Rushville Republican


October 6, 2011

A man on a historic mission

Larry Stout is Indiana's most awarded preservationist

RUSHVILLE — Rush County resident and volunteer Larry Stout is the most awarded preservationist in the state of Indiana, having recently received the prestigious Sandi Servaas Memorial Award from Indiana Landmarks.

The Servaas Award is Landmark's highest honor given annually for individual preservation service.

Local historian Eleanor Arnold, in nominating Stout for the award, wrote, "A sign on Ronald Reagan's desk said, ÔThere is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.' These lines describe Larry Stout perfectly. There are more words - quiet, unassuming, incredibly hardworking, persistent, patient, dedicated, motivational, selfless, tireless - all these describe a great leader."

Indiana Landmarks agreed, and Stout, who serves as long-time president of Rush County Heritage, brought home to Rush County a third Servaas award, more than any other county in Indiana.

Two prior Servaas awards were given for saving the covered bridges and rehabilitating the Booker T. Washington Community Center where Stout met us to share his latest trophy.

The award was given Sept. 10 at Indiana Landmark's annual meeting at their new headquarters on the corner of Central and 12th streets in Indianapolis.

Among Stout's enduring accomplishments are helping save the Kennedy covered bridges; Beech Church, birthplace of AME denomination in Indiana; historic schools in Mays and Milroy; and in Rushville, the Booker T. Washington School, the Knights of Pythias Hall and more.

No one would be surprised to learn that Stout also has his eye on future historic preservation efforts.

Arnold's nomination details the immeasurable contributions Stout's 25 year leadership of Rush County Heritage have brought to communities throughout the county.

A falling down African-American Booker T. Washington School became a vibrant community center, Arnold wrote.

The whole community, black and white, worked together to restore the school which was closed in the 1930s.

The facility now houses ICAP, Head Start and serves as a community center. This project, in addition to a prior Servaas award, also received the National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award. Stout served as vice president of that project.

The last remaining train depot in Rush County was moved to a living history train museum in Connersville with help from Heritage.

Also among Stout's accomplishments are his years of work with the Moscow Covered Bridge Festival and arranging for former First Lady Judy O'Bannon to speak at the launch of the Main Street program in Rushville; having downtown Rushville added to the National Register; thwarting attempts to remodel the Rushville Public Library; and serving on the board of the Eleutherian College restoration, which resulted in it becoming a national park.

When a tornado destroyed the Moscow covered bridge, Stout immediately began work to get it re-erected and there are countless other projects that his tireless hand has helped to nurture in this community.

Stout was born in December, 1943 to Ray and Katherine Myers Stout of Rushville, or, as Stout says, the one year the white penny was made.

He traces his mother's family's arrival in Rush County to 1821.

His father was from Jefferson County, the location of the Eleutherian College Stout is involved with. The college was built in the 1850s by people involved in the underground railroad to help bring slaves to freedom.

Eleutherian was the first college in Indiana to admit both women and African Americans.

Already, $500,000 has been raised for that restoration effort.

Stout grew up in the Gowdy area in Orange Township. An accountant, it was an emotional tie to "our bridge" that brought the preservationist out in Stout.

He attended school in Moscow for eight years and graduated from Milroy High School in 1952. He went to Indiana Central Business College in Indianapolis before working for a small C.P.A. firm there.

A few years later, in the 1980s, he worked for Hall-Hottel, insurance and real estate company, and also a former client in Indianapolis. After that, Stout went on his own and has done taxes for clients.

Stout served in the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.

"It was a helicopter unit and we trained at Ft. Knox. We went over as a unit, on a ship," he said.

Stout said he served in Vietnam for seven months.

"It was scary. I was an S-1 Clerk in the headquarters, in charge of casualty reports. I'd be out in the field as well. There was a least one time we were shot at. It was scary never knowing ... just two weeks after I left they attacked the base I was at and three guys were killed on guard duty. If I had been there, I would have been pulling guard duty. I feel like I wouldn't have been around if I'd been there two more weeks," Stout said.

So what led Larry Stout to this mission in life?

"It got started on the covered bridge issue. In Ô86 is when the commissioners said they were going to tear down four of the six covered bridges. About two years earlier than that they had closed what I called Ômy' covered bridge, the Forsythe Bridge, down in Gowdy. The commissioners closed it and I got with Jack Clarkson. We went to the meetings. He did most of the talking and he got it opened up again. Two years later the commissioners tried to pull the same stunt with tearing down four of them. I sent a letter to the National Trust branch in Chicago."

