The Evansville Courier and Journal, July 5, 1935

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.


Tri-State Relives Day of Railsplitter’s Youth as Village is Dedicated


Heat, Humidity and Rain Fail to Damper Holiday Spirit of Observance

ROCKPORT, July 4—(Special)—

Ten thousand Tri-State folks, in a friendly, democratic fashion heightened by a holiday spirit, helped Rockport dedicate its Lincoln Pioneer Village today.

Heat and humidity brought perspiration in the morning, and lightning-filled thunder clouds brought rain in the afternoon, but even this combination could not dampen the festive feeling of the mass of people milling in and around the city park reliving with Abraham Lincoln the memories of his youth in Indiana.

There was a youthful paradox to age present, too, as 700 McGuffyites, grandparents and great-grandparents, most of them, went back to their childhood schooling and recalled the McGuffy primers, readers, and spelling books that shaped their later lives.


A crowded day of activities, lasting from 9:30 in the morning until supper-time, kept the old fair grounds busy, and visitors spent every spare minute inspecting the Village, drinking soda pop and lemonade, and talking to the many friends they met. Aside from the planned program, the day was a big, over-grown family reunion, with the whole Tri-State as the family.

A mile-long, colorful pageant parade and 12 contests during the morning and early afternoon, drew an early crowd to the park amphitheater, but the main part of the program, the dedication services, starting at 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon, attracted the biggest number of spectators, even after dark clouds threatened to ruin the ceremony. The clouds blew over after a brief shower which nobody seemed to mind, and the dedication proceeded as scheduled.


Principal speakers at the dedication program included F. Harold Van Orman, former lieutenant-governor of Indiana; Philip Lutz, Jr., Indiana attorney-general; Judge Roscoe Kiper of Boonville, Lincoln historian; and J. Roy Strickland, president of the Southern Indiana McGuffy club, which he founded through his column Paragraphy in The Courier.

George Honig, artist, sculptor, and designer who dreamed the Pioneer Village and saw it through, devoting months of work to its completion, delivered the dedicatory speech. Mrs. Bess V. Ehrman, president of the Spencer County Historical society, which sponsored the village and its dedication ceremonies, presided.


Senator Sherman Minton and Representative John W. Boehne, Jr., scheduled to speak, sent telegrams of regret from Washington, D. C., explaining that national affairs were keeping congressmen busy at the capitol so that they could not attend the dedication.