Huntsville, Laid Out in 1836
Has Suffered From Many Fires

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

The village of Huntsville was 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 time there was a one-room school building there, which was built in 1835, a few log houses, one general store, and a sawmill. One physician, Dr. North, served the settlement.

The first church was built in 1841 -- a Presbyterian church. About this time another physician whom many of the older residents remember was Dr. A. J. Mead, who came here as a young man and spent his entire life a practicing physician.

By 1872 Huntsville had another church--a Methodist church--two general stores, a post office, public school building, a hotel, blacksmith and wagon shop, and a large skating rink, which served for a few years as a community recreation center, a brass band consisting of 18 or 20 pieces, and a good baseball club. Huntsville was the birthplace of Orie Waner, father of the noted ball players, Paul and Lloyd Waner.

In 1890 four general stores were in operation, a restaurant and ice cream parlor had been added, a two-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 central park, and was laid out with plans for it to become a larger city, but the village has suffered many reverses, mainly three very destructive fires in the business section. The first fire that residents now recall was around the year 1887, when a large mercantile business located on the vacant lot now owned by W. G. Stoner, together with the skating rink and some other business houses on Main street were destroyed by fire. Soon afterward a building was erected on this corner, where for a number of years William Brumback operated a general store. During the course of a few years the entire block had been rebuilt with business houses.

In February, 1900, the two-story school building, located in central park, was destroyed by fire. The same year a new building was erected at the northeast corner of town, in its present location.

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

During the years of 1910 and 1911 the present Methodist church was built. In December, 1939, another disastrous fire broke out in the business section on the same corner where the two previous fires had started. W. G. Stoner owned and operated a general store on the first floor, with the I. O. O. F. hall on the second. Adjoining this on the north was a blacksmith shop operated by George Becraft. Across the 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, together with the Presbyterian church, were destroyed in this fire. These buildings have never been rebuilt.

At present Huntsville has one church, a town hall, post office, a consolidated sixth grade school, a general store operated by Glen Drake, with a Masonic hall on the second floor. This building is the oldest building in Huntsville. The village now 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 strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

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