Sunday, November 29, 2015

Toward the end -- Part 4

Our evaluation of the politics of the 1960s was more genteel on a lot of levels than it would be today, but the nature of our federal government following the Eisenhower years was decidedly Democratic.

A strong executive branch that grew out of the Franklin D. Roosevelt years was still in evidence when John F. Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon in 1960. Generally, it seems Nixon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, though it's likely he'd have continued the Eisenhower policies had he been elected.

Too much detail probably. Books are abundant on the years Ike was president, and it's fair to assume that he'd have approved the Brookville reservoir project had it been offered by Congress.

Following the thread toward the actual approval of the funds to build the dam, much of it connects to Lyndon B. Johnson, who was installed as president after Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963. Johnson had established himself as a molder of policy during his years in the Senate, and that was reportedly still much in evidence after he became president.

In effect, what LBJ wanted, LBJ got ... and he launched a strong federal approach to the nation's ills, including his "war on poverty" and "Great Society" themes, some of which is being debated today for their effectiveness, or lack thereof.

But public works projects met with less resistance, and the funding of such behemoth tasks as damming up entire river valleys was precisely what Kennedy had envisioned for America when he was elected:

Our country is too strong to fail. We can even go to the moon if we work together. Democrats in Congress agreed with that and moved forward on ideas that had been advanced by Eisenhower, re-defined by Kennedy and driven home by LBJ.

A dam on the East Fork was more than just a lake. It was America being great, America taming its resources, America proving that a river is just a river.

Indiana's elected representatives in those days were mostly sturdy Democrats. Sen. Vance Hartke had been elected in 1958 and Birch Bayh after that. Both were Kennedy Democrats. Bayh actually served as the principal speaker when groundbreaking ceremonies were held in December 1965.

The state's 9th Congressional District, which included Fairfield, had been governed by Republican Earl Wilson for approximately 390 years -- give or take a semester -- before Wilson was replaced in 1964 by Democrat Lee Hamilton, who will be explored in another blog piece. (Wilson was a supporter of the reservoir project.)

Weaving in and out of congressional politics was an exercise in futility, particularly prior to the final appropriation of construction funds. But futility was just a word for those who principally opposed the reservoir and openly valued a watershed program. Another story, another blog item.

The money for building the dam, as well as other flood control projects in Indiana, came through the Senate, all part of a $4.4 billion public works bill. In all, $27 million was earmarked for Brookville, some of which was provided by the state of Indiana to "insure that the state maintain control of the water rights and storage."

Brookville provided its own muscle to the project as it moved through the political process. A flood control association was formed in 1959 following a devastating flood that hit the town when its levee broke. At least $30,000 in federal dollars went to the association to study flooding, with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

That study data was used to promote a positive vision for building the dam. Once LBJ's public works notions began to take root, it was simply a matter of adding a million here, a million there ... and America would indeed turn a river into a lake.

By the middle of 1963, the answers began to apply to the questions. The lake was inevitable.

Along the way, changes in plans accompanied ongoing studies.

In summary, almost anybody who mattered was in favor of the reservoir project, for diverse reasons.

All those opposed may go somewhere else to live.

In Brookville, they held a parade.

Drawing of the plan in 1965.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Toward the end -- Part 3

Brier Cemetery (bridge in background) 1965 P-I photo
By the start of 1965, it had become clear that the federal reservoir was no longer a possibility but a reality. The construction of a Corps of Engineers control tower just north of Brookville on the East Fork had settled the discussion.

It was the town's tombstone.

Various newspapers dabbled with the fate of the community over a couple of years, most of them achieving the same objective with virtually no twist on the concept.

How did people feel about leaving Fairfield for "somewhere else"?

Joan Chapman, a Fairfielder who worked as a correspondent for the Richmond Palladium-Item, was more thorough than some others when reporting on the slow, painstaking process of pulling up stakes and finding a home "somewhere else" other than Fairfield.

Her three-part series in January 1965 was insightful.

"I wish they'd do what they're going to do," Ora Linegar was quoted as saying, "so I'd know what I can do."

Linegar, whose farm was on the north edge of town, was like many who were waiting for the federal government to complete the process for buying the land and giving residents some direction about what to do next.

Not much direction came. Slowly, the houses were purchased, the school closed, and the residents began to scatter. Most stayed within driving distance of Fairfield because their jobs were still in the area.

