Shirley Historical Society

Shirley Historical Society THe Depot Museum, Dr. Wilsons Office Museum
The Shirley Historical Society was founded by a group of citizens, to care for and to collect articles of Shirley's past. The Train Depot is the original one, donated to the town By the Allison family owners of the Knightstown, Shirley, Carthage RR. They still have a train and give rides on weekends. The Dr. Office was moved from across the street, and is sitting on ground donated by the Gas America Family.

Normally open May thru October. The Museums are currently closed because of a rapidly deteriorating floor. Funding to rep[lace the floor is currently being sought. The Shirley Historical Society will be hosting other events, June 9th is a second in a series of speaking enguagments with speaker Patricia Reason "The last 65 years in Shirley", also putting on Founders day celebration.

Mission: To help Preserve the past, for future generations of Shirley residents. So know one forgets what a colorful and industriust past, Shirley and the surrounding area has had. Working on making the Museums and their grounds a place for the community to be proud of & that they'll want to come to and to use. 2011 Officers, include Pat Reason, Secretary; Eleanor Cleek, Treasurer; Dennis Westrich, Vice President; Jerry Duke, President

The Wesley’s performed for us a few years ago. I still get asked every year when we’re getting them back. Everyone r...
05/24/2019

The Wesley’s performed for us a few years ago. I still get asked every year when we’re getting them back. Everyone really enjoyed them. I’m trying, if we do manage it, you won’t want to miss them. Country, Bluegrass, Gospel and as I recall they performed several of their own songs which were really good.

Coming from Hagerstown and playing Bluegrass, Gospel and Country, The Wesley's were outstanding! A real treat to listen to. They played all time favorites and some original Wesley songs. We will try to have them back again, cause if you missed them, I guarantee you"ll be wanting to hear them next time!

