Historical Society announces adult field trip

Apr. 23—GREENSBURG — The Historical Society of Decatur County is hosting a grown-up field trip on Saturday, April 27.

The Society has sponsored many field trips for kids, and now it's the adult's turn!

A carpool will leave the Decatur County Historical Society Museum Saturday morning and stop at the Batesville Historical Center. After lunch in either Batesville or Osgood, the group will visit the Osgood Historical Museum.

If interested in participating, call Historical Society of Decatur County Executive Director Carrie Shumaker at 812-663-2764.

The Decatur County History Book and Film Club meets at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in the conference room at the Historical Society of Decatur County Museum. New members are always welcome.

The book of the month for May is "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond.

Each month a different member chooses the topic, book or film and leads the discussion.

The Historical Society of Decatur County first met in June 1959, when the charter membership closed with 205 members. Attempts to found such a group started in 1916, and were "revived" in 1924 as the Decatur County Historical Society.

At that time there was no specific location for artifacts and genealogy lists, but in 1928 the Greensburg School Board granted the Society use of the third floor of the old West End School, which stood on the northwest corner of Washington and Monfort streets.

The extensive museum collections consist of many relics from the Decatur County area.

Officers continued to be elected and the Society remained active until the West School was razed when Billings Elementary School was built on the site.

Between 1954 and 1959, the Society's historical collections and genealogical records were kept in the third floor rooms of the Knights of Pythias building on Broadway Street.

In 1959, the Historical Society of Decatur County was revised by a group of 11 county residents who met at the home of attorney William Woodfill.

Their first meeting was held in March at Greensburg City Hall. Officers elected were Paul Huber, president; Mrs. E.A. Porter, vice-president; Betty Woodfill, secretary; and J. Elwin Gibson, treasurer. Huber also served as editor of the Society's Bulletin until he was succeeded by Van Batterton.

In November 1981, an anonymous donor gifted the Shannon-Lathrop house as a permanent location for the Historical Society.

The original house is a rare example of early 19th century architecture, and was added on through the kindness of an anonymous donor.

Careful planning for this significant project began in 2005 with the hiring of Thomas Gordon Smith as the architect and the firm of Bruns and Gutzwiller as the general contractors.

The construction of the addition, along with a partial remodel of the Shannon-Lathrop house, took the better part of two years.

The addition affords the museum greater display areas with an open gallery adaptable for a number of uses.

The Decatur County Historical Society Museum is located at 222 N. Franklin Street in Greensburg and is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 1 to 4 p.m. the first Saturday of the month; also by appointment.

Membership forms and information about the Decatur County Historical Society can be found at /www.historicalsocietyofdecaturcountygreensburg.org/.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com.