Some found homes in Liberty, Brookville, Connersville, other similar towns. Farmers mostly just "moved to town" and gave up the business. It was hard to find another farm.

Joan Chapman wrote: "To date about $756,000 has been appropriated for construction of the dam. Only an act of God or a national emergency will stay these plans."

Said Willie T. Davis, who had owned a grocery: "It would mean the end of us and I am not sure what we would do. But if the dam is for the good of Franklin County, then I am all for it going in."

An odd conflux of emotions.

A peculiar event had taken place a couple of years earlier when Clarence O'Hara, in the face of the impending reservoir project, built a house in Fairfield.

"Undaunted by the coming deluge, this man's courage has enabled his family to experience the unique joy of a brand new home for the past three years."

The house was eventually moved north of Liberty.

Joan wrote: "But it will only be in retrospect, many years hence, that we may evaluate the courage, stamina and resourcefulness of the people of this small Hoosier community."

Joan and Bob Chapman eventually moved their house north onto old S.R. 101 and lived there until both died.

Meanwhile ...................................

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Toward the end -- Part 2 (Somerset)

Somerset downtown area, winter 1963
The 1960s marked a major shift for Indiana in terms of its infrastructure.

On several levels, the state crawled out of the past into a strange new era.

Mainly, the state's highway system began to improve with changes in federal funding and the introduction of a state sales tax (2% if you are counting). The interstate highway system was slowly gaining traction as well.

Meanwhile, the state dismantled its awkward and confused public school system, shutting down the rural township schools, shuffling the students into consolidated playpens that promised better education, better teachers, more efficiency and ... almost everything else that looked good on paper.

As the highways bypassed the towns, the towns became less a destination than an inconvenience. It would be a few years before the principle of the shopping mall would take root, but the menu was on the table.

And Indiana began to take stock of its natural resources. Included was soil and water management practices that would inevitably draw the blueprint for the Brookville Reservoir.

Brookville was one of several such projects in Indiana at the time, and the people of Fairfield gained considerable knowledge about the process by studying a similar scenario in the Wabash County town of Somerset.

The town was on the Mississinewa River and was, like Fairfield, moved to accommodate a federal dam in 1965.

An Indianapolis Times article in February 1963 explored life in Somerset as the shadow 0f the dam grew larger.

"The river won't stay away from Somerset's door, so the whole town is set to move."

Somerset, as a town, eventually moved to a high spot not far from its original location, and the Times said that it was the only move of an entire unincorporated town to a new site, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Fairfield would not be moved for several more years, so it's not clear if it qualifies since the town itself was not moved, simply inundated. Semantics, I suppose.

Somerset was approximately the same size as Fairfield, population around 300, and was one of several communities in north-central Indiana along the Wabash Basin to be affected frequently by high water.

"People here are resigned to moving, but not giving up on Somerset," the article said. "An association of citizens was formed ... by local businessman Fred Snyder."

What separated Somerset from Fairfield is perhaps the coordinated effort by its residents.

According to the article, "The Army told us that if at least 50 percent of the 72 families having to move would agree to build another town, they'd build streets for us. We formed a corporation and bought a site," Snyder was quoted as saying.

Despite all that, the usual turmoil and angst over moving the community was real, according to the article.

"A majority will be hurt by it. One woman, born and raised near here who lived here in the same house for 60 years, suddenly lost her mind," Snyder told the newspaper. "We can't say all this business caused it, but she was all right until we got the word to clear out."

Most Somerset buildings were demolished during the construction phase, though some structures were moved to the new town. The complete buyout occurred sometime near the end of 1963 and the dam was effectively finished four years later.

And as could be expected, some residents felt they'd been deceived.

"What does get us," one man told the newspaper, "is that after they convinced us it was necessary (for flood control) and everything was settled, they told us the land around the reservoir would be used for recreational purposes too. This we do mind because we'll be living a mile away from all those picnickers and city people traipsing by our house going to the reservoir."

Boat sales anyone?

The relocated town is west of the original, just south of the city of Wabash.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Toward the end -- Part 1

Our unforgettable town square
Recollections of the 1937 flood that may have been the second-worst ever in Indiana were still lingering when the federal Congress approved a flood control act in 1938 that actually didn't do much for the East Fork.