Joan Cupp
05/23/2019

Joan Cupp

05/19/2019

Shirley, Indiana a tough little town that has survived even after the factories and railroads left many years ago. At least 3 huge fires failed to kill the residents spirits and send them running. Floods, drought, and the depletion of the gas wells made it hard to keep businesses here, but the people stayed
Shirley’s kind of unique in that the Hancock/Henry line follows Main Street
right through the town. Established in 1891 it is the youngest incorporated town in either county. Shirley came to be located where it’s at because of the Railroad. Shirley was a place where trains that were traveling East-West could change and go South/North. Those spots were not to plentiful then, so this became a place for the areas farmers to ship their goods off to markets around the country. A popular train conductor named Don Shirley is where the town got its name. The first Railroad Depot was a train car that sat just east of where the Depot sits today. It was used for about 2 years before the Depot was built in 1891. The original depot was was longer from east to west. There was a Diamond section of track where a train going East or West could back up then go North or South. The original center to the diamond track setup sits in front of the Caboose, the area it was used.
Shirley was a thriving town in its early days due the the excess of natural gas used for heating, lighting and to supply its many factories. Shirley leaders advertised the great opportunities to be had in its rapidly growing town. Besides property values guaranteed to jump in value they offered Industry to come in and set up shop, by offering a free plot of land, and free gas for it to use in the plants/factories.
Things were really looking up for Shirley, besides the railroad, new housing construction and the factories, shops were opening up offering a great variety of merchandise.
Schools were built on both sides of the county line. A Grand Hotel “as fine as any” was built, on Main Street only to be consumed in the first large fire. The Depot are also housed a livestock stockyard, a lumberyard, and a warehouse for goods being shipped.
There were several glass companies in Shirley, making a variety of glass items. The items ranged from trinkets and paperweights to plate glass for windows, and glass chimneys for oil lamps and gas lights “wall sconces.” Kraft Foods was located where the post office now sits. Just North of 234 on the west side was the “World’s Largest Creosote Company” were Railroad ties and other woods were treated. A cannery was located at the site of Metals Technologies also on the NW side of town was a seasonal migrant community for workers who would come to pick tomatoes and other crops.
The Big 4 RR didn’t have the only rails running through town in the early days the Interurban passenger cars came through bringing workers to and from town as well as being used as a regular mode of transportation for many people. A large transformer building used to power the Interurban was at the east end of South Railroad by the park. Webster’s Grocery building sits on its foundation.
Rapid growth and plenty of well paid workers brought into existence five bars, a pool hall, card houses, and cat house’s. While these establishments came to all towns showing great
Wealth and expansion, the towns leaders and “moral citizens” quickly saw the need for a jail.
The first of which had a jail cell that now sits on the tracks by the depot. It was used to house inmates typically overnight, until the proper authorities from either Henry or Hancock County would come to pick them up for trial. The cell was in a building where those being held could be seen through the window on main street. It was said to have kept many a child on the straight and arrow, as they could see what happens when your caught being bad. Legend has it that one night it housed 27 migrant workers overnight awaiting pickup.
A few other Industries operating in Shirley’s early years a manufacturer of barbed wire,
Cast-iron radiators for heating, Soda pop, and many more. With the manufacturing needs, Shirley’s population would swell from 1,000-1,200 up to 3,500-5,000 during the work week as workers came into town, depending on seasonal needs. Shirley was also the starting place and home office for White Petroleum, later known as White Flash Gasoline and later Gas America. It was run by the White family up until just a few years ago. The White family continues to support many non-profit groups and activities in Henry and Hancock county areas, through the White Family Foundation and The Hancock Community Foundation.
Besides the bars, pool halls, and cards, other sources of entertainment were the horse track out by 234 and 109 called Alfalfa Downs, and in the mid 1930’s Mt.Lawn Resort, Restaurant, and Race track was started. It was one of the fastest, most competitive and best paying tracks in the country. Its racing was sanctioned by the Mutual Racing Association, and its “Roaring Roadsters” One of its most famous drivers was Dick Frazier, his fastest car resides in the Smithsonian Museum, in Washington DC. Tom Cherry was another well known Mutual Driver. Racers from California would come to race attracted by the big money being paid but few could be competitive with the Mutual racers. Because it was so highly organized Mt. Lawn and the Mutual Timing Ass. was the first track opened and racing after the WW2 ban on racing was lifted. 10,000-people showed up for the first post war race. Mount Lawn is one of the 2 oldest tracks in the country still being run by the original families that started them. The other is in Kansas. It’s still a great bargain for family fun.
Although we’ve lost many more businesses in the last decade Shirley continues to evolve and is quickly becoming a “bedroom” community for persons working in and around central Indiana. Groups like the Shirley Historical Society and the Shirley Visionaries, continue to work towards keeping/making Shirley a great place to live and to raise children. The Charles A Beard school corporation and Eastern Hancock school systems are both very good places to attend. They offer so much more in learning opportunities, and their students excel much more than those in larger school systems.
Shirley is a great little town, if you’d like to help insure it stays that way and continues to be a great little town, consider volunteering with the Shirley Historical Society. They have had most of their older members retire from volunteering because of age and physical limitations so they are in a rebuilding stage right now. It is an excellent time for new members and new ideas to continue and expand upon what has been done in the past and what will and can be done in the future. They meet the 4th Tuesday of each month, 7:30 PM at the Depot, January thru October. Stop in and visit, lets see if we can all work together. We are seeking new ideas and energetic people, sound like someone you know?

Historical society raising money to preserve Shirley history
10/26/2018
Historical society raising money to preserve Shirley history

Historical society raising money to preserve Shirley history

SHIRLEY, Ind. - The rail system once boosted an east central Indiana community. Now, a new fundraiser is underway to preserve Shirley's early years. The town, which lays on the border of Hancock and Henry counties, was at its largest in the early 1900s. A big part of it was due to the town having a....

Click here to support Small town Caboose, Shirley, In. organized by Jerry Duke
10/21/2018
Click here to support Small town Caboose, Shirley, In. organized by Jerry Duke

Click here to support Small town Caboose, Shirley, In. organized by Jerry Duke

Shirley, is a small town in Central Indiana. We are about 30 minutes East of Indianapolis. We have been working hard the last 10 years to preserve the town's history. We have established a Historic District in town. We have fully restored the old train depot, which is almost as old as the town. ...

08/18/2018

The Hazzard Bound Band was excellent tonight. More people should have came out to hear them.
But there is one more chance, they have been great enough to fill in the spot tomorrow from 12 until 2 in the afternoon. Everyone is invited out, they are an excellent band.
A big Thank You to them for playing the Shirley festival again this year!

