LADOGA STREETS--by Bill Boone - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

Go to content



-- by Bill Boone - thanks muches BB :) kbz

The Streets of Ladoga, My Hometown.

My memory loves to walk the streets of the old hometown. This little mental exercise always starts at the library and goes west on Main Street until I get to Washington Street which is the end of the business district. It runs from Franklin to Washington then one block south and ½ block north. I'm going to write a short paragraph on buildings and businesses as I come to them and then let the Monday morning group fill in the blanks of my memory.

The Clark Township Public Library comes first. It was protected by a black, wrought iron fence along the street side in the early days. It was an old residence which had been converted into the library. It was originally owned by Caleb H.R. Anderson and was built in 1841. Ladoga was only eight years old when the Anderson house was built. At one time, Doc Price had his office in that building. Before the house became the public library, it was the dwelling of B. F. Overman and his family. Later, three granddaughters of Benjamin Franklin Overman, also part-owner along with Silas Kyle of the Trade Palace on the SW corner of Main and Washington, would serve as librarians for the library. That would have been Elizabeth Peffley Carmichael, Carolyn Peffley Cross, and my mother, Bertha Peffley Boone. Don Cotton remembers a showcase at the library with swordfish and sawfish fossils in it.

One of my earliest memories of the streets of Ladoga is watching a street movie in front of the library. People brought their own chairs and watched a western movie on a large sheet or makeshift screen out in the street. Fred Foxworthy remembers seeing movies shown against the east wall of the building that was on the corner east of the old theater. Joed Clark remembers how crowded the streets would be a Saturday and the band concerts that they had. They simply put two hay wagons together to make a stage. The west side of the yard of the library went all the way to a building which housed a barber shop with two barbers and a shoe shine boy. The names of the two barbers are lost in my memory, but the shoe shine boy was me. My shoe shine parlor consisted of a green chair sitting on a green platform with iron foot rests. Every Friday evening and all day Saturday for several years, I would shine the shoes of men who wanted their shoes to look good for church on Sunday. If the weather was nice, I dragged the shoeshine parlor outside and shined shoes in the sunshine. As I recall, the going price for a pair of shoes was 15 cents, but most men gave me a 10 cent tip, making the total a quarter before taxes.

Ed Bastion and Hi Vail were barbers there are one time, as were Bob Dellinger and Jess Gray. The building served as the Ladoga Post Office in the late 20's or early 30's. The next building was Charlie Hughes' Appliance Store. Charlie had the first television set that I ever saw. He put it in his show window, piped the sound outside to the street and tuned in to the Indianapolis Indians baseball games. There was always a big crowd of young baseball fans sitting and standing around the window watching the ball game. Fred Foxworthy remembers watching Milan win the State Championship on television in 1954 at Charlie's store window. Charlie also had pinball machines, juke boxes, and slot machines scattered around over the county. He and Harley Campbell were partners in various businesses. Their endeavors were called "The Merry Whirl Amusement Company." Don Cotton's dad bought a juke box from Charlie with the WW II song "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer," on it. There was a Laundromat in the Hughes building in later days.

Next to Hughes Appliance store was a restaurant where the school fed the basketball team after a game in the 50's. We always had a dollar to spend which would buy two hamburgers, fries and a coke and leave you with a little money left over. We haven't come up with the name of this restaurant yet. It may have been called the Chicken Shack in the late 50's. Max Todd recalls that Bob and Mary Nicholson owned and operated a restaurant there in the 50's called the White Front Restaurant. That would have been in 1948. Derald Van Cleave was a part owner.

The next shop or business that I remember was Babe and Forest (Mac) McMurtrey's little grocery store. It was one of three grocery stores in Ladoga when I was growing up. I think Mac carried some other items that the other two didn't carry. Mac also drove the huckster wagon and ran a route through town and also out in the country selling eggs and other items to his customers. The other grocery stores were Brunst Brothers Meat Market owned by Harry and Herman Brunst on the north side of Main Street and Widdop's Regal Store owned by Harry Widdop on the south side of Main Street. Bill Poynter remembers that Mac and Babe had the longest penny candy counter in town. All candy bars were a nickel except the Echo bar which was a dime. After Babe and Mac retired, Bill and Helen Morris had a fruit market in that building.

The next business that I remember was the pool room which was right on the alley next to the Brunst Brothers grocery store. Underage boys were not permitted in the pool room. The only time I got to go into the pool hall was to collect for the paper. I think they played cards in the back room-probably just a friendly game of Rum for matchsticks. After the pool room closed, Lindsay's Turkish Baths moved in to the building. We had to go to Roachdale to play pool or to the IOOF lodge hall where there was a pool table and a ping pong table. We had some great times playing in the lodge hall on Sunday afternoons. Across the alley west of the pool room was the aforementioned Brunst Brothers Grocery Store and Meat Market. I think they specialized in fine cuts of meat that were not available at the other grocery stores.

There was another meat market south of town on the Roachdale road. It was owned and operated by the Young brothers, Jack and Drake. There was also a locker plant just down the hill on the east side of the road. The locker plant did custom butchering and rented frozen locker facilities for individuals before home freezers became popular. The Brunst brothers slaughtered their cattle on the north side of Raccoon Creek just west of the bridge and north of the cemetery. There was also a smoke house in the rear of the grocery store. At one time the pool room had the fancy -sounding name of the Ladoga Athletic and Social Club. Through the years it was operated by Cap McGuire, Lop Welsh, Chet Vice, Sandy Todd, Shorty Van Horn, Fred Sandusky and Slim Vice. Next to Brunst Brothers was the hardware owned and operated by the McGaughey Don and Morris McGaughey who were cousins. They owned the hardware store in the 50's. Lee Dodd owned it in the early teens and Walter Harris and a man named Van Meter around 1900.The building had been used as another type of store before it became McGaughey's Hardware, but I have no memory of the type of store it was. Other owners of the hardware store were Mr. Van Meter, Jim Knox, and Ben Carman. Francis Cotton worked on John Deere tractors in a shop in the back of the hardware in the late 30's and early 40's. At one time, Charlie Travis owned the hardware store. Don Cotton remembers that there was a large tank upstairs full of harness oil where the farmers came in to dip their harness to restore and soften them.

