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By TRISTA LUTGRING
Being at the young age of 26, as my co-workers like to point out from time to time, there are some events I’ve missed here in Perry County. However, after the past few weeks, I can say I’m very happy and feel privileged to have been here for Cannelton’s 175th anniversary celebration.
Milestones like this, of course, only happen every 25 years. I certainly hope I’m able to be around for the 200th celebration, as I have no doubt Canneltonians will be out in full force celebrating the long history of their town once again.
Though I am a writer and a journalist, history has always fascinated me and is a second passion. It shows us where we’ve come from, how we’ve fought for what we have and how we’ve changed. I love the past and I enjoy stories of our ancestors. Growing up a Tell City girl, I know much about Tell City’s past, but my knowledge of our neighbors in Cannelton has always been scarce. Growing up, I really hadn’t had a mind to care. When you’re little, sometimes you don’t think the history of the area of your hometown is interesting. I wish I had not had that mentality.
During the week of the anniversary celebration, I learned so much about the town of Cannelton and its people. Like with any festival in the county, my fellow reporters and I are often seen about during the activities. Many of you might have seen me darting around Oct. 7 at the kickoff parade, which I enjoyed immensely.
The weather was amazing, the crowd was huge and the floats were fantastic. I especially enjoyed the Perry County Museum’s depiction of the old town pump, the Sons of the American Legion in their revolutionary regalia and the Fort Knox 115th Dragoons Military Marching Band. I even thought the little cannon the Harry Myers American Legion Post had was great, even though I jumped several times when it was set off. I might have been working, but I still thought it was a pretty perfect way to spend my Sunday afternoon and I was happy I was able to be a part of that big parade.
The other event I attended during the week was the Perry County Museum’s History Makers’ dinner Oct. 11 at the Covered Wagon. The hall was full, the food was good and the company great. The presentation put on by the county’s museum and all their speakers was entertaining and a wonderful tribute to the city.
My favorite part of the evening, however, was the video presentation of “Cannelton Stories,” put together by Larry Peter and Zack Ecuyer. Larry and Zack are a great resource to our area. I have seen several of their documentaries and written about their work before. “Cannelton Stories” did not disappoint.
To hear the stories of the small town from its residents, those who love the town the most, was a very rewarding experience. As I have alluded to earlier, I learned many stories about Cannelton I never knew about. I loved Lucy Goffinet’s lively telling of the story of the Cannelton courthouse and it was more than any history I learned in school about the event. The pride in Gloria Wall’s face as she sang the Cannelton High School song brought a smile to everyone in the building. Joan Goble’s passion for Myers Grade School and the children of Cannelton has always been moving and was again on display in the documentary.
There were countless other stories and I apologize for not being able to share them all here. I think everyone who was at the Covered Wagon that night can agree we watched something very special.
It’s events like the 175th anniversary that make me appreciate my job more. Not only do I get to write and take pictures, but I get to talk to people and listen to their stories. I am allowed a unique chance to explore parts of my hometown and county that I never thought of as a kid.
The pride and heritage of Cannelton on display during the week of Oct. 7 through Oct. 14 – and really, all the months leading up to the celebration – was a marvel. I commend all of Cannelton, its elected officials, its residents, students, teachers, etc., for putting their hearts and hard work into a great celebration.
Here’s to another 175 years of Cannelton pride and heritage.