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Bremen History Center 1st Anniversary

Posted on May 7, 2014
By Amy Wenger
It's been said that in order to gather knowledge from the present, one must first appreciate the past, and hold in reverence those stories that are woven throughout the annals of time.  For those who share a connection to Bremen, there is a place to revel in those experiences.
The Bremen History Center, located at 111 North Center Street in Bremen, is ideally situated in the heart of historic downtown, in the esteemed and towering Dietrich bank and hotel.  On May 19, the museum will mark its first anniversary of welcoming guests and regaling them with knowledge of Bremen's bygone days.
    Currently, the Bremen History Center is open to visitors, free of charge, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  There are panoramic vignettes placed throughout the building which tell the tales behind various Bremen events, landmarks, and other points and people of interest.  There is a pictorial history of the town's fire department, as well as a model of the water standpipe, a diorama of the Wright Opera House, a tribute to former Indiana governor and Bremen resident Dr. Otis R. Bowen, and stories from such iconic Bremen images as mint farming and the old Coffee Pot restaurant.
    The facility is also undergoing a renovation project, which they began in January.  The extra space will allow the site to expand into previously unused space to the south, toward Plymouth Street.  Upon completion, new areas focusing on the schools, the police department, local business and industry, civic organizations, and those who served in the military will likely be added.  More three dimenstional window displays are also being planned, an undertaking that has been designed and executed through the craftsmanship of Kent Koontz and David Yoder.
    The facility's employee base is comprised entirely of volunteers, and they work on a broad range of projects at any given time, including categorizing and sorting through donations and other archival materials, scheduling special events, fundraising efforts and guiding tours.  They are closely aligned with Historic Bremen, Inc., through which a Board of Directors and network of volunteers is organized.  Historic Bremen, Inc. is also responsible for helping to secure funding to maintain operation for both the Bremen History Center and the Historic Bremen Depot on the east edge of town.  The Bremen History Center also has an affiliation with Indiana Landmarks and the Indiana Historical Society.
    One of the programs that is being planned in the coming days is what the staff refers to as a "chat," in other words, inviting a guest speaker to greet an audience and embark on a question and answer session.  The next program is being held on Thursday, May 15, at 10:30 a.m., with the featured guest being former Bremen police chief Jim Brown.  The session will take place in the first floor meeting room of the building, with the best entrance at 103 West Plymouth Street.
    For more information about the Bremen History Center, contact Historic Bremen, Inc. by phone at (574) 546-4340.  Donations or other mailings can be sent to Historic Bremen, Inc., P.O. Box 471, Bremen, Indiana, 46506.
This vintage nameplate sign was rescued from atop the Italian Coffee Bar, and has been partially restored through the use of artistic stenciling and sheet metal.  It is one of many local artifacts at the Bremen History Center.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.
Volunteers have been working diligently since the first of the year to renovate and add to the existing facility.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.


A fascinating evolution of local history has been detailed in a timeline just inside the North Center Street entrance.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.



It would be remiss not to mention one of Bremen's most influential residents when telling the town's story.  A display honoring the late Dr. Otis R. Bowen is one of several features to be discovered at the Bremen History Center.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.




This replica of the Bremen water tower is a fascinating source of mystery, as it was recently found in the town hall basement with no knowledge of who the creator was.  It has been loosely attributed to former Wakarusa resident Devon Rose, a late local artisan who was the creator and founder of the Bird's Eye View Museum.  He was well known for this type of work.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.


An example of another locally themed attraction, this one documenting the story of the mint farming industry as it pertains to Bremen, is shown here.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.


This illustrates one of several unique displays that was created and built by Kent Koontz and David Yoder, depicting a shadow box effect of vintage photographs from Bremen businesses.  This shows the interior of the former Koontz grocery, with artifacts shown at the bottom of the windowlike view.  Photo courtesy of Amy Wenger.



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