I remember that the hardware store was the only place in town where you could buy sporting goods like baseballs and bats. The boys of summer who played baseball would frequently pool their nickels and dimes and buy a baseball and bat and head for the ball diamond to play baseball. Almost everybody had a ball glove, but most of us were not rich enough to have a bat and ball. Bats and balls were community property. The guy who was entrusted with the bat and ball had better be the first to show up when the dew was off the grass or he was in trouble. Other owners of the hardware were Reiter, Warren Williams, and Bill Merchant. At one time, the telephone office was next to the hardware or someplace close.

I remember Babe Todd (Sandy's wife) and Carolyn Cross sitting at the switchboard connecting calls as they came in. Other ladies who worked there were Nellie Jacoby, Ruth Stull, Mary Nicholson, Nina Merchant, and Kate Foxworthy, who worked at the telephone office in the late 40's early 50's. I wonder if anybody else remembers people who worked for the telephone company. Chet Vice remembers when Minnie Kessler (John's wife) worked there and George Harris' wife, Lizzie. My uncle Irvin Cross worked as a lineman for the telephone for several years. The sweet voices always asked, "Number please," and you hoped that you weren't on a party line if you wanted to talk privately. I could always go into the telephone office and ask my Aunt Carolyn where my mother was. One of the operators always knew.

At one time, there was a drug store next to the telephone company. The drug store next to the telephone office was owned by Sam Ayles, then Doc. Rainier, then Keller and Bouse. After the telephone office closed, the building housed a dentist, Dr. Kail. The Ladoga Jaycees took over the upper rooms of the old telephone office after the telephone office went out of business. Bill Poynter remembers hauling at least 250 of the old wooden crank type telephones to the dump when the Jaycees cleaned out the upstairs storage area of the telephone company. How much would they be worth as antiques today!!

On the corner of Main and Washington going west was Bouse's Drugstore. It was the best smelling store in town. There was always the smell of roasted nuts in the nuts display and all kinds of candy. In addition to selling all things that had to do with drugs and medicine, the drug store was also the clearing house for school books in the fall. If you didn't get your books from one of the older students, you could buy the new books and required notebooks at the drug store. The drug store, of course had a counter where you could sit and drink a cherry phosphate, a green river, any kind of soda or milk shake and booths where you could play your favorite song for your favorite girl on the juke box at a nickel a song. There was a little selection box at each booth connected to the large Wurlitzer in the back of the store. You had to wait your turn until your song came up. The drug store was originally in the middle of the block next to the telephone office, and McGinnis had a shoe store where he proudly sold Peters shoes on the corner where Bouse's was in the 50's. Before I cross the street to go east on Main Street, I turned right and went north to one of the two taverns in town.

When I was growing up, Ward and Elsie Chadwick owned the tavern on the east side of Washington and Jim Carmichael owned the tavern on Main Street next to the alley across for the Chevrolet Garage.

Next to Chadwick's was the tire store owned by Ben Bryan and across the alley from the tire store, Jess Byrd had a small filling station. Jess Byrd, also sold feed at his station. The feed sacks were made out of gingham and the women would make dresses and aprons out of them after their husbands used up all of the feed. Jess would have been the great-great grandfather of D.J. Byrd who plays for Purdue. At one time, there was a basketball court in the large room above the tire shop. I don't think it was a tire shop then.

At one time, the tire shop was home to Charlie Patterson's Dodge-Plymouth Sales and Service. That made at least three car dealerships in Ladoga. Harold Miller had his Kaiser-Frazer car dealership in the old Golden Rule Garage, owned by my grandfather, Amos Boone, Patterson had the Dodge-Plymouth dealership and Herman Davis had the Chevrolet dealership. Directly across the street from Chadwick's on the west side of Washington Street was Wendell Blaydes' Furniture Store. Wendell Blaydes also had a furniture store in the building which was once the Trade Palace, now The Ambience. North of the furniture store was a little restaurant owned by Milt Barry which fed the basketball boys in the late 40's; next to the restaurant was Hiram (Hi) Vail's barber shop, which was one of three in Ladoga when I was growing up. One was next to the library where I had my shoe shine business and the other was in the basement of the Trade Palace on the NW corner of Main Street. Next to Hi Vail's was an insurance office owned by Wayne Byrd, and in earlier days, the office of the town newspaper, The Ladoga Leader.

Before Milt Barry had the restaurant, the building was the office of two doctors, first Dr. Lidikay and then Dr. Denny. Next to the restaurant was Ladoga's first community room. Next to the restaurant was a tin shop owned by George Anderson. South of the furniture store was the Ladoga State Bank which was run by Ernie Ball and Lawrence Brown. I think Ernie was the president and Lawrence was the chief clerk. At one time the Ladoga Opera House was located above the Bank. It was operated in the 20's by Forest and Babe McMurtrey. Bob Stull remembers being in a play entitled "Tom Thumb's Wedding" at the Opera House when he was in the first grade. He also remembers going to a minstrel show starring Ernie Ball, Heinie Zimmerman, and Sandy Todd. (Try holding a minstrel show today anyplace) West of the bank was a little shoe shop owned by Mr. Bindhammer. It later became a hair salon.

Bill Oliver, Donald Brown and Wayne Miller started a business called OBM and had their office there in the early 60's.

Across Main Street on the NE corner of Main and Washington was Sidener's Dry Goods store where you could by all kinds of material and things for sewing in addition to clothing. Hallie Sidener and Carrie Robbins owned that store. That building on the NE corner of Main and Washington was the only three story building in downtown Ladoga. Instead of a cash register, there was a little line that ran upstairs where one of the clerks took your money and made change. West of Sidener's or maybe upstairs over the building was the Masonic Lodge where Job's Daughters, which was a social club for girls met. I think Job's Daughters was the teenage branch of Eastern Star.

Just west of Sidener's, Bob Elliott had a service station. At one time, there was an ice house on that lot. Bob Denny (Doc Denny's son) ran a little ice cream stand between the Masonic Temple and Harry Skinner's house when Bob was still in high school.

South of Sidener's on Washington Street was the City Building and across the alley was the Golden Rule Garage owned and operated by my grandfather, Amos Boone. Kenyon Roberts remembers when they staged boxing matches in that garage. The garage later became and is still the Kenny Vice Ford Sales and Service.

