150th Happy Birthday, North Judson!

I'm sure that by now everyone in the state knows that 2016 is Indiana's Bicentennial year. But were you aware that 2016 is North Judson's Sesquicentennial*?

Over the next 17 months items from the 1966 North Judson Centennial booklet will find their way into this section.  Letters, photos, history excerpts, business ads, names that you haven't thought of in years will bring a cascade of memories of the past. (That is if you lived in North Judson in the 60s.)
The cover for the Centennial booklet was done by Gene Wilkinson. 

* Oh, and in case you're wonder what a sesquicentennial is, that's 150 years.

48 - Did The Centennial Teach Us Anything?

posted Sep 19, 2016, 12:06 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 12:06 PM ]

47 - Thanks To Everyone

posted Sep 16, 2016, 12:51 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated May 24, 2017, 11:54 AM ]

After everything had died down and everyone was able to catch their breath, the time came to thank those who took part in the memorable events.  


Sandra Frasure, wears the crown of North Judson Centennial Queen.  Sandy won from a stage of 13 girls.  She sang “Downtown” accompanied by Sherry Widner on the guitar. 

Joann Flagg showed a “glowing personality and talent” with her presentation of “Little Orphan Annie” and carried second place honors. 
Elenor Minix won a hand of applause and the third place honors with her original poem, “My Son.” 

The ten talented young ladies, in the order of their appearance, included Charlotte Bailey, who modeled a dress of her own making; Bonnie Mullins, who sang “Born a Woman”; Joann Bailey, who modeled a suit of her own making; Dorie Halik who sang “Capella”, the theme from “The Sandpiper”; Martha Watkins, who displayed a Pom Pom routine; Lois Rastl, gave her interpretation of the reading “Creation”; Dorrie Miller modeled here own suit; Nancy Matzat presented a comedy rendition of “The Whippoorwill”; Pat Widner sang a song from “Camelot”; and Janice Netherton played the theme from the motion picture “Exodus” on the piano. 


The North Judson Centennial parade Saturday consisted of 120 units, covering a route of one and two-tenths miles.

The winning commercial float was entered by the Alpine Shop; the winning homemade float by the Catholic Youth Organization; the most original was titled “Pioneering for Education”; the marching band was from Knox High School; Marching Unit from LaCrosse High School Band; Baton Twirling winners were Moose from Michigan City; Old Car winner was Mr. Obermier of Rensselaer with a 1908 Buick; horse unit winner was the Rober Unit of North Judson; and winning Color Guard was Porter County Shrine Club. 

Parade marshal was Perry Lucas and honorary parade marshall was Congressman John Brademas. 


Floyd Rowe had the longest beard in the North Judson Centennial Beard Contest; Richard Bau neatest beard; John Simousek, most original; Dexter Howard the worst; and Frank Hajek won the goatee contest. 


Most authentic dress in the North Judson Centennial Sisters of the Swish was awarded to Mrs. Shirley Barclay; pretest dress, Marian Lucas; and the winning family dressed was awarded to the George Surma family. 


The greased pig contest had 150 entries.  In charge of the event was Chester Clark, Don Meyers, and Dan Bau.  The use of the pigs was donated by Ed Wappel. 


The big, big events were rehearsed for months in advance, during summer vacations, planting and harvest, school and summer school. 


46 - I Love a Parade

posted Sep 15, 2016, 1:45 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Sep 15, 2016, 1:45 PM ]

Ah, who doesn’t love a parade!  

Our Centennial Parade Marshal was Perry Lucas and Congressman John Brademas was our Honorary Parade Marshal.  Former Governor Henry F. Schricker, born here in North Judson, also took part in the parade. They were part of 120 units that snaked their way through the town without setting foot or wheel on Highway 10. 

The entire route covered 1 and 2/10ths miles, possibly one good reason to have a separate Children’s Parade (although in my experience they have much more energy than adults). Also, if you compare the photos of each parade, the children went from Main to Central while the BIG parade went in the opposite direction, from Vine to Main - which could have resulted in a nasty collision. 

I couldn’t find many photos in the newspaper, so if you have any to share just send them in my direction at lib.norjud@gmail.com.  It would appear that some of these shots were taken from the upper floor of the American State Bank, as it was at the time, now known as the North Judson Town Hall and others from the top of Two Joes, now Heartland Market. 


45 - Hi-Lites of Events

posted Sep 10, 2016, 9:24 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Sep 10, 2016, 1:14 PM ]

Back in 1966 it wasn’t necessary to be PC - politically correct.  So while there was a Queen Contest, there was no King Contest.  However, a Centennial Grand King and Grand Belle were named, apparently at the opening ceremonies for the Centennial at the Queen Contest. 

But we were ahead of our times in that the 12 of the acts of “Hold High the Torch” were directed/arranged/under the production of different people with Henry C. Clausen acting as the head director. 

Boy, wouldn’t you like to go back in time with a digital camera and get photos and videos.  The blackmail potential..…I mean the historical value would be priceless!

Thank you to Ann Williams for identifying our Grand Belle. 

44 - Centennials Are Fun For Kids Too!

posted Sep 9, 2016, 9:36 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 9:50 AM ]

As our last little blurb stated, the North Judson Centennial wasn’t just for adults.  Yep, we kids were also involved.  Girl Scouts dressed Barbie dolls in centennial type outfits for display at the library.  There was a parade Saturday morning for children and pets before the main one – wonder if they thought we couldn’t walk/move as fast as the floats could travel and might get run over.  