Well, yes ... it did, though it took more than 2 decades before anybody noticed. Wars and such got in the way.

It was the flood of 1959 that spurred what would become an enormous scrapbook full of newspaper clippings, photographs and ads all aimed at what was to be the greatest economic miracle in Franklin County history. (Still waiting, I think.)

It's possible I have in my possession every single one of these scrapbook entries.

The first few years of the '60s were pretty sleepy along the East Fork, though conversations about the inevitability of an eventual federal reservoir wove in and out of every election cycle. By 1963, the talk ceased to be idle chatter.

Before backtracking to the beginning, we can start from sometime in the middle, which was effectively the end of Fairfield. That story comes from Max Knight, who was a reporter for the Richmond Palladium-Item, one of the publications that did great work covering the reservoir project from start to finish.

Knight, in an article dated Sept. 7, 1966, explains what life was like at that moment in our town's history:

"Historic Fairfield virtually has become a ghost town.

"By Dec. 1, houses must either be vacated or moved. Many residents already have left. Others are in the process of moving. A few persons are waiting as long as possible to leave homes they have cherished for many years."

Fairfield, Knight said, would eventually be under 30 feet of water.

"Although the town must be vacated by Dec. 1, it is expected to be more than two years before the first water flows into the reservoir."

Knight's research was detailed.

"Congress approved $200,000 in 1963 and $165,000 in 1964 to complete the final designs on the reservoir. Although no funds were budgeted for the start of construction, in 1964 Sens. Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh (both Indiana Democrats) were successful in amending the Senate Appropriations Bill to include $500,000 for construction."


A year later, Knight said, Congress approved another $1.73 million for continuing the work. (The eventual low bid on the project was about $1.8 million.)

It moved that swiftly. First the money, then the eviction notices.

Knight continued:

"Also, plans to preserve the old covered bridge seem to have dissolved and it appears the structure will be torn down as workmen clear the area for the reservoir basin.

"Fairfield residents fought long and hard to keep their town but now that the actual removal of the people is well underway, the fight appears to have gone out of all but a few that remain.

"This town, platted in 1815 and steeped in history, soon will become only a memory."

12-11-65. They got "sponsors" for the ad.
We were all invited. How nice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Merle Updike -- interesting guy

Merle with lots of red hair
At the end of 1942, a guy named Fred Mohler was elected surveyor for Franklin County. At the time, he was also county highway supervisor.

A few months later, Mohler resigned as surveyor, claiming the two hats were too heavy.

The county appointed Merle John Updike as surveyor and the rest was technically history.

Ol' Merle was my grandfather but that's not really the point. Well, it sort of is the point, depending, I suppose.

Hell, Updike Road near the Fairfield Marina was named after the guy. I kinda was, too. He moved to Fairfield in 1943. On your way to the marina, the house you see at the curve is where he lived for a billion years.

The family called him "Pop" and he was evidently quite the character around the courthouse, surveying this and that, doing what surveyors do. He was a Republican, which has some bearing on all this. Not a lot, just some.

He was also elected every four years until 1972. During that time, he claimed to have named every road in Franklin County, from its southern corners to its northern border. Smokey Hollow, Coon Run, Gobbler's Knob ... sounded like a ton of fun.

I suppose, as important people go in rural areas, the surveyor is perhaps as useful as any. Most county offices do serve a significant purpose though much of that has changed with the growth of new and diverse technologies. Still, in Merle's time, knowing which rock was on which side of the creek was a pretty big deal.

Fences and all that.

1961 at the Fairfield town square.
The Richmond Palladium-Item was one of a couple of newspapers which covered Merle's 83rd birthday party in 1969, establishing that he was perhaps the oldest active elected official in Indiana at the time. He also ran for another term the previous November.

And won.

After that, he retired and died in 1977 at the tender age of 91.

Merle's history is interesting but perhaps more from a note of peculiarity than actual deed. He did attend Purdue in 1909-11, which probably was a rare achievement for a kid from Whitcomb. The Updikes, by the way, are very early settlers in that part of the county, going back to about 1812.

Merle also had a connection during the 1920s with the Indiana Ku Klux Klan, though there's no reason to believe it was anything beyond political expediency. The family by and large was part of a strong abolitionist thread that came west to Indiana from New Jersey. Updikes (or a variation in the spelling) in America date back to the late 1600s with Dutch heritage.

