Back when: May 17-23


May 17

In 1918, Teddy C. Brewer, 20, died from wounds suffered the day before while defending the front-line trenches in Germany. The Greenfield resident, once a Daily Reporter carrier, served in the U.S. Army and became of the first of at least eight Hancock Countians to die in World War I.

May 18

In 1999, moviegoers began lining up in the afternoon outside the Legacy 6 cinema on West Main Street in Greenfield, anticipating the showing of “Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.” By 10 p.m. more than 100 patrons were in line.

May 19

In 1919, Hancock County Council was taken to task for not yet using $400 it appropriated to prepare the courthouse so that its restrooms could be open to the public on Sundays, even as the rest of the building was closed. According to this day’s edition of the Daily Reporter, “People traveling through Greenfield in automobiles are apt to have a distasteful memory of the town for this lack of accommodation.”

May 20

In 1927, aviator Charles Lindbergh soared over Hancock County in his Ryan NYP monoplane during a flight of seven hours, 20 minutes, from St. Louis to Long Island.

In 1935, the sale of household goods drew buyers to the Riley Home, as Julia Riley — sister-in-law of poet James Whitcomb Riley — prepared to move to California to live with a niece. A group of residents was gathering funds to buy the home, “so that it can be cared for and maintained in the future, and this association would also have liked to have kept the furnishings intact but did not have sufficient money at hand to time to do so,” according to that day’s edition of the Daily Reporter.

May 21

In 1964, the Cumberland Heights subdivision received tentative approval from the Hancock County Plan Commission in a preliminary hearing. The May 22, 1965, edition called the 174-lot development “the first major residential subdivision to jump the Marion-Hancock county line on the march toward Greenfield.” About 35 area residents came to the meeting to either protest the project or receive more information about it.

In 2018, the former business building at the northwest corner of Main and Franklin streets was torn down.

May 22

In 1871, the town of New Palestine was incorporated.

In 1902, the cornerstone was laid for what is now Bradley United Methodist Church. According to George Richman’s “History of Hancock County Indiana,” among the items placed inside were a Bible; hymn book; list of church officers, teachers and Sunday School members; a church history and copies of local newspapers.

In 1923, an estimated 20,000 people gathered in downtown Greenfield for a Ku Klux Klan rally, surprising city police, who had anticipated a crowd of 7,000 to 8,000 but said the crowd was for the most part orderly. According to the May 23, 1923, edition of the Daily Reporter, “Every community in the county was represented, and Anderson, Muncie, New Castle, Knightstown, Richmond, Connersville, Shelbyville, Rushville and Indianapolis, as well as many smaller places, had people here. … A number of (vehicles) bearing Ohio licenses were parked over town.” Other, smaller rallies took place in the decades to come; in 1974, a reporter writing about an upcoming visit by some Klansmen began his story with “Mark your calendars, Hancock County racists.”

In 1924, Greenfield City Council issued $10,000 in bonds to buy 40.54 acres that would become Riley Park.

In 1971, Artis Phillipis was crowned New Palestine Centennial Queen at the centennial’s kickoff banquet. She and four princesses were to preside at festivities throughout the summer celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town’s incorporation.

May 23

In 1952, Hancock Circuit Court Judge Samuel J. Offutt heard arguments in the State of Indiana vs. 11,000 cases of tomatoes. The tomatoes belonged to Virgil Etchison, owner of a canning factory in New Palestine. A federal court had declared them unsanitary, and Etchison had been ordered not to ship them out of state. The state later seized them and sought to have them destroyed.


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