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Alexandria Monroe Township Historical Society

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Dr. Gorge Overpeck retires after 43 years of practice.

Bids of $5,554,000 in for a new Alexandria-Monroe high School.

Farmers protest cost of new high school.

Contracts are awarded to build the new high school.

Dale Prough retires after a 40 year career.

A potentially dangerous fire was confined to the loading dock of Cox Super Market June 4th when a night sprinkler system extinguished the fire.

The Orestes Oak Tree Festival, planned by the Orestes Bicentennial Committee, will combine historic crafts, music, food, fashions and contests in a three-day celebration July 18, 19, and 20. Since the Oak Tree in the center of Orestes is 300 years old, the committee decided to make it the center of their festival. The 1975 festival is a warm-up for an expanded Bicentennial festival in 1976. Depending on its success, the festival may become an annual event. The planning committee, headed by John Shettle, is hoping to provide three days of old-time fun for little or no charge. Contests such as a spelling bee, hog calling, greased pig chase, egg rolling, three-legged sack races, beauty and muscle contest in old-time swimsuits and a beard judging, are only a few of the many activities open to anyone wishing to enter.

As encouragement to enter the beard judging contest, shaving permits must be obtained by any man who is clean shaven. Failure to have no beard without a shaving permit will lead to a $2 penalty and a term in the Calaboose. Permits may be obtained from committee members or at the information booth for $1.50. Other activities include a cake judging contest combined with a home-made ice cream social, a style show of old fashions, a pageant Orestes Where? giving a history of the town; and a worship service under the Oak Tree.

An old time saloon will be serving root beer while the local quilting society will be working on a quilt for viewers. Vern Horlander, of Orestes, has constructed a loom for the festival which will be used to produce rugs for sale.

In addition, there will be several continuous displays and demonstrations along with refreshment booths exhibiting art work, crafts, and antiques.

Babe Ruth State Finals to open in Alexandria.

A crowd estimated at 2,000 enjoyed the colorful 40 unit parade which kicked off the Orestes Oak Tree Festival last Friday evening. The Alexandria-Monroe Marching Band and other units made it an enjoyable well-received parade.

New Alexandria High School given the green light on construction.

Work begins on new high school.

An Alexandria bus driver, Keith Sizelove was killed around 2:50 p.m. Nov 6, when the bus he was driving was struck broadside by a Norfolk and Western freight train. Sizelove, 52, was on his way to the Alexandria Junior high to pick up students when the accident occurred. Sizelove drove many of the Orestes students to the Orestes School and Alexandria High School. He resided south of Orestes on state road 128.

Local farmers join in to help with the harvest of grain from the Keith Sizelove farm.

Alexandria firemen with wagon and horses in 1904.

The framework of the gymnasium wall of the new high school is visible.

Workmen fight bitter cold conditions as the framework of the new Alexandria High School pushes skyward.

With eager anticipation of the 1976 Orestes Oak Tree Festival, the festival committee is making plans for an old-fashioned church service under the historic oak tree, a pitch-in dinner on the lawn.

The Mill Street Elevator in Alexandria was razed last week after being in operation since 1860. The elevator burned for the most part July 23, 1975. In 1870 F.W. Daniels, owner, installed a distillery in conjunction with the mill. The article gives a very good account of the history of the elevator.

Joe DiRuzza, a young Orestes man was shot in an attempted robbery in Anderson at Broadway and Vineyard at a Village Pantry. DiRuzza was alone in the store when the man came in and shot him as he was complying with the mans demands. He is in the Community Hospital Intensive Care Unit in critical condition.

Willis Phelps of rural Elwood man was killed at the Dundee railroad crossing of the Norfolk and Western.

Garth Cone of Pierceton, Indiana is named the new basketball coach at Alexandria-Monroe high School.

A fire causing a million dollars in damage swept through the Rockwool Industries plant in Alexandria.

Photographs Alexandria of old is features in this edition of the Times Tribune.
Alexandria rural mail carriers and their hitches.

A nice article on telephone service coming to Alexandria in 1893.

The telephone booth outside the Orestes Post Office was removed today.

A photograph of a popular waiting station for the interurban located between Alexandria and Summitville is shown, also a nice article.

Alexandria High School is put on probation for one year after a problem in a football game at Peru October 8th.

Death of former Monroe Township Trustee, Ernest Allen.

The Madison County Landfill just east of Orestes is scheduled for expansion, bringing it within 600 feet of the town city limits. Most Orestes residents vehemently object to what they feel are health hazards created by the presence of the dump. County Commissioner John Hobbs states the operation is covered over each night and that no hazards exists. In addition, he states, the land will be more valuable after the landfill is completed and the land reclaimed. Presently Florida Station Road and Madison Avenue and 1100N from Elwood to Alexandria, look like a dump. This is the major roadways leading to the landfill.