Stout says he was asking if anything could be done.

The National Trust forwarded the letter on to Marsh Davis who had just started with Indiana Landmarks doing a survey of Rush County. They surveyed all the historic places and houses in Rush County. A copy is available at the Rushville Public Library. The same Marsh Davis now serves as the organization's president.

"We brainstormed between the two of us and called a meeting in the courthouse, not knowing how many people would show up. The (Rushville) Republican was very helpful. They were 100 percent behind us, even giving us free ads. They put the word out and we got speakers from covered bridge society as well as an engineer. There were over 100 people that showed up at the meeting at the courthouse. Everyone was gung-ho wanting to do something. We started meeting every week. The second meeting we elected officers. I got put in as president which I haven't been able to get rid of since."

Eleanor Arnold became vice president and still is.

Thus, Rush County Heritage was born.

First they saved bridges, and later helped save much more of Rush County's history Ñ history that once gone can never be replaced.

Thanks to petition drives to save bridges; his role as the church historian at Big Flatrock, originally built in 1852; and projects that came knocking on his door soon after becoming involved in saving the bridges, Larry's passion was ignited and remains strong.

He is Rush County's champion, preserving the heritage of entire communities, one building, one bridge, one memory at a time.

Contact: or 932-2222 ext. 107.

Text Only
  • 1 nws-rv042514-maggard arrest pic No Headline Provided GREENSBURG — A Rushville man who bonded out of the Decatur County Jail Monday afternoon after posting 10 percent of a $100,000 cash bond is facing serious charges related to an incident Saturday night in Greensburg in which he allegedly, among other

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • How to deal with nuisance wild animals Most people enjoy watching wildlife and sometimes even interacting with critters on occasion. One of my favorite activities is keeping the bird feeder well supplied and seeing Hoosier song birds up close and personal. Sometimes there are situations w

    April 22, 2014

  • Briefs Obituaries Marvin Cox, 67 Larry Dean Maupin, 68 Michael Tungate, 60 Thanks! The Rushville Republican thanks the following persons for their subscription to and support of this newspaper: John Owen Alan Amos Events Not-for-profits may submit upcoming

    April 22, 2014

  • 1 nws rv 042214 dark aisles Library continues 'It's overdue, renew' campaign Since the Rushville Public Library opened its doors in 1910, the library has been through changes. The original library was a two-room facility located in the county courthouse. In the late 1920's, a combination of public and private monies funded th

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 1 fd glenwood 042214 pic Improvements made to Glenwood Community Center Thanks in large part to a Rush County Community Foundation Grant (RCCFG), the Glenwood Community Center recently had new windows installed. The center was built in 1970 and has served the rural community since that time as a meeting site for the town

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1 fd comms 042214 pic 'Chicken Ordinance' returned to BZA unsigned Meeting for the second time in their new home, the Assembly Room of the county courthouse, the county commissioners needed the additional space as a result of the number of those in attendance Monday. A number of those on hand came to voice their con

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2 nws-rv-042214-Mohr candidacy pic Gerald Mohr announces candidacy for County Council District One Gerald Mohr is married to Anita (Smith) Mohr and they are parents to Brian (Katie) Mohr and Brett (Andrea) Mohr. They are proud grandparents to Hailey, Spencer, Carter and Asha Mohr. Gerald started his career in Rush County upon graduation from India

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meal time request, 'May I be excused from the table please?' In a day and age filled with fast food dining and other meals consumed on the living room coffee table, I grew up in a different time. My mother and father were rigid about a number of things, but few things had my attention more than at meal times.

    April 22, 2014

  • sch-rv041814-school lunch pic More than half of local students get lunch assistance The share of students at Greensburg Community Schools who get free and reduced lunches has spiked by about a third in the last five years. Fifty-one percent of Greensburg students get help through the federal school lunch program, according to the In

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Purdue events calendar Events in this calendar, plus many others, are listed in Purdue's online calendar at ENTERTAINMENT • April 17. 7:30 p.m. Loeb Playhouse. Brad Mehldau jazz piano trio, presented by Purdue Convocations. Ticket holders are in

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.