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Home Touch

LAGRANGE, IND. (WPTA21)-Even in a cloudburst Lagrange Indiana is a charming town, a pleasant mix of old and older. A family town that delights in sharing all the family secrets.

Most town museums tell their stories in grand gestures, highlight the movers and shakers, the grand buildings, calamitous fires…all the events that make good headlines. But walking through the Lagrange County Historical Museum is like leafing through a family scrapbook. The displays are mostly personal artifacts donated by lifelong Lagrange residents usually to honor loved ones. Hilda Hughes was a local quilter, her family has given several of her quilts to the museum over the years. Doc Betts practiced medicine in Lagrange for forty years, owned Betts Drugs and Groceries on Detroit Street, this is the store sign in 1887. The doc’s family donated his doctor’s bag, prescription books and lots of artifacts to the town he cared for. The family flavor of this museum is right in line with historical society president Bryan McCoy’s own curiosity.

I’ve always wanted to meet some of the people from back then see what, what really was life like, how they did what they did,” McCoy says.

Lagrange has always been a farm town, there are lots of farm tools on the walls. And the occasional oddity…the mastadon skull Jack Boyd dug up out in Hobbs Marsh. But they give few clues to the men and women who carved a life out of the Lagrange County wilderness. Those treasures are found in the doll collections and the dresses, the children’s puzzles and books, the parlor organs and all the other remnants of family ties that sustain a people and their town through all that life throws at them. There is much here on Civil War veterans and mills and factories and all the things most museums focus on. But walking through this place is like wandering into a neighbors home, it is intimate and inviting and leaves you with a warm feeling in your heart that some of those folks long gone, have reached out and touched you.

Eric Olson

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