The City Building had a large rec room upstairs where the HS played basketball at one time in the early days. Doc Griner gave boxing lessons in the rec room also. Between Sidener's and the city building, Walter Todd had a radio and TV repair shop. Above Sidener's was the dentist office of C.B. Werts. Harley Barnard's dad, Edwin Barnard owned the Home Comfort Shop across from the City Building where Mr. Barnard sold and serviced washers, driers, and refrigerators.

On the NE corner of Main and Washington was The Trade Palace owned by B. F. Overman and Silas Kyle. Overman was my great, great grandfather who lived in the Anderson house which became the library. You could buy just about anything for the home and family at The Trade Palace. There was a barber shop in the basement. Lou Gibson cut hair there as did a Mr. Steele from Bainbridge. In earlier days Bischoff's Big Store was in that building. Bischoff's moved his big store to Crawfordsville and the Trade Palace moved in. Next to the Trade Palace were the law office of Lawyer Marks and the office of the Ladoga Building and Loan which Mr. Marks also operated. At one time, there was a drug store just east of the Trade Palace. Moving on east on Main Street was Widdop's Regal Store, one of the three grocery stores on Main Street. The Regal Store was first owned by Roy Stover. Harry Widdop worked for Roy Stover than bought the store and hired Harry Burnett to work for him. Then Harry and Helen bought the Regal Store and passed it on to their son, Larry, who sold it to the owner, who is the daughter of Forest Allen Scott. Don Cotton remembers when the store was a shoe repair shop. He had a wall mounted shoe shine stand there. Next to Widdop's was the post office where Sandy Todd was the postmaster.

The post office opened early in the morning in those days, so the Indianapolis Star dropped off the papers and my brother Danny and I folded papers to deliver all over Ladoga. When the post office wasn't open, we folded them in the hall way of the Odd Fellow's Lodge which was right next to the post office and above it. Danny and I bought the paper route from the Todd kids, Keith and Sandy who had bought it from Floyd and Edsel Ball after the Ball brothers got it from Sandy and Keith's brothers, Alfred and Carl Todd. We in turn sold it to the Cox brothers, Byron, Earl, and Carl. Next in line was Dan Scott and Tom Todd. David took over from 1961 to 1966 along with Bobby Sandusky. After that came the Williamson boys, Steve and Dave, followed by the Houston boys, Paul and Michael. Shorty Long took over the paper in 1971 and sold it to Carolyn Cross in 1973 who delivered the papers with her children Judy, Russ, and Don. They delivered it until 1985. The first paper boy in Ladoga that anyone can remember was Stanley Foxworthy who started in 1940. The newspaper business was the first business many young people had in those days. There were at least three Indianapolis newspapers that were delivered in Ladoga in the 40's and 50's. As I recall, Bill Strickler delivered the Indianapolis Times and Mel Todd delivered the Indianapolis News.

Next to the entrance to the IOOF lodge was Carmichael's Liquor Store which was owned and operated by Don Carmichael. That was another place that I never got to go into except when I was collecting for the paper. I always felt very sinful when I went in there and smelled the stale beer. There was a small shuffleboard game just to the left as you came in the door where the patrons could compete in a friendly game of shuffleboard. Across the alley east of the liquor store was the Herman Davis Chevrolet Agency.

Outside of the Ladoga Canning Company, Herman Davis was probably the biggest employer in Ladoga. He employed the most interesting and friendly men in Ladoga. They were always ready to play softball or baseball with the younger guys even after a hard day working at the garage. I remember guys like Homer Todd, Don Myers, Bob Reed, Bob McGrew, and Jim Harshbarger playing ball with us and really enjoying the competition. Many of the Chevrolet garage boys had been good athletes at Ladoga High School or in Don Myers' case at New Market High School. Herman's father, Tom Davis and John Stratton stabled their race horses in the livery stable in back of the building which became the Chevrolet Garage. Newt Slade had a barber shop in the NW corner of the front of the livery. On the corner, just east of the Chevrolet Garage was the Sunshine Café. I'm not sure who owned it in the 50's, but my parents, George and Bertha Boone ran it for a time in the late 70's. At one time, it was the Hub Café and later (or earlier) it was called FJO, run by Fanny and Owen Gott. (The J was for their son, Johnny)

I think the Ladoga Theatre was between the garage and the restaurant. It was run by Bob Poynter in the early days and Emory Creekbaum in the late 40's and early 50's. It was called the American Theater in those days. There were a couple of businesses that need to be mentioned that were not downtown. One was Claude Harshbarger's cement block and burial vault factory. At one time, it was behind the Rapp and Sons Buggy Shop which was on Elm Street by the railroad tracks. Claude later moved his business to North Cherry Street beside the Monon RR.

The other major business was the Ladoga Canning Company which was at the NE edge of town on the Midland RR. Juicy Strickler owned and operated the Home Canning Company just across the RR tracks west of the ball diamond. The Home Canning Company was in the old Rapp and Sons Buggy Shop. Directly across the street south of the Home Canning Company, Fred Hillis and Billy Oliver had a machine shop. Walter Riddelbarger had his blacksmith shop just south of the machine shop.

The Ladoga Lumber and Coal Company was just across the RR tracks going east on 234 or Main Street. Daniel Miller worked at the lumber yard and also had a cabinet shop in his home.

Next to the RR was the elevator which first housed a Lumber and Coal business, then became a grain elevator operated first by Wal Ashby, then a man named Perkins, and finally by Emory Chase and his son Marion.

One of the items that needs to be added to the "Streets of Ladoga," is a list of the town marshals, who kept the streets safe. Max Todd came up with a partial list. Here are Max's and some others:

John Merchant-1936,

Francis Cotton-- 1939-40,

Lloyd Carmichael--1948,

Forest "Rip" Young-late 40's and early 50's,

some guy who had a Jeep named Crawford Smith-50's,

Raymond Carter-50's,

Bill "Bud" Merchant and Buster Dowell-60's,

and Jim Bob Miller-70's.

I remember that my uncle, Irvin "Runt" Cross was town marshal at one time, but I don't remember when.

Skip Ronk sent me a note and said that Runt Cross was town marshal from 1959 to around 1964.

He remembers because Uncle Runt chased him out of town a couple of times. Skip said, "I don't remember why, but when I got my driver's license, it must have been because he didn't like my driving style."

There were at least four doctors that I remember in Ladoga.

Dr. H.K. Walterhouse had an office in his house just across the street east of the library.

Dr. Maurice Gross had his office above the dry goods store along with C.B. Werts, the dentist.Chet Vice recalls that you went right to go to see Dr. Gross and left to see Dr. Werts.

Dr. Frank Denny moved in to a house across the street from the City Building .

Dr. Fred Blix had an office in his house on Main Street.

Dr. Robert Denny, Frank's son who had his dentist office in his house on 234 just east of town.

Dr. Kail moved in to the building where the telephone office was after I left Ladoga sometime in the 60's.

Ladoga also had a veterinarian whose name was Earl Miller.

There were also some small stores scattered around town that were not downtown. Lee Dodd had a little store across the street from Elmer Merchant. Ida Lane Otterman had a Cities Service station and some groceries in the east end of town on Taylor Street. Letha Peffley had a store in her house on the street that went to the Ladoga Canning Company.

In addition to the little stores, there were at least three men who hauled stock to market. They were Oscar Featherstone, Granville Murrel, and Cline Graybill. There were at least three men who delivered heating oil and gas. These were Floyd Dickerson, Charlie Wilson and Frank Williamson. Floyd Dickerson and Charlie Wilson delivered Standard Oil and Frank had the Farm Bureau brand. Notes from individuals: Sue Merchant Todd-"Ollie and Ida Lane had the grocery and gas station in the east end of town on Taylor Street which is now McClure's. Lee Dodd had a grocery store in the 600 block of east Elm Street and a lady by the name of Barber had a grocery store in her house on Vine Street where Diane Cross now lives.

I can remember going to Mrs. Barber's store and see her sitting in a room off of the main part of the store smoking a pipe. Also Letha Peffley had a store in her house on Taylor Street.

There was also a beauty shop on the south side of Main Street between the FJO restaurant and Herman Davis Chevrolet. I remember that Betty Elless worked there." Ray (Skip) Ronk-"Runt Cross was town cop from about 1959 to around 1964, because I remember him chasing me a couple of times. I don't remember why, but when I got a driver's license, it was because he didn't like my driving style. The overweight cop that drove a Jeep was a guy named Crawford. Some of my fondest memories are the fish fries, the swimming hole at Raccoon Creek, and some of the hills we used to sled on in winter. I also remember the canning factory across the RR tracks from the ball diamond and the Ladoga Grain Elevator owned by Emory and Marion Chase.

I spent many days in my youth unloading bags of fertilizer from RR cars there. I also remember Mrs. Peffley's store. She was very kind to all us kids." Ed Miller-"Really fun reading. Ethel Merchant (wife of Elmer) mother of Sue and Bill was one of the Ladoga telephone operators. Howard Steele was the barber in the basement at Main and Washington. Lawyer Marks was Walter Marks. He and his wife Zenia lived on Scotland Drive. Their son, Adrian, was an aviator in the Pacific during WW II. He landed his plane on the water to rescue survivors of the USS Indianapolis disaster.

The Chase family owned and operated the elevator next to the Monon. The lumber yard was run by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. Later Chet Dickerson provided coal to Ladoga residents out of that same location. Harold Miller purchased the old Hillis and Oliver machine shop in the 50's where he sold and repaired farm machinery and implements.

In the 50's Mr. Jenkins ran the Ladoga train station.

By the 60's, few trains stopped.

By the 70's, Monon was no more." I remember Ernie French well. He talked in a clipped frog-like cadence. He would often stop in to Miller's Sales and Service on south Washington (now Kenny Vice ford) for a nickel; Coca Cola. The cokes were smaller then, in classic green bottles. On a hot day, Ernie could down the entire bottle on the first swig. Met with Richard Stark a few years back when he stopped by my folks place in Crawfordsville. He said he was working as a machinist in the area. I told him I still remembered his cool '46 Chevy he drove in high school. His dad "Red" Stark, was a fixture at the elevator next to the Monon, just as his mother Hallie, was a fixture at Widdop's Grocery, where she checked out customers at the cash register."

Don Cotton-Don has a lot of memories of Ladoga in the 40's and early 50's. He writes, "The hardware store was owned by Charlie Travis before the McGaugheys. Charlie was collecting rubber tires and inner tubes in the front window of the store for the war. The school was collecting old iron and machinery also for the war effort. There were tons and tons of iron on the pile and it was getting kind of high. One morning, I believe it was on a Monday morning, there were a lot of people coming to look at the pile of iron. Right in the middle of the pile and on top was a model T. Nobody knew how it got there, but I think the car came from old Fat Anderson's. (Ernest) He lived right behind the library and had a lot of junk all over the place in the trees and weeds. Later on, we heard that there were 8 or 10 kids who got together and were responsible. They had to take the car and put it back where they got it. "There were two canning factories in town. There was the one across from the baseball field owned by Ralph Strickler called the Home Canning Company, and the one in the east end of town called the Ladoga Canning Factory. It was started by Edgar Ashby. Next to Kenny Vice Ford across the alley north, was an upstairs recreation room where you could make things and learn how to box. I remember the street movies and the fish fries and carnivals that were held on Main Street. The streets would be full for the carnivals. I remember the penny suppers at the Rebecca Lodge. Lee Dodd was the owner of a small grocery store in town and was hit by a train at the crossing by the depot. He was in his car and fell out when it was pushed down the tracks. All the gas stations had gravity gas pumps. You had to hand pump your gas in the top for the amount you wanted and then put it in your car. One station was right on the sidewalk in front of the tire shop. The tire shop used to be a garage. Right next to the garage across the alley was another filling station (Jess Byrd's) Jess also sold feed. Upstairs at the hardware store, there was a big round tank of leather oil. They had ropes and pulleys to dip the harness in for oiling and cleaning. In the back part of the hardware was the John Deere repair shop run by my dad, Francis Cotton. He was known all over the county for working on and repairing John Deere tractors. Back behind the hardware and pool room we always played kick the can. Next to the alley was the Brunst Brothers Meat Market and Grocery Store. Herman Brunst was a gun collector who collected muzzle-loading rifles. He had dozens and dozens of guns. Lots of times, he gave people groceries and food for guns. Herman also owned a red Stearman or Waco biplane. Just behind Hillis and Oliver's machine shop was an ice house. I believe it closed in the late thirties. Dad (Francis Cotton) was marshal in Ladoga after work through the week, including nights and week ends for about two years. Industrial Ladoga in 1878 The platbook of 1878 shows a mill pond on Raccoon Creek just east the railroad track. There was a raceway which carried water to power Washington (Wash) Bateman's flour on the west side of the road across from the slaughter house. D. Hardin had a saw mill on the north side of the creek and east of the road. Powell and Co. had a saw mill very close to Hardin's just south of the raceway and on the east side of the road. The slaughter house was just above the raceway where the locker plant is now. A.W. Daugherty had a steam flour mill on the south side of South Street, just east of Franklin. Snodgrass had a shingle mill on Sycamore Street just before it came to Main Street and C.H.R. Anderson and Bradley had a flour mill on the north side of Elm Street two blocks east of the railroad. There was a woolen factory on the railroad tracks and a veneer mill on the east side of the railroad tracks at the north end of Franklin Street.

