I have been a long time trying
to get this together. Since my husband’s death, I have received letters wanting
to know where Cuzco
got it’s name, which is when I began thinking that a lot of
people never knew that at one time Cuzco was a good town. It had a
a good high school, a common school, and two churches which most people liked
very much. I wish I had more dates
on the happenings, but I never kept records,
as I never thought I would ever need them.
The Cuzco Post Office was
established in 1904. It went by the name of Union Valley until 1907 when a
branch of the Southern
Railroad came through. Cuzco was plotted by William
Nicholson on September 27, 1905. This was about 5 years before the
Railroad came through from Jasper to West Baden.
At this time Solomon Simmons was
Postmaster, and he was asked to change the name of the post office. Mr. Simmons
name Cuzco from the map of Peru, South America. The name was
approved by the Post Office Department. I wish I knew how
long he was
Postmaster before it was moved to Cuzco from the Simmons home and changed. (Note:
An elementary school
picture of 1912 still referred to the community as Union
Mrs. Florence Bledsoe took the
post office over and had it in her home for several years. After failing health
she gave it up. Mrs.
Maude Tredway took it over and had it in a building close
to her home for several years, then she gave it up. Cecil Foddrell made
to Curly Nicholson’s to see if he wouldn’t go to Jasper and try to pass the
exam, so he went and passed the test. He had it
for 17 years. Mrs. Inez
Bledsoe, June Nicholson and John Huntington were all appointed clerks in case
of sickness or accidents,.
Mr. & Mrs. Asbury Crowder
had a general store for several years, and about that time Cuzco began to grow.
Mr. & Mrs. Ellsworth Ellis
had a store at Elon. He came to Cuzco and bought property, built a house and
store building, and
moved his family to Cuzco where their business was very
good. Mrs. Sophia Ellis put in a millinery store, which was a success for
several years. Mr. Ellis kept caskets in the upstairs of his store and was
substitute undertaker for quite some years.
Ben Sutton and Frank Browning
built and sold houses for some time.
The Dubois Milling Company put
in a feed mill close to the Ellis Store and was run by Henry Callis until his
death, then his son
Rector run it for some time.
A telephone exchange was run by
Mr. & Mrs. Jasper Mynatt for several years, then it was moved to the home of Mr. & Mrs.
Branch Reynolds. Their
grandson Howard Simmons helped them with it.
At one time there were two
blacksmith shops. One was owned and run by Amos Bledsoe, located just across
the road from the
E. E. Ellis store. The other one was owned and run by John
Conrad, just across the railroad track. It was destroyed by fire. He
a shop at his home.
Mrs. Florence Beatty put in a
restaurant and her two daughters Fern and Ruth helped with it. Earl Beatty,
Florence’s son run a
barber shop for some time and kept busy. He had the
restaurant for several years after Mrs. Beatty’s health failed.
There was a shoe store that was
owned and run by Lester Wineinger that was open every day but Sunday.
A wheat mill was also a good
thing and it was run by Spice Wineinger.
A Mr. Shelton moved a sawmill
into the little town that gave work for people. Their living quarters was a box
car. They had a man
that did the cooking for the workers.
After the trains could run from
Jasper to West Baden there was a nice depot built. I for one can remember well
how people would
gather at the depot for the train to come so they could ride
to West Baden to spend the 4th of July day. It would be dark getting
home. (Note: The depot was gone by the mid-1940’s, though a siding
existed for delivery of poultry feed)
Cuzco also had a doctor, Doctor
Rubin Ferris. He was on call day or night.
(A handwritten note:
Sutton / Browning built a general store in 1905…...the Crowder Store, last
owned by Delphus
Crowder sold his store to Andy Wineinger and two sons, Lee and John Isom. In a
few years it was sold to Mr. &
Mrs. Delphus Bledsoe. They had it for
several years until the death of Mr. Bledsoe. Mrs. Bledsoe had a sale and sold
merchandise and property and she now lives in French Lick. (Note: Mr.
Bledsoe died 1970)
Frank Wineinger and his brother
Jack had a blacksmith shop for some time located across the railroad, until
Jack was killed in a
Mr. & Mrs. Nasby Mills had a feed mill and an exchange
business in Cuzco for several years. After his death, (Note: Mr. Mills
died 1965) Mrs. Mills sold that property to Mr. & Mrs. (Arben) Bob
Anderson. They built a building and put in a store and had a
good business for
quite some time. (Note: The store was called “Bob & Marie’s Grocery”.
Noble Flick ran the feed mill
after Mr. Mills’ death.)
After Mr. Anderson’s health
failed they had a sale and sold the merchandise and the building was empty for
some time. Mr. &
Mrs. Cecil Robins now have a store there, which is the
only business there is now in Cuzco.
The Royal Neighbor Lodge held
their meetings over the E. E. Ellis store for quite some time.
After the two room school
closed, it was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Dewey Owen. His parents, Mr. & Mrs.
Perry Owen, lived there for
several years, then Mr. & Mrs.Chester Beyers
lived there until it burnt down.
High School classes were held
for some time over the E,. E. Ellis store. A 4-room brick school building was
then built where there
was plenty of room for all grades. It had homemakers
classes in the basement. Good things can’t last, as it burnt early one morning
The children were divided. Some were sent to the Methodist Church, and some to
the Christian Church. Later another 4-room
building went up. Several years
later that school was closed and now the children are bused to Dubois, but the
building still stands.
After the post office was closed
and the high school and common school building was burnt, Cuzco began to go
down. It was a
nice little town to live in, but after another generation began
to grow, pasture was greener on the other side.
George W Wilson, in his County
History of 1910, stated Cuzco had a promising future, but that didn’t prove
At the time the town was going
strong there weren’t any cars at all. If people didn’t have horses, wagons or
buggies to go in, they
had to walk to go shopping or whatever. The stores put
up hitch racks and on Saturdays they would be filled with horses.
Ice cream suppers were a very
common thing. E. E. Ellis made a big stand beside his store and benches to sit
on to eat ice cream.
In the winter there would be pie suppers. Girls would take
baked pies and the boys would find the choice girl’s pie number. They
then be put up to be auctioned off, and the prettiest girl and the ugliest boy
would be sold. Sometimes the girl would bring
$5.00 and the boy $4.00 0r $5.00.
The money would go to the school for whatever was needed, and all would have
There isn’t anything like that
now. The young people don’t have that kind of fun. If they can’t get out in a
car and go far away, they
aren’t in it. Times have changed…no one wants to
There was a cream testing
machine installed and run for several years in the storage room of the E. E.
Ellis store. Mr. Ellis’
daughter, Mrs. Helen Kerns, tested the cream and wrote
checks to the people that brought in cream. Before the tester was
the people would have to ship their cream in 4 and 5 gallon cans to Jasper and
get their checks in the mail.
Branch Reynolds was the ice man
for the summer months. He would deliver large blocks of ice in his truck every