The Wendell L. Willkie historic marker signs, located at four sites in Rush County, are receiving a much needed face lift thanks to the efforts of Charles Fields (Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum) and Anne Zachery (4th Grade Teacher - Rushville Elementary School East). The four signs are located at East Hill Cemetery, North Main and SR 3 (NW side of the street), East Side of North Main and SR3 (downtown park), and the Rush County Courthouse. The signs, originally erected in 1969, have seen years of weather and wear. The paint has faded and the posts need replacing.
“We are so excited to be a part of this collaborative effort with Mr. Fields and the Rush County Historical Society. The lettering is being carefully repainted with gold paint (donated by the Rush County Historical Society). New posts have been donated too (by County Commissioners). Our students get to be a part of history in a unique and exciting way,” Zachery said.
Other Rush County Schools participating in this project include Mays Elementary School and Rushville Elementary School West.
One of the newly painted signs will be on the Rush County Historical Society Float in the Willkie Days/Rush Fest Parade on Sept.20, 2014. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. A rededication of the Wendell L. Willkie historic marker will take place at the Courthouse at approximately 11 a.m. The Rush County Historical Society (619 N. Perkins) will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 20.
The Indiana Sesquicentennial Commission, created in 1957 by the Indiana General Assembly oversaw the update and installation of permanent state historical markers. The markers ranged in price from $150 to $195. Sixty-five markers were purchased and dedicated. From 1947 to 1988, a period of 41 years, a little over 200 markers were installed. As a result of the infusion of state funds, in the 15-year period from 1989 to 2004, over 225 markers have been installed using state and private funds.
What about the future? A searchable database containing all Indiana state historical markers is available on the Historical Bureau Web site (it is regularly updated). The database contains the marker county, title, text, credit line, and location and is searchable in all of those fields. For a complete listing of Indiana Historic Signs by county go to: http://www.in.gov/history/markers/3819.htm
John D. Wilson (Rush County Historical Society President) said, “The past, present, and continued success of the Indiana Historical Marker Program has been (and will be) dependent on the many volunteers across the state who have given their time, energy, and money to see that markers are installed. They help us preserve and celebrate the history of Indiana. To those people and educators, who have worked tirelessly on this program, thank you so much.”