The Rockport Democrat, July 10, 1936

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.


Pioneer Village, Around Festival Centers, Is Rapidly Gaining Recognition As National Shrine


With a mammoth celebration on July 4th, which attracted a crowd variously estimated from six to eight thousand people, Rockport’s Lincoln Country Summer Festival ended Saturday. The entire previous week was devoted to activities commemorating historic events and pioneer tradition, so closely linked with the early life of Spencer county and the city of Rockport.

Before 9:00 o’clock in the morning, thousands of people lined the route which the parade was scheduled to take and others of the vast throng were in and out of the business places—which remained open until noon—or were milling about seeking a shady spot or a better location from which to view the parade. At the city park many gathered early for the children’s hour, which opened the day’s celebration, being held between the hours of 9:00 and 10:00 o’clock.

Almost on schedule, a few minutes after 10:00 o’clock, the huge parade of colorful floats, comic reproductions, antiquated and modern vehicles numbering nearly 100 and representing everything from progress in transportation to commercial advertising, began to move. Lonnie Parsley, as marshal, led the way.

From the starting point at Second and Walnut streets, the parade moved west on Main street to the city park, entering at the northwest corner. The route then continued west, to the north side of the race track, then around the track—passing the judges’ stand and amphitheatre before disbanding.

Prize winning floats which were awarded cash in the sums of $25, $10 and $5, were entered by the Kiwanis club, first; The Rockport Democrat second; and T. C. Basye, third. Other beautiful creations were deserving of honorable mention. Judges were Charles T. Baker, Grandview, Floyd Ousler, Cynthiana and P. E. Buechler, of Ferdinand.

After the parade the hours up to 2:00 o’clock were given over to baseball, tours of the Lincoln Pioneer Village, basket dinners and picnic lunches.

At 2:00 o’clock the afternoon program opened with a cornet solo by Robert Atkinson, followed by music by the Rockport high school band. Mrs. C. D. Ehrmann then introduced, with appropriate remarks, the master of ceremonies, Arthur P. Eberlin, president of the Southwestern Indiana Civic Association. After invocation by the Rev. Wilbum M. Allen, pastor of Trinity Lutheran church, the welcome address by Mayor Harvey T. Chinn, was heard. The next two hours were devoted to addresses by Thomas Findley, Madisonville, Ky., who brought greetings from Kentucky to Indiana; Prof. Ross Lockridge, Indiana director of federal writers’ project; Hon. M. Clifford Townsend, lieutenant-governor and Democratic candidate for governor; Hon. Raymond Springer, Republican candidate for governor, and Wayne Coy, director of Indiana WPA. The program of addresses was interspersed with music by the Hartwell colored quartette. The introduction of "President and Mrs. Lincoln" on the platform near the speakers’ stand, was another interesting feature. The persons representing these characters, as well as their attendants, who were introduced as early friends of the Lincolns, were direct descendants of pioneer families who knew the Lincolns during their residence in Spencer county.

Dedication of the lake, introduction of George Honig, sculptor and artist who planned the village and park improvements and supervised their construction; remarks by other prominent men, dedication of four new buildings in the Pioneer Village by Wayne Coy, benediction by Rev. Lee S. Jarrett, pastor of Trinity M. E. church, brought to end the regular scheduled program.

To the promoters and sponsors of the Lincoln County Festival Rockport and Spencer county owe a debt of gratitude for the splendid manner in which this huge program, covering an entire week, was handled, and for the good will which is bound to accrue to the community as a result of the efforts put forth.