and it has forced water onto farms of Charles Bennett on the south bank, and land on the north. At one time, a mile of the river road was under water, Bennett said, and his home was marooned for three days. The ice that came down and forced out the mass above Tenth street dam was from the river below the present jam, which could be moved by ice from above there. However, no damage is likely from this ice.  By the time it gets moving, it should go out freely.

No Sightseers for Georgetown

Sightseers will be kept out of Georgetown today and Sunday. Sheriff  L.0.Hall said last night that spectators have been interfering with residents moving back. Some inquisitive strangers have even walked through homes. The north approach to the town will be blocked off at the Crooked Creek Bridge, just north of the town. The Georgetown Bridge will be blocked off at the south end. The north river road will be blocked at the second overhead west of Logansport, where the road meets US 24. No one not living in the area, or having business there, will be allowed in. Cass Co. Civil Defense police will man the blockades, the sheriff said.

Wabash Under 13 Ft. Late Last Evening

The Wabash River reading at 10 o'clock last night was 12.40, a drop from 14.22 at 7 a.m. The river hit 19.75 late Wednesday night.

Wabash River Flood of 1958

   On June 11 it was reported that the Wabash already at 15.6 ft was slowly rising after three straight days of “cloudbursts” and violent storms.  From Wabash and Marion to Lafayette – families in the Wabash Valley were keeping close watch.

Brig. Gen. John W. McConnell order out 50 Guardsmen to fight a Deer Creek levee break, at Delphi, where 25 families got out ahead of the flood.

Gen McConnell also ordered sandbags to Peru and Marion.

   Between Marion and the junction of Mississinewa and the Wabash, the Wabash County sheriff’s dept. warned dozens of families to flee their summer homes at Maple Grove and Red Bridge.
Lightening killed 12 cattle on the Lawrence Wagner farm near Auburn.

 Kokomo city officials advised citizens to fill containers with clean water as flooding in Wild Cat Creek threatened the city waterworks.

 Tornado alerts were issued for most of the state.


The Wabash River slowly receded Thursday after reaching a crest of 17.8 feet in Logansport at 5 o'clock in the morning, but a forecast of showers and thunderstorms by Thursday evening, caused continued anxiety among those in the flood areas. Frank Elmlinger, local weather observer, said the river remained stationary for several hours before it began to drop slowly. By noon it had receded only a tenth of a foot. The Indianapolis weather bureau had predicted a crest of 18 feet or more here. The crest in this flood was just a foot below that reached in the last local flood on January 5, 1950, and was the same level reached by the flood of March, 1930. Although an estimated 75 families moved out of their homes here, few of them actually had water above the basements of their houses. Many basements were flooded, including those in the business district on Market street west of Pearl Street. It was too early to make any accurate estimate of tide flood damage, but it was believed that most of it was suffered by farmers, who lost complete fields of corn and soybeans.
The peak of the flood activity was reached Wednesday night, with approximately 200 local citizens actively engaged in relief and patrol work including the Red Cross, the National Guard, Civil Defense units, special deputies, Boy Scouts, ham radio operators and  soldiers from the radar unit in addition to the regular law enforcement agencies. Much of the activity was necessitated by the fact that all of the telephones in the south and west sections of the city and at the Logansport state hospital were put out of service at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday by water entering a 1200 pair telephone cable near the bus depot.   Telephone officials said water backing up in the manholes apparently caused sufficient pressure to force the water into the cable, shorting the lines out. Telephone linemen worked all night making the necessary repairs and local officials of the General Telephone company said they hoped to have service restored by noon today. They estimated that 3,000 telephones were affected.

Both the National Guard's radio telephones and the mobile short wave sets of the ham operators proved of great value in the emergency. The Guard kept units at Longcliff,  at the city building, and at  Civil Defense headquarters, and also for a short time at Memorial and  St. Joseph hospitals.

The ham radio operators, on the air continuously since 7 a.m. Wednesday, roamed the flood area with their mobile units, reporting families that needed help, locations where water was over roads and streets, and places where traffic was congested.

