History in motion: Antique building focuses on transportation’s impact



While the exhibits in the antique building at the Jackson County 4-H Fair always hold a lot of memorabilia designed to jog the memories of older fairgoers, they also serve another purpose.

“A lot of younger people have no idea about the history of the county, and this is one way we can expose them to that history,” said Gloria Cross, who is the building display chairwoman.

Since the antique building was established in 1988, the building committee has come up with a theme for the building for each fair. Some of themes in the past include churches, schools and businesses of the county, veterans and the occupations of Jackson County residents.

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This year’s theme is transportation, and the centerpiece is the Frosttop Drive-in. That restaurant sat on the northwest corner of the intersection of Ewing and Commerce streets in Brownstown before closing in the mid to late 1980s.

The Frosttop exhibit also features a working jukebox from a Spraytown business, an outdoor dining area complete with a carhop and a 1969 Corvette, which seemed to draw the most interest Monday afternoon.

David Ziegler of Seymour even quizzed his wife to see if she knew the year of the Corvette, which she didn’t.

When asked why he was questioning her about it, David gave a simple answer.

“Because we own one,” he said.

He said he and his wife always like going through the antique building each year and the themed exhibits are always good.

“We liked last year’s, too,” he said in reference to the bicentennial theme put in place a year ago to celebrate the 200th birthdays of the county, state and Brownstown.

Devin Stuckwisch of Brownstown and Haylee Barker of Seymour also spent a lot of time looking at the Corvette but for another reason.

It belongs to Stuckwisch’s grandfather, Tom Hallow.

Stuckwisch said Hallow has even let him drive the car a few times.

Besides the Frosttop Drive-in exhibit, there are trains, planes and yes, even other automobiles, including a 1929 Ford Model A owned by Joe Reynolds of Brownstown and a 1925 Model T one-ton truck owned by Jeff and Doris Bond. Reynolds’ father, Wharton Reynolds, restored the car years ago.

There also are motorcycles, model airplanes, boats, a wagon sold by Union Hardware decades ago and many other transportation-related items, including the pedal type.

There’s also a surrey that dates back to a time before the advent of the automobile.

That’s a display that drew the attention of Clifford Sierp of Seymour.

“I remember the days of the horse and buggy,” said Sierp, who was born in 1920 and raised in the Sauers area.

He said the building is always full of a lot of good memorabilia that helps bring back a lot of memories.

Gene Gross and Marilyn Gross of Columbus also always find their way to the fair each year and make it a special point to visit the antique building.

“He’s from Washington County originally,” she said.

Gene said he has been coming to the Jackson County fair since he was young, and it’s one of his favorites.

“This is great,” he said of this year’s exhibits, including the photos of cars hanging along a wall of the building that’s reserved for photos from residents of each of the county’s 12 townships.

Ruth Ashburn of Freetown said she also enjoys visiting the antique building each year.

“I’m 86, and I’ve been coming to the fair since I was 2 or 3,” she said. “I just like seeing everything here (in the antique building).”

Her son, David Ashburn, had no problem identifying his favorite exhibit.

“I like the cars,” he said.

Cross said the committee for the antique building starts working on the theme for the building a year in advance.

“We’ll have something by the end of the week,” she said of the committee, which consists of superintendent Jim Browning, building display chairwoman Gloria Cross, Martha Killey and Dorothy Richards, who are in charge of the showcases and chairmen for each of the townships.

At this time, all of those positions are full. Cross, however, said there’s always room for anyone with the desire to help organize and set up all of the exhibits and displays each year.

The Jackson County History Center also is involved in the antique building, and having access to its items helps, Cross said.

A second building behind the antique building houses displays celebrating the 100th birthday of Spraytown Free Methodist Church and displays and memorabilia from the Freetown and Pershing Township Museum.

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Jackson County Fair schedule


Poor Jack Amusements Kiddie Day, unlimited rides from 1 to 5 p.m. with $14 bracelet

7:30 a.m.: Weigh 4-H beef and 4-H dairy beef to determine classes

9 a.m.: Judging of 4-H dairy and open class, dairy show arena

Noon: All open class dairy livestock must be removed from fairgrounds

1 p.m.: “Benefits of Plant Protein” Schneck Medical Center nutrition services department, pavilion

2 p.m.: Open class sheep must be in place

2 to 3 p.m.: Commercial ewes weighed

3 p.m.: Entry for pedal tractor pull, pavilion

3:30 p.m.: Pedal tractor pull contest sponsored by Brownstown FFA, pavilion

5 p.m.: Judging of 4-H sheep, open class follows, show arena

6 p.m.: Registration for Jackson County Cornhole Pitch, horseshoe pitch area near Gate 6 (entry fee $10)

6 p.m.: Sure Shot Turkey Dusters, antique building stage

6:30 p.m.: Jackson County Cornhole Pitch, horseshoe pitch area near Gate 6

6:30 to 8 p.m.: Elements of Jazz, pavilion

7 p.m.: Nightly antique machinery demonstration, behind antique building

8 p.m.: Open forum “What’s working in your garden/landscape?” hosted by Fleeta K. Arthur, horticulture building


7:30 p.m.: Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League; adults or pit pass for $15, $2 children 6 to 12, under 6 free (equipment provided by Wright Implement and Wischmeier Companies LLC)


Poor Jack Amusements coupon night with unlimited rides from 6 p.m. to close with $20 bracelet, $16 with Poor Jack coupon

9 a.m.: 4-H dairy beef judging, show arena

10 a.m.: Draft horses, mules and Haflingers released

1 p.m.: 4-H beef heifer judging, show arena

2:30 p.m.: Check-in for 4-H creative dramatics performance, pavilion

2:30 p.m.: 4-H beef show judging, show arena

3 p.m.: 4-H creative dramatics performance, pavilion

6 to 9 p.m.: Stars and Stripes Cloggers, Country Kickers line dancers, antique building stage

6:30 p.m.: Tomahawk and knife throwing finals, behind antique building

7 p.m.: Ko’s Martial Arts Academy, pavilion

7 p.m.: Nightly antique machinery demonstration, behind antique building

7:30 p.m.: 4-H supreme showman, show arena


7 p.m.: Thursday Night Thunder for Indiana Pro Late Models, modifieds, superstocks, hornets; $15 for adults, pit pass $30, $2 for children 6 to 12, under 6 free; sponsored by Jackson County Tire


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