The Friends of Historic Vernon are raffling a playhouse to earn money to improve the play area in the Commons of Vernon.
Designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse, the playhouse is made of wood and is 8 feet by 8 feet in size.
Located near the Muscatatuck River, the Commons was established in 1815 when Vernon was founded. The Commons was the first legally established public playground and public gathering area west of the Alleghenies.
Another group, the Friends of Muscatatuck River Society, has helped maintain the Commons. Now, the Friends of Historic Vernon hope to enhance those efforts by raising money to upgrade the playground.
“We have had really good response. Several people have joined the group. Lowe’s agreed right away to help us with the materials for the playhouse, and it was really great that the high school students got involved; but we can still sure use more volunteers to help with projects,” said Amber Fields, director of Friends of Historic Vernon.
The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group dedicated to preserving Vernon’s history.
“The Jennings County Historical Society does such a wonderful job, but they have to cover all the sites in Jennings County. We formed a separate group to focus just on Vernon’s history,” Fields said.
The group was formed in 2013 when the historical society decided not to organize the annual Vernon Labor Day Festival anymore. Vernon Mayor Dan Wright organized the Friends of Historic Vernon to handle the festival so the town could continue the festival’s 50-year tradition.
Andy Dean’s Jennings County High School industrial arts class constructed the playhouse with materials donated by Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center in North Vernon.
The playhouse will be on display at the Vernon Tea House until the drawing in October. Raffle tickets are $1 each or $5 for six tickets. Tickets can be purchased during the Vernon Labor Day Festival on Sept. 5 and 6, at The Vernon Tea House and at McCrory’s Jewelry on Pike Street in Vernon. Tickets also can be purchased from following committee members: Amber Fields, Dan Wright, Josh Shaw, Stephanie Shaw, Virgil Meeker, Dana Ochs and Steve Harding.
Anyone wishing to volunteer with projects or to join The Friends of Historic Vernon Organization can call Amber Fields at 812-592-0428.