History Day

Illiana Antique Power Association member Donna Lechlitner talks to a group as they make butter Monday during History Day in Rainsville, Ind.

Indiana history came alive Monday for some Fountain County elementary students on the grounds of the Illiana Antique Power Association near Rainsville.

The antique power group sponsored its sixth annual History Day for students. The event held in May rotates among three western Indiana counties — Fountain, Warren and Benton.

Students at Attica and Covington elementary schools attended in the morning, while their counterparts from Southeast Fountain were there in the afternoon.

“Fourth grade does Indiana history,” said Anne Bodine, who handles publicity for the group. “We like to show them how things were done in earlier days. This started as a community outreach.”

The students rotated to different stations where they shelled corn, made butter, watched logs being sawed for furniture, saw an old-fashioned washing machine and got a chance to ride on a miniature train.

They also sampled homemade cornbread and butter.

It’s a special day for the antique power group. Around 50 to 70 members were there Monday — some of them taking a day off from their regular work.

“They all love doing it,” Bodine said.

Tom Swanson of Attica, president of the group, said the history day is one of the favorite days for the group.

“They are studying Indiana history,” he said. “The main goal is to let them see what it was like.”

The kids enjoyed the hands-on experiences.

“I like everything we are doing,” said Zachary Barrett of Southeast Fountain. “It is fun.”

Classmate Gabe Ward thinks it would have been fun to have lived in an earlier period.

“I would like to have lived back then,” he said.

Donna Lechlitner of Rainsville led the group in making butter.

“I like it but it is exhausting,” said Katie Newell, a Southeast Fountain student.

The kids were surprised that the homemade butter was white.

“Store butter has food coloring and salt added,” Lechlitner said.

“We need more people to see what we do,” said Ted Stout of West Point, who is the forge master of the Rocky Forge Blacksmith Guild. “We do a lot of educational things.”

Blacksmith Mark Briar of Rainsville explained blacksmithing, while Rob Durrett of Crawfordsville, an expert on the Lewis and Clark Trail, explained how clothes were made.

Bodine said grants from Tipmont REMC and several county community foundations have assisted with History Day.

“It fits all the Indiana education standards,” she said. “It is not just fun and games.”


The Illiana Antique Power Association will have its 28th annual summer show from July 17-19. Take Indiana Route 63 north to where it merges with U.S. Route 41. Turn east on County Road 600, which becomes Brisco Road. The grounds is a couple miles off U.S. 41.

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