Fargo-sized, at least by my estiation of these things. Sixty-plus thou, which is a perfect size for a town - big enough for intra-city rivalries and old buildings o substance downtown.

Indiana has some old towns, and this is one; dates back to 181. Midwestern, but of the easterly variety.

Any doubt what this is?

The courthouse AND the jail; one stop shopping. Second Empire style. But what’s next door?

It’s the historical museum now, but don’t you suspect it was once an important civic building in its own right? You’re right : the old Sheriff’s resident.

All the fashion once. Addams-Family cliche today.

Courthouse Square is the area around, well, you know. It’s historic, but some buildings have been touched, shall we say, by the rude hand of modern tastes:

Who built it?

It’s tough, but searching for “AYLOR,” which was all I could make out for certain, yielded CAYLOR, which indeed was the store that occupied the ground floor.

That’s . . . interesting.

Times must have been good when you could give up that much rentable space.

I can’t resist the old neon::

From their website:

The first tavern opened in the new J.L. Evans Building. The tavern benefitted from nearby railroad traffic and it offered lodging on the upper floors. The building has always been used as a tavern except during the years 1909 to 1933 when alcohol sales were prohibited by the government. Walter Carey and Sid Gill opened Syd's in 1945 and installed the locally famous shuffleboard game in the middle of the bar. They also coined the familiar Syd's catch-phrase "Howdy Bub".

Nearby railroad traffic, eh?


Let’s go back to street level, and see if there are any signs of a station - whoa.


Indy Star:

It’s been the talk of the courthouse square for three weeks.

The old-fashioned, 70-foot-long passenger rail car just seemed to appear one night, with no explanation, between a couple of restaurants and a dry cleaner in the heart of downtown. It doesn't pick up any passengers, and no one gets on or off. But there it sits, on the Nickel Plate tracks at 8th and Logan streets, and few people know why.

As it turns out, the 1929 passenger car is on loan to the Nickel Plate Express, but the train operator doesn't have anywhere to put it just yet. So railroad officials decided to park it in the safest place they could think, a busy downtown intersection, but out of the way of auto traffic.

You know a form of transportation has fallen out of the public imagination when people cross the trakcs without looking or caring.

Well, that’s . . . an interesting way to do it.


What are the K of P?

The Knights! The Knights who say Pythias!

The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization and secret society founded in Washington, D.C., on 19 February 1864. The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress. It was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, who had been inspired by a play by the Irish poet John Banim about the legend of Damon and Pythias. This legend illustrates the ideals of loyalty, honor, and friendship that are the center of the order.

This might be one of the most mystifying small town Main Street buildings I’ve ever seen.

The bricked-up windows look as if they’ve always been bricked up. If they weren’t, that was one hell of an expanse of glass.

Leonard had every reason to be proud.

It’s a solid thing, with those little touches on top to provide a bit of . . . whimsy? No. Grace? No. Delicacy? Perhaps.

I love these. If humankind was wiped out by a plague, and a few decades later aliens landed, they might conclude that this was the Roman Embassy.

That presumes a lot of anthropomorphic assumptions about aliens and what they would figure out. Anyway, I think the reason I went to Noblesville in the first place was a plate I found in an old architectural mag.


The interior:


A great place to wear a fez and send a confused time-traveling girl back to the future, if you ask me.

If you got that reference, feel free to preen in the comments. ;)






A humble start to this year's entry. Population: 3,460, give or take a few souls. It has ambition, though: the hotel no doubt made everyone think of the bustling train depot in old Gotham, with its brisk, sophisticated cosmopolitan scene.

It has a Facebook page. One comment: "The rooms are clean upon arrival but not much by way of getting towels and tp on a regular basis if your stay is extended. We ended up having to buy our own. Owners are really friendly though." That counts for more than you might think,

Unhappy brickwork on that green building. But a ghost sign redeems the view:

Owl Cigars. But was it a White Owl? That's what I don't know. Some signs for the White Owl brand said just Owl. If they'd have had modern marketing sensibiilties, they would have had White Owl, Black Owl, and so on, differentiating the flavors.

Barn Owl for the really nasty cheroots.

And what, pray tell, do they sell here?

I have no idea what they're talking about. One guy sitting at a card table with a stack of daily periodicals, waiting for someone to walk by and think "by cracky, I wonder how many they have. I'd like to read a journal from a different city entirely, just to see how many funerals there are for old ladies this week."

That's a lot of turret, Mr. Hetzel.

A Nebraska historical journal says "A majority of the structures are best classified as commercial vernacular. The most prominent, Queen Anne-style building is the Hetzel Block (NH01-044), located on the southeast corner of J Street and Central Avenue. It features an imposing corner tower, carved stonework and an ornate cornice."

And that's a big fat lot of help. Who was Hetzel?

Four buildings? Or one?

The answer can be found in the number of windows.

After all these towns we've explored, you have to admit: this is all too typical. From the rehab to the awning to the paint to the refitted window.


As if a curse had stricken the land.

I have to think there was more to this one, but what remains is spectacular:


The reason for those windows? If you guessed "hall for secret Masonic rites," you're wrong. It was the New Opera House. Again, scant historical information; Auburn seems underwhelmed by its past, or disinclined to share what it knows.

Can't have the Main Streets feature without the OSA, or Obligatory Shingled Awning:

The first-floor windows above the main windows are probably bricked up for good, but the building looks like it could be restored with minimal work.

Providing there was a market for office / residential at the price it would take to fix it up, and I'm guessing there isn't. But that's what they said about Fargo before its renaissance.

The last building in the world you'd expect to house a theater:

It's still in business! The site has a "Save the State" page, though. Uh oh. Turns out it's for a renovation drive. There are no historical photos of the place. There's no history of the place.

I suppose if you needed to know, you'd know, because you lived there. It was originally the Booth - great name for a theater in a state whose capital is named Lincoln - and was renamed the state in 1941, eleven years after it opened.

Finally: The sign version of screen burn-in.

  Love that 9, although I'm sure everyone wondered why they did it backwards.


I believe this old book of biographies has our man:

Previous to his coming to Nebraska Mr. Keedy was for several years engaged in the manufacture of lime at Keedysville. He came west in 1881, locating near what was then called Sheridan, now Auburn, and here he bought one hundred and sixty acres of improved land, upon which he carried on farming until the fall of 1893, when he sold to his sons, and bought two lots in Auburn. Here he built his present residence.

When a young man in Maryland, Mr. Keedy was intiated into the mysteries of Oddfellowship. Politically, he is what is termed an independent, and in religion he also holds independent views, and has never identified himself with any creed.

There has to be a fascinating story about the reason a man named Keedy would leave Keedysville.