The family moved to Fairfield after the Great Depression and Merle apparently held a number of other jobs before assuming the surveyor's post. I have no idea what salary he might have drawn but he did do private surveying, which would have paid separately.

His obituary did not merit coverage on Page 1 of the Brookville newspapers.

The Franklin County Surveyor's office has lots of old maps and documents that Merle produced during his years and still has the equipment the old guy used to mark and measure virtually every square foot of the county -- except the parts where a lake is located.

The Depression.

Monday, November 16, 2015

50s nostalgia -- Part 2

A '57 BelAir, not an Impala
The late 50s was a somewhat sleepy time for folks in the valley of the East Fork.

Not much changed except the cars, which was a pretty big deal. In those days, those who could, did. About every three years, somebody in Fairfield would get a new ride.

And we all went around to see it, ask about it, how much it cost, and did the guy "gip" the dealer down any. Whitewalls came with it, huh? AND a radio! Power steering.

"Our car doesn't have that."

"It's still junk. It's a Chevy."

"Fords are junk."

"My dad says Plymouths are the best cars."

"We had one of those. Dad called it a lemon."

'59 Rambler American ... lovely color
Detroit made all the rules in those days, and the foreign car was seldom seen in Fairfield, the Volkswagen Beetle being a rare exception.

With several models operating under one umbrella, it was fairly easy to have a number of choices when purchasing a car. General Motors produced the Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet. Inside those brackets were several styles.

Ford had Thunderbird, Mercury, Lincoln and Continental divisions, and there were several models of each.

Chrysler-Plymouth was similar. You could also buy a Nash Rambler, but why?

Despite all that, it wasn't rare to see cars from the 40s still puttering about, namely road loads like the Henry J or the Willys or a Hudson here and there.

A few cars you were likely to see in Fairfield from about 1955 through 1960:

'56 Ford Fairlane
'58 Plymouth Belvidere
'59 Corvair 
'60 Ford Falcon
'59 Chevy Impala
'58 Pontiac Sky Chief
'60 Ford Country Squire 
'60 Plymouth Valiant
Beep beep! Metropolitan

Credits due: Whoever took these photos ... THANKS!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

50s nostalgia -- Part 1

Inside the Methodist Church
Moving through the 1950s was somewhat painless if you were a kid in Fairfield. The choices were limited.

For adults, the factories were either running or were idling down. Industry worked that way then.

We'll take a trip through Nostalgia-land in this blog piece, which will serve as something of a bridge to the final years of the town. Curiously, our 200th anniversary will have come and gone as the state prepares to mark its own bicentennial with an expenditure that probably will exceed the cost of the reservoir that put Fairfield out of business 40-some years ago.

In the documentary "Fairfield: Town Under the Lake," dozens of Fairfielders shared their version of history so there's not much need to go over all of it, but I do hope to share some thoughts that were somewhat poignant.

Judy Cornelius Thackrey:

Halloween activities included a party at the Community Hall. The town park would be royally dressed with toilet paper streaming from the trees. Those families unlucky enough to have a free standing outhouse usually had to put it back on its feet the next morning, and soaped windows inhibited early morning risers from watching the sunrise. One poor soul was triple-tricked while attending the evening festivities. Parking his car directly in front of the hall, he considered it safe from the devils of the night. But alas, when emerging from the hall, he found white windows. Upon starting the car, a smoke bomb sent fumes throughout the area, and he was a little more than just annoyed. After putting the car in gear and going nowhere due to the blocks under it, it was a wonder he escaped a heart attack.  

Halloween was always a delightful time in Fairfield. With so few houses, we'd sometimes go as a group, maybe from the church, and visit nearly everyone.

Linda Crocker McCord:

I remember my first grade at Fairfield being in the two-room school house; one room was up and one room was down, with a pot-belly stove in the middle. Of course we had to go outside to go to the bathroom. The well was in the front yard. The entryway was where we hung our coats. There was also a shelf where everyone had a cup with their name on it so you could get a drink of water. When we went back to school for my second year, we had a new 3 room school which had inside restrooms. There was even a drinking fountain in the hallway, and the school was heated with a furnace. That was much better than we had at home so we really appreciated it. We had no cafeteria so we had to walk to Main Street in town to go to the lunch hall. As I remember it, we walked no matter what the weather was like.

