15 September 1882, Greensburg Standard
After the Laytons got out of the implement business, my grandfather opened a men’s store on the square in downtown Greensburg, which he operated for several years. My mom is an extraordinary gift wrapper – she says it’s because of all the practice she got wrapping gifts in her father’s store.
My great grandfather Charles Layton operated the Greensburg Implement Company from 1942 until the mid-1950′s. This advertisement appeared in the Greensburg Daily News in December 1945. The text reads:
“Our hearts are full of gratefulness to all our friendly customers who have been so understanding during wartime limitations in service and merchandise. Thanks to you! A Merry Christmas to you! And we will try to do our best for you always!
I can tell I’m getting used to rural life because yesterday I went to Columbus (Indiana) and it felt like I was in the big city. There were people walking around downtown! And restaurants without drive-ups! And some people were not white!
It was awesome.
I’ve driven through Columbus many times, but I only remember stepping out of my car there once, in 2005, when I was deeply enmeshed in historic theater obsession and I stopped to photograph the Crump.
This picture from 2005 makes me realize that I never see old cars like this since Cash for Clunkers.
My library recently entered into a reciprocal borrower agreement with neighboring Bartholomew County, which means I get a free library card in Columbus. So, I went there yesterday to get it. I don’t know how often I will make the 40 minute drive to use the Columbus Library, but I do like to collect library cards. I also wanted to check out their local history room. The Charles & Hazel Layton family lived in Columbus for a short time in the 1930′s.
Once my library business was complete, I spent some time walking around since it was a gorgeous day, and I was really surprised by how nice it was. Columbus has a lovely preserved historic downtown with lots of great old buildings, but it also has this amazing new building called The Commons with a giant indoor playground (just for kids, unfortunately), some neat public art, a performance hall, and community meeting space (free for non-profits). I was kindof amazed. Every town should have a space like this. It certainly would take the pressure off under-funded public libraries to provide meeting space for a whole community.
Columbus suddenly seems like a great place to live. I love Greensburg because it’s rural and quiet, and it’s also equidistant to Indy and Cincinnati, two Midwestern cities that are near and dear to me. Columbus, though, is a great little town, and it’s super close to other great places: Bloomington, Lake Monroe, and Brown County.
I could tell just by walking around how hard the city of Columbus works at making their downtown beautiful. It just looked really nice. It made me happy. They also have a Puccini’s, home of my favorite margharita pizza, which I most certainly did purchase and devour. (The food situation in Greensburg is really bad, so I got pretty excited about this.)
Anyway, here are some photos from my big adventure.
Pretty amazing old ice cream parlor:
I had some ice cream, which wasn’t that impressive, but the place itself is wonderful. I’d like to go back sometime when it’s not quite so busy.
I have visited many war memorials. I have walked through Arlington Cemetery, witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and run my hand over the names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. But I never once cried until I unexpectedly stumbled upon this relatively modest memorial in Columbus, Indiana. It’s made up of 25 limestone pillars listing the names of the 171 local veterans who died in America’s 20th Century wars. Carved into the limestone are letters written by these soldiers who died in combat.
They also have a pretty courthouse. (But it’s not like there’s a tree growing out of it or anything.)
I consider my new-found Columbus appreciation to be yet another positive side effect of living in the middle of nowhere. It suddenly looks, to these eyes, like a cultural mecca of the Midwest.
Levi Lee McKinley and Ida (Sullivan) McKinley were my great great grandparents. L. L., a carpenter, was born 7 December 1871 in Marion County, Indiana to John F. and Lucy (Kelly) McKinley. Ida was born in 1873 in Boone County, Indiana to Daniel and Mary (Davis) Sullivan. L. L. and Ida married at Lebanon in Boone County on 21 December 1890.
Ida died on 16 October 1938 in Elizaville, Boone County. She was buried in Elizaville Cemetery. L. L. was killed in a car accident a few miles north of Indianapolis on 3 July 1951. He was also buried in Elizaville Cemetery.
L. L. & Ida had four children:
1893 – ?
I’m still working on tracking down Mabel Fern.
Glyda Ester (Easterly)
2 August 1896 – 9 July 1950
Glyda married Jerome Easterly in Marion, Grant County, Indiana on 12 September 1916. They lived in Massillon, Stark County, Ohio, where they had 5 children: Franklin Leroy, Jerome Stokes Jr., Mable Fern (Calvin Lint), Eunella (William Pannell), and Ida Jane (Walker). Glyda died on 9 July 1950 in Massillon. She was buried in Rose Hill Memorial Park.
26 October 1898 – 24 May 1951
Lowell worked at the Anaconda Wire & Cable Company in Marion, Indiana for 14 years. He died after several years of declining health. He was buried in Elizaville Cemetery.