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Enjoy downtown events, explore our businesses, and get involved in promoting and preserving historic downtown Kendallville, Indiana!  

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Historical markers highlight noteworthy people and structures

Kendallville recently launched an initiative to pay tribute and recognize the significant contributions of people, buildings, and products of Kendallville's past. The project was made possible by a $10,000 grant from Indiana Humanities.

Visitors to Main Street in historic downtown Kendallville will now see a number of historical markers identifying noteworthy buildings and large window clings introducing many of the notable people who have historic ties to Kendallville. Each cling features a biography of the subject that paints a unique and interesting story.

Historic Downtown Kendallville's humanities project team initially identified 21 individuals and six architectural sites to highlight on a walking tour of the Main Street corridor.

Historic Markers - Architecture:

  • 113 N Main Street - Alonso Anderson

  • 132-136 S Main Street - John Mitchell

  • 210-225 S Main Street - Spencer Opera House

  • 201-203 S Main Street - Klinkenberg’s

  • 101-105 S Main Street - Kelly Hotel

  • 234 S Main Street – City Hall (National Register designation marker)

Each historic marker provides date constructed and builder, the architectural style featured (if applicable), and other key information. Window clings feature the following people, with more expected to be added in the months ahead:

  • Dr. Harold Urey, recipient of Nobel Prize for chemistry and NASA scientist

  • Alvin M. Strauss, architect

  • Arthur Franklin Mapes, Indiana Poet Laureate

  • Gene Stratton-Porter, famous author and local business owner

  • Amos Kendall, US Postmaster General

  • William Mitchell, the “Father of Kendallville”

  • John Mitchell, son of William; longtime banker and civic leader

  • Simeon Flint and David Walling, founders of Flint & Walling

  • Elmer McCray, founder of McCray Refrigeration

  • Robert Klinkenberg, owner of Klinkenberg’s in business for 111 years

  • Alonso Anderson, African-American builder of the “7 Sisters” buildings

  • Cora Anderson, African-American woman who dressed as a man for employment

  • Frank Shade, a "little person" and cigar shop owner

  • Russel Frehse, local historian

  • Laurence D Baker, Indiana State Representative

  • Dick Cole, founder of the Cole Foundation

  • Charles E Redman, US Ambassador to Sweden & Germany

  • John DeCamp, the “Voice of Purdue”

  • Chester Dekko, founder of the Dekko Foundation

  • Ralph Atz, founder of Atz Ice Cream

  • Herman Krueger, downtown builder/merchant

  • Hiram Iddings, downtown builder/merchant

In addition to the visual displays, the humanities project team has also designed a 36-page, full color Historic Downtown Kendallville Walking Tour guidebook that provides historic photos and in-depth historical accounts of Kendallville. Guidebooks are available for purchase for just $5 each.

Points of interest have also been added to develop a Walking Tour on The Clio app, a free mobile application available for download for Android and Apple devices.

The Clio app now serves as a permanent repository of local history that helps enthusiasts find self-guided walking tours all over the world. A variety of tours are available, each designed to appeal to one's own particular interests. For example, one local tour highlights the unique buildings and architecture in Kendallville; another can be used as a curriculum tool by schools and youth educators and will appeal to school-aged children.

The first walking tours of Historic Downtown Kendallville were kicked off in June 2022 at an “Antiques Road Show” event. The event provided an opportunity for community members and history enthusiasts to come together to enjoy displays of antiques, photo albums, and see items manufactured in Kendallville and Noble County. During the event, the humanities project team hosted walking tours narrated by Terry Householder, a local historian and long-time newspaper publisher.

The goal of the humanities project team is to provide the community a better working knowledge of the area's rich history while capturing the stories of yesteryear that make Kendallville special. In doing so, the team hopes to instill a sense of pride in the community and create an interesting, permanent learning adventure for all ages.

The humanities project team members are:

  • Terry Housholder, local author and historian

  • Mike Mapes, local historian

  • Amanda Blackman, local historian

  • Alexis Wilson, local historian

  • Kristen Johnson, Main Street Manager

  • Julia Tipton, Community Learning Center

  • Sam Opshal, Indiana Humanities


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