Firemen fought bitter cold with sub-zero wind chills in bringing the fire at the former site of the J.J. Long Trucking Company at Co Rd. 1025N and 200W near Orestes under control. The fire occurred Jan 25th. The fire broke out about 1:00 p.m. and was fought for over three hours by Alexandria and Frankton firemen. They had to return to the scene again that night after the blaze broke out again.

A crew of the Union Traction Company at Alexandria. The photo was sent to the Times Tribune by Mrs. Earl Savage.

The Knights of Pythias Building in Alexandria was barricaded this week after a large chunk of cement fell two stories and no one was injured.

The K of P Building in Alexandria built in 1902, will be sold or completely repaired.

A community banded together April 24th to fight a common enemy, the county dump. More than 200 persons attended the meeting. designed to inform them of how to fight the proposed 66 acre expansion of the county landfill, a move which would bring it nearly to the Orestes city limits. The meeting was led by Terry Muey, who lives on land south of Orestes. He outlined steps taken by the group, such as petitions to the county commissioners listing problems such as the landfill being used by people living outside the county, safety rule violations, spillage of trash on roads leading to the dump, violation of laws governing the landfill operation, roads suffering extensive damage from trucks too heavy for the construction, increased rat population, dog packs from the dump coming into the town especially around the Orestes Elementary School playground. Most of the problems have arisen since the county has allowed the City of Anderson to bring all of its garbage and sewage sludge to the landfill.

Orestes residents pick up trash around the immediate area. Four photos.

Also a photo of the Cragmile stone quarry on P Street.
The Cragmile Stone Quarry is about 65 feet deep in spots and was used in the production of mineral wool by the old Banner Rock plant, which was eventually incorporated into the John-Manville Corporation in Alexandria. Some of the limestone mined from the quarry was used to face downtown buildings in Alexandria. Two other quarries were located in Innisdale, one east of the Banner Rock plant, and the other was called the Nickerson Quarry. When the quarries were in full production, tracks and rails were used to bring horse-drawn stone-filled carts to the surface. Big steam engines were used to pulverize the rock. On a sunny day, the big steam engine that was used in the quarry can be seen through the water as it still sits on the bottom, a rusting relic of the gas boom here.

A large article titled Lily Creek Valley History
by Raymond Davis

Members of the Ku Klux Klan, approximately 30, walked through Alexandria robed and hooded.

Members of the Alexandria School Board signed a letter protesting the proposed expansion of the county landfill at Orestes during their regular meeting June 4th. The board wanted to side with Orestes It is a situation where Orestes is carrying the load for the whole county. and we recognize that the narrow roads around Orestes are heavily traveled with garbage trucks and there is a great deal of spillage in the vicinity.

The Madison County Historical Society is also protesting the expansion of the Madison County Landfill at Orestes. In their notice, the society stated that the area is known to be of archeological significance and other area needing archeological reconnaissance. They noted that various Indian tools, arrow heads, and other implements have been found on the land where the Madison County Commissioners proposed to expand the landfill. Such expansion would destroy the site which is rich in archeological and historical importance and which was the site of Chief Pipes village. Sara Jane Eaton is president of the group with Haroldyne Zook recording secretary and Howard Eldon, the executive director of the society.

photograph of Johns-Manville in 1897

photographs, four
In the late 1890s, Alexandria had the distinction of becoming the first city in the world to have the latest in mass transportation. An interurban line was installed from Alexandria to Anderson and the residents of the area began commuting. The line tracks ran from Broadway and Monroe streets just north of the downtown and followed a path that was about one half mile west of the present St. Road 9. Along that line were waiting stations, steel reinforced cement buildings, hexagonal in shape with a wood door and window slits on two sides to watch for the interurbans. On such waiting station has been kept intact by the Ed Pierce family, who live along Co. Rd. 700N. The property has belonged to several generations of Pierces and the waiting station was located in one of their cornfields. The older Pierce children traveled to school in Anderson via interurban, according to younger brother Ed. The station has now been donated to the City of Alexandria and was moved to its new home in Beulah Park last Saturday September 15th, through the donated efforts of Ron Ross of Anderson house movers and his crew. The 12,000 lb. station was dug out and peeled from the soil. The building had previously been estimated at two tons, then proceeded to lift the front end of the crane off the ground, a feat that requires more than five tons. The building was chained to a lowboy truck and the trek to town began, at ten miles per hour down St. Rd. 9. A concrete base had already been set in the park and the building was turned to face the north, the same direction as the interurban historical plaque and the two now reside together. A historical plaque will also be put in place on the waiting station, acknowledging the Pierce family and their donation. This will be done by the Madison County Historical Society. Also plans of Alexandria history buffs is to purchase an interurban car and restore it and put it in place in the park. Curt Ellis of Alexandria is heading the efforts.

