Indianapolis—The Indiana Historical Society will present its 2010 Outstanding Historical Organization Award to the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation at its annual Founders Day Dinner on Dec. 6. The presentation will take place at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.
The Outstanding Historical Organization Award is made annually to a local or county historical society, organization or site in Indiana which has demonstrated remarkable public services and programs to its community.
Lyles Station, a small community west of Princeton, Ind., is the last remaining African-American settlement in Indiana. It began with a group of freed slaves from Tennessee, who migrated north and purchased land in the rural area. Half of the present-day residents are descendants of the original black settlers.
At its peak, from around 1880 to 1913, Lyles Station had 800 residents and consisted of 55 homes, a post office, a railroad station, an elementary school, two churches, two general stores and a lumber mill. The 1913 flood of the Patoka, White and Wabash Rivers left much of the area underwater, contributing to the community’s decline. Today, all that remains are a few homes the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a grain elevator and the schoolhouse.
The Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation has worked for more than a decade to bring the story of this rural African-American experience to thousands of adults and children who have visited the restored schoolhouse, including the fundraising and renovation necessary to restore the building to its original splendor.
The Lyles Station Historical Museum/School, opened in 2003, has shared its message of celebrating freedom, knowledge and success through the implementation of programs that include the Heritage Classroom and two-hour interactive fieldtrip experiences, as well as an after-school tutoring program for grades K-12.
For more information on Founders Day, as well as other programs and events of the Indiana Historical Society, call (317) 232-1882. Information is also available at www.indianahistory.org.
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming.