New Exhibits at Virtual Museum!

Welcome once again to the From Time to Thyme Virtual Museum. We have some new exhibits of lost Hamilton County historical objects!

Step this way to see a beaver hat made in 1806.

According to the October 15, 1929, Noblesville Daily Ledger, the original owner of the hat was Samuel Carey, a prominent Philadelphia Quaker. After Carey’s death, the hat was passed down through Carey’s Carmel family until it landed in the hands of his great-great grandson, Clinton Carey.

Clinton Carey then gave the hat to Leroy Patty, a friend of his grandfather, Isaac Carey. The Ledger article stated that Patty planned to donate the hat to the Indiana State Museum, but I can’t confirm that happened.

Our next stop is a display of “old papers, bills of goods, reports, letters and many business papers” noted in the July 12, 1907, Enterprise. The documents were uncovered during the demolition of the old Thompson Hotel on Noblesville’s South Eighth Street, “eleven doors south of south west corner of the public square.”

Ananias Thompson owned the hotel during the 1840s and 1850s, and one of the items discovered was a bill for goods he’d purchased for the business in 1845. At that time, a bag of coffee cost — brace yourself — 12 1/2 cents!

I have no idea what became of all that paperwork.

Our next exhibit is definitely on my list of the “Ten Most Wanted Hamilton County Historical Items.”

In 1923, the American Pictures Company of Indianapolis was engaged to produce a motion picture of the county’s Centennial celebration, “Centennial Year in Hamilton County.”

The company filmed all the highlights of the huge two-day event held on October 3 and 4: The speeches; the parade; the big dinner on Logan Street; decorated homes, businesses and churches; and more.

A week later, the film played to packed houses at the American Theatre on Logan Street in Noblesville for four days before being sent on to a theater in Sheridan. Afterward, it was supposed to be put into a box with other Centennial-related items and preserved for future generations.

I know Noblesville’s library used to have a copy in storage, but this valuable film has mysteriously disappeared.

That’s a shame. We certainly could have used it next year when we celebrate Hamilton County’s bicentennial. (Luckily, we at least have Dr. Earl Brooks’ still photos of the Centennial.)

The next object on display is a photo of famous African American abolitionist, writer and orator, Frederick Douglass, taken at the time of his 1880 visit to Noblesville by local photographer, O. A. (Orlando Andrew) Harnish.

I’ve mentioned this photo before, but I figure it can’t hurt to raise the subject again, just in case someone, some day, comes across the original, or even a copy (Harnish sold copies for 25 cents!) in their attic.

Harnish’s granddaughter, Elizabeth “Betty Lou” (Harnish) Spencer, said all of Harnish’s photographic equipment disappeared long ago. However, that doesn’t mean some items might not still be in this area.

Imagine finding a previously unknown photo of Frederick Douglass taken by a local photographer!

The virtual museum is about to close now, but on your way out, take a peek at our virtual gift shop. We have a new item, a historical/science fiction novel, “Thomas Edison and the Purgatory Equation,” written by my classmate (NHS ’73,) David Church.

David’s book recently won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Book in Science Fantasy!

(Since the FTTT gift shop is virtual, we don’t actually sell the book — you’ll need to go to Amazon for that — but here’s the address for the webpage where you can learn more about it: Yes, it IS the first installment in a trilogy.)

– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at