08/17/2018

Well Founders Day starts tonite with Opening ceremonies, Awards, and the Hazzard Bound Band will be Playing.
We have had a band cancel for tomorrow.
I am having a hard time getting someone to fill spot on short notice.
If anyone is interested, please call me 317 294 5582.
Thanks

06/17/2018

A big thanks to everyone who came
And helped out with yesterdays mud bog.
It was really great to have your help and support.
I Cannot thank you all enough.

06/15/2018

We are still looking for volunteers, for Saturdays Mud Bog.
This is the Historical Society's big fundraiser for the year.
We need help at the entry gates (10-4?) and in the food tent (1- ?)
If you could help for a couple hours or the day. It will really help.
I would really like to see the events and the Historical Society continue, but without Volunteers and active
Members both will probably come to an end soon.
Thanks and please share.

06/10/2018

Looking for a "Tractor for a day!" For the Shirley Historical Society's Annual Fundraiser.
Saturday June 16th. Needs to be able to pull a truck out of a couple feet of mud.
Please see post below, and share.
Thak You

06/10/2018

Its almost here! The Historical Society's Annual FundrIser "The Shirley Mud Bogs" is next Saturday!
They are preparing the pit , for an even more exciting Mud Bog this year. There will be more action and less down time, with the shallower pit.
The action should be great as most classes will have exciting compitition for best time!
While everything is going along great, we have hit a snag.
We really need a tractor to out any that don't make it thru. The pit won't be as deep this year so the tractor won't have to be as big as those in past years, but needs to be able to pull a truck out of 2 feet of mud.
If you have one, or know someone who does please have them get ahold of us.
If they have have a tractor but no time, we have Doug who has been driving the tractors and pulling the trucks out for us for many years.
Other than that most things will be the same with those "World Famous Depot Dogs" and the rest of our Mud Bog Menu being available. Including your favorite cold drinks.
This years Bog is our 10th and loiks to be bigger tban ever! Hope to see everypne there.

I would also like to thank the Hancock County Community Foundation, for the $1000 "surprise" Grant .Kara Harrison and St...
08/21/2017

I would also like to thank the Hancock County Community Foundation, for the $1000 "surprise" Grant .
Kara Harrison and Stephanie White Longworth both attended our Opening Cerimonies, on Friday night.
Stephanie made the presentation, to the Historical Society.
Dennis, Andy, and myself were on hand to accept. The grant is for our general fund, and will be put to good use.
The Hancock County Community Foundation, has been a great friend to the Shirley Historical Society and other Shirley organizations, for several year's now.
Thank you Stephanie , Kara, and the rest of the staff at the foundation.
They can be found on Facebook and Online, check them out and see what great things they are doing for the community.

A few parade pics, wish I could have taken more. But had to go work.
08/21/2017

A few parade pics, wish I could have taken more. But had to go work.

2017 Founders Day Talent Show. Photos by Joan Cupp. A whole lot of Talent in one place! Watch out for these young people...
08/21/2017

2017 Founders Day Talent Show. Photos by Joan Cupp. A whole lot of Talent in one place! Watch out for these young people in the future.

This year's (2017) Shirley Historical Society's Founders Day car show. Held on the front lawn of the Octagon House.
08/21/2017

This year's (2017) Shirley Historical Society's Founders Day car show. Held on the front lawn of the Octagon House.

05/04/2017
Rocket Carz

Rocket Carz

Drink Coca-Cola 1950s! 💟 Refreshing NEW Feeling!

08/16/2016

Its coming up...this weekend!

07/19/2016

I'm very sad to hear that Darrell Deck has passed away.
He took alot of interest in Shirleys history. He was also one of the original 5 or 6 fellows that brought the Octagon house to town, and for the Malcom Grass Memorial on Main street, here in Shirley.
Darrell you will be missed, but you will be in a better place with no suffering. Godspeed Darrell, you'll be remembered well! I'm glad to have met you and to have worked with you, on our shared passion "history".

Sign for Depot area mounted.
05/29/2016

Sign for Depot area mounted.

Update on our cement slab, we have received a quote we can afford, and after a little paperwork to get the goahead and s...
03/07/2016

Update on our cement slab, we have received a quote we can afford, and after a little paperwork to get the goahead and such. We are going to have them start. Should have a new shelter for the Strawberry Festival I hope.