photograph of interurban house at Bunker Hill

photograph of Orestes Town Hall Demolition on page 1 and the Town Hall about 1938 on page 2.
Orestes residents now have a new vista of their Community Center as the old Town Hall was recently razed. The beautiful Community Center was made a reality by the foresight and dedication of their Board of Trustees, Ralph Pratt, Jack Ritchison and Bennie DiRuzza. The building with modern facilities, has a Council Room, serves the Volunteer Fire Department, houses their fire truck, etc., and the village water utility. The building was started in 1978 and recently completed by the Nancy Construction Company.

photograph of the Orestes Oak Tree Indiana Tree of the Year.
The mighty Orestes Oak Tree has been selected by the Indiana Arbor Society as the 1980 Tree of the Year. A special dedication and presentation of the plaque will be made Thursday, Nov. 1st at 1pm. The public is invited to attend and refreshments will be served. The oak, which marked the Indian trails, stood as a guide for early traders and settlers that made their way between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

Two underground explosions and three fountains of red flame erupted at the Madison County Landfill near Orestes today when a bulldozer operator began uncovering a portion of the area dumped in the same morning. Officials contacted the Fort Benjamin Harrison bomb squad, engineers and chemists at Delco Remy and Guide divisions in Anderson, the hazardous waste division of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the National Guard and the Army Reserve. Although none of these agents could identify the canisters or liquid, all agreed that they were dangerous. By checking the log of firms dumping at the landfill, Gerald Thomas, superintendent confirmed the material had come from loads either from Bucks Refuse or Guide Division.

The gasoline and service station built by Lawrence "Dumps" Shaw and formerly owned by Ben Roby and Robert Blake was torn down today in Orestes.

Yesterday A History Of Orestes, Indiana went on sale today in Orestes and nearly 400 books were sold. Orestes folks starving for ink about their beloved town flocked to grab their personal copy, many buying many copies for their children, relatives and friends. Dave Dwiggins and Father Garland Dwiggins distributed the books and traded stories with those leafing through the book. Author Dave Dwiggins and brother Garry, the editing publisher, constructed the book after numerous interviews with the prominent citizens of Orestes that had lived the history.

David Dwiggins and Loriaux Sturbois announced that they are teaming up to publish a book that Mr. Sturbois wrote in the 1970s. The Book will be called Mudsock and will be about Dundee, Orestes, and the Pipe Creek Valley during the 1800s through the turn of the century. The stories will be real but Mr. Sturbois has changed the names in order to disguise the identities of questionable citizens of the period.

Nancy Draper, president of the Alexandria Historical Society addressed the Orestes History Club and told the history of Alexandria and Monroe township and also answered questioned about the old cemeteries of the near countryside.

Orestes has had police protection since long before it was incorporated in 1895 but a police department has never existed till now. Marshal Cliff Terry has cleaned out the north-front end of the K. of P. building on the ground floor and set up an office.

Death of Howard Eldon, 65, died September 19, 1995. He was born March 19, 1930 in Mount Carmel and spent his early years in Andersonville before moving to Anderson in 1941. He graduated from Anderson High School in 1948. He was the historian archivist at the Anderson Public Library for 20 years, retiring in May 1995. The information highway ran both ways for Eldon. People frequently shared their personal stories as Eldon directed them through paper trails in the Indiana Room. Their tales, in turn, became a part of the county history that was carried on in a way that only Eldon could tell it, according to Phyllis Leeds, a co-worker in the Indiana Room. He was the first curator of the Gruenewald Home. He worked for the Anderson Township assessors office in 1955 and was a rental manager of Anderson Bank from 1963 to 1965. He also was an ordained Baptist minister and brought the gospel to the Orestes Baptist Church as an interim pastor years back. Howard was also very instrumental helping Raymond Davis and David Dwiggins in their efforts to track and record Orestes history. He was a credible walking encyclopedia of Madison county history.

In November 1994, Orestes received a $180,000 state grant from the Indiana Department of Commerce to finance a water project that would connect the towns 200 utility customers to the Alexandria water system. The grant will no longer be available if the town does not get an extension or start construction by July. Alexandria has a problem of tracking its own water and is reluctant to move with the deal. With each 1.5 million gallons of water pumped, 600,000 is not accounted for. An Agreement between Alexandria and Orestes would widen the customer base of Alexandria and slash in half the cost of residential water to Orestes customers, who currently pay a minimum of $13.89 per month. Alexandria Mayor James Wehsollek expressed his concerns, I want to do everything possible to work out an agreement, but we have to solve our own water problems before we can ship water to Orestes. I know the Orestes folks are in a bind and well do what we can to help. Were working on the problem as we speak.