Business Interests in 1913 Banks-Ladoga State Bank and Farmer's and Merchant's Bank. Bakery-K.C. Ullmayer. Clothing (exclusive) ___________Haymer. Cement blocks and walks-C.C. Harshbarger. Contractors-Huntington & Co., also a planning mill. Stark, Oliver & Gish. Dry goods-Bischof, the cooperative plan, and the Fountain Dry Goods Store. Drug Stores-Snyder Drug Company, and Hanna Drug Company. Dentist-Dr. C. B. Werts. Blacksmith Shops-Camden and Son, Walter Riddlebarger, and J.C. Southers. Barbers-John L. Gibson, Gray & Son, I.N. Slade. Canning Company-(Havers Brothers). Elevator-Ashby and Ashby. Furniture-R.W. Wade (Also undertaking). Grocery (exclusive--Barnes and Shackelford, Henry and Harris, M.S. McMurtrey, Rose Brothers. Garages-Lee Dodd, Joseph Wilhite. Harness Shop-Thomas J. Carrol. Hardware-Cormon and Harris. Ray O. Gill. Hotel-W.P. McIntire. Implements-Handled only by hardware dealers. Jeweler-Henry VanCleave. Lumber-Ashby and Ashby. Livery-Lee Dodd. Mills-Hardin and Son, flouring mill; Gates and Davis, saw mill. Meat market-Poe and Brunst. Millinery-Carrie Robbins. Newspaper-the Leader-J.F. Warfel.Pool rooms-George T. Rice. J. O. Penington, and W.S. Cochran. Photographer-Lyda Van Horn. Physicians-Dr.s. W.F. Batman, E.O. Price, and Ed Lidikay, Talmage. Lawyer-Robert Marks. Loan Company-Ladoga Building & Loan and Savings Association. Machine shop-J.W. Hillis. Restaurant-W.P. McClure. Tombstone Maker-Ed. Fuller. Stock Dealer-Gott & Smalley. Transfer Line-Cheshire and Summers, Burt Robbins. Tailors-George Goetz, J.W. Widdop. Wagon Repairers-W.C. Rapp &Sons. Hoosier Supply Company (incorporated)-supplies for traveling agents. Veterinary Surgeons-J.G/. Heighway, who is president of the state board.

The Boys and Girls of Summer As you can see from the picture, my Dad wanted me to be a baseball player. There are two things that I can't remember learning, but seemingly have known how to do all my life. One is playing baseball and the other is playing Euchre. We played baseball in the back yard, on the street behind our house, and on the front sidewalk. Since I had a brother only three years older than I was, I always had a playmate or in this case a battery-mate. Danny and I played catch with each other or went to the ball diamond which was only a block away and played baseball nearly every day all summer. He was always the pitcher and I was always the catcher as you can see in the picture, I had the catcher's glove. We took chalk and drew a plate on the sidewalk and pitched a countless number of innings. We worked on every trick pitch imaginable that would get the batter out. When I got into high school, he was the pitcher on the team and I was the catcher. When he wasn't around, I played baseball by myself. I would either throw the ball up as high as I could and pretend it was a pop fly or I would roll it up one side of the roof and run around to the other side to catch it before it hit the ground. The first place I remember playing baseball regularly was south of town at David French's on what was called the Canning Factory Farm. David's Dad worked for the Ladoga Canning Factory and they lived on one of the farms. The first field was just a pasture. We used gunny sacks full of cobs for bases and a barb wire fence in the outfield for the home run fence. In the summer, we played baseball all morning then went to a place called The Park on Raccoon Crick (Creek) and went swimming until it cooled off a little then back to the baseball diamond. It was not at all unusual for there to be 15 or 20 guys and two girls at the ball diamond from 12 to 16 years old playing. The girls were Maybeth and Sandy Todd and were every bit as good as most of the boys. We would put our money together and go to the hardware store and buy a ball and a bat and we were ready to play until we wore out the ball or broke the bat, then we nailed the bat back together and taped it up and taped up the ball and started all over again. Guys came from all over town and from out in the country. We never had to call people up to come play ball. If they were home, they knew the game started as soon as the dew was off the grass. As I said, we played until it got hot, then went swimming, then went back to the ball field and played until it got too dark to see. Then we all went home to eat supper and then back outside to play Hide and Seek, Chase, or Kick the Can until it was time to go to bed.

There was no TV, no video games, no computers, and no trouble finding something to do to entertain ourselves. I need to take just a few lines to describe to Ladoga Baseball Field. In the earliest days, there were two mammoth elm trees in right and right center field. The trees were close enough to home plate that many fly balls ended up hitting one of the trees. There were no ground rules. The fielder just played the ball. It was alive. They were killed by the Dutch elm disease in the 50's and removed. There was also a large roller leaning up against the tree in center field that they used to roll the field and the track which ran around the outer edge of the field.

