Explore local history at library

Bartholomew County and specifically the Bartholomew County Public Library are celebrating Indiana’s 200th birthday in a big way.

You can go back in time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 6 p.m. Sept. 18 at the library, 526 Fifth St. in Columbus. Displayed throughout the library, indoors and on the plaza, will be hands-on history and exhibits from local collectors, area museums and nonprofits.

What makes this event so unique is that many of the exhibits are in private collections that don’t always get to be seen by the public.

A special exhibit this year will be the 1896 Reeves Motocycle on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. This was the first car built by Milton Reeves, of Reeves Pulley Company in Columbus. It was the first car to use his invention of the variable-speed transmission.

You can also see historic automobiles from Cummins, aerial maps showing the growth of Columbus from 1937 through 2014, Columbus racing history and furniture made by Orinoco and Lincoln furniture companies.

Children can ride the “Ottaway Pump-It Train,” a ‘50s vintage ride that is self-propelled around a track by the pumping action of a “T” bar mounted in the middle of each handcar.

See historical collections of oil cans and road maps, working Reeves Gas Engines and Cummins “Thermoil” Engines operating a corn grinder and water pump. Climb aboard the 1937 Stutz Cummins Diesel Fire Engine or the 1958 “Bouncing Betty” Maxim Fire Engine.

Search for your family history in the Indiana Room with assistance from the Bartholomew County Genealogical Society or Joseph Hart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Go to school in a one-room schoolhouse, learn about Hope, and the rich architectural history of Columbus.

A beautifully restored 1943 Willys Jeep, the Rathman Xterminator and 1961 Home-a-Lite Scarlet Fighter Go Karts and the Model A Worth Auto will be on display for car and racing enthusiasts.

You are invited to bring your photographs, postcards and other items to be scanned Saturday while you wait or enjoy the exhibits. The images will be made available on the Indiana Album, which is part of the Indiana Memory project, an online database of the Indiana State Library.

Pick up a copy of “Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana” by James H. Madison for the Community Book Read. A limited number will be available between 2 and 5 p.m. Sept. 18. The author will be present at the library at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 to discuss his book.

The bicentennial celebration from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 is Bartholomew County’s official party. The Bicentennial Torch will make its way through the county that day, arriving at the library plaza around 7 p.m. While you are waiting for the torch, enjoy music, visit booths, meet Bart the Bicentennial Bison, and after the torch arrives, enjoy a birthday cupcake.

Celebrations also are scheduled in Hartsville and at Simmons Winery. In Hartsville, enjoy two days of fun, Sept. 17 and 18, from noon to 7 p.m. including a fish fry, a Mini Torch Relay, a Civil War Medicine program and a balloon man. Simmons Winery will host the Banister Family Bluegrass Band and craft activities for children from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 18.

The Bartholomew County Public Library hours are extended Sept. 18 from 1 to 8 p.m. We hope you will join us for these special events.

Michele Bottorff is a Reference Librarian at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at mbottorff@barth.lib.in.us.

Steps Through Time schedule

Where: Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St. in Columbus.

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 18.

Upstairs: 1896 Reeves Motocycle from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum; Rhonda Bolner presenting information on Orinoco and Lincoln Furniture.

Indiana Room: Bartholomew County Genealogical Society ancestry help (only on Saturday); Daughters of the American Revolution, Joseph Hart Chapter.

Downstairs: David Sechrest on Crump Theater history; Yellow Trail Museum in Hope; Simmons School in Hope; Jerry Castor on Columbus Racing Memorabilia.

Red Room and conference room area: Jim and Gayle Loesch on oil cans and road maps and other Columbus memorabilia; Reeves gas engine; John Rondot with local history slides; hands-on history; aerial maps of Columbus from 1937, 1949, 1960, 1968 and 2014; Wayne Rust on Cummins history, including vintage manuals, service pins and other items.

On the plaza:

  • Bartholomew County History Center: Reeves gas engine, water pump, corn grinder, 1907 Model A Worth automobile,  Reeves steam engine (Saturday only); special Cummins vehicles.
  • Randy Watts: Cummins 1-1/2 HP “Thermoil” engine
  • Bill Stahl: Vintage Ottaway Pump-It Train & Drive-In Light; Cummins 3 HP “Thermoil” engine
  • Columbus Fire Department: 1937 Stutz Cummins Diesel
  • John Stults: 1961 Home-a-Lite Scarlet Fighter Go Kart
  • Mike Anderson: Rathmann Xterminator Go Kart (Friday only)
  • Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum: 1943 Willys Jeep; large photos of base
  • John Rondot/Dan Bates: “Bouncing Betty” Fire Engine – 1958 Maxim; 1,000-gallon pumper; Cummins engine
  • Bartholomew County United Way: Bart the Bison
  • Music of Dale Sechrest: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday.

Information: Michele Bottorff, reference librarían, by email at mbottorff@barth.lib.in.us or call 812-379-1266

Bicentennial Torch Relay celebration

Visit booths set up Sept. 18 by a variety of nonprofits and local vendors. Scheduled events:

  • Food and family-related booths open, 2 to 6 p.m.
  • Indiana’s Bicentennial Experience mobile display of history, 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Columbus City Band performance in front of First Christian Church, 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.
  • Tim Grimm Family Band performance at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza, 6 to 7 p.m.
  • Program with Harry McCawley as emcee, including acceptance of torch, Bartholomew County Commissioners; city proclamation, Mayor Jim Lienhoop; introduction of torchbearers, McCawley; DAR children’s choir performance; cupcakes and balloon release, starting at 7 p.m.