Society may add to Heritage Wall

Friday, April 24, 2009

Board members discussed several projects at a recent meeting of the Heritage Preservation Society (HPS). They are looking at adding two new names to the Heritage Wall in downtown Greencastle, discussed the preservation of two of the county's historic structures and reviewed an initiative to determine some historic residential districts.

Greencastle's Heritage Wall, located on the west side of Vine Street just south of Washington Street, is about to grow by two names. HPS board members voted to begin the process to add Handy's Dairy and the soon-to-be 175-year-old Putnamville Methodist Church to the wall.

The last plaque placed on the wall was for Jack Cook, president and founder of the society. Other plaques include "John Dillinger Was Here", The Ancient Peoples Who Once Walked Here, The Founding of Greencastle and The Founding of the Eli Lily family in Greencastle.

Also, plaques include one that celebrates Eli Lilly's first drugstore and his involvement in the Civil War, Percy Julian and his synthesis of physostigmine in his laboratory at DePauw, the Julian family home and the history of Greencastle's courthouse square (including the connection of historian Jesse Weik and Abraham Lincoln).

A plaque in the middle explains the purpose and creation of the Heritage Wall.

The Heritage Wall, created on a building owned by Lester and Judy Wilson, has been made possible by gifts from the Putnam County Foundation, the Heritage Preservation Society, friends of the society in Greencastle, DePauw University alumni and many others.

Discussion took place over concern for the Putnam County Home. No decision has been made about what will happen to the historic structure when it closes this summer. HPS is looking into helping to facilitate a grant to do a study on the best use of the building.

Society members are also considering the best thing to do with the Houck Covered Bridge (number 146) which is being considered by the state to be moved or bypassed. Some members expressed concern that the bridge could be taken apart and stored offsite.

A committee has also been formed to begin the process of looking at residential neighborhoods that could be deemed historic neighborhoods. Several areas in Greencastle could be eligible for the designation

HPS is hoping to add to its membership and anyone interested in joining can find information at the Chamber of Commerce, the Putnam County Foundation, the Putnam County Museum or the Visitors and Convention Bureau.

A yearly membership is $25. Donations are also welcome for the Society's Endowment that helps provide funds for the maintenance and additions to the Heritage Wall, funds for building preservation and to raise awareness of the importance of the past.

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