I'm also looking for someone that might want to help with putting up our new signs. We have 2, 1 for Main Street and 1 for Railroad Street by the
Depot.

More pic's of Caboose Chassis
01/13/2016

More pic's of Caboose Chassis

Chassis shots of Caboose.
01/13/2016

Chassis shots of Caboose.

Shirley Historical Society
12/16/2015

Shirley Historical Society

Shirley Historical Society
12/16/2015

Shirley Historical Society

Shirley Historical Society's cover photo
12/16/2015

Shirley Historical Society's cover photo

What would you like to see this year?
12/16/2015

What would you like to see this year?

Some more Shirley Home's lit up and celebrating Christmas, and the birth of Jesus. See all 3 post.
12/16/2015

Some more Shirley Home's lit up and celebrating Christmas, and the birth of Jesus. See all 3 post.

More homes in Shirley Lit up for Christmas headed off by the Shirley Depot Museum. See all 3 post.
12/16/2015

More homes in Shirley Lit up for Christmas headed off by the Shirley Depot Museum. See all 3 post.

Shirley Home's all lit up for Christmas. See all 3 post.
12/16/2015

Shirley Home's all lit up for Christmas. See all 3 post.

New signs 1 to replace existing sign on Main St. in front of Dr Wilson's Office and 1 for Depot area. Signs are 3 feet X...
12/07/2015

New signs 1 to replace existing sign on Main St. in front of Dr Wilson's Office and 1 for Depot area. Signs are 3 feet X 5 feet. Existing sign on Main St is 4X4. So some modification of the sign post/mounts will be neccessary. These will be hung when the weather breaks in the spring. Sorry about the "shadows"

Last. It was a light but pretty steady turn out. Those who attended had a good time.
11/29/2015

Last. It was a light but pretty steady turn out. Those who attended had a good time.

More.
11/29/2015

More.

The Depot tonite.
11/29/2015

The Depot tonite.

Small business day&Christmas Walk in Shirley tonite. Andy EBBERT and family got the depot and Dr. Office lit up.
11/29/2015

Small business day&Christmas Walk in Shirley tonite. Andy EBBERT and family got the depot and Dr. Office lit up.

Tomarrow is small business day, its also Christmas walk time from 4-8pm in Shirley. Come on out and visit local merchant...
11/28/2015

Tomarrow is small business day, its also Christmas walk time from 4-8pm in Shirley. Come on out and visit local merchants, the Depot Museum, Octagon House, Santa will be at Dr Wilsons Office.
The SVFD, Limings Funeral Home, Murrays Flea Market, Shirley Hardware, K-Dogs Pizza, Southside & Bens Bar and more will be open, for you to visit. Many will have a snack or treat to eat. I'll be manning the Depot Museum from 4-8
Stop in and visit.

11/23/2015

Great News for race fans, and the whole area. My. Lawn is reopening this year.
It appears they will be returning to Sunday racing. Its a great way for the whole family to have some fun.
Congratulations and Welcome back Mt. Lawn Raceway. Did you know Mt Lawn Is one of the oldest tracks in the Country to still be owned by the same family that started it! I think there is one other started the same year in Kansas that is still owned by the same family.
When race tracks were allowed to reopen after WW2 Mt Lawn and the Mutual Racing Association were one of the first tracks to reopen. They say 10,000 race hungry fans showed up. Many walking to Mt. Lawn along the tracks. Or riding an Interurban train.

11/03/2015

Hey its Election Day. Voting for Shirley Town Clerk is over at the Wilkinson Church of Christ. Make sure to go vote for your next Clerk.
Debbie Duke
Theresa Hester
Cassandra Jesup
If you have not already, check out each candidate fully, and be sure to vote! All votes count especially in small town.
Thanks!

Address

PO Box 93, 204 Railroad St
Shirley, IN
47384

General information

Our "SAVE THE DEPOT" Drive is going on now. If you'd like to donate, you can send it to: SHS Save the Depot, PO Box 93, Shirley IN. 47384, or drop off at the Shirley Hardware Store. Or give to a Member of SHS We are 501(c)3 NON PROFIT group and can give you a reciept for your taxes.

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