Greencastle's beloved Heritage Wall, located on the west side of Vine Street just south of Washington Street, is about to grow by one name.
At its recent annual meeting, The Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County (HPS) honored the service of the late Donald Jack Cook, president and founder of the society, by dedicating a plaque in his memory to add to the wall.,
Society president Ken Eitel introduced Neal Abraham of DePauw University who reviewed Cook's influence in the college and community along with his wife Marion, who was present at the meeting. Abraham also commissioned an identical plaque honoring Cook to be installed at the Julian Science Center at DePauw.
Abraham reviewed Cook's arrival in Greencastle by train, his interview and subsequent employment with DePauw University lasting for 40 years.
"Jack Cook's deep interest in the student and chemistry made a lasting impression on generations of students. His commitments to chemistry, humanity, and preservation reached far beyond DePauw and Putnam County," Abraham said.
Eitel then noted Cook's influence on the community: "From the founding of the Heritage Preservation Society in 1976, Dr. and Mrs. Cook have seen the rescue and restoration of the historic Eli Lilly Drugstore building, the inventorying of significant structures and placement of the courthouse square on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, and raised the awareness for preserving the many historic family homes in the historic city center."
In other business, members of the HPS were elected to 2007 board positions: Jenny Artis, Paul Bottorff, Anne Clark, Ken Eitel, Jim Ensley, Ken Heeke, Linda Mann, Bob Matthews, Ann Phipps, Harold Spicer, Lee Stewart and Lawrence Taylor.
Eitel reported membership in the society now exceeds 100 individuals, businesses, and organizations. Goals for the year include preserving the many records left from the past 30 years since the group's founding in 1976; investigating the saving and relocating a log cabin in southern Putnam County; raising public awareness of importance of preservation; and continued expansion and care of the Heritage Wall.
In reviewing the history of the organization's impact since 1976 Eitel said, "as a community and organization we should be greatly concerned -- just as Cook and those past preservationists were -- about the future of our historic city center neighborhoods, including the Courthouse Square.
"At a time when developers are building new towns (the New Urbanism), our communities have so much more than the new models,'' Eitel cautioned. "It could vanish before our eyes unless we care; it is citizens and active organizations like HPS that make a difference between reproductions and the 'real' thing."