Cookie Jar Adventure

Chocolate chip, sugar, pinwheel, shortbread … there are zillions of cookies to choose from when perusing a cookbook, walking into a bakery, or strolling through the local grocery store.


One of over 3,000 cookie jars on display at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor

Canisters ranging from the utilitarian to the ornate, quirky or perplexing, somewhere there is a perfect cookie jar for every cookie-lover – and that ideal container is probably sitting on a shelf or tucked into a corner at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor in Metamora, Indiana.


Just the suggestion of cookies invites happy memories of warm kitchens, fragrant trays of gooey deliciousness – oooo … that first wonderful taste. Cookies and milk are comfort food at its finest.

Still family owned, Grannie’s is an integral part of Metamora, a small canal town located in Southeastern Indiana. Open year round, this welcoming shop is the place for a refreshing cone, a hot cup of coffee, and friendly conversation.

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Even on the coldest of days, folks stop in to search for the cookie jar of their childhood. During the summer season, the historic canal boat eases past the front door and Grannie’s bustles with first-time visitors and repeat customers.

Outside there are benches and picnic tables beneath the many shade trees along the banks of the canal. With ice cream cone – or hot coffee – in hand, visitors to this friendly Midwest canal town remember to slow down a little. They being to stroll, to hold hands with their sweetheart, to share with their parents, to laugh with their children. And enjoy.

Discovering Dillsboro, Indiana

Part One: Changing Rural

The Dillsboro Branch Library invites the public to experience a special Smithsonian curated traveling exhibit: “Crossroads: Change in Rural America”. For six weeks this fall, the library, located just off US50 in Dearborn County, Indiana, will host an interactive display as part of Indiana Humanities Museum on Main Street program. Dillsboro was selected to be the first of six sites in the state to host this free event designed to spark conversation about and promote understanding of the history, changes, and the future hopes of these special communities.

For generations, much of the country’s prosperity stemmed from rural America. Still, large numbers of folks from farms and small towns moved away from their communities and family land. Young people and even entire families relocated to growing cities that were desperate for those workers seeking higher wages and greater opportunity. That migration took its toll on once close-knit areas. In spite of only 3.5% of the country being deemed ‘urban’, the percentage of people living in rural areas dropped from 60% in 1900 to only 17% today.

The “Crossroads” exhibit examines this significant change and its long lasting impact on the communities and families left behind. Visitors to the Dillsboro Branch Library will take the elevator not merely to the lower level of the building but through time as they learn about the many changes that have shaped rural areas and small towns like Dillsboro.

To sample a little of Crossroads: Change in Rural America, please follow the link to the Indiana Humanities You Tube Channel:

Peggy Dean, the director of the Aurora Public Library District, says, “Fewer people make their living through agriculture now, so that’s one of the big things we’re focusing on with our local content. We’re adding, we’re focusing on the role of transportation in driving some changes to this area.”

“US 50 used to go right through downtown. North Street to Bank Street was Route 50,” says Dillsboro Branch Manager Cathy Wilkymacky, “so moving it out to the outskirts of town did have an impact on the community itself. But just overall transportation changes: I-74, 275 to Northern Kentucky, added onto the Route 50 shift just changed the dynamics of shopping and where people can work, where they can live and that sort of thing.”

Mrs. Dean agrees, “I-74 shifted the growth in Dearborn County to the northern half because that was such an easy commute to Cincinnati, so some of those things we will have in our local content.”

She continues, “They asked us to focus on 1950 and forward for the majority of the display, but we’re still going to do a little bit of the history of Dillsboro with the sanitarium; that was early 1900s, because that helped develop and build the town, but not originate the town.”

The public is encouraged to share their own stories after viewing the six themes of the exhibit: Introduction, Change, Land, Community, Persistence, and Managing Change. There will be postcards available at the end of the tour for anyone who would like to have their memories and perspective included in the display.

In addition to these personal narratives, the exhibit will also showcase the recent photography contest, and there will be an area devoted to the winning entries of the student writing contest.

