It’s time for another look at one of East Central Indiana’s cities as glimpsed through my iPhone.
Hartford City, county seat of Blackford County, was settled and platted in the mid-1800s, sent soldiers to fight and die in the Civil War and saw a growth spurt during the late 1800s natural gas boom.
Curiously, there’s not a lot of recognition of the gas boom in Hartford City – unlike Gas City, just to the north, where some street sign posts are shaped like natural gas wells – but the community’s remembrance of its sons’ Civil War service is very noticeable around the courthouse.
The top photo is a view of the Blackford County Courthouse’s 165-foot tower.
The courthouse was the county’s second, built 1893-95, as a historical marker helpfully tells us, and is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque style.
The tower is very eye-catching and helps the courthouse dominate the downtown square.
The courthouse square has war memorials on each corner. This is the Civil War memorial.
In Hartford City, they keep their cannon balls handy. And shiny.
Among the other memorials is one to World War I doughboys.
Inside the courthouse, this tin ceiling is a nice architectural detail.
Like many smaller cities and towns, Hartford City has struggled to keep its downtown alive. Hartford City has some truly impressive and historic buildings surrounding its courthouse square, though. One of them is the Tyner/Knights of Pythias building.
The Tyner building, built around 1900, was home to professional offices for decades and was, in the 1920s, home to the Ku Klux Klan. At the time, the KKK had a huge presence in Indiana and all but constituted a shadow government.
Then there’s the Hotel Ingram, which online sources date to 1893. It’s a beautiful building in Romanesque Revival style but has seen better days.
One of Hartford City’s grandest buildings surely was the Weiler’s Building, once home to a large department store. Weiler’s store was opened by four brothers from Germany. The town’s elders bragged that Weiler’s rivaled any big city department store.
Lastly, a look at a ghost sign. I enjoy finding these on the sides of downtown buildings. I’m posting this even though the sun’s rays really weren’t in the right spot for this shot. But there is a ghost sign there, believe me!