Huntsville,Laid Out in 1836
HasSuffered From Many Fires

By Mrs. Charles VanOrmer
The Rushville Times,October 7, 1948

The village of Huntsvillewas laid out more than 100 years ago, on February 24, 1836, by W. G. Moffitt,John T. Gash, William Spangler, G. H. Brisco, Samuel Warren, and John L.Ewing. The survey was made by Allen Persinger.

Records show at that timethere was a one-room school building there, which was built in 1835, afew log houses, one general store, and a sawmill. One physician, Dr. North,served the settlement.

The first church was builtin 1841 — a Presbyterian church. About this time another physician whommany of the older residents remember was Dr. A. J. Mead, who came hereas a young man and spent his entire life a practicing physician.

By 1872 Huntsville had anotherchurch–a Methodist church–two general stores, a post office, public schoolbuilding, a hotel, blacksmith and wagon shop, and a large skating rink,which served for a few years as a community recreation center, a brassband consisting of 18 or 20 pieces, and a good baseball club. Huntsvillewas the birthplace of Orie Waner, father of the noted ball players, Pauland Lloyd Waner.

In 1890 four general storeswere in operation, a restaurant and ice cream parlor had been added, atwo-room school building, and three secret orders–Masonic, Odd Fellow,and Modern Woodmen. At this time there was a population of around 300 people.

Huntsville has a centralpark, and was laid out with plans for it to become a larger city, but thevillage has suffered many reverses, mainly three very destructive firesin the business section. The first fire that residents now recall was aroundthe year 1887, when a large mercantile business located on the vacant lotnow owned by W. G. Stoner, together with the skating rink and some otherbusiness houses on Main street were destroyed by fire. Soon afterward abuilding was erected on this corner, where for a number of years WilliamBrumback operated a general store. During the course of a few years theentire block had been rebuilt with business houses.

In February, 1900, the two-storyschool building, located in central park, was destroyed by fire. The sameyear a new building was erected at the northeast corner of town, in itspresent location.

The following year, in July,1901, fire again started in the Brumback store, which a few years previoushad been purchased by M. F. Pierce, taking its toll this time of the entireblock. This block was never entirely rebuilt. In 1903 M. F. Pierce rebuilthis store, a two-story building, the I. O. O. F. lodge owning the secondstory.

During the years of 1910and 1911 the present Methodist church was built. In December, 1939, anotherdisastrous fire broke out in the business section on the same corner wherethe two previous fires had started. W. G. Stoner owned and operated a generalstore on the first floor, with the I. O. O. F. hall on the second. Adjoiningthis on the north was a blacksmith shop operated by George Becraft. Acrossthe street east was a two-story building known as the Tom Watts building,one room of this being used for the post office. All these buildings, togetherwith the Presbyterian church, were destroyed in this fire. These buildingshave never been rebuilt.

At present Huntsville hasone church, a town hall, post office, a consolidated sixth grade school,a general store operated by Glen Drake, with a Masonic hall on the secondfloor. This building is the oldest building in Huntsville. The villagenow has a population of less than 100 people.

The Rushville Times,used by permission

Copyright 1999,2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only.Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictlyprohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appearwith the information.

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