Crawfordsville looked a lot different during the heyday of General Lew Wallace, but several examples of the picturesque architecture prevalent during the time still live on in Crawfordsville's leaf-lined avenues. The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum is hosting a special tour of these unique locales during "The Town That Lew Knew", a free architecture walking tour on Saturday beginning at 3:00 p.m.

The 1870s and 1880s saw a time of prosperity in downtown Crawfordsville, when some of the Indiana's most prominent businessmen, authors and political leaders established their homes and livelihoods in the area. Elston Bank, the first bank in Montgomery County established in 1853 by Major Isaac Compton Elston, moved to an elaborate Italianate building on East Main Street in 1875. Elston and his wife Maria, known throughout the community as "The Major's Lady", lived in a stately brick Federal-style building on what is now Pike Street. Lew Wallace, Major Elston's son-in-law and a military leader who achieved distinction throughout the Civil War, published his first novel and was hard at work crafting his second, an epic story of betrayal and redemption he would title Ben-Hur, at his home at 514 E. Wabash St.

"We've designed this walking tour to bridge the gap between the cityscape of today and the buildings that Lew Wallace visited in his time," said Amanda Wesselmann, Associate Director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. "Now that we're restoring Wallace's Study to its original glory, we wanted to highlight a few of the other beautiful structures in use during its construction."

The tour begins at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum and wends through the Elston Grove Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tour participants will visit and learn about sites along Wabash Avenue, Washington and East Main Streets before returning to the Museum for light refreshments. Some featured sites on the tour are the Wedding Cake House, the Otto Schlemmer Building, Lane Place and the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County.

"The Town that Lew Knew" Architecture Walking Tour was made possible through a partnership with the Montgomery County Historical Society and research assistance from the Local History department of the Crawfordsville District Public Library. Admission to this program is free and pre-registration is not required; participants should arrive at the Carriage House of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum approximately 15 minutes before the tour begins. For further information, contact the Museum at 765-362-5769 or email