Alexandria basketball players, Mickey Hosier and Chris Hahn join Rachel Garner as Indiana All-Stars. Garner was named a month ago. Alexandria never had an all-star before this year and now they can proudly boast having three.

Because of concerns about future growth, the Alexandria City Council has decided not to sell water to Orestes. Alexandria Mayor James Wehsollek said Tuesday the City Council decided to refuse Orestes request to install a water line connecting the two communities. Because of the new housing addition and other proposals, there was a concern we couldnt provide the need of Alexandria residents, he said. Currently we use about 800,000 gallons per day and our plant is capable of supplying 1 million gallons per day.

It was a tough decision, Wehsollek said. We want to be good neighbors and it would have been a benefit to the citizens of Orestes, but I promised to improve the infrastructure in Alexandria. Orestes Town Council president John Shettle said the town needed a decision because of a deadline on the use of a $172,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Commerce. He said Orestes uses about 35,000 gallons of water a day. That grant runs out on July 1, he said. We had to supply the state with an agreement with Alexandria to receive the funding.

Well look at alternatives. One is to ask the state to change the grant to improve our water system. Shettle said the problem with the Orestes water system is that if a well fails, the town will have to drill down at least 4,000 feet because the former county landfill is located outside of the town. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management encouraged the water line to Alexandria, he said. I understand their concerns about supplying residents of their community. Shettle said there was a fear if Alexandria agreed to connect the two systems, Red Gold would tap in. Red Gold has its own water system, Shettle said. They said that they wouldnt tap into our system until there was an agreement with Alexandria and Orestes.

A former Orestes clerk-treasurer spent almost $9,000 of the towns money in 1993 and 1994 without approval by the Town Council, state auditors said. The fact and other financial discrepancies were listed in a State Board of Accounts 1993-1994 audit released Thursday. 28 claims totaling $8,936.06 could not be located, or were not approved for payment by the Town council. Other reportable practices included the fact that Cox wrote renumbered checks out of sequence, failed to pay required state unemployment tax, distributed inaccurate W-2 Wage and Tax Statements, and repeatedly failed to submit numerous reports required by the state. The auditors also said that Cox failed to keep complete and accurate ledgers, did not make timely bank deposits for utility payments by town customers and did not keep accurate records of utility payments to the town. In addition, many claims for payment did not contain proper signatures, were inadequately itemized or did not reflect the total paid. Although auditors did not make an audit of the 1995 town books, their review of those books revealed that Cox made no entries in the water utility cash journal after March 1995. In January the Orestes Town Council borrowed $25,000 from the towns utility to pay debts. The loan was necessary, council president Jon Shettle said, because Cox failed to pay many of the towns debts her last two years in office. At the same time, Shettle told reporters he had no knowledge of alleged wrongdoing by Cox, but that the former clerk-treasurers bookkeeping practices were shoddy. Last month the Town Council instructed town Marshal, Cliff Terry to find out if Cox committed and criminal acts resulting from a number of checks she wrote without council approval. Cox disputed any wrong doing in a letter to the state auditors.

Water utility books for Orestes from 1995 have been reassembled and it appears additional unapproved claims have been paid. Orestes Clerk-treasurer Erin Atwood said Thursday the 1995 Utility Department books have been restored. As far as I know, all past due bills have been paid, she said. But you never know whats coming in the mail. Some of the unapproved claims would have been approved if they had been taken to the town board. At this point I cant say any money is missing. Orestes Town Marshal Cliff Terry and the Indiana State Police are conducting an investigation into the unapproved claims and the $42,119 not accounted for. Terry said he hopes to take the investigative materials to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings soon for filing of possible criminal charges.

The Orestes Town Council will file suit against the former Clerk-treasurer seeking more than $57,000. Council President John Shettle instructed Town Attorney Timothy Lanane to proceed with a civil lawsuit against Dixie Cox. The town wants to be reimbursed for $51,000 in alleged unauthorized expenditures and more than $6,000 for the cost of related audits.

Slickville, a village that has faded into history will be honored September 7th at the remote point it once existed, five miles east of Alexandria, one half mile north of state road 28. A historical marker will be unveiled next to the cornfield where tiny Slickvilles thriving business, M. Myers & Son Tile Works, once stood a century ago.

James Chaplin, 76, of Gilman, will be addressing the Orestes History Club October 24th at the Dr. Joel Cook/ Orestes Historical Building. He was a World War II veteran and was on the boat to pick up John F. Kennedy after he was torpedoed in the South Pacific.