History Locked Up

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WARSAW, IND. (WPTA21)-There are few towns as historic as Warsaw, Indiana and fewer still as critical to modern life today. Warsaw sprang up along a stagecoach route. Its future secured when the railroad pushed through. And for those who’d like to know more this town has the perfect spot to learn it.

“This building literally represents the history of Kosciusko County,” says historian Greg Steffe. “It’s hard to go somewhere and catch the ambiance and history that this building has.”

For 112 years the old jail house on Indiana Street is where Kosciusko County locked up its evildoers. But in 1982 it was reborn as the Kosciusko County Historical Museum and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything like it anytime soon. The jail’s holding cells, bars and all, still intact, now employed to display stories and artifacts from the county’s past beginning with the Native Americans who settled here first. Early agricultural history, early education..this is the old Red Brush School in Packerton. Implements of daily life, too, the home front, public safety and celebrations. Warsaw today is a center for manufacture of medical devices, started by Revra Dupuy in 1895. He designed leg braces and splints. And historic Winona Lake, once a major stop on the Chautauqua circuit and home of Depression Era preacher Billy Sunday and his immense Tabernacle. The museum is also the site of numerous special exhibits organized by the local historical society.

“The featured exhibit this summer is our D-Day exhibit,” says Steffe, “which emphasizes the history and the sacrifices of Kosciusko County people in the war effort. Showing their uniforms there personal possessions.”

More than anything else, though, the Old Jail Museum speaks of the common folk who played and worked and died building this town and this county. The men and women, old and the young, who raised their families, fought in distant lands and on the Home Front, but always came home to this corner of 21 Country to build the treasure they have bequeathed to us. This is Eric Olson reporting.

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