Parsonage after being abandoned
The lunch hall served many functions in town in addition to the Halloween parties. A lot of the food that was served at school lunches was government surplus. It's not done that way now.

Jim Hughes:

During bad weather in the winter, school was never called off or students were not dismissed early. A large snow fall might have occurred during the day and it was rough getting home. As we would be going home, Mr. Herschel Klein would usually get stuck going up Kelly's Hill. All the students would pile off the bus and the older students would push the bus up the hill a short distance and continue doing that until he got over the hill. Think of the liability today. Fortunately buses in those days did not weigh that much. Bus drivers were Herschel Klein, Wright Buckley, and Lucille Shepler.

Yeah, liability. The roads were scarcely fit to travel on good days in some areas of the valley.

Marilyn Luke Gausman:

I remember, occasionally on warm Sunday afternoons, Dad would give me a little money and tell me go down to Willie T. and Nannie Davis' store and get a pint of vanilla ice cream, a bag of chips, and maybe some soda pop - just maybe, as we didn't get much pop, because it wasn't good for us. Dad didn't believe in buying potato chips on a regular basis; he said for what they weighed there wasn't probably more than two or three potatoes in the bag.

In those days, soft drinks came in returnable bottles. You got 2 cents if you brought one back. Pepsi and Nehi were bottled in Brookville.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More river shenanigans

The serene Whitewater (Morgan canoes)
A skip through the old newspaper archives reveals an eerie consistency to the Whitewater River.

Even in years it didn't create major havoc, which is explored in a series of blog items from March, the residents of the valley found themselves at odds with high water.

But most of that was south of Brookville, which is of course not where they built the dam.

From the Democrat, March 25, 1943:

Whitewater River
Highest Since 1937

Lowlands Flooded, Traffic
Stopped on Numerous Roads Friday

2.98 inches of rain reported

"The Whitewater reached a stage of 22.45 feet last Friday, the highest since 1937, flooding lowlands and inundating a number of highways.

"The river's stage, determined by the U.S. government gauge on the bridge near the county infirmary, had fallen to 18.7 feet, however by 7 a.m. Saturday and continued to fall rapidly thereafter. Rainfall which continued for the great part of the day Friday, measured 2.98 inches.

"Traffic was stopped on U.S. 52 south of here Friday night after backwater made travel impossible near the Whitewater filling station north of New Trenton. Also north of Harrison, near the dog track, the river flooded a section of the highway.

"The state highway out of Cedar Grove was also reported closed as were the Oak Forest, Blue Creek and Wolf Creek roads. Duck Creek was out of its banks, flooding sections of Metamora. Other county roads were impassible for a time."

At least twice in 1949, the river played antics.

In January:

Heavy Rain Fall
Sends Whitewater
On Rampage

Downpour ceases before
waters do serious
property damage

"The waterfall (Tuesday, Jan. 4) sent the Whitewater out of its banks at Brookville and numerous other places along its route. At 1 o'clock Wednesday morning, water was lapping the top of the loading dock on the west side of the Volney Felt Mills and a rumor was circulating outside the building which was completely surrounded by water that there was an estimated 6 feet of water in the building.

"Both the East and West forks continued to rise until 4 o'clock on Wednesday morning when it was reported the river just south of the junction of the two forks had risen to a height of 26 feet (flood stage being 20 feet). At this point the water started receding.

"U.S. 52 between Cedar Grove and New Trenton was closed to traffic Tuesday evening.

"Mail and express shipments were delayed ... a number of school buses left early in an attempt to beat the waters but it was reported several children were unable to reach their homes that evening and were brought back to Brookville where they were put up for the night.

"Greyhound bus service out of Brookville was discontinued Tuesday and has not been resumed as yet by noon Wednesday."

And on July 21:

Three Rescued
From Whitewater
Flash Flood

Unidentified residents
of Connersville caught
on sand bar

"Two women and a 10-year-old girl ... are reported to have gained a new respect for the 'quiet waters' of the Whitewater following their experiences of last week.

"The women, who had been camping on a sand bar near Cedar Grove were discovered standing in water up to their waist and the child was said to have been clinging to the limbs of a young seedling, to keep her head above water, about 5 o'clock last Thursday afternoon.

