The Evansville Press, July 5, 1936

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

15,000 See "Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln" in Program Dedicating Rockport Village

Special Correspondence

ROCKPORT, Ind., July 4. – A week dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln reached its climax today in a program of pageantry and tribute.

An estimated 15,000 persons packed the old Spencer County fairgrounds for the second annual ceremonies at Rockport’s famed Lincoln Pioneer Village. Show officials said the gathering was larger than the crowd at the dedication a year ago.

The opening of four new buildings in the village proper and a four-acre lake and a pioneer corn mill were features of the day.

"Greeters" in Costume

Opening with stunts and mammoth parade Saturday morning, the program was climaxed with band concerts and speeches at the park in the afternoon.

A cast of 150 Rockport persons, dressed in pioneer costumes. Was on hand in the village to greet visitors. William Parsley as Lincoln, and Mrs. Louise Atchison, as Mrs. Lincoln, had the leading roles.

Talks by Clifford Townsend, Democratic nominee for governor, and Raymond S. Springer, Republican nominee, were highlights of the afternoon program.

Wayne Coy, Indiana director of the Works Progress Administration, dedicated the new buildings.

Ovation for Each

Party leaders held unofficial receptions for their respective candidates before and after the program, but the speeches themselves were strictly non-partisan.

Both parties had gaily-decorated booths under the grandstand with the prospective governors on hand to greet their backers.

When they were introduced, both received tremendous ovations from the crowd. The stands were packed solidly, and other thousands stood in the fields nearby.

Both men extolled Lincoln’s virtues as a President and called for a rebirth of his ideals today.

They declared the village a "fitting memorial" to his memory and praised the men and organizations responsible for its construction.

Many Speakers

Mr. Coy, pointing out that much of the work was done by relief labor, described the project as an "industrial school" where untrained men had learned a trade.

The program went off with few hitches.

Several scheduled speakers, including U. S. Senator Sherman Minton; Dr. C. B. Coleman, Indianapolis, director of the Indiana Historical Society; William Fortune, Indianapolis, and Lew O’Bannon, Corydon, failed to appear.

Judge Caleb Lindsey, Boonville, and Mrs. George Honig, wife of the architect for the village, were new speakers. Others included Mrs. Bess V. Ehrmann, president of the Spencer County Historical Society; Mayor Harvey T. Chinn; Thomas Finley, Madisonville, Ky., Professor Ross Lockridge, Indiana University, and Mr. Honig.

Beauties Can’t Dive

The dry weather canceled a scheduled diving exhibition by 10 Rockport bathing beauties, but they appeared, nevertheless.

Ten girls, clad in colorful bathing suits, walked to the bridge over the newly-completed lake and posed while the band played.

The water was too shallow to dive in, so they contented themselves with striking a diving pose, first on one side of the bridge and then the other, while the crowd cheered.

A highlight of the program was a "reception" on the speakers’ platform for "Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln."

Mr. Parsley and Mrs. Atchison, dressed like the famous Civil War couple, strode to the stage, and their fellow-actors, playing the parts of Spencer County residents who knew Lincoln when he lived near Rockport, followed to extend their greetings. The proceedings were relayed to the crowd thru loudspeakers.

A blue and white float entered by the Rockport Kiwanis Club, carrying Mr. Parsley as Lincoln, won first prize of $25 in the morning parade.

The mammoth procession, including 135 floats and hundreds of persons, measured several miles.

Children Start Program

It formed downtown, marched to the fairgrounds and circled the track before the judges stand. A. J. Heuring, Winslow; Charles T. Baker, Grandview, and P. E. Beuchler, Ferdinand, picked the winner.

A "children’s hours" at 9 a. m. opened the day’s festivities. A group of Rockport youngsters performing on the speakers’ stand at the park, went thru an hour’s program of acrobatic stunts and skits.

Guests spent the noon hour at a picnic dinner under the trees and inspecting the pioneer homes in the village.

Home of Daniel Grass

New cabins formally opened Saturday included replicas of the second Lincoln home in Spencer County; the home of Daniel Grass, founder of Rockport; the old Pigeon Bapitst Church at Lincoln City, and a barter and marked house, where early settlers exchanged goods.

Only uncompleted items in the village program are the lake, which needs more water for swimming and boating, and the corn mill.

Tentative plans call for permanent statues in the village cabins representing the pioneers who lived in them.