Sep 192012

We love finding the little hidden gems on the back roads of America. And everywhere we go, we find those little overlooked places that are so much fun to explore and learn about. We’ve never been to Disney World or Dollywood, and probably never will get around to those places, but we have visited small towns, historic sites, and oddball attractions from ocean to ocean border to border.

Many times our readers tell us about places we should see when we’re in an area, and we always appreciate their tips. Several blog readers have suggested that while we are in Batesville we check out Metamora, an 1838 canal town that has been preserved much like it was in the days when mules and horses pulled wooden boats down the Whitewater Canal to the Ohio River. Yesterday we took their advice, and what a find it was!

A section of the old canal and one of the locks have been preserved and today visitors can take a ride on this wooden replica of a canal boat like the ones that hauled cargo along the canal.


The town includes a collection of historic buildings from the days when this was a busy commerce center, including the 1845 gristmill, which is still in operation today. But as seems to be our pattern lately, we timed our visit poorly and the mill was closed when we came to town. In fact, much of the town seemed to be closed, but on the weekends it’s a busy place with all of the tourists visiting the shops and restaurants.


The mill’s 12 foot wooden power wheel still turns as it did in the old days and I would like to come back here sometime and see the mill at work.


These three buildings were constructed together back in the early days of the town. They housed (left to right) the Martindale Confectionery, Van Camps Drugs, and the Allison & Son Grocery. The second floor of the grocery housed the Masonic Lodge. This is believed to be the only lodge in Indiana with most of its original cobalt blue window panes still intact. In 1851 tragedy struck when the front of the drug store was blown out in a gasoline explosion, which killed the store’s owner and his mother.


It was sprinkling rain, so we popped into Granny’s Ice Cream Parlor, which is housed in the old Canal House. Back in the good old days, this was the Faulkner-Pierce Drug Store, which operated from 1840 to 1916. Then it was a hardware store for about 40 years.


You can’t get a prescription filled here anymore, or buy a tape measure, but the store has just about any kind of cookie jar you could ever need or want. Over 2,600 in all! Along with some 1,000 salt shakers.


Do you want a Coca-Cola themed cookie jar? They’ve got several to choose from. How about Star Wars? Got you covered! Superheroes, animals, Christmas? Just come on down and pick out the one you want.




We will have a feature story about Metamora and the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in an upcoming edition of the Gypsy Journal.

Since we have been on the go a lot the last couple of days, today we plan to take it easy. Terry met a lady who has a weaving shop not far from here that we may stop by and visit with, I’ll probably get some writing done, and I might even take a nap!

Thought For The Day – There is more to life than increasing its speed.

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “Waterwheels And Cookie Jars”

  1. For a nice grist mill and re-constructed village, check out Spring Mill State Park in southern Indiana. It has been many years since I was there, but it is or was very nice. You can go in and watch them grind corn and even purchase a bag of stone ground corn meal.

    Be careful on the road


  2. We’ve been there, Rex, and it was very nice.

  3. The canals and canal boats are absolutely amazing. . .very intrigued!


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