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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Preservation celebrated, Part 2 of 3

Saturday, June 7, 2003

Lynn Hamilton photos

Traditions, top, and Jack's Fine Foods, bottom,are two among five of the area's historic landmarks to receive awards from Clay County's Preservation Association.

Part 2 of 3

The celebration of five of the area's historic landmarks Monday at 7 p.m. at Traditions in downtown Brazil is open to the public. Clay County's Preservation Association hopes a large number will attend and indulge in cake, coffee and tea while enjoying the presentation of the awards.

According to Evelyn Brown of the Preservation Association, the Brazil Public Library, the Chafariz Dos Contos fountain at Forest Park, Scott and Ann Tillman's home, Traditions and Jack's Fine Foods were narrowed down from a total of 16 locations nominated by members for the historical awards. The five were chosen as the most historically valuable "based on standards set by the Historic Landmarks Association."

Indiana's Southwest Historic Landmarks Foundation representatives will also be on hand to congratulate this year's winners.

The Brazil Public Library, 204 N. Walnut St., is a place where constant attention to minor repairs has paid off. Other than adding new energy-efficient windows in 2001 and minor heating and air conditioning updates, the fundamental elements of the library, built in 1903, remain the same. There are two stained glass windows, one small and one massive, which Director Jill Scarbrough describes as "kind of a unique feature to the library" that were reletted toward the end of 2000.

Beyond basic upkeep, there are also plans to make minor repairs to the steps and to add old-style lampposts in the front.

The idea for a library in the newly settled village of Indiana was actually that of a small group of women. Two of those women, Mary B. Schultz and Mary B. Richardson, collected a total of 30 books by 1878. By 1879, there was an entire library board, which consisted of R.H. Irwin, A.O. Baldwin, C.W. Crawford, William Spears, Mrs. E.H. Hussey, Mrs. W.H. Zimmerman and Miss Mattie Mercer.

Money for the library initially came from local strawberry festivals and ice cream socials. The $107 that had been raised by that time was to be used to purchase new books. L.O. Schultz, city treasurer, also became the first librarian in Brazil, with his office serving as the first library. For the next several years, the small literary collection was moved to various locations, but the ladies' literary society refused to let the idea of a library die.

Mrs. Crawford went to New York in 1901 with the purpose of asking Andrew Carnegie for help in funding. Unfortunately he was not in the country. But on Feb. 8, 1902, the library board secretary received a response from Carnegie with a questionnaire enclosed. Shortly after the board supplied Carnegie with the desired information, they were sent a grant, which was promptly deposited in First National Bank.

Six citizens were selected by the board as a committee to choose a location for the new building they had planned. The property on which the library presently stands was bought from Mrs. Carter for $2400 in 1902. The board named the first official librarian, Miss Agnes McCrea, on Jan. 7, 1904. The building was formally dedicated on Oct. 18, 1904.

The Chafariz Dos Contos, or Fountain of the Tales, monument at Forest Park was presented to the city of Brazil by the Republic of Brazil, South America, in 1950, after Brazilian Ambassador Mauricio Nebucco visited Brazil, Ind., at the request of Brazilian President Eurice Gaspar Dutra. Dutra had promised the fountain to the mayor of Brazil in a prior visit to the United States.

Sculptor Tito Bernucci was selected by Brazilian Congress to replicate one of Brazil's monuments. The artist of the original Chafariz de Sao Jose is not definite, but it was constructed between 1745 and 1760 at the foot of the bridge, Sao Jose dos Contos. Bernucci used heavy brick and sculptured granite. It weighs 62 tons and is about 26 feet high and 40 feet long. Upon completion, his copy was shipped to the U.S. on Dec. 31, 1953.

In 1955 and '56, the fountain was erected facing SR 59. This fountain is an exact replica of the one located in Ouro Preto, Brazil. The plaque on the monument reads, "From the Republic of Brazil, a token of friendship to her namesake, the city of Brazil."

Its formal dedication was May 26, 1956, in the park auditorium. Ambassador Muniz of Brazil, S.A., was a special guest and spoke at the event. Other speakers at the event included Donald Bolt, a lecturer, Sen. Homer Capehart, Gov. George Craig, Congressman Bill Bray and Mayor McCoy. Major General Ralph Stearley presided.

Rainstorms forced the scheduled parade to be canceled.

Since the fountain was first erected, the Clay County Parks Association Inc., with permission from the city, has executed many repairs. The heaviest period of restoration took place between 1996 and 1997.

During that time, bad stucco was applied.

Plumbing was installed as were lights to illuminate the fountain. The area around the fountain was landscaped. A limestone pedestal and plaque were placed in front of the Chafariz Dos Contos prior to the rededication June 14, 1997. The plaque gives a brief history of how the city acquired the fountain along with the dates of the first dedication and the rededication. The cost for the restoration totaled $20,248.

The entire amount was covered by grants and monetary donations as well as volunteered materials and labor.

Monday: Scott and Amy Tillman's home

The photos captioned in this story are actually The Brazil Public Library, top, and the Chafariz Dos Contos Fountain at Forest Park, bottom. Two historical public monuments that were chosen to receive awards from the Preservation Association this year.

We apologize for this oversight.

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