GREENFIELD – Some of Hancock County’s oldest photographs are being re-discovered in a new trend on social media.

“History Mysteries” is catching on at Greenfield Historic Landmarks’ Facebook page. The group, dedicated to the preservation of the architectural heritage of Hancock County, is now posting black and white photographs and asking the community to identify the people and places within.

A photo of two men riding unicycles, for example, was posted and soon identified by local resident Nathan Bilger as being prior to 1892 in the alley between State and Pennsylvania streets – he even provided a photo of an 1886 map for comparison.

Another picture – an ornately framed photo of an old building – was identified by Brigette Cook Jones as likely being the third courthouse in the county, in the mid-1800s.

David Schrank, vice president of Greenfield Historic Landmarks, is tickled that people are catching on and sharing what they know about local history.

He said fellow member Michael Ball has been spending “hours and hours scanning a bunch of photos that’s been in the collection for years, into a database.”

“We knew quite a few, but there were 100 pictures or so that we had no idea where they’re from,” he said. “We thought, we can use social media to try to get additional information.”

The results twofold: they’re able to identify the origin of the photos, and also engage more with the community.

One recent History Mystery was a photo of the John Huber General Blacksmithing building. Local resident Lindsay Cleek Parker searched through newspapers to answer the question: The Hancock Democrat in 1912 described Huber as a business leader. His blacksmith shop was open in New Palestine on the corner of Bittner and Main streets from 1885 to 1918.

“I have both a fondness for local history as well as digging up information related to it,” she wrote. “The discovery made my night!”

Another photo brought a family connection to a local woman: Jaye Elaine Smith was able to identify her great-great-grandfather’s drug store in Fortville.

Ultimately, Greenfield Historic Landmarks would like to get more members in the organization, and get more donations of photographs.

“We’d love to get additional photos that we can put into the database digitally, and get the photos back to the owners,” Schrank said. “We’ll digitize them and get them back to them because we want to make sure people keep their photos.”

One of the biggest donations to the organization came from Rosalie Richardson, who was a board member of Greenfield Historic Landmarks. She died in 2023 but left a legacy of public service and historic preservation – photos, files, documents and more are being sorted and digitized.

Greenfield Historic Landmarks formed when local residents saw historically significant buildings in the community targeted for demolition in the name of “progress,” according to The group strives to save buildings to preserve the integrity of the community’s unique structures and to leave a legacy for future generations.

The group honors business and homeowners every year for making a mark on historic preservation.

The website includes details of local preservation awards as well as a self-guided historic walking tour, which can be taken with the use of smartphones in downtown Greenfield. The site also includes the scanned images of hundreds of photographs.

While “History Mysteries” are being solved on Facebook, local historians just can’t seem to get enough. Schrank encourages anyone interested in the group to join in, and people with photos to send them in through contact with Facebook Messenger.

“We’d like to get some additional membership to the Landmarks board and try to find interested folks from not just the Greenfield area, but New Palestine, Fortville, Charlottesville, McCordsville…,” he said. “Landmarks serves the whole county.”

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