Small Town Basketball
On a recent visit to Roachdale Indiana, the town’s 1951 basketball gymnasium was the highlight. “I remember a lot of fun games here – it was packed!” says Roachdale resident Joanie Knapp. “Here’s where the cheer block was,” she beams. “We wore a red felt skirt, with a big red ‘R’ on the back of a white blouse.”
The basketball gymnasium in Roachdale was a vibrant place during the ’50s and ’60s. The school didn’t have a football team. The band director, John T. Wilson, was undeterred. The band did halftime shows at basketball games.
The gym’s capacity is 1,500. Many of the original features are still intact. Since consolidation in 1969, the gym became part of the elementary school campus.
Joe Buser, Joanie’s brother, remembers the gym well. “Imagine all of that orange wood [on the outside of the building] used to be big glass windows. The light was magnificent.”
“My father was on the construction crew, a kid out of school, the first job off the farm,” Joe reminisces. On this particular morning, the light was still magnificent.
Into the Future
Roachdale Indiana was established in 1880. A beautiful mural next to the fire department pays homage to the town’s railroad heritage. The town continues to thrive.
Belinda and Brent Wireman, own Roachdale Hardware. What drew them here? The store’s “character, a small town, a great community, helping everyone. I absolutely love it here,” Belinda says.
The hardware store was started by the Hanna family in 1900. The Wireman’s purchased the business in 2019. They are only the third people outside the original family to own the store.
The one-of-a-kind store offers everything from hardware to seeds to slush boots and food mills. The delightful selection of Mom & Pop Soda Shoppe nostalgic sodas ($2) is just plain fun! Part history museum, local memorabilia are scattered throughout the store.
The building originally had a showroom on the second floor, first for buggies and then for farm implements. The old elevator platform and pulley ropes still grace the store, along with original hardwood floors.
Barbecue, Books, and Blues
Stop by Hatchet House BBQ for some great eats. The brisket and pulled pork sandwiches were perfectly sauced. The menu features a lot of great items like nachos and a smoked bologna sandwich.
Sara Sheets of Convenient Connections shifted her catering business to meal preparation over the past year. Keri Washabaugh works in Indianapolis and goes to the Roachdale Public Library, a 1914 Carnegie building, every Saturday to pick up books for the upcoming week. The Roachdale Rib and Blues Festival in September feature great food and music.
Stop in for a while. Big Walnut Creek flows through this scenic area of northern Putnam County. Places to hike and several of the county’s covered bridges are nearby.