And, as you saw last time, there was even a Children’s Pageant which was separate from the one for adults.  Those were simpler times and I guess they thought that some of the acts in “Hold High the Torch” and “The Excursion Special” would be too risqué for our innocent little psyches.  

For the teens there was the obligatory Teen Dance where The Fantomes and The Shambles did the musical honors.  (Sorry, couldn’t find any photos.  But if you happen to have some hidden away in the attic….)

The final treat for those who were interested was a greased pig contest that was entered by 150.  There were some pictures on the microfilm of the North Judson News but most were so grainy you couldn’t see any detail.  

All in all the Centennial Committee tried their best to provide events that would entertain the majority of the community and did a pretty good job of it. 

Click on each photo to see a larger version. 

                                                                                                                                                                David Ward Float
                                                        Gary Lucas and pet Dog                                                                     Kelly Roseman float
                                                                        Rusty Zimmerman float

43 - Centennial Program of Events

posted Sep 8, 2016, 10:45 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Sep 8, 2016, 10:45 AM ]

Yep, that first weekend of September 1966 was a busy one.  For months the community had been preparing for the big event - men growing beards, women sewing clothes for the family, the funeral of Muggs and Clara, organizing entertainment events and meals.  And in 5 short days it would all be over, at least for the next 100 years.


42 - Practice Makes Perfect

posted Aug 30, 2016, 2:53 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Aug 30, 2016, 2:53 PM ]

I really don’t know where the summer has gone. One day it was June 1st and in just a few days it will be September 1st, and there were so many things I had planned on sharing with you about the North Judson Centennial this August.

No point in moaning about the past, let’s just get back on track with some photos of the events that were going on in August of 1966.

One of the big events was the choosing of the Centennial Queen. There were 13 contestants who vied for that position. Are you related to any of these ladies? And did you know they could have been royalty?  You'll find out in a few weeks who came out with the crown. 

And let's not forget the Centennial Pageant, that took plenty of practice to get things right. Here's a picture of some of the ladies involved with a skit about the first telephone operators.

41 - Threshing At Surma Brothers Farm

posted Aug 10, 2016, 12:44 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Aug 10, 2016, 12:44 PM ]

Part of the North Judson Centennial celebration was a practical demonstration of harvesting and threshing done on the Surma Brothers Farm.

40 - He Was Riding A Penny Farthing

posted Jun 29, 2016, 1:20 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Jun 29, 2016, 1:26 PM ]

It’s funny how the mind will reorganize things that happened in the past to where it thinks they should have occurred. All this year I’ve been thinking that North Judson’s Centennial celebration took place in July or August and come to find out that it was actually in September.

Yep, all the events were spread out from Thursday, September 1st, to Monday, September 5th of 1966. Of course that was back in the “good ole days” when school didn’t start until sometime after Labor Day, which just happened to be September 5, 1966.

In looking over the schedule of events I can’t say that too many of them sound familiar to me. Lurking in the back of my mind is the vague recollection of the variety show and I do believe that I did attend the “funeral services” for Clara and Mugs that May. But the one thing that I definitely remember is the Centennial parade.

You see we were incredibly lucky because the parade lineup started in the general area of our house – the corner of Vine & George Streets. It wasn’t necessary for us to get a good spot downtown to watch the parade because the parade came to us. I can remember the excitement building as people gathered to take their place in the lineup: friends from school, the band gathering at Mr. Lawson's home next door, people who waited on us at the local stores, politicians – local and state, an assortment of animals. It was all memorable.

The one thing that sticks in my mind, I think it was Charlie Barker riding up and down the street on an 1855 bicycle, practicing so he wouldn’t fall off during the parade. Now why would he have to worry about falling off? Well as the saying goes learning to ride is “as easy as falling off a bike.” And any 12 or 13 year old in Starke County practically lived on their bike during the summer.

But this wasn’t your ordinary bike. This was one of those high wheel bicycles, (aka Penny Farthing) that you don’t see every day. I’m not sure where it came from, I have a vague recollection of someone telling me it was owned by someone who worked at McCormick’s mortuary or he borrowed it from a friend. That front wheel stood about 5 feet high and the back wheel was only about 18 inches. According to the research I’ve done it probably was made of steel and would have weighed somewhere between 24 and 50 pounds. No comparison to your modern day lightweight aluminum alloy bicycles.

Getting on and off the bicycle wasn’t very easy either. There were two little pegs above the back wheel that were used to help the rider get up on that seat so far from the ground. How he got down…?

Yep, there was plenty of excitement that year about North Judson’s Bicentennial, but one memory that sticks out in my mind is Charlie Barker riding a Penny Farthing back and forth on Vine Street.

39 - Beards Galore

posted Jun 10, 2016, 11:27 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Jun 10, 2016, 11:31 AM ]

If time travel was only a reality how I’d love to grab a few good photographers with digital cameras and go back to take photos/videos of the Centennial events!

I spent part of one work day skimming through the 1996 North Judson News for articles and photos to share and found quite a few.  Unfortunately the quality of the microfilm did nothing to enhance the quality of the original photos.  Some of them are so dark that to share them would actually be an insult to the persons photographed.  I’ve tried to clean the rest of them up but, not knowing what I’m doing, I’m not sure if the results help or just made the pictures worse.  

Anyway, over the next few months you’ll be seeing some more Centennial themed photos making their way to these pages.  And if you should happen to run across some better photos in that family album would you please share?  Just take a digital photo of the item and email them to lib.norjud@gmail.com.  If you don’t have a digital camera and live in town just call the North Judson-Wayne Township Library and ask for Sandi.  She’ll be glad to set up a day and time to scan your items to a computer and return them to you immediately.  



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