There was an electrical line which ran from behind first base to behind third base with a pole just outside the field behind first and out to a pole behind shortstop and on to a pole behind third base. The wires and the poles were in play. If the ball hit the wire or a pole, you played it. It was a live ball. Max Todd remembers watching David French playing shortstop and chasing a blooper out into center field and running into the pole. The field covered a whole city block and was a part of the Anderson Estate. There was a railroad track just across the street to the west and a small canning factory on the west side of the tracks. When a steam engine (later diesel) came along, play was suspended because of the noise and smoke. There were no fences around the field. If a batted ball rolled into the street in left field, it was a ground rule double. If it hit the street on the fly or went over the street, it was a home run. Center field and right field were too far away to hit the ball to the street, so the ball was alive and you could run forever if you hit it to right or center. When I was about a freshman or sophomore in high school, the town of Ladoga removed the poles and wires from the field of play and erected lights suitable for night baseball and later football.

Ladoga was the only place in the county, besides Crawfordsville to have lights on their baseball field. As I recall, there were no dugouts or bleacher seats at the field. Players sat on benches and spectators sat in lawn chairs and fathers yelled at the umpire who was either another father or someone out of the crowd who worked for nothing. Ah, you can't beat fun at the old ball park.

There was a group of boys and two girls who would gather at the baseball diamond when there was still dew on the grass, play all morning, then eat lunch and go to the park and go swimming while it was too hot to play ball; after swimming for a couple of hours, we would go back and play ball until it was dark. The list of people who played makes a wonderfully pleasant list of dear friends. Max and Mel Todd lived just down the street from me. I could have thrown a baseball and hit their house. Mel was my age and Max was two years older. Jon and Don Todd lived ½ block up the street. I could have stepped out my front door and hit their house with a baseball. Keith Todd lived in an apartment on Main Street and had two sisters, Maybeth and Sandra who could play as well as any of the guys. John Gott lived up in the east end of town. His parents were Fannie and Owen Gott. By the way, Max and Mel's parents were Walter (Dobbie) and Marguerite. Don and Jon's parents were Onis and Lettie, and Keith's were Babe and Sandy. I felt as much at home in any of my friends' houses as I did my own and I'm sure they felt the same way. The Kimmel boys, Mort and Charley came to town to play ball sometimes. Charley was my age and Mort was three years older. They had another brother, Bill, who didn't play baseball, but was a good basketball player and a great track man. They lived on a dairy farm northeast of Ladoga. Their parents were Maurice and Lena Fay Kimmel. Wally Lewellyn played baseball with us all the time. He was four years older and threw the best curve ball any of us had seen. Wally had a brother named Jack who didn't play much baseball, but was a good basketball player. Wally's dad was also named Wallace. He learned how to restitch baseballs and bought a round needle and kept us in good baseballs when they came apart. David (Peanut) French lived on the Ladoga Canning Factory farm south of Ladoga. He came to town and played or we went to his house and played ball. His parents were Ernie and Garnet French. Larry Burnett was a late arrival to the town games. He was Jon Todd's age. His cousin, Jimmy Myers played some before he moved away. Bill Strickler was also one of the regulars. He was my brother Danny's best friend and was the son of Ike and Chub Strickler. He came from a real baseball playing family as his dad, Ike (Harold) and Ike's brothers Juicy (Warren), Tuney and Buren were all legendary HS and town league players. Dick Stull also played with us, but had a heart murmur or something and couldn't exert himself too much. His older brother, Bob was one of the baseball and basketball stars of the late 40's. They were the sons of Bruce and Ruth Stull and lived ½ block away from me on the way to school. Dick was the first in my graduating class to pass away. He was killed in a motorcycle wreck on 234 between Jamestown and Ladoga. I remember my Dad and Mom getting a call about another motorcycle wreck involving Tommy Davis and Joe Featherstone. I distinctly remember Mom taking the call and saying to Dad, "Joe and Tommy were in a wreck. Tommy is still alive; Joe didn't make it." Tommy was the only son of Herman and Opal Davis. He died a short time later. Sometimes the older boys came to the diamond and played with us, but they were so good that they dominated the game. I remember watching Jim Cross, Barney Staton, Bob Stull, Kenyon Roberts and Jerry Zachary play baseball. They were really good in the eyes of a young boy.

Barney Staton was the best pitcher of his era and would have made the big leagues if he had played 50 years later. There were only 16 teams in those days instead 30 or 40 teams today. I remember that Barney always rubbed his arm with Lotshaw Lotion, which was marketed by Andy Lotshaw, the trainer of the Cubs. You should know that I had to have some of that magic stuff. If it was good enough for a legend, it was good enough for me.

Harley Barnard was the same age as Wally and Mort as was Gerald "Red" Hart. They played with us also but had jobs and had outgrown us younger boys. As I look back and count, there were probably 18-20 boys and two girls who might have been growing up and playing ball, going swimming and generally having a great time in Ladoga. We fished together, hunted together, camped out together, and generally grew up like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Any number of that group might gather at David French's house south of town where the canning factory owned farm ground. Our first baseball field was in a pasture north of Dave's house which ran downhill to our home run fence at the road. We would pool our money and buy a bat and ball or someone had one that they had gotten for a birthday present. We played until the cover was off the ball or the bat was broken. When we got too tired or too hot to play any more, we would go to the house and Garnet would make us some iced tea. We would then sit around the radio and listen to the Cubs play. Either Dave's dad or granddad would always be listening to the voice of the Cubs, Burt Wilson, who started every broadcast by saying, "It's a beautiful day for a ball game. The sun is shining at beautiful Wrigley Field." It was almost as good as hearing Ernie Banks say, "It's a great day. Let's play two." That was the way it was with the Boys and Girls of Summer. The sun was always shining and we were always ready to play two or three or four.