The three were caught by the sudden rise in Big Cedar Creek and the river following the heavy rains early Thursday morning. The were said to have been in the water since 10:30 that morning.

"Another unidentified woman, said to be a motorist from Cincinnati, discovered the plight of the campers and summoned aid.

"Rescuers from Cedar Grove came to the rescue but owing to the swiftness of the current, difficulty was experienced in reaching the three. An ingenious method, whereby a length of rope was fastened to the boat and thence to one tree and another was worked out, and the rescue completed.

"Their tent and all their possessions were washed away. They were clad in bathing suits at the time they were caught in the high water."

Whew. Risky stuff.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Midwestern Hayride

Singing star Bonnie Lou from 'Hayride'
For Fairfield and the valley of the East Fork, the 1950s represents a rather important bridge that connects a more universal world to one that inevitably became curiously unique.

Amid all that, the world that touched the people of Cincinnati or Dayton was the same one that touched Fairfield, though we saw it from the outside in.


By the end of the first half of the decade, nearly everyone had access to television, that black-and-white miracle that showed us the images, stories and music from three or four stations.

Much has been written about the nostalgia that was the television phenomenon of the 1950s, so there's not much need to rehash that. You either watched a program, or you didn't. Most of that depended on who had control over the set.

And a set it was.

Tubes and a remote control that included telling the kid closest to the set to get up and adjust the volume or change the channel.

If you lived in Fairfield, you probably watched Ruth Lyons and her 50-50 Club, or you watched Bob Shreve or Uncle Al Lewis or Al Schottelkotte with the news.

Bob Braun, Rosemary Clooney, Paul Dixon, Willie Thall.

Or Midwestern Hayride.

The Hayride was perhaps the most intriguing entertainment value for the crowd that couldn't get free to watch noon-time fun with the powerfully important Ruth Lyons.

And the Hayride was known to take its show on the road.

To places like Brookville.

An article in the Brookville American, dated July 4, 1953:

Midwestern Hayride Stars To Be
In Brookville Tuesday, June 16

"The Midwestern Hayride is coming to Brookville at the Ball Park at 8 p.m. for the benefit of the Brookville High School Athletic Fund. The event will be sponsored by the Brookville Chamber of Commerce which is currently conducting a fund-raising campaign to install lights and bleachers at the park."

The high school was interested in the lights so that the football team could begin to play Friday night games. Curiously, it was apparently pretty easy to coax the Cincinnati-based Hayride to come to town for that purpose.

"The Midwestern Hayride, one of the most popular programs on radio and television in this section of the country, will send a number of the program's stars to Brookville to give the people an opportunity to see their favorites perform in person."

Charlie Gore
A number of stars meant just that.

Tickets cost $1 for adults and a half-buck for kids, according to Harold Goble, the ticket chairman.

"Among those to be seen and heard will be such stars as Charlie Gore, Judy and Jen, Bonnie Lou, The Rangers, and Herb and Kay Adams. The latter couple hail from Connersville and just recently joined the program."

If you followed the program, those names were quite easy to recognize.

"A friendly relaxed attitude that carries right through the impersonal TV camera and microphone into the viewers homes, coupled with a thorough knowledge of his art, is providing Charlie Gore's mailman with a heavy load of fan letters each week."

"The singing guitar player of NBC's Hayride is not fooling when he says that he's been strumming the strings as long as he can remember, for at the tender age of six the dark-haired handsome entertainer was winning more than his share of talent contests."

Bonnie Lou was perhaps best-known of the female entertainers on the program.

"Just 28 years old, married and the mother of a 5-year-old daughter, Bonnie Lou has spent more than half her years entertaining in radio."

She was an accomplished violinist and was more than adequate with the fiddle, the story said.

Her forte was country yodeling, a form of music that was quite popular during the 1940s and 1950s. Bonnie Lou attributed some of that to a "Swiss grandmother and a pawn shop guitar."

The "Hayride" had its origins in Cincinnati radio as far back as the late 1930s and was a nationally syndicated program by the 1950s. Its history is quite rich and its legion of alumni were quite popular and successful. But the fact that it was willing to send its TV-radio stars to Brookville suggests a folksy approach to the performers' craft.

The show endured in one form or another until the early 1970s.

The Chamber did eventually reach its goal and was able to get lights installed at the ballpark so that the hometown Greyhounds could play Friday night games.