Clinton County Fairgrounds Seeking Past Photos

Former Clinton County Fair Council member Skip Davis submitted the following article.

Paying attention to “Social Media” has revealed to me that many of you have spent your time at home cleaning out closets, attics and/or basements.   In the process you may have discovered your “Mother lode” of family photographs taken over the years by family members.  Possibly, some of them were “hand-me-downs”.

To honor today’s class of 2020, many of you have posted your senior pictures.  Other pictures posted were simply “good memories”. What a great experience it must have been, sitting on the floor with your children telling your stories with photographic proof in hand.

While you were looking through your stockpile of photographic memories, did you find any photographs taken around town or the county?  If so, were some of them taken when you visited the Clinton County Fairground?

Did you know it’s been almost 150 years since the Clinton County Commissioners purchased the fairground, which at that time was located a half mile south of the City of Frankfort?  It is still at that location, but Frankfort has grown.

Did you know the first Clinton County Fair Queen contest was held in 1953 and featured five daily queen winners?  An overall winner was selected on the last day of the fair (Saturday). She was 15-year old Charlotte Isgrigg, Frankfort Route 6.

As I have looked into the fairground’s history I have discovered many things.  They include: thousands attended harness races during one session; the first fair competed for an audience with the Indiana State Fair in which was held in Lafayette; many buildings have been built and lost over time; and the fair has supplied many memories to thousands of families over the years.

It is the fair council’s desire to establish a display showcasing the fairgrounds history.

While there are many (Frankfort Morning Times) newspaper reports available on past fair activities, archived photographic evidence is just a starting point.  I have seen how private photographic collections may open the door to much more information of fairground history.

For instance, while viewing a photograph of what then was a new wooden grandstand, the background reveals a number of additional structures.  Therein lies several mysteries.  How were they used?; when were they built?; when were they removed?; etc.  I’m sure there are other buildings I just don’t yet know about.  But, it’s amazing how one photo can lead to another fact.

So, as you looked through your old family photographs, I ask: did you find images showing buildings and activities on the fairgrounds?  If so, please consider loaning them to the Clinton County Fair Council so they can be scanned and those scans entered in our archives.

For now, simply place those fairgrounds photos in an envelope label them: “fairground” and include your contact information. Once we get out of this COVID-19 situation, the next time you’re in Frankfort please deliver them to the Clinton County Purdue Extension Service, 1111 South Jackson Street, Frankfort, Indiana 46041.  Once they have been delivered I will be contacted for pickup.  I’ll do a high resolution scan and once completed the original photos will be returned to the extension service office. You will be notified and invited to pick them up at your convenience.

If your desire is to not have them returned, please say so.  I will be happy to include them in our archive.

Thank you so much for your help.

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