Jazz heritage is important in Richmond. Few people know anything about it; I was one of those people. In 1997, the city of Richmond, to "advertise" the part Richmond played in the heritage of Jazz, had several murals painted on buildings in the community. Local artist, Pam Bliss Ferguson, did them.
1. Celebrating a number of the recording artists who recorded at the Gennett Recording Company & Fred Gennett himself is located on the west side of the Adam H. Bartel building (911 North "E" Street. To view it, you need to be on the railroad overpass on North 9th Street, U.S. 27 North.
You probably recognize Louis Armstrong. Go clockwise & you come to Lil Hardin-Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, Gene Autry (the singing cowboy), Jelly Roll Morton, & Bix Beiderbecke.
2. Painted on Paulee's Restaurant on the corner of South 8th and Fort Wayne Avenue, you'll the mural of Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael.
3. Another mural that located on the north side of the building on Fort Wayne Avenue between North E and North D Streets (seen by looking to the right when heading south over the railroad overpass on North 9th Street, U.S. 27 North) is about Charles Mosey (president of Mosey Manufacturing and he made "record dies in 1945).
4.The most famous & oldest of the murals , "Remembering the Immortals", is at the corner of South 9th & South "A" Street. Musicians on the mural are Tommy Dorsey, Tommy Gargano, Paul Mertz, Bix Beiderbecke & his Rhythm Jugglers, Don Murray, & Howdy Quicksell. This one dates to 1925.
How sad that many Americans are so totally ignorant about the existence of these murals, the fact that Jazz was recorded in Richmond, Indiana, & the importance of Gennett Recording Company.
It would be wise on your part to stop for a visit at the Wayne County Historical Museum in Richmond, Indiana; it's a real trip back in time. It was once a house of worship for the Hicksite Branch of the Society of Friends (Quakers).
This is quite a museum with a well-stocked gift shop, a turn-of-the-century general store with a post office within it, six early automobiles (lower level) because, at one time, Richmond had 13 automobile manufactured here! Richmond, Indiana, also had the Dave's Airplane Corporation in town, and the museum has the first aircraft built there! Julia Meek Gaar gave the museum her "curiosities from around the world" which includes her Starr-Gennett Jazz Collection, a Wooten Desk, and three authentic Egyptian Mummies.
Outside on the lawn, there is a Village Square with a functioning print shop (still used to print necessary materials today). In addition, there's a fully operational 1880's Blacksmith shop, a livery stable, and a 2-story Dickinson log house (1823). There's also The Robert's Log School house (the first schoolhouse in Richmond--1812).
Jill received much help concerning the location of property once owned by relative in Wayne County here at the Museum. We were both impressed by the efficiency and kindness the personnell displayed.j
We stayed in a B&B on the Old National Road (Route 40) a block from the Glen Miller Park where the Madonna of the Trail is located in Richmond, Indiana. What is it?
The Madonna of the Trail is one of 12 statues linked along US 40 from Cumberland, Marland, to Upland, California. It was dedicated in 1928. The speaker at this dedication was a Missouri judge who was hardly known at the time. His name? Harry S. Truman!
The Richmond state is called Madonna of the Trail , and it commemorates the pioneer mothers of the covered wagon days. It's the ninth in the link in the Great National Shrine that was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
This statue is quite large. It stands 10 feet high with a weight of 5 tons. The base on which the Madonna stands is six feet high and weighs 12 tons! Now, the base rests on a foundation which stands another two feet above the ground level; thus, the monument is 18 feet tall.
Also in Glen Miller Park is the E.G. Hill Memorial Rose Garden, The All America Rose Garden, and The German Friendship Garden. There are more than 1,600 roses and hundreds of annuals and perennials. There's also a Victorian gazebo. All Free admission.
Abram Gaar and his wife Agnes find a lovely piece of property, a country hillside that overlooked the up-and-coming city of Richmond, Indiana. They had the Gaar Mansion built, and it was quite advanced for it day (central heating, indoor plumbing, gas, electricity, and an intercom system)!
In the 1970s, Abram Gaar's great-granddaughter, Joanna Mikesell, restored the home. Thank goodness the home is furnished almost exclusively with original furniture, painting, and accessories.
This home has intricate woodwork, beautiful indoor plumbing (original fixtures), fantastic fireplaces, and lovely Eastlake furniture that was crafted by the Mitchell and Rammelsberg Furniture Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. The kitchen has original cooking utensils, furniture, and features a wooden ice box and a wood-burning stove.
The Gaar Farm has the Gaar, Scott Steam Engine on display.
The home has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. Can you imagine that this place cost only $20,000 at the time it was built. The Gaars were founders of Gaar-Scott & Company, the leading manufacturer of threshing machines and steam engines from 1842-1911.
This home has been named one of the Nation's Top Museum Homes!
It is open year-round for tours and special occasions by appointment.
Open to the public: the first and third Sundays from March through December
Tours are on the hour from 1 ;.m. to 4 p.m.
