Crothersville Encouraged To Begin Making Bicentennial Plans

In 2016 the State of Indiana and Jackson County will be celebrating its 200th anniversary and bicentennial celebrations are being encouraged.

Former Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and Former 9th District Congressman Lee Hamilton are co-chairing the Indiana Bicentennial Commission and are encouraging Hoosier communities-even those that were not in existence when Indiana became a state in 1816-to join in the celebration to “showcase the best of Indiana communities in all 92 counties.”

Brownstown businessman Carl Shake is encouraging the towns and communities of Jackson County to begin making plans for what each can do to celebrate the state and county’s 200th birthday.

“Many of you may remember the sesquicentennial celebration in 1966, we want to encourage all communities in the county to make special plans for the bicentennial,” Shake recently told the Crothersville Town Council.

Town Council President Ardell Mitchell said the Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival is the logical and best choice for Crothersville’s bicentennial celebration effort.

Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival Director Sherry Bridges agreed and welcomed the additional historic events to the festival in 2016.

“I can see churches and school organizations joining in to celebrate their history and heritage in the Crothersville community,” said Bridges. “Families dressed in period pioneer clothing, perhaps a community meal composed of food available and cooked as it would have been in 1816, organizing pioneer children’s games for today’s youngsters to play are all some ideas that quickly come to mind.”

She added that the Crothersville Historical and Heritage Association using Hamacher Hall (the former Presbyterian Church) is a logical headquarters for the town’s bicentennial efforts.

The Red, White & Blue Festival has its roots in a bicentennial celebration. In 1976 when the US Bicentennial was being celebrated, local volunteers joined the observation but instead of celebrating on July 4 as most all other communities did, the locals opted for Flag Day weekend for the Crothersville celebration.

And that community bicentennial festival has continued ever since, observing its 40th anniversary in 2015.

“In fact, 50 years ago in 1966 no community had their own signature festival,” said Bridges. “The county’s sesquicentennial effort was a major organizational and management effort. Today each community has its own festival on which bicentennial events can be built.”

Crothersville, which celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2008, was a forested wilderness between the two forks of the Muscatatuck Rivers when Indiana became a state and Jackson County was officially formed in 1816. At that time the only inhabitants were the indigenous Native Americans.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that a railroad was built through what would become Crothersville and the area experienced some settling by early pioneers.

In 1858 John Hamacher plotted the town of Haysville (because he thought the area was conducive for growing hay) which became Crothersville when are railroad superintendent named Crothers agreed to build a depot in the town if the community leaders would change the name to Crothersville.

“It doesn’t matter that Crothersville…and Seymour and Medora for that matter…weren’t established in 1816,” said Shake. “We want every community to be a part of this celebration.”

He pointed out that a county history book was published in 1966 during the sesquicentennial and he has plans to update that book to sell during the 200th celebration.

“This is all an early work in progress but we want all communities to begin thinking what they want to contribute to the party,” Shake told the council.