Friday, July 21, 2023


A large crowd turned out for last weekend's concert featuring Heartache Tonight, an Eagles tribute band, at Blue River Memorial Park. | photo by JACK BOYCE

A Change Is Coming

A lube, oil, and filter business is under construction on East State Road 44, next to Big Lots on land once used for Christmas tree sales. | photo by JACK BOYCE

Former Local Photography Studio In the Spotlight

A Grover Center exhibit shows the three locations of Orebaugh Studios over the years.

At some point after Oscar Orebaugh died in 1951, Indiana Bell took over his photography studio building on West Broadway and planned to dispose of hundreds of stored glass negatives. But members of the Shelby County Historical Society intervened, even before they had a museum to display the works.

“You could call that great foresight,” Alex Krach, director of the Grover Center, said at last night’s members-only preview of a two-part exhibition, “Written in Light: The Orebaugh Studio.”

The new offerings are a cohesive fit with their downstairs counterpart exhibit, “Building Shelby County.” One section includes large graphic displays of the studio’s history and techniques in addition to original photography equipment.

The studio was founded in the late 1800s by Oscar’s father, James, who had initially used wet-plate photography methods before transitioning to dry-plate glass negatives in the early 1900s. Numerous prints of the latter era comprise the accompanying display, “Capturing the Community.”

“(Orebaugh Studios) wasn’t just capturing families and school photos. They were also taking photos for the furniture manufacturers for their catalogs,” Krach said.

The result is a library of pictures, all of which are viewable on an iPad in the room, that shows Shelby County transitioning from agrarian to industrial.

“You can see the impact that time period had on people as their dress improves, they have more leisure time, and you see more bars and soda shops open in town,” Krach said.

The foundation of the exhibit started with board member John Walker transforming Orebaugh’s glass negatives into high-resolution digital images. As Walker captured the unbelievable clarity of the dry-plates, Krach said it became clear there was “a really great story to tell.”

James Orebaugh started his studio in a portable tent that traveled to county fairs. A photo of the tent, depicting Oscar when he was a child, is on display. The company’s first studio was on Jackson Street and then moved to South Harrison on land now hosting a dental office near The Strand Theatre. In this location James custom-built a large second-floor window that played a role in a lighting system he invented. James also advertised his photography services for extended hours, even after sunset.

“The idea was to make (photography) more available to more people,” Krach said.

Studio advertisements in the paper highlighted children’s photography, and toys can be seen in the resulting portraits.

“Largely, the idea in the ads was, if we can’t get your kid to smile, then it’s free,” Krach said.

The company’s final home was on West Broadway, where business continued to boom. A Daily Democrat newspaper article cited in the display says, “Upon entering (the building) you are received in their elegant reception room and most courteously entertained until you can be waited upon, for they are at all times busy.”

Although no one in the family carried on the business, descendants of Oscar Orebaugh remain in Shelby County, including his grandsons, attorneys Lee McNeely and Mark McNeely.

The exhibit opens to the public tomorrow and is slated to remain two years.

A 1923 Orebaugh photo on display shows the Kennedy Car Liner & Bag Company building destroyed by fire.


  • Keith Potts, Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate, will be in Shelbyville next week to speak at the Shelby County Democrats monthly meeting. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Tuesday, July 25, 7 p.m., in the Shelby County Public Library annex. Potts, an Indianapolis City-County councilor, is running to succeed Sen. Mike Braun. Potts, 33, will face former state Rep. Marc Carmichael, 73, in the primary.
  • Shelbyville, Indiana: A Souvenir, 1895, has been restored by Shelbyville native George Young and is available online in hardback and paperback and at the local Three Sisters Books and Gifts in paperback. "I didn’t want this book to die and for people to forget what Shelbyville was like when it became a 20th-century town," Young said in an email. He added an index of 400 people and 80 organizations to 91 pages of original content. Copies are also available for viewing at the Shelby County Public Library.
  • STATE NEWS: More than nine months away from the GOP primary for Indiana’s open governor’s seat, the race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive in state history. More than $5 million flowed into campaign coffers in the first half of the year alone. U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) took in the biggest haul: more than $2 million. That’s double what Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch brought in over the first half of 2023. Fort Wayne businessman Eric Doden wasn’t far behind Braun, adding $1.8 million to his campaign account. But a third of Doden’s fundraising total was a contribution from his father. And only about 150 individuals, businesses and organizations donated to his campaign so far this year, compared to more than double that for Crouch and more than triple that for Braun. The newest entrant to the race, former Attorney General Curtis Hill, only launched his campaign last week and doesn't have any fundraising of note. On the Democratic side, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick has a little less than $210,000 in her campaign account after the first half of 2023. (Indiana Public Media)

This Month in Shelby County History

2018: Deryck Ramey was named principal at Hendricks Elementary, succeeding Pat Lumbley.

2013: Employees at Shelby Tire and Auto Care were surprised to discover a pair of pants inside a tree limb that had been removed from the front of the parking lot. When owner Brent Montgomery had bought the building 27 years prior, all seven branches of the famous Linden tree were still intact, but several had to be trimmed over the years.

2008: The Shelby Sting, a girls' fast-pitch 14-and-under squad, won the Greenwood Tournament. Players were Makayla Dougherty, Skye Krise, Kay Brokering, Allyson Conner, Mariah Tucker, Allison Gobel, Brooke Smith, Megan Cory, Ashley Scudder, Briana Parks, Breana Elrod, Madison Raney and Hannah Johnson. Coaches were Doug Conner, Jim Krise, Greg Parks and Rob Young.