Jill and I were amazed when we saw a huge edifice from a distance as we came into Richmond, Indiana. Just what could it be, we asked. We parked our car and explored.
We discovered that it was the Wayne County Courthouse that was built in 1890 to replace a two-story brick building built in the early 1870s. This is of Romanesque Revival design and of grand proportions. It is the largest Romanesque courthouse in Indiana!
The building has horizontal lines, rounded arches and masses of materials of rough-cut stone, which was popularized by Henry Hobson Richardson..
Cincinnati architect, James W. McLaughlin, designed the building, which required r600 car loads of Indiana limestone and 3 million bricks to construct it".
125 stone cutters were used, and steam powered hoists were used to lift the stone into place.
Other materials used were "gray granite from Concord, New Hampshire (used for the base of the building), lighter gray oolitic limestone from Lawrence County, Indiana (most of the rest of the building), and red roof tile from Akron, Ohio". The recent roof, however, is gray slate. While we visited, they were putting in new, double-pane, energy efficient windows.
Inside we discovered a grand marble staircase and an open well surrounded by open galleries. The Wainscoting is marble; the woodwork is oak.
We were told that in 1976-1978, the county refurbished this courthouse and then completed construction on a new administration building just east of the 1893 building.
While we were inside the building, I took a photograph of O.P. Morton, Indiana's War Governor..
Jill and I made sure that we went to the Old National Road Welcome and Visitors Center located on the National Road East in Richmond. What a good idea that was.
Volunteer, Gladys, was such a helpful person. She pointed out brochures, answers all of our many questions, and searched for books that Jill was wanting to purchase. I purchased some post cards to send to VT friends.
We picked up Walking tours for the Historic Districts, Indiana Maps, Information about museums, murals, monuments, etc.
Both Jill and I agreed that this was one of the best welcome/visitor centers we have visited. It's located in a rather new building which is spacious, well lit, and organized in a helpful fashion. There are many items which can be purchased; however, most of what is available is FREE.
Be sure to visit the Old National Road Welcome Center when you first arrive in Richmond; it will certainly save you from wasting time and from feeling stressed.
If you love architecture as I do, you will be in "heaven" here in Richmond, Indiana; you can visit the Old Richmond Historic District with more than 213 structures of historic importance. It was settled by members of the Society of Friends, later by free blacks and German immigrants. Walking Tours brochure is available at Old National Road Welcome Center
You can also visit the Starr Historic District which developed from farmland purchased by Charles & Elizabeth Starr. Subdivided into lots in the early 1850s, it was sold for residential construction. Homes here are early, middle & late Victorian with some early 20th century homes. Business and industrial leaders lived here. Area hs national significance because of its number of historic homes & the people who lived here. Walking tour Brochure available at Old National Road Welcome Center.
My photographs are from the Old Richmond Historical District:
1. 407 S. 4th Street (1838) Early frame cottage built in 2 sections. Once home to Andrew Finley Scot, one of founders of 2nd National Bank; 1st president of the bank in 1872.
2. 408 S. 4th is an early Greek Revival (1860s).
3. 419 S. 4th St is an Early Frame extensively remoded. When purchased, it was listed to be razed because of its poor condition.
4. 434 S. 4th St. is an early brick Federal house (1830s), remodeled..
This is only a sampling.
Who knew how much we would find in Wayne county, Indiana, especially Richmond.
Both Jill & I were interested in knowing as much as possible about The Historic National Road, known as "America's Original Main Street"!
Just what is the National Road? It is the road that carried pioneers across the east & northwest territory. It brought pioneers across Indiana's midsection as they traveled west. This is the first highway that was built with federal funds. Now, Indiana's section of this historic National Road is the only portion of the roadway that is designated National Scenic Byway and an All American Road. It is today known as US 40, & if you take US 40, you will pass through a century & a half of time. You'll be able to see towns & landmarks that date from the early 1800s up to the mid 1900s.
This road stretches across six states. Here's what you can visit in Wayne County:
The Madonna of the Trail (Richmond)
Whitewater River Gorge
Birthplace of Recorded Jazz
Lantz House Inn (Centerville)
Historic Mile Markers (Richmond and Canterville)
In 1806, the National Road was started at Cumberland, Maryland; yet, it took 20 years for the road to reach Indiana. One of its purposes was to link each of the state capitals along the 800-mile route (which ended in Illinois).
Starting in 1830, Indiana welcomed about 90,000 new settlers a year. Richmond should be rememberd as the place where "30 feet above the Whitewater River to Richmond, Stone piers supported Indiana's first covered bridge, The National Road bridge. It was built in 1834 and designed with 7 wooden arches, 2 walkways, and an equal number of teamways, or corridors that accommodated teams of livestock pulling wagons."
In the 1920s, they paved the road, & then it became part of US 40 (one of the nation's 1st transcontinental highways!) It's a good thing that when I-70 was built in the 1960s, it bypassed the historic National Road/US40 that left much of the roadway's 150-year history intact.