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 3.


Here's Story Back of Porter County Centennial Celebration

Just who should be credits with launching the enterprise that has become the Porter County Centennial is a moot question, and the answer seems to be veiled in doubt.

Some say that the subject was broached by a number of persons several years ago, but others give full credit to the late Arthur J. Bowser, former Valparaiso and Chesterton newspaper man, and editor of SIFTINGS in The VIDETTE-MESSENGER, with providing the spark that led to firing the interest of Porter county citizenry to organize for celebrating the event.

The first meeting toward forming a Centennial organization was held on August 12, 1935, at the chamber of commerce rooms. Those present were Frank M. Clifford, L. L. Howard, O. L. Allanson, Walter E. Brownell, A. Willa Steele and George Nelson. A nominating committee composed of L. L. Howard, chairman; W. R. Canright, F. M. Clifford, John Kemp, Roy S. Julian, C. J. Hobbs and Water Newsom was named at this meeting.

The first big meeting of the Centennial group was held on November 15, 1935, at the Hotel Lembke, when 103 persons attended a dinner. The plan of the celebration was worked out by members of the chamber of commerce committee and was explained and discussed. Members of this committee comprised O. L. Alanson, Byron Smith, George Vogt, Loring Casbon, Mrs. A. Willa Steele and Walter Brownell. Officers were elected as follows: O. L. Allanson, president; Harold Bartels, and M. E. Dinsmoore, vice-presidents; George Nelson, secretary, and F. W. Alpen, treasurer. The nominating committee recommended that the board of directors be made up of not more than fifteen members.

On December 13, 1935, George Myers was appointed chairman of the pageant committee; Robert Bibler, chairman of the publicity committee; Freeman Lane, parking arrangements; Mrs. Edwin Harrington, fashion show; M. E. Dinsmoore, program; Edmund Freund, Mox Ruge and Franklin Petrie, by-laws committee.

On December 20, 1935, George Myers and Miss Mabel Benny were named as chairman of the old photography and cards committee; Stewart Leaming, agriculture; Mrs. George Chester, historical; George Myers and Rush Hughes, music; Byron Smith, finance.

At a meeting held on January 10, 1936, the John B. Rogers Producing company of Fostoria, O., was selected to put on the pageant depicting Porter county historical happenings since its founding. The dates for the Centennial celebration were fixed at from August 16 to 21. F. W. Alpen, Will Brown and Abe Lowenstine were named as grounds committee.

February 21, 1936, the Centennial committee met and transferred all duties and further activities of the organization to the newly-elected board of directors of the Porter County Centennial, Inc. Incorporation papers for the new organization were submitted by Attorney J. A. Fleishbein, and the following were named as incorporators: O. L. Allanson, M. E. Dinsmoore, Walter Newsom, J. M. Givens, H. H. Bartels, George A. Nelson, F. W. Alpen, Herman Kosanke, George L. Myers, Byron Smith, C. L. Bartholomew, Will Brown, L. L. Howard, J. A. Fleishbein and H. A. Flynn.

The first board of directors held a meeting on March 5, 1936, and elected the following officers: O. L. Allanson, president; M. E. Dinsmoore, first vice-president; J. M. Given, second vice-president; Walter Newsom, third vice-president; Harold H. Bartels, fourth vice-president; George Nelson, secretary;F. W. Alpen, treasurer. Directors of the organization are: J. A. Fleishbein, O. L. Allanson, F. W. Alpen, H. A. Flynn, M. E. Dinsmoore, George Nelson, C. L. Bartholomew and George Myers.

On March 17, 1936, Frederick I. Schweppe, of Valparaiso university, was named music director for the chorus, and parade arrangements were made.

On May 1, 1936, committee chairmen were named as follows: Stewart Leaming, agriculture; J. A. Fleishbein, by-laws; J. O. Shauer, concessions; M. E. Dinsmoore, date; Mrs. Edwin Harrington, fashion show; Byron Smith, finance; F. W. Alpen, grounds; Mrs. George Chester, history; Byron Smith, incorporation; F. M. Clifford, industrial; Rush Hughes, band; C. D. Ross, lighting and decorations; Roy Ross, native sons and daughters; Mabel Benney, old photographs and cards, and George L. Myers, pageant.

On July 5 the Miller Amusement Company, of Chicago, was selected to provide the rides for the Centennial. Dr. R. C. Shurr, parade chairman, outlined the parade arrangements, and George L. Myers, pageant chairman, the pageant episodes.

On June 16, 1936, the Centennial directors met and fixed the budget for the celebration at $7,500, and decided to finance the expenses of the Centennial by the sale of birthday stock certificates at $10 each, the profits of the Centennial to be refunded to the purchasers of these birthday stock certificates in the amount of their contributions or on a pro rata basis if the returns were not sufficient.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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