Grace Denny wrote a history of Ladoga for the Sesquicentennial book in 1986. She wrote two interesting articles about Ladoga citizens and WW II. She wrote about the Civil Defense effort in Ladoga and two heroes from our town. Of the Civil Defense, she wrote, "Mr. and Mrs. Pete parker and Trixie played a very important part in the Civilian Defense of the 30's and 40's. The Parkers manned one of the 15,000 volunteer Ground Observer posts of the Air Defense Command. It was located in an office of the greenhouse in the rear of their residence. Parker observed that although Trixie (the family dog) had no formal training, his value stemmed from good hearing and his fixation that an airplane represents danger. The sound of a jet or propeller-driven aircraft sent him into a barking frenzy, day or night. Mrs. Parker said, 'Even if we fell asleep on the post or are asleep in the house, it makes no difference to him. He won't stop howling until he hears the phone report being made.' Trixie and the Parkers made an unusual contribution to the Ladoga community in the 1940's." Grace also wrote of Jim Tribby and Adrian Marks: "Jim Tribby, a 1935 graduate of Ladoga High School was imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp for three years. He was taken prisoner after the Battle of Corregidor which occurred four hours after Pearl Harbor. The retired Air Force Master Sgt. survived the Bataan Death March and tried to escape several times before he and 6,000 comrades were liberated at the end of the war. Tribby who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds when he enlisted weighed only 97 pounds when he was rescued.

Another son of Ladoga was decorated for bravery during World War ll. Lt. Cdr. Robert A. Marks, known as Adrian (Class of 1933) received the Air Medal for his services as a patrol plane commander of a Navy Cataline patrol (PBY) which made an open sea rescuing 56 survivors of the Cruiser 'USS Indianapolis,' who had been adrift for four and one half days. The rescue required great skill and bravery on behalf of Lt. Marks as the landing took place in 12 foot swells. Two rivets popped and a seam gaped open. Emergency repairs had to be made on the plane as water began to seep into the radio compartment. The men were so exhausted that they could only cling to the plane as it taxied over the water picking up survivors while waiting for a rescue ship which arrive some eight hours later. Marks was the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Marks of Ladoga, a truly outstanding member of the Ladoga community." Railroads, Creeks, and Little Villages "Oh up and down the Monon where everything is fine, It's that rootin,' tootin' Monon, It's the Hoosier line."

One of the things that made Ladoga a thriving community in the early days was the arrival of the railroads. The Monon line was built in 1853 and was routed through Ladoga because of the foresight of several businessmen. The natural route of the Monon would have been straight down SR 43 (Now 231) on to Greencastle and then to points south. When the RR developers were asked about taking the Monon through Ladoga, they informed the businessmen that it would cost $50,000. Ladoga decided to invest the amount needed by selling stock and receiving donations and from 1853 to 1970, the Monon was very important to industrial Ladoga. Grace Denny had a good article about the importance of the Monon and the Midland RR's to the prosperity of the growing town. She wrote in the Sesquicentennial book of 1986: "Just before the Centennial, Urban Stover, one of the older citizens of Ladoga, recalled the early days of the Monon. 'The town of Ladoga is very much indebted to the railroad now know as the Monon, but originally called the New Albany and Salem. This north and south railway from New Albany to Michigan City, was built through Ladoga in 1853. To bring the railroad through Ladoga, the citizens raised $50,000 by the sale of stock, and in donations to the New Albany and Salem Company. This was a wise investment since the natural and short route between Greencastle and Crawfordsville was through Parkersburg a town of considerable importance. It my have been that if no rail line had been built through Ladoga, the town might have become a 'ghost' village. It was on no important through highway; it might have become like Tinkersville or Carrolton that Will Anderson wrote about in the history of Early Ladoga." According to the History of the Monon on its official website, "The Chicago, Indianapolis &Louisville Railroad known affectionately as the Monon, is Indiana's own. Monon derives from Potawatomi Indian words that sounded to the first settlers like 'metamonong' or 'monong' and seemingly meant 'tote' or 'swift running'. In 1882, the railroad started printing 'The Monon Route' on company maps, later naming itself 'Monon-the Hoosier Line' on timetables , letterheads and rolling stock."

In April, 1865, a Monon engine pulled President Abraham Lincoln's funeral train at 5 mph per orders from Lafayette to Michigan City, one of twenty railroad lines honored to participate in the 20-day, 1,666-mile trail of sadness from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois. One of Ladoga's citizens was young soldier in April of 1865. Samuel F. Tilford had also decided to attend Ford's Theater to see the play "Our American Cousin." He said he saw Booth standing near the President's box all through the first act of the play and then missed seeing him till he had shot the President and jumped to the stage. Mr. Tilford assisted in carrying the body of Mr. Lincoln to the residence across the street where he breathed his last the following morning, April 15, 1865.

Anyone who has ever lived close to a railroad (The Monon ran right behind my house) will remember the engine stopping at the water tank at the edge of town to take on water, the cloud of black smoke coming out of the smokestack, the cinders in your eyes, and the lonesome sound of the whistle as the train approached a crossing. However you have to be a real train lover to remember the boy across the street who pretended to actually be a train. He would run down his sidewalk making his best train imitation and would stick out his arm to snag the mail bag, then stop at the end of the sidewalk, walk back and reload the contraption that held the mail bag and repeat the process all over again for the whole morning. (He loved trains) In those days, much of the mail was shipped by train and the fast express didn't stop at our little town. They just stationed a man on the caboose and he stuck out a long pole and snagged the mail sack. I can also remember hearing the train coming (That would have been the Old Midland which ran east and west, while the Monon ran north and south. (They crossed nearly in my back yard). When we heard the train coming, we rushed out and put a penny on the track so we would have a flat penny for a souvenir. We must have made a lot of them, but what did we do with them?

The Central Indiana Railway began on July 3, 1871. It was reorganized into the Midland Railway Company on July 7, 1885. At its peak, it ran from Muncie, IN to Brazil, IN. Stations along the line of interest to Ladoga and Montgomery County folks included Lebanon, Advance, New Ross, Ladoga, Waveland and Waveland Junction. The TCIRwy ran a distance o 117 miles and owned eleven locomotives and a variety of rolling stock. From 1887 to 1929, it connected with the Monon at Ladoga. According to Bob Elliott who followed the Midland ROW in 2005, the ROW can be seen at 9307 US RTE 231 in Lapland, IN.

