Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Heritage Days is scheduled for June 19-23

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Heritage Days Steering Committee has named the theme for the 2013 Heritage Days festivities as Steamin’ Into Huntington. Festivities celebrating Huntington’s heritage will be held at locations throughout the community Wednesday, June 19 through Sunday, June 23.

This year’s theme will allow participants in the annual Heritage Days Parade and other activities to depict the history of the railroad, beginning when the first passenger train arrived in Huntington on January 7, 1856, as their float or activity theme. This part of Huntington’s history will give Heritage Days participants the opportunity to get to know a little more about the railroads that helped to develop Huntington County. The theme is part of an ongoing effort to “explore” Huntington’s heritage.

The Indiana Herald, a weekly newspaper at that time and predecessor to The Herald-Press, reported on Wednesday, January 9, 1856 “That the railroad is completed to this place, and a passenger train leaves here for Toledo every morning at 7 a.m. The train from the East arrives at 8 in the evening.” This took place just seven years after Huntington became a city in 1848.

The railroad at the time was called the Wabash Valley Railroad which later became the Northern Cross Railroad, the Great Western Railroad, the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railroad, the Wabash Railroad, the Norfolk Western Railroad and now is know as the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

The first steam engine driven train arrived on January 7, 1856 bringing passengers 118 miles from Toledo, Ohio. The first depot was a crude station created when the end of an old wood shed was boarded up. It later was replaced by another wooden station, then in 1928 a brick station was built north of the railroad tracks, just west of Jefferson Street on State, which still stands today and houses Crossroad Connections.

The Wabash Railroad continued for nearly 80 years until 1964 when through several mergers it it became the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Freight service continues, but passenger service ended April 30, 1971.

The Erie-Lackawanna also operated a railroad line with a depot in Huntington until 1976 when ConRail assumed operation of the bankrupt Erie line in April of that year. Began as the Erie Railroad in 1851, it was the first railroad in the United States of over 400 miles in length.

Records show that engineer Briney O’Connor brought the first Erie passenger train into Huntington on April 2, 1883. The Erie Railroad merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Companies to form the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Company on October 17, 1960. Both the Erie and Norfolk and Southern depots in Huntington closed in 1976. The Erie depot and train yard in Huntington were located at Briant and Market Streets and built in the 1880s. The Erie depot burned on January 3, 1985.

The Heritage Days Parade will be held Saturday, June 22 beginning at 10 a.m. Participants in this year’s parade will be asked for a $25 fee per entry. Groups are considered as one entry. This fee along with a certificate of liability insurance must be submitted along with the parade registration form.

Activities that will be a part of this year’s Heritage Days festivities include an ice cream social on Wednesday evening and the annual Rotary Strawberry Feed on Thursday evening, both at Hier’s Park. A traditional Chief of the Flint Springs Tribe breakfast at LaFontaine Golf Club will take place on Thursday morning. The car show will be held in downtown Huntington on Friday evening and the annual parade will take place on Saturday. Saturday afternoon will bring a three-on-three basketball tournament and Fun Zone children’s activities to downtown. The hot air balloon festival will continue through the weekend with a balloon glow on Saturday evening at Huntington North High School.

Goods and services will be available from vendors at The Marketplace in downtown Huntington through Saturday evening. Not-for-profit organizations are invited to have booths at no charge. Tours at the Historic Forks of the Wabash and exhibits at the Huntington Historical Museum will also be a part of Saturday’s festivities. A bed race will take place at the hot air balloon festival on Saturday evening. A Lions Club Fly-in Breakfast will take place on Sunday morning at the Huntington Municipal Airport, and JeFFFest will take place on Sunday evening in the center block of downtown completing the Heritage Days festivities.

Poor Jack’s Amusements will once again be the carnival of choice for 2013. Rides and activities will be located on Warren Street from Wednesday, June 19 through Sunday, June 23. Streets involved with the carnival will close on Monday, June 17 at 5 p.m. to allow for set-up.

Heritage Days are coordinated by a Steering Committee of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce. For more information contact the Chamber at 356-5300 or visit the website at www.huntingtoncountychamber.com.