For more information please visit:

Dillsboro Branch Library of the Aurora Public Library District:

Indiana Humanities:

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition:

Museum on Main Street:


Crossroads: Change in Rural America

This exhibition is part of Museums on Main Street, a collaborative program between Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Indiana Humanities, and the Dillsboro Branch Library, part of the Aurora Public Library District.


September 7th through October 20th

Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm

Saturday, 10am-2pm

Sunday, 1pm-4pm


Dillsboro Public Library

10151 Library Lane

Dillsboro, IN 47018

Look for future installments to be published later this month:
Part 2: Celebrating Rural
Part 3: Growing Up Rural
Dillsboro is a small town with a lot to offer – look for special events, interesting programs and more on the Calendar Page.

Visiting the Whitewater Canal Tunnel

Just a short drive from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, this often overlooked piece of history is located in Cleves, Ohio. It is the Cincinnati-Whitewater Canal Tunnel. During the summer months, it can be difficult to see the opening, but in the winter, the brush and grasses die back enough to allow for a much better view.

Now the tunnel is filled with silt and offers little more than a hint of what it once was and what it once promised for the region. It had been used by canal boats for just thirteen years before being sold to the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1863. Tracks were laid so locomotives could thunder through the often flooded tunnel – until being abandoned in the late 1880s.

Built during the years of 1839 – 1843, the Whitewater Canal Tunnel linked Hagerstown and Connersville, Indiana to Harrison, Ohio and continued on to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a bustling river town situated next to the mighty Ohio.

One of twelve canal tunnels in the country at the time, today only four such tunnels remain. This nearly forgotten structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

For more information, please visit:

Take Along Some Fried Chicken – Made the Wagner’s Way!

It’s the season for picnics, whether that’s under sunny skies or during dazzling fireworks. One of the easiest ways to enjoy time with family and friends is by packing enough delicious Indiana fried chicken to feed everyone before heading to the lake, park, or the coolest part of the backyard.

Wagner’s Family Restaurant in Oldenburg, Indiana is one of the most popular choices in Southeastern Indiana. Call ahead to order plenty of fried chicken for a crowd, or meet everybody inside this casual, comfortable local place where the piping hot chicken is served up with dish towels instead of napkins, and the sweet tea is fresh and cold.

Waitress and daytime bartender Betsy McCray grew up in Oldenburg. She knows most of the diners by name and rarely has to offer a menu even to the newcomers since most folks come in for the Family Style Chicken Dinner.

The heady fragrance of chicken frying in cast iron pans makes hungry guests grow impatient, but when those generous portions arrive, it’s obviously worth the wait. Brian Larimore and his father Robert drive up from Lawrenceburg to enjoy the delicious food and enthusiastically recommend the freshly fried chicken dinner.

All of that crispy, moist, amazing chicken is piled onto plates – what a sizzling, aromatic feast. Betsy serves steaming bowls of tempting side items against the backdrop of a cheerful dining room noisy with conversation, laughter and TV sports.

The coleslaw is creamy and just a little sweet. Those flavors marry well with the peppery gravy made onsite. The dinner rolls are the store-bought, in-a-plastic-bag kind and are actually perfect with a generous spread of butter, or smeared with extra gravy.

The green beans come to the table with a dollop of butter and plenty of salt, while the mashed potatoes are of the standard variety, leaving the diner plenty of opportunity to focus on the flavorful chicken and rich gravy.

According to Betsy, there are delicious desserts available, as well. Fruit cobblers, a variety of cheesecakes … it’s all so tempting, but after such a banquet, dessert might require a separate visit all its own.

Fortunately, a return trip to Oldenburg is just a scenic drive away …

Finding the Unexpected in Moore’s Hill, IN – Carnegie Hall

Driving through the small town of Moore’s Hill, it’s easy to sit back and relax. Narrow tree lined streets, dogs sleeping on front porches and a quiet Main Street lull the visitor into a sense of time lost. Suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, an architectural treasure appears to rise behind the trees.