He also commented that between Ladoga and Lapland there is a Central Indiana (Midland) location named Pawnee, IN. Pawnee is now one house at 1492 E Cty. Road 900S. The Midland ran into Ladoga from the west and followed Nebraska Street through town and on past the Canning Factory to Lebanon. It ran through New Ross at the corner of SR 136 and the Ladoga-New Ross Road. The depot in New Ross was just north of Whitecotton's (Now Ron Wrede's) house. It ran right down the road just north of the highway and then straight to the east side of Ladoga where the Canning Factory was. This connected the canning factory at Ladoga with the one at Lebanon. The Midland then ran through Ladoga on what is now Nebraska Street. It crossed Cornstalk Creek behind the David Vice property in Scotland Park. It then continued to Lapland and Pawnee which is west of Ladoga on 231 north of Parkersburg on what was now the Lincoln Priebe farm. (Now owned by Morris Mills). From there it continued on through Waveland and then to Brazil. There were two Midland Depots. The first was just south of Chester Peffley's house on North Sycamore Street and the other was on Nebraska Street where the telephone office is now. One of those two Midland Depots was moved down Sycamore Street south and became the home of Jack and Mary Kessler. The water tower was behind where the Grantham house is now. (Charlie and Ethel) One of the big boys once told me that the distance between the tracks of a railroad and the distance between the wheels on your car was the same. He concluded that you could let some air out of your tires, put the car on the tracks and drive it on the railroad tracks just like driving on the road. I was 16, had my driver's license, and a dark green 41 Pontiac, built like a tank, so I decided to test his theory. It worked. I put the car on the tracks at the intersection of Nebraska and Hickory, just north of the high school building and started east toward the intersection that led to the Canning Factory. Everything went as planned. I drove slowly and carefully and arrived at the next intersection. I always wondered what would have happened if there had been a train on the tracks coming the other way. Worse yet, I have always wondered what my Dad would have said and done if he had found out about my experiment.

There were also a couple of train wrecks that occurred right behind my house. We soon got used to the sound of the train going by and the slight shaking of the house. We got so used to it, that we didn't even hear the train wreck in 1949 or the other one in 1950. Every summer, the RR would, bring in section hands to work on the tracks. They were usually college students working at a summer job. Most were athletes, because they would play football with us on Saturdays and Sundays. The depot was just across the street from the ball diamond and their sleeping car would be parked on a siding until their work was finished; then they would go on to another town and repeat the process. The Monon history website concluded by observing that: "The Monon served five major Universities in Indiana, Purdue University (West Lafayette), Wabash College (Crawfordsville), DePauw University (Greencastle), Indiana University (Bloomington), and Butler University (Indianapolis).

The state's decision to put Purdue University at Lafayette in 1869 had partly to do with Monon service, there since 1852. So important was the college traffic that the road painted its passenger rolling stock the red and white of Wabash College, and painted its freight engines black and gold of DePauw University (not Indiana University and Purdue University as is commonly thought). In 1959, after the Indianapolis to Chicago trains were discontinued, it didn't make sense to continue with two color schemes, and to economize, the red and white passenger scheme was slowly converted to black and gold. Creeks The little town of Ladoga began with houses built on Raccoon Creek because of the springs that were present on both side of the creek. The first houses almost without exception were built on the banks and streams and always by a spring. The existence of the spring decided the location of the house for people had no time to dig wells. Ladoga owes its existence to the number of good springs that existed on either side of the Raccoon in its vicinity. No less than ten houses were built along the creek in this vicinity before 1830 and every one was by a spring. This was the nucleus of the town of Ladoga which began on either bank of Raccoon Creek and moved steadily northward for seventy-five years.

This was written in 1913 by one of the early Ladoga historians. The town was platted by John Myers on March 26, 1836 and was laid out "square with the world." Only six blocks were platted at that time including forty-eight lots. This plat is included between South and Elm streets and the Monon railroad and Walnut Street. There were four blocks east of Washington Street and two west with an equal number on either side of Main. The original town square was at the corner of South and Washington where there were two stores, "doing a large business in general merchandise both facing on South Street and one on either side of Washington." In 1838, there were eight houses on the north side of South Street and two houses north of the two stores, two on the south side of South Street and five around the mill. These seventeen buildings were what was considered the town. The crossing at Washington and South streets continued to be the public square until the fifties when the town began to expand to the north. Ladoga was once noted for its flour mills, having three at one time and five altogether.

One of the most ambitious projects was accomplished by John Meyers, Jr., in 1835 as he constructed a four story grist mill with a double set of French burrs, complete with elevators and bolting cloth. In 1853-54, William Baldwin attempted to compete with the water mills by employing steam power. Small towns and Villages There were two fairly large towns and several small villages around Ladoga. Three miles south of town, where the Monon Railroad now crosses the county line road, there was a thriving commercial center known as Ashby Mills and sometimes referred top as "Stump Town" This would have been long before the founding of the neighboring town of Roachdale. The Ashbys had a mill there which gave the town its name. There was also a railway station and a general store that drew trade from many miles around. Another neighboring town was Parkersburg which grew up by the big spring on the Greencastle Road. It was laid out by Christopher Shuck in 1829 and originally named Summerset. There were two hotels, three general stores, two boot and shoe shops, a carding factory, tailor shops and blacksmith shops. There were also several villages in and near Ladoga: Connettsville was a 28 acre area at the northeast edge of Ladoga. It was laid out by M.A. Connett.

Carrolton was platted by John James, son-in-law of Abraham Inlow in 1829. It had a store and a blacksmith shop and was south and west of the Inlow Cemetery northeast of Ladoga.

Somerset later called Shucktown was located near where the spring now is in Parkersburg. Lapland and Pawnee weren't closely connected with Ladoga and were located on 231 north of Parkersburg on what is now the Morris Mills farm. Morris' son now lives on the farm. (It was formerly the Lincoln Priebe farm). Jamestown was on Raccoon Creek on the back side of the Brent Poynter property, the old Otterman farm. Oklahoma was where the ice cream stand (Now a filling station) is now. It is on Oklahoma Street where the nursing home was. Riverside was the area where the Indiana Christian Children's home was. (Now the Juvenile Center) Smoky Row was the name given to the area along South Street. The smoke came from the tannery.

Haw Creek was the name given to the area around Haw Creek.

Penobscot was west of Ladoga. It was on the Midland line as were Pawnee and Lapland.

Stumptown was on the county line road just west of the railroad outside Roachdale.

Back to content