2003: Terry Smith, vice president of retail banking, marketing and security at Shelby County Bank, was the only candidate to file to replace Bill Hopkins on the Shelby County Council. Hopkins had come onto the council in 2001 when he replaced Gregg Graham, who had resigned.

1998: U.S. Senator Richard Lugar was named grand marshal of the Sesquicentennial Shelby County Fair Parade.

1993: V.I.P. Tooling won the Blue River Soccer Association's under-16 team championship. Members of the team were Nathan McIntire, Michael Asher, T.J. Freeman, Andrew Tobin, Justin Kuhn, Matt Watson, Brigitte Crim, Jason Allen, Daryl Jones, Jason Riggs, Aaron Sipes, Michael Budewitz, Jamin Staker and Matt Haehl. SaVonna Crim was coach.

1988: Expansion of Shelbyville's Wastewater Treatment Plant neared completion. During discussion of an open house date, Board of Works member Molly Robbins joked that the event should be held in conjunction with the Bears of Blue River Festival, suggesting "free samples" could be offered. Superintendent Brad Fix responded that "sludge bars" could be on the menu.

1983: With City Editor Randy Ludlow stepping down at The Shelbyville News to join the Cincinnati Post staff, the News hired Nick Miller, 27, as the new city editor. Judy Shadley, 47, assistant editor, had her duties expanded, and Greg Weaver, 22, was hired as a full-time reporter. Previously he had covered the Legislature for The News on a freelance basis.

1978: Rodefeld's, 202 E. Broadway, was expanded and remodeled. The new steel building added 3,770 square feet, to be used for storage and as the automotive machine shop. Robert C. Welage managed the local store.

1973: The Shelby Eastern School board hired five new teachers: Mary Ann Wheeler, sixth grade at Waldron; Lawrence "Boots" Thompson, a 45-year veteran teacher at Shelbyville High School, to teach physics and math at Morristown High School; Denny Fox, social studies at Waldron; Susan Wade, language arts at Union Middle School; and Ronald Patton, science and physical education at Union Middle School.

1968: Paul Wagner, 17, was the recipient of the Glen K. McNamara Award, presented to the Shelbyville High School player who made the greatest contributions to the team. The presentation was made by Merle Platt.

1963: Former Shelbyville teacher Goldie Lemasters, 77, died.

In bowling action, Adrian Thoman had a 212 game and Norma Conliff got 171 for the top single game scores in Sunday Mixed League, while Mike Armstrong's 163 and Louie Posz' 442 were the top Junior League Scores.

1958: A local 60-year-old man was arrested for supplying alcohol to a 15-year-old at a drive-in theater.

Shelby Motors ran their unbeaten string to five games with a win over Waldron. Motors' runs came in the third inning when Tom Graham was hit by pitcher Morris Dale, and took second on an infield error. Jerry Smith came through with a timely single to score Graham, and Bill Reinman doubled, bringing Smith home. Dan Thurston also had a double for the winners. Graham and Thurston both pitched as well.

1953: Carl and Mary (Higgins) Bogemann, St. Paul, bought the Uptown Tavern, 108 S. Harrison St., from Jack Ellis. "Good food and drinks of all kinds will be featured in a clean, air-conditioned tavern and restaurant," Mr. Bogemann said.

1948: State highway officials announced plans to relocate several short sections of State Road 29 between Shelbyville and Indianapolis, and called for purchasing several strips of land along the highway right-of-way. One of the areas to be modified was the S-curve long known as the "life-saving station," about 10 miles northwest of Shelbyville.

1943: Carl Glidden was named commander of Shelbyville Victory Post No. 70, succeeding Delbert Kendall. Other officers were Ernest Conrad, Russell Cortelyou, Ray Murphy and Jesse Angleton.

1938: Twenty attended Vacation Bible School at Geneva Methodist Church. Teachers were Gladys Marsh, Betty Barton, Maxine Patterson, Evelyn Patterson, Olive Byland, Katy Byland and Delbert Whitmer. Activities included wood-working, crafts (potholders, oilcloth doorstops and flower holders) and stories about missionaries and character building.

1933: The Shelbyville Republican newspaper opened a branch office in Morristown. A full-time reporter was assigned to the area.

1928: Approximately 200 attended the Pet Parade at Laura Morrison Park. Dogs, cats, a pigeon, goats, a rooster, and a bantam hen were all featured. "The rooster in the parade provided some action," The Republican said. "A dog, parked next to the king of the barnyard, did some barking and growling, which did not set well with Mr. Rooster. The rooster stretched out his neck, and when the dog was in the midst of a long bark, pecked the dog on the end of the nose, right on the tender spot, and that was the end of that." Carl Pumphrey explained that his pet pigeon had been found in his yard with a pellet hole through his wing. Junior Blackburn attempted to have his dog do tricks, but the animal refused, the paper said. Among the winners were Glen Griffey, Edison Brokering, Francis Dellekamp, Lucille Anspaugh and Ralph Kendall.

1923: William Mefford and H.W. Buck opened Shelbyville Candy Kitchen on S. Harrison St., former home of Rosen's Shoe Store and Repair. The candy was made in the back of the store and sold in the front.