In the mid-1800s, John C. Moore and his contemporaries decided to build a college from the ground up in Moore’s Hill, a Southeastern Indiana town that had been founded by his father, the Rev. Adam Moore. These far sighted individuals joined forces with Southeastern Indiana’s Methodist Episcopal Church to open the Moore’s Hill Male and Female Collegiate Institute in 1856.

Alumni Gary Norman is a bassist with the band, Burlap Bag of Bobcats. He says, “This auditorium was built for the acoustics …It’s one of the best places we’ve ever played. You can stand on the balcony and talk and hear it clear as a bell down here.”

In 1907, construction of Carnegie Hall got underway, built in part with the financial support of its namesake Andrew Carnegie. By June 1908, it was completed. The building’s Collegiate Gothic and Jacobethan Revival design, arched doorways, marble steps, acoustically perfect auditorium and attractive setting came at a final cost of over $40,000. Ultimately, this rural Indiana college would be the alma mater of 487 graduates. Tragically, the first college building to stand on the property, the three-story Moore Hall, was lost to fire in late 1915.

From 1907 through 1916, Carnegie Hall housed administrative offices, science labs, classrooms and more, but the college struggled financially, and eventually the college was relocated to Evansville, where the institution continues today under the name of University of Evansville.

The vacant campus was given to the public school system for use as an elementary and high school. The last senior class graduated in 1978, and only nine years later, grade school students were dismissed from Carnegie Hall classrooms for the last time.

But thanks to dedicated volunteers, concerned school alumni and a lot of hard work, Carnegie Hall has survived financial woes, neglect and even threats of demolition. Operating from donations, memberships and grants, this beautiful building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.

Visitors are invited to explore this historic building. Inside they will find three museums (Military, Local History and Academic), original chalkboards, countless photos, artifacts specific to the area, and much more. Everyone is encouraged to support and enjoy this historic site by attending special events such as the annual Winter Luminaria Walk, and to take advantage of the public tours – usually lead by an alumni of the school. Your friendly guide will share local stories and historic facts during these informative tours that are offered every Sunday (except some holidays) from 1-5, or by appointment.

Moore’s Hill is a small town located just off SR350 in Dearborn County, Indiana. Drive south on Manchester Street, turn right onto Main Street, and soon you’ll see the impressive 112 year old Carnegie Hall on the left.

For more information about tours, renting the facility, and upcoming special events, please call Linda Ickenroth at 812-744-4015 or visit:

With Plenty of Salt and Pepper!

Tucked on the shelves and in the nooks of Granny’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor, are almost as many salt and pepper shakers as there are cookie jars. Bright and silly and odd and fun and newer and vintage and … well, there are a lot of shakers everywhere you look!

This family owned shop is as delicious to explore as the ice cream is to eat!

This certainly isn’t a ‘poultry’ collection!

It’s the ideal setting for an impromptu scavenger hunt!

This is a great place to enjoy yourself on a rainy – or sunny- afternoon.

Add a little spice to life in Metamora.

Vintage Baseball

Baseball – real baseball.  This is vintage baseball where the players take part for the love of the game. Where the rules date back to the late 1800s or pay homage to the WWII All-Girls teams. Where fresh air and sunshine are as much a part of the experience as the sound of a leather wrapped ball making sweet contact with a wooden bat.

This is baseball at its finest.

There are no tickets to buy. Refreshments are what you bring from home. And the souvenirs are the happy memories of an afternoon well spent.

These players are glad to play the game without swearing, without brawls, without dirty tricks. The visiting team will clap and grin and cheer on the home town guys. When any player makes an impossible catch, both dugouts applaud – as do the spectators. When a ball slips away, all of the players sigh and feel badly about the missed play – and then they get on with the fun.

There is a timeless appeal to neighbors heading out to a field with a bat and ball on a sunny day. Where players and spectators are brought together with every play and ensuing hoorah and groan.

Every club is made up of men and women who are passionate about baseball. They have an appreciation for history, a sense of camaraderie and they practice good sportsmanship.

Vintage baseball is more than a game – it’s a community experience.

For more information, please visit

WWII Girls Baseball

Belle River Baseball Club

Batesville Lumbermen

Find a Vintage Baseball Club near you!