Ohio County, the smallest county in Indiana, was carved out of Dearborn County in 1844. Colonel Abel Pepper, who oversaw the removal ol the Native Americans in the 1830s, was influential in the establishment of the new county. As a citizen of Rising Sun, he and his wife donated land and money to the building of the courthouse. The courthouse, built in 1844, is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in Indiana.
The photographic documentation of Ohio County Indiana, covers the years at the close of the 1800s to the present. Rising Sun, the county's seal, was home to J.W. Whitlock, a name familiar to many raceboat fans. Included are photographs of Whitlock and his famous Hoosier Boy, the Empire House Hotel, the 1937 flood, the electric chair made by Smith Riggs, and the steamboats Cincinnati and Louisville seen daily at the turn of the twentieth century. Also featured is the Laughery Club, located on an island in the Ohio River. Though small, Ohio County could throw a big party as demonstrated by the 1940 and 1950s regattas, and the 1964 sescquicentennial of the founding of Rising Sun. William Dichtl is the director of the Ohio County Historical Society, and was previously employed by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association in Lafayette, Indiana.
Cream Station in Aberdeen, 1920. Farmers living in the vicinity of Aberdeen brought their cream to this cream station. At one time Glenn Dorrell operated the cream station. Earl Green operated the station depicted in this photograph. Note the cream cans on the porch. It is hard to believe, but Aberdeen was home totwo gun makers at the same time in the 1800s. Other businesses in town included blacksmith shops, broom makers, a cooper, and a grocer, to name a few.
Riverside Hotel, C. 1915. The Riverside Hotel, southwest corner of Main and Front streets, was one of three hotels in this area of town. The hotel was built in the early 1800s. George Jarvis, J.D. Kilburn. and Joe Marsh had been owners of the hotel at one time. With the steamboats docking daily, this was the ideal location for a hotel. In 1968, the hotel was razed after years of being unused.
Black Horse Tavern, 1939. The trademark black carousel horse on the property easily identified the Black Horse Tavern located on the southeast comer of the main road through Aberdeen. During the mid-1900s, the tavern was a popular destination for travelers and local people.
Black Horse Tavern, 1939. The Black Horse Tavern served sandwiches and ice cream. The ice cream was made on site and was said to be very good. It was a relaxed atmosphere where friends gathered to sit in the shade and share stories in a variety of chairs. Note the Black Horse Tavern sign over the door. The sign is in the collection of the Ohio County Historical Society.
Black Horse Tavern Cabins, 1939. The Black Horse Tavern accommodated weary travelers with their cabins tor rent. Similar to a shotgun house with the cabin being long and one room wide, each one had a bench outside for relaxing in the cool summer breeze. The cabins faced a nicely landscaped garden.
GAS TRUCK, 1924. Russell Dorrell owned this sharp looking gas truck. During the 1920s he delivered gas for the Ohio Pep Company. On the back of the tank read Go Devil Benzol Gas "Fresh From the Still." Denver Dorrell later on bought this business from Russell, and also had an oil delivery business in the late 1920s that he operated out of Aberdeen. He sold Ohio Pep and later United Petroleum products.
Source: Ohio County, Indiana By William J. Dichtl