MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
At right, Cheryl Welch, president of the Ripley County Historical Society, Katherine Taul, executive director of Ripley County Tourism Bureau, Mike Stratton, county historian, and Steve Gloyd with Reynolds Foundation stand in front of the marker at the Versailles Masonic Hall. Absent from the photo was Helen Einhaus, former county historian.
An 18-month project sponsored by the Ripley County Historical Society has come to an end with the construction of 38 historical markers throughout the county. The project was spearheaded by former Ripley County Historian Helen Einhaus and current historian Mike Stratton. The markers have been erected in all 11 townships, and the historical content of each marker pertains to that particular area. Funding for the Center Township markers was provided by the Reynolds Foundation and the Roy and Hilda Black Community Trust. The rest of the markers were funded by the Rising Sun Regional Foundation.
Brochures should be ready by the end of the year, according to Ripley County Tourism Director Katherine Taul. She helped write the grants and create the design, adding the tourism logo. It’s been a long project between the research and the funding. Stratton and Einhaus spent two years choosing what to feature and writing the script for the wood markers. Then they had to get permission to install the markers and poles on the properties, many of those being homeowners. Stratton said there’s at least eight such markers in Center Township (Osgood).
The markers are not just historical fact, but reference interesting stories of people or places of Ripley County. For example, marker 31 in Laughery Township, south of SR 229, identifies the area was once called “Steamboat Landing” and was known for basket and cigar makers and included a general store. Stratton discovered that Otter Village’s cemetery has 11 civil war veterans. One marker refers to the underground railroad in Osgood, and another is of Indiana artist William Forsyth, who grew up in Osgood, and later became famous. “Gordon’s Leap” is about the story of the local medical students in the 1850s who dug up corpses at Cliff Hill Cemetery for research but were caught in the act.
Each marker costs about $500. The county highway department crew also helped with the installation.
The historical society, along with Stratton and Einhaus, encourage people to visit the 38 markers, possibly taking a road trip around the county, or visit various sections, and get a feel for the county’s past.
Find a complete list of the 38 markers and locations in The Versailles Republican.
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