County Interim Report
documents area history
125-page book includes illustrations
and maps of towns important structures
(November 2005) Scott County residents have a new guide
to the historical sites of their area. Historic Landmarks Foundation
of Indiana recently published its Scott County Interim Report, a catalog
of historically significant structures. Historic Landmarks is a private
not-for-profit foundation dedicated to preservation and has currently
completed interim reports of 81 of Indianas 92 counties, as well
as reports dedicated to individual towns across the state.
by Debra Maylum
report can be purchased
at the Scott County Heritage Center,
a historical site featured in the book.
As the introduction notes, these reports are designed
to be used as a working document by government agencies, local organizations
and private citizens as the basis for a wide variety of projects.
Jeff Harris, executive director of the Scott County Heritage Museum,
participated in the study by assisting Historic Landmarks surveyors
with information about sites around the county. He explained that the
report focuses on the built environment, including bridges, houses,
public buildings, cemeteries, and even outhouses.
Work on the Scott County report began in May 2002 when HLF held a kick-off
meeting in Scottsburg to alert residents to their presence. Shannon
Hill, the survey coordinator, said, When we start a report, first
we let people know were going to be around the county taking notes
and photos, so they dont think were auditing them or snooping
Surveyors spent more than a year in Scott County uncovering, researching
and documenting sites. The surveyors first divvied up townships, then
drove every road in their townships, making notes of potential sites.
Then they returned to the sites, where they filled out forms, took photos
and interviewed local folks to learn about the history of a particular
Danielle Bachant-Bell, a historic preservationist in Bloomington, Ind.,
served as one of the four field surveyors in the report. Sometimes
individual owners are friendly and sometimes not, but once they understood
what we were doing, they were generally happy to work with us,
Bachant-Bell and her colleagues relied on the help of locals to guide
them to obscure sites.
Carol Susnick, Scott County historian, was thrilled to death
to put her 71 years of experience in the county to good use. I
took those girls around to different places and pointed out historical
sites. I got plenty of exercise, she said, laughing.
Susnick drew on her personal library of notebooks and newspaper clippings
to trace the heritage and ownership of some locations. Susnick led the
surveyors to barns and cemeteries they may have missed from the roads.
I learned a lot from them, too, she said. Bachant-Bell and
fellow surveyor Teressa Jackson pointed out architectural features and
materials that help date structures.
Following the survey work, HLF spent more than a year compiling and
editing the interim report, which highlights such treasures as the Scottsburg
Depot, The Scottsburg Courthouse Square Historic District, and the Scott
County Poor Farm, which is now home to the Heritage Museum. The report
classifies sites according to their historic significance. To be included,
a site must be at least 40 years old.
An outstanding site is either listed on or eligible for the National
Register of Historic Places, and must retain its historic integrity,
meaning it has not been remodeled or significantly altered. Notable
sites might be eligible for the register, but may have been changed
slightly. Finally, contributing sites are common but important structures,
such as older farmhouses.
The book is softcover, 125 pages, and illustrated with photos and maps.
The report debuted in May and is currently available at the Heritage
Center for $15.
The report uncovered several remarkable sites and structures. Hill pointed
to the Double Irish Arch Bridge off Getty Road as one of the most significant
finds. The bridge was built in 1856 by Irish laborers to carry the B&O
Railroad. A lot of times people dont know what they have
nearby, she said.
Bachant-Bell, a Georgia native, said she enjoyed her time in Finley
Township the most, because the rolling hills and woods reminded her
of home. There are beautiful, picturesque farmsteads, she
said. We found little treasures here and there all over the county.
For more information, call the Scott County
Heritage Museum at (812) 752-1050.
Back to November 2005