Operating on two frequencies, 75 meters, and six meters, they kept in  contact with their headquarters in the basement of the city building, The ham operators participating in the volunteer relief work included Don Hyman, Charles Mays, John Rice, Harry BurkJiast, Jr., Nelson Shepherd, Eugene Buntain, John Frye, Harold Kane, Robert Minnick, Dr. Edward Bosh, Ronald Btame, Bill Withrow, and Robert Gharis. Automobile traffic on U. S. highway 35 and state road 29 was still being rerouted Thursday because of the high water in the underpass on Biddle's island. However, cars continued to use highway 25 despite the large section, of the road that was under water at the Cicott street curve from the flooding of Goose Creek. U.S. highway 24 also was partially covered by water at the west edge of the city next to Harvey's drive-in.

June `3, 1958 Logansport Press (above)

Although much of the high water had receded in the county there still were places where roads were under water. The county highway department said, for example that the water remained to the top of a fence post on a road northeast of Royal Center. The highway department was busy Thursday hauling stone to a large washout at a county road intersection three miles northeast of Royal Center and a mile north of the place where the other road was still flooded. It will take a carload of stone to fill that washout alone, highway officials said. A number of smaller washouts in the county already have been repaired, and the work of replacing washed out culverts also has begun.

Thirty local National Guardsmen were called into service Wednesday afternoon at the request of Wayne Schaefer, local Civil Defense chief. They remained on duty Thursday.

The business and Professional Women’s Club helped the Red Cross keep its office open all night by working two-hour shifts. The Red Cross put cots and blankets in the new education building in the St. James parish hall for the use of flood victims but those were not needed as most stayed with friends or relatives. The Red Cross fed the Guardsmen, Civil Defense workers, Red Cross workers, and the radar men, and the radar men served coffee to the volunteers during the night also. The Salvation Army took coffee .and doughnuts to the volunteers Thursday morning.

Sightseers continued to drive around the flood areas Wednesday night and Thursday morning, creating a traffic problem, despite the pleas of law enforcement officers and Civil Defense Director Wayne Schaefer for them to stay away.

Barricades manned by Guardsmen kept them out of the flooded streets, however.

June 14, 1958 Logansport Press, page 1 (above)

Friday, March 1, 2019

Battle of Olde Town

The Battle of Kenapacomaqua also known as The Battle Of Olde Town was a raid in 1791 by forces under the command of Lt. Colonel James Wilkinson on the Miami town of Kenapacomaqua on the Eel River.


Beginning one mile upstream from Adamsboro,  in Clay Township, the Olde Towne site extends eastward for 3 miles to a point beyond Twelve Mile Creek and Buskirk side-road, leading south to the river, one mile west of Hoover, in Adams Township, 4 miles northwest of New Waverly.

The "towns" of Admasboro, Hoover and New Waverly used as landmarks in the description above were just that - towns - many, many years ago. Now they could be better described as modern-day country neighborhoods consisting of homes and perhaps a church and a cemetery for each.

Olde Town was the center of the branch of the Miami known as the "Eel Rivers", among them was Little Turtle. This remarkable chief was the head of the entire Miami nation for a long time. He also headed the far greater Pan-Algonquin Confederacy. Little Turtle, who possessed a great military mind, led his people to repeated victories over armies of such generals as LaBalme, Harmar and St. Clair.

The village of Kenapacomaqua consisted of scores of log huts, bark wigwams, a pottery, a council lodge, wharves, two or more burial grounds, extensive gardens and maize (corn) fields. A French trader once wrote about two separate dance rings on a plateau just west of Mud Branch Creek.


On August 7th and 8th, 1791 Olde Town was completely destroyed by 525 mounted Kentucky militiamen led by General James Wilkinson, who was destined to succeed "Mad Anthony" Wayne as chief commander of all armies of the United States. Wilkinson was under orders from General St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory.

