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