Once upon a time, before there were megastores and consolidated school systems, all across Indiana were small towns where families connected to build schools to educate their children and where entrepreneurs provided their friends and neighbors with the goods and services they needed for home and health.

Key to the small town lifestyle was a strong sense of identity, a thread of connection that formed a fabric of community for all residents. Today, while we often are far less connected to those who live and work in our neighborhoods, we can recapture a sense of what is was like to grow up in small town America by visiting the museum, library, and thrift shop of the Clay Township Historical and Preservation Society at 19 Pearl Street in Greens Fork, Indiana.

Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., the museum features a fabulous mix of local history and memorabilia encompassing almost every facet of life in Greens Fork and Clay Township. There are photos galore, tools of the trade for a variety of professions, and nostalgic pieces of every description. The museum also displays donated souvenirs from exotic locations around the world.  From a camel saddle, to Native American artifacts, to the original tools of a hometown physician,there are multitudes of fascinating mementos sure to interest any category of visitor.

Sports enthusiasts will especially enjoy the most recently added room of the museum.  The entire room is filled with documentation and decoration representing decades of Greens Fork High School students’ academic and sports achievements.  In the courtyard beyond are a gazebo and a memorial garden, with designated areas honoring groups such as veterans and firefighters.

On the second floor of the museum is a well-stocked and beautifully arranged thrift shop where bargains abound. Started as a means to help fund the museum, the thrift shop has exceeded all expectations, providing low cost goods for shoppers that translate to funding for future development. Shopping hours are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

The legacy of the museum is not only to commemorate the activities and accomplishments of those who grew up in Greens Fork and Clay Township, but also to provide an ongoing link to those lives through the availability of thousands of archived digitalized records that genealogists are free to peruse to gather countless nuggets of useful and fascinating historical data.

Those who remember simpler times in small towns when individuals owned stores and one school held every kid in town, or those who want a glimpse into those times, should head to Wayne County to visit the welcoming atmosphere at the museum in Greens Fork.  The co-docents, Phyllis and Jayne Beers are experts on all things Greens Fork and they are eager to share their knowledge and their hospitality with visitors of all ages and stages. 

To learn more about the many fascinating and fun locations and activities in Wayne County, visit the Old National Road Welcome Center, 5701 National Road East, Richmond, IN (I-70, Exit 156A), www.VisitRichmond.orgor call 800-828-8414.