Back when: Dec. 11-17

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Dec. 11

In 1954, Hoagy Carmichael sang a musical version of James Whitcomb Riley’s poem “When the Frost is on the Punkin” In Chicago at the 40{sup}th{/sup} annual meeting of the Indiana Society. The Hoosier composer said when he visited the poet’s boyhood home in Greenfield in 1939, Riley Old Home Society secretary Arthur Downing had encouraged him to try to set some of Riley’s lyrics to music.

In 1971, boys rabbit hunting near Fortville found the decomposed body and skeletal remains of a woman, with three bullet holes in the skull. Officers identified the body as a missing 24-year-old woman from Indianapolis.

In 1971, city officials dedicated a new water filtration plant on East Main Street.

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In 2011, Mt. Vernon High School graduate Michele McConnell assumed the role of Carlotta Giudicelli in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. She had made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of the show.

Dec. 12

The sewing and knitting department of the Hancock County Red Cross shipped another lot of supplies. During November and that far into December, the women had made and shipped 163 suits of flannel pajamas, 50 hospital shirts, 87 pairs of operating leggings, 102 pairs of bed socks, 37 bathrobes, 11 operating caps and other items. Knitters contributed 176 pairs of socks, 60 sweaters, 57 mufflers and 56 pairs of wristlets.

Dec. 13

In 1901, the Barnard Family Orchestra gave its first concert in what is now Eden United Methodist Church. According to George Richman’s “History of Hancock County Indiana,” Elwood and Ola Barnard and their five children drove to Fortville to catch a train to Indianapolis for the children’s music lessons at the Metropolitan School of Music. The group played for Hancock County school commencements in 1902. The family later moved to Indianapolis and became popular on the chatauqua circuit.

In 1919, an astronomer reassured Hancock Countians that the “end of things” predicted for Dec. 17, 1919, would indeed not occur. He said the coming conjunction of planets to occur that day would not noticeably affect the planets or the sun.

Dec. 14

In 1932, Greenfield School Board announced in a special meeting that Christmas vacation would be two weeks long instead of one week because grippe and influenza were causing absences of 100 to 150 students. School officials said they didn’t want to receive less money from the state because of lower attendance rates and also reasoned it would be cheaper to have an extra week of school in the spring, during milder weather.

In 2007, a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy discovered during a traffic stop that a Green Township resident was actually a convicted rapist who had escaped from a North Carolina prison 19 years earlier and taken a different name.

Dec. 15

In 1942, former Daily Reporter staffer Jack Clark penned a letter home to Hancock County from French North Africa, where the newspaperman turned technical sergeant was stationed. Near the close of his letter, he expressed hope that censorship would later relax and allow him to write letters more descriptive of the country and its people. “I certainly hope so because this place has many interesting angles, which I would like to pass on to you back home.”

In 1967, Gov. Roger Branigan ordered the opening of the stretch of Interstate 70 between State Road 3 and Greenfield. Two Greenfield police offers spent four hours downtown in “biting cold” helping direct traffic as motorists exited the interstate and drove south toward Main Street (U.S. 40).

In 2007, Cynthia Erwin, owner of Cynthia’s Hallmark in Greenfield, the nation’s largest Hallmark store, died.

Dec. 16

In 1991, Hancock and Shelby county commissioners dedicated a $1.3 million bridge at county roads 500 West and 600 South.

Dec. 17

In 1942, Mrs. Robert Birch returned home to Greenfield with her new son, William Gilbert Birch, from Major Hospital in Shelbyville, where she delivered the 10-pound baby.