In 1971, if you were a girl in Union County, Indiana, your mom probably stitched you up a calico skirt or dress with matching bonnet. She probably wore a pin exactly like the one above. You both had the pioneer spirit!
How well I remember that fall and the county's sesquicentennial festivities on the courthouse square.
When you live in UNION County, with a county seat named LIBERTY and your high school mascot is a PATRIOT, patriotism runs deep.
Turns out it still does. On Wednesday, I experienced one of those rare-air moments when life seems to come full circle. Just like that, fifty years had passed and Union County is now celebrating its bicentennial. The pin had been in Mom's jewelry box since 1971, and then mine after her passing.
Nancy Huntington put together an extraordinary tour of numerous standout homes, farms, gardens and other sites. She asked me to serve as one of the bus hostesses. I looked forward to the day for weeks and it turned out even better than I could have dreamt. About 70 "tourists," consisting largely of current or past residents, gathered at the middle school to load buses and tour the townships. Here's my bus buddies:
Between stops, we sang several patriotic tunes, including "The Star-Spangled Banner." When we belted that one out, our capable bus driver quietly removed his ball cap and put it back on following the song. I was touched by the young man's gesture.
We also sang "Back Home Again in Indiana." The state song is actually "On the Banks of the Wabash," but man. That song is SAD. It makes me cry like a baby. (Check it out.) I also prepared some trivia questions for the group. Of course there were prizes.
The following are some additional photos from the day. I have three times this many images, but here are a few to give you an idea why this farmgirl is forevermore a Liberty Belle. I want to thank Nancy for inviting me to host a bus. It was my honor. I would tell you to hit me up for the 250th but I'd be 112. The pin will, however, remain in my jewelry box for as long as I'm still kickin.' Thanks Mom, for saving it.
On the second floor of this stately Brownsville landmark, the 1876 Masonic Hall, is where the meetings took place until the Brownsville Lodge No. 70 closed and consolidated with the Liberty Lodge No. 58 in 2019. It was a special treat for me to see this second floor as I had never seen it before and it is unlikely that I ever will have that opportunity again. Downstairs, the building was rented to various grocers from the early 1900s to 1976. Grocers included L.J. Cully, John Winters, Lorel Ross and William and Isabel Brandenburg.
Darlene and Jim Kaufman were asked to be on site to answer questions about the town. With them is tour organizer Nancy Huntington, right, who did a fantastic job, along with husband Howie, of locating properties for the tour. Jim let guests inside the lodge building for a look and also pointed out the former Brownsville State Bank and the current U.S. Postal Office. There has been a post office in Brownsville since 1819.
It was a splendid day to see the homes, history, and historic barns and properties of Union County as residents and former residents celebrate the county's 200th birthday this year. Happy Independence Day everyone!