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Friday, June 14, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Monday, June 10, 2019
Hoosier National Forest
Fire was a common problem in the rural countryside in southern
. During the 1930's
the state began building fire towers with the goal of having no visibility gap
in the system. The first fire towers were simply platforms in tall trees with a
ladder steps nailed into the tree leading up to them. Over time, they refined
the design to reflect that of the fire towers at McCormick's Indiana and Creek
in the Hickory
Ridge Lookout Tower . The state had constructed thirty-three
lookout towers by 1952. The equipment and facilities surrounding the fire tower
included communication equipment, a psychrometer, an alidade, a cabin or guard
station, a latrine, and a garage. Hoosier National
The communication equipment could include a telephone, radio or both. Since most of these lookout towers were located in remote areas they often served as the communications link between the rural population and the outside world. Many times the telephones or radios were the first ones installed in the area. Telephones required the installation of miles of cable that then had to be maintained between the various towers.
The tower man used an instrument called a psychrometer to measure the relative humidity. This was important to know as the lower the relative humidity, the greater the fire danger. The psychrometer uses two thermometers, a dry one and a wet one, to determine humidity. The tower man measured the temperature difference between the wet thermometer and the dry thermometer and calculated the humidity using a special chart.
The aliade is a circular device invented for use in surveying and map making. It consisted of a circular disc that had compass points marked around outside edge. Two vanes with sighting slits on opposite sides of the wheel attached to a rotating wheel, also on the outer edge of the disc. This is called a swivel range finder. A thin steel rod, called a sighting wire, connected the vanes. A printed topographic map was glued to the disc. The aliade was located in the center of the cabin. When the tower man sighted smoke, he could line up sighting wire with the smoke. The tower man then fixed the precise location of the tower by using a mathematical calculation measuring the angle of intersection with another nearby tower. The tower man could then dispatch a fire crew to the fire's location.
Cabin or Guard Station
Usually located at the base of the tower, the cabin housed the tower man during times of high fire danger. Usually it was a two room cabin.
The Tower man
The tower man spent many hours at the top of the tower during periods when fire danger was high. At other times the tower man helped survey land lines, mark timber, route signs and worked on forest maintenance projects. When fire danger was high, the Forest Service hired local farmers to help staff the tower. During these times they would sometimes station a small fire crew near the tower that could be dispatched out as soon as a fire was sighted. During dry weather there would sometimes be four or five fires a day for these crews to extinguish. Usually staffed by men, women also made up a portion of the tower man ranks, especially during World War II. The tower man had to pass a vision test and be physically fit enough to climb the tower several times a day. In addition to watching for smoke plumes, the tower man coordinated fire crews while they were out fighting a fire, kept records of the fires, kept weather records, cleaned the privy and maintained the grounds around the tower.
The advent of using airplanes and other modern methods of detecting fires has made the fire tower obsolete. Only nine fire towers remain in
Follow this link to see the list.
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Featuring the Massey Family of Tractors | Ripley County Fairgrounds
Schedule of Events for the show
Video of 2018 Show
There will be a limited number of activities on Sunday, June 30, from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. however it is a clean up day and by late in the day most displays and vendors will have departed.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
The fine summer weather invites travelers to take to the road seeking peaceful country drives. One of the author's favorite drives is the ten mile stretch of asphalt that connects US Route 50 with Indiana State R
|Guide to Indiana's Historic Sites|
South East Edition
oad 62 at the western edge of Friendship, Indiana.
Starting in Friendship
Starting at the quaint little hamlet of Friendship in southeastern Ripley County, the traveler will find a lovely drive through the Laughery Creek Valley by cruising north on Cavehill road. This quiet road passes through a lovely mix of woodland and small farm fields as it hugs Laughery Creek on its way to its terminus on US Route 50 near Versailles State Park. Cavehill begins at an intersection with Indiana State Road 62 on the western edge of Friendship, Indiana and proceeds generally northwest as it winds along the valley. The creek is visible on the left as soon as the traveler turns onto the road and will stay in sight for most of the roads ten mile length. A short distance from the beginning of the road a small cemetery surrounded by a limestone wall looms into sight. This is the Connell Cemetery.
Located on Cavehill Road this cemetery has gravestones dating from 1851, although there could be older ones. About half an acre in size, many of the gravestones have broken off and the wall has toppled in several places. A short walk west through an opening in the wall leads to a wooded hillside overlooking Laughery Creek.
Scenic Views of Laughery Creek
The stretch of road past the cemetery has two or three places that allow the traveler to pull off the road safely to admire lovely Laughery Creek as it tumbles over rocks, forming large pools of tranquil water. Herons wade along the bank and songbirds warble in the trees blend their song with the soft gurgling of the creek. One of the pull offs is actually a small dirt lane that veers to the left towards the creek. The driver can pull in about ten feet to get off the road and walk a short distance to the creek.
The road continues along past wooded groves of trees under laid with a knee high carpet of vegetation on one side and hay fields on the other before reaching a large farmhouse and barn located on a sharp curve. Just past the farmhouse as the road curves back the Locust Grove Schoolhouse (1904 - 1925) appears. Just past the schoolhouse, Cavehill Road turns sharply left, proceeds down a hill and reaches Cavehill Road Truss Bridge.
|Cavehill Road Truss Bridge|
Cavehill Road Truss Bridge
|Indiana’s Timeless Tales |
Pre-History to 1781
A short distance from this bridge, Cavehill Road once again crosses Laughery Creek on the Cavehill Road Arch Bridge
|Cavehill Road Arch Bridge, Bridge # 9|
Cavehill Road Arch Bridge, Bridge # 9
Located on Cavehill Road, this concrete, two span bridge crosses Laughery Creek between Versailles and Friendship. Built around 1910, the bridge has a total length of 202 feet and a width of 13 feet. The single lane bridge is still active. A dirt track leads off to the right here, allowing the driver to stop. A short walk down to the creek bed affords a view of the bottom of the bridge as well as lovely views of the creek both upstream and downstream. A stroll across the bridge affords a different perspective of the creek.
Proceeding along, the next point of interest is the Blair Family Cemetery, established in 1838. This well kept cemetery, like the Connell Cemetery, has a limestone wall surrounding it. Several Civil War veterans are interred in this quiet cemetery near the banks of Laughery Creek.
Ascending the Hill
Shortly after passing the Blair Cemetery the road begins to ascend out of the valley through densely wooded slopes. Below, along the creek, small homesteads occupy the valley below with steep driveways branching off the road towards them. The traveler can catch glimpses of the grand view through the trees on the way to the top.
Versailles State Park
The road levels off and passes the Christian International Family Worship Center CT Central Training Center, after which it turns north and passes through Versailles State Park. Watch for equestrians here, as one of the horse trails crosses the road here. A short drive brings the driver to US 50 a short distance east of Versailles State Park. The town of Versailles is about a mile to the west.