History of Farimount PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vickie Trent   
Thursday, 28 April 2011 17:07

History of Fairmount

The site of Fairmount was densely timbered when the first white settler arrived in the 1820's. Native American hunters and trappers sought beaver, otter, bear and deer while living in temporary camps in the vicinity. The first settlers along Back Creek were Quakers, who came from North Carolina. The "Wayne Trail" from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis passed through Fairmount Township and was used by the settlers when they went to Fort Wayne to record and pay for their new property in the wilderness. The first home built in the central portion of what became Fairmount was a log cabin started by John Benbow at the southwest corner of Eighth and Main Streets, the cabin was finsihed by Daniel Baldwin in 1832. Daniel Baldwin then purchased 160 arces of land at Madison and Mill Streets where he built a second log cabin. The first store in Fairmount was a dry goods/grocery store at the corner of Wasington and Main Streets, the store was in the residence of Joesph W. Baldwin. The town was founded in 1850 by David Stanield.

At the start of the Civil War, Fairmount was a small isolated village. Their major contact with the outside world was activities concerning the "Underground Railroad".  Sixty-nine male residents in all answered Lincoln's call, of those 69, twelve died in the war.

The first railroad through Fairmount was the Cincinnati,Wabash and Michigan coach Railroad in 1874. By 1879 one railroad ran north and south through town, there were two flour mills, one flax factory, one planing mill, two warehouses, one woolen factory, one sawmill, one school, two millinery shops, one drugstore, one drygoods store, one hotel and three churches. There was a printing shop that published the News-Sun. The first bank was established in 1882 by Levi Scott and in 1884 Mr. Scott opened the Scott's Opera house. The first telephone came to Fairmount in 1883.

Fairmount's first and most productive gas well "Jumbo" was drilled in 1887. Jumbo caught fire in 1888 and millions cubic feet of natural gas was wasted before the fire could be contained.

In 1888 Orlie Scott and Charles T. Payne and Nathan Alpheus Armfield invented a horseless carriage, but there was one major flaw, they forgot to to add brakes. On a test run the vehicle hit a rock and tipped over. Ready to give up the idea, Scott sold the vehicle to Elwood Haynes of Kokomo. On July 4th, 1894 Haynes made his first big run in the Scott buggy. The vehicle is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

 In March 1898, the Town Board voted to buy a two-horse fire wagon to carry hoses and ladders. 1899 a new jail was constructed, Barney O'Riley was the first prisoner, charge with Public Intoxication. Electric street lights, powered by the Gilbert LaRue Light plant were first used Saturday April 22, 1899. In April 1900 Fairmount rural free delivery of mail was started.  In 1855 the free public school opened on E. First Street. In 1866 the school was replaced by a two story building on E. Washington St. The Fairmount Friends Academy was built near "Rush Hill" opened in 1895 and closed in 1923.

Fairmount was sometimes visited by the well-known citizens of the day including: James Whitcomb Riley, who performed at the Scoot's Opera House in 1886. Marcus Dickey a Fairmount native became Riley's manager. Belle Boyd a famous Confederate spy, lectured in the Congresstional Church in 1899. In october 1900 Theodore Roosevelt came to Fairmount by rail and spoke to 4000 people for 10 minutes at the train depot. Converted baseball player, W.A. "Billy" Sunday, held a four-week religious revival in Fairmount 1902. David Lewis Payne, Fairmount native, moved to Kansas and served in the 7th Kansas Cavalry, obtaining the rank of Captain. 

Fairmount Sesquicentennial Celebration was held in Playarces Park July 1-4, 2000. Events included a picnic, live entertainment, 40's fashion show, 30's and 40's dance contest, community church service, kid games, Old Folks Day, historic dress contest, beard growing contest, and carriage rides. The Celebration ending with the Annual Fireworks show.

The new Veterans Memorial at Park Cemetery is a tribute to all community veterans. The Memorial was dedicated July 1, 2000.

Ann Warr, Fairmount Historian, was the recipient of the 2000 Lieutenant Governor's Hospitality Award, given May 10, at the Satehouse.

*The forementioned was taken from article "Fairmount" belonging to the Fairmount Muesum.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:18