Tuesday, November 30

Sheridan student wins essay competition

Great Towns, Inc. is pleased to announce the winner of its “If These Walls Could Talk” essay competition is Sheridan High School student, Breanna M. Hunter. Last Spring, Breanna, and other students researched and wrote the history of three buildings on Main Street in Sheridan and presented their ideas of new uses for them should they ever become vacant. According to Melissa C. Martin, Managing Director of Great Towns, “Every town has its own heart and soul. Well-loved customs, architectural styles, and holiday traditions are passed down from one generation to the next. This program is about connections: connecting to the past, connecting generations, and connecting young people with the built environment around them.” The program asks students to identify the architectural style of the building and learn and name architectural details that make it unique. Martin added, “When you learn about a historic structure and can identify the period and hear fascinating stories about its people, it becomes familiar, like making a new good friend. That’s important to finding new uses for old buildings.”

The building Breanna selected is now undergoing dramatic renovation on the inside and is home to the Issachar Church at 501 S. Main Street. Breanna’s research revealed that Walter Bradfield opened his first store there in 1898. Together with his brother-in-law, Lou Mitchell, and later with Lou’s widow, Susie, the structure operated as a store associated with all kinds of transportation from the late 1890s to the 1960s.  First, it was a bicycle repair business, then a World War I harness factory, and later an automobile tire and parts store, all under the name of Bradfield and Mitchell.  

As part of the Great Towns program, as the winning essayist, Breanna was asked to select a classmate to help her convert her essay into a video presentation. With her video partner, Joella Cox, the two collected old photos and interviewed Charlie Price and Jim Pickett to record their stories of the building. The video, “History Waiting to be Discovered,” will be shown to guests Thursday, Nov. 4, at a reception to honor Breanna and Joella. Later, it will be on display at the Sheridan Public Library.

“If These Walls Could Talk” is a historic preservation education program of Indiana nonprofit, Great Towns, Inc. and was made possible in Sheridan by Indiana Humanities, Indiana Landmarks, and Sheridan Community Schools. The program is sponsored by United Animal Health.

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