When they arrived only a small portion of the usual hundreds of warriors was present because most were away hunting, leaving mostly the women and children. The American troops slipped in from the east, crossed the Wabash River on an old Indian ford near, Cedar Island or known in modern times as "Country Club Island", made their way across Miami Township and quickly forded Eel River between Kidd's Island (a point where later the Daughters of the American Revolution -DAR- would erect a monument). 

                                                     General James Wilkinson 1757-1825

The troops first attacked the portion of the village lying between Dry Run and Mud Branch Creeks.

Arrows on the map image above point to the area where Olde Town/Kenapacomaqua was located.

Though taken by surprise, the few warriors present fought hard from behind cabins and trees, until as many as possible, especially the women and children, could make their escape. For nearly half an hour the forest rang with shots and yells. But, soon the Americans were in complete possession of the village.

Eleven were killed - nine Miami and two soldiers. Thirty-four  Miami were captured. Many were injured, including one of Wilkinson's soldiers who was crippled for life.

The Americans camped in the town overnight and buried the dead. The troops searched for white captives of the Miami. They searched as far east as what is today the town of Mexico - in Miami County. They found no captives. In fact the few captives in custody of the Miami were laboring on a root-digging expedition in the wilds of what is now Fulton County - to the north.

Before leaving the area the troops burned every structure in Olde Town to the ground. Both harvested and unharvested crops were completely destroyed and every other damage possible was done.

On the night of August 8 General Wilkinson's troops camped at a point north of the modern-day Izaak Walton clubhouse in Noble Township.

Eventually they turned south, arriving at Louisville, Kentucky, with their prisoners, on August 21, 1791.

 Above:   Council Rock is located near Cedar Island aka Country Club Island. Logansport Golf Club clubhouse occupies this "island" today. Many treaties and other meetings were held here at the Council Rock. It is on private property.


In 1922 The Olde Town Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) placed a stone marker in the area of the battle.

According to the Logansport newspaper "Hundreds of people witnessed the unveiling" and Judge John S. Lairy delivered a speech.


Local historians Chester Wilson and Chalmer Condon began an excavation of the Olde Town area in August of 1932.

They kept a journal and put together a map of the area based on their findings. They forwarded copies of these to Sam Upton, who was also a historian and Curator of the Cass County Historical Society at that time.

Condon and Wilson discovered three trails, several tent sites, a dance ring and ceremonial circle which would've been the place for many things - including burning at the stake.

In 1880 a section of the area was first plowed by farmer John W. Wild. Items found during that time included a "silver cross about 4" across, a bronze medallion engraved '17-- Frederick the Great defender of the Protestants', glass pieces, musket barrels, lead grape shot and copper kettles (the kettles and grape shot can be seen in the Cass County Historical Society Museum today).

In 1932 when excavating the tent sites and the circle Wilson and Condon found primitive Native American tools and bones. The soil samples left no doubt as to where the fires were kept and where structures stood.

Above: This map mirrors the 1930s  map, drawn using a pencil on lined paper, by Wilson and Condon.


In 1947 another marker was placed in the area. This marker was provided by Indiana Historical Bureau and matched other markers across the state.

It is no longer standing.

To quote Robert B. Whitsett, Jr., yet another Cass County, Indiana historian and genealogist: "The story of the rise and fall of Olde Town is one of the most fascinating and colorful, but least known chapters of Indiana history".


Brass Kettle, possibly made in France, shipped
down St. Lawrence River and traded to Indians.
(Inside is a piece of grape shot.) 

A larger Brass kettle - Donor Judge Clifford Wild

These round lead balls range from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. 


Graves of the two soldiers who were killed during the raid.

Much more can be learned about the Miami and this battle (raid) by visiting your local historical society.

My sources for the content within this blog topic include:
Logansport Press
Logansport Pharos Tribune
Report to the War Department, August 24, 1791 by Lt. Colonel Commandant Wilkinson
Journal pages and personal letters between Chester Wilson & Sam Upton