'What is there to do?' is not a modern question
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:00 PM
Researching as to what people look for when re-locating to a community, things to do are always listed. In 1929 Crawfordsville could boast of a YMCA facility that maintained over $100,000 in equipment and assets.
The original site is presently the location of the PNC Bank building. There is a plaque located in the west parking lot of the bank to designate the site of Indiana's first, ever played, high school and college basketball game. In 1913 a newer YMCA was built on the corner of Green and Pike street at a cost of $80,000. The YMCA was originally established as a Young Men's Christian Association. There also existed what was called "The Community House." This was a unique facility for women and girls of the era, but not aware of the building location in 1929. It was advertised in the day as having an excellent cafeteria service and from these profits supported the program. It was many years later that girls' athletics was finally recognized by the IHSAA for interscholastic competition. Prior to that, there existed an Association for girls, called GAA. Interestingly, RR Donnelley was sponsoring girls' basketball teams in the 1920s.
In the 1920s two fraternal organizations had buildings of their own. These sites maintained club rooms for Masons and Elks members. The Masonic lodge was the first Chamber of Commerce meeting place in 1918. The lodge was built in 1906 and although one of the historic land marks of our city, it now faces some severe monetary problems due to renovation needs. In 1929 the country club occupied extensive grounds four miles west of the city. Reminiscent of Lew Wallace, the grounds was developed as a fishing resort and the original club house was built by Wallace himself. Our description of Crawfordsville in 1929 continues to mention that the religious needs of the city and county were maintained by some eighteen churches in the area. These churches represented all types of denominations thus allowing the community to further experience social events as well as serving their church.
Our 1929 manuscript deals in some detail about the military history of the times. It mentions that, "Crawfordsville has always been honorably known in the military history of the state and nation. It is an established fact that three of her earliest settlers were soldiers who helped establish a military background that became a pattern for her sons who have never failed to respond to the call to arms. General Lew Wallace and Henry S. Lane were both veterans of the Mexican War and just prior to the Civil War Wallace, then a captain, had trained a company of men known as the Montgomery Guards. In the ensuing conflict practically every member of the Guards was commissioned an officer in the Union forces. In both the Spanish-American and World Wars the city of Crawfordsville was represented by soldiers and officers who made history by their courageous deeds and brought fame to their home community." In 1929 the Headquarters Battery of the 139th Field Artillery of the Indiana National Guard was and still is located in Crawfordsville. The armory is still maintained and regular drill and deployment maintained. The Indiana unit in Crawfordsville continues to be recognized as one of the state's outstanding units.