The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 21.


Porter County Fair, Now Abandoned, Was Started 85 Years Ago; Held Annually

The Porter County Fair as an institution of the county dates back to June 14, 1851, or eighty-five years ago. The abandonment of the fair project three years ago broke a long record of fair promotion which except for the three years of the World war period marked a succession of unbroken triumphs.

Aaron W. Lytle presided at the session and George W. Turner, secretary, when the first fair session was held in 1851. William A. Barnes was elected president, and Azariah Freeman, treasurer.

Directors chosen were: William A. Barnes, Azariah Freeman, H. E. Woodruff, W. C. Talcott, W. W. Jones, and Aaron W. Lytle. William C. Talcott, Aaron W. Lytle, H. E. Woodruff, W. W. Jones and David Hughart comprised the constitution and by-laws.

According to the by-laws any person could become a member of the organization by the payment of a $1 membership fee. Fairs were held annually at the court house square until 1859, when a fair grounds was secured in the south west part of the city, near the woolen factory. In 1862 the fair was suspended due to the Civil war, and grounds then reverted back to the original owner.

On Oct. 4, 1871, a meeting was held at the county auditor's office and the Porter County Agricultural society was reorganized with A. V. Bartholomew, president, and Reason Bell, secretary. S. S. Skinner, G. W. Dickover and E. Zimmerman were named as a committee to draft the constitution and by-laws, and J. C. Barnes, Cyrus Axe and David P. Jones, a committee to solicit funds.

Twenty acres of ground were purchased by the county commissioners north of the Grand Trunk railroad tracks, and two weeks later on Oct. 19 and 20, a fair was held. Later the county purchased 10 more acres which were added to the fair grounds.

On Feb. 10, 1887, a meeting was held in Valparaiso and the Northwestern Indiana Fair Circuit was formed with Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. John Brodie, of Porter county, was elected chairman, and George C. Dorland, of LaPorte county, secretary. Records do not show when the Northwestern Indiana Fair Circuit ceased operation as an organization.

Fairs have been held since 1851 except for the last three years when the regular fairs have been discontinued and in their place 4-H club fairs have been held with a successful result.

In 1910 a home coming celebration was signed in conjunction with the fair. In1928, there was a revival of the county fair spirit. In that year the county commissioners made an appropriate for the erection of a cow barn at the fairgrounds. The fair that year had a splendid showing of high bred animals, including some from the herd of Edith Rockefeller McCormick, of Chicago, and others.

The following year, 1929, a horse barn was built, and in 1930, an agricultural hall.

With the abandonment of the fair, the fair buildings are used by the county highway department as a workshop and storage of equipment.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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