Peanuts And Lost Noblesville Landmarks
By: Paula Dunn
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The reference to peanut socials in the column about strange fads caught the eye of my Texas cousin, Kermit Ross.
Kermit noted that years ago our relative, Byron “Doc” Ross, used to celebrate the Christmas season by setting out a bushel basket of unshelled peanuts for the customers of his Westfield barbershop.
People were invited to eat the peanuts, then toss the shells on the barbershop floor. By New Year’s Day the basket was empty, and shells and hair clippings were ankle-deep.
The entire mess was swept out that day. I guess that was so Doc Ross could make a clean start on the new year when he came to work the following morning!
You may recall that Bill Huff’s question about the fate of the old Nickel Plate train station inspired a column on that lost Noblesville landmark.
Doing the research on the Nickel Plate depot made me wonder what happened to Noblesville’s other train station, the one on the corner of Seventh and Vine Streets that belonged to the east/west line best known as the Midland.
I’m fairly sure now the Midland depot was probably demolished in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Unlike the Nickel Plate station, however, there was no publicity or big push to save it. That was undoubtedly because the original historic 82-year-old depot was already gone. It had been replaced with a steel, prefabricated building in 1958.
On to the Forest Park log cabin . . .
My Anonymous Friend brought up the “smokers” the Jaycees and Jay-shes used to hold at the cabin in the 1960s. (Smokers were informal parties that usually involved card playing and drinking.)
Carol (Flanders) Schmidt and Martha Spurrier each fondly recalled many family reunions at the cabin. For Carol it was the Flanders family reunion, while Martha’s family attended the Mosbaugh, Gardner, Roberts and Buscher reunion.
Martha had a clear memory of the cabin’s interior — at least of the lower floor. She said she regretted never having seen the upstairs.
According to Martha, the cabin had a living room with a fireplace, and a long kitchen with a long table down the center and a long tin counter along the windows on the back wall. There was also a back door.
Martha even commented on the cabin’s rustic smell!
So far, I haven’t found anyone who remembers ANY appeal being made to the public to help save the cabin before it was torn down.
Contrast that with the very public campaign waged to save the building in time for the country’s Bicentennial in 1976.
Cousin Kermit told me Doc Ross’ daughter, Mary Ida Lou Ross Farb, had a limited edition print of the cabin, taken from an original painting. Kermit believes the print was one of about 100 that were sold at $100 a piece to raise money for the 1976 renovations.
A 1975 Ledger article even included a form people could send in to pledge time, money or materials to the effort.
By 1990, the fact the cabin was in bad shape again was no secret, but no one expected it to disappear as it did. It was just there one day and gone the next. Most people didn’t even know it was missing until they drove by and were shocked to find an empty spot where “their” cabin had been.
Maybe the park board had valid reasons for acting as they did, but if so, they did a poor job of communicating those reasons to the public.
What really stings, though, is that the cabin wasn’t destroyed. Enough of it was salvageable that it was rebuilt on someone’s private property.
Finally, it’s wooly worm season! If you spot one, please let me know where you saw it and what color it was.
– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org