Monthly Archives: October 2015

Gethsemane and its Neighbors

By Bill Munn

Two candidates for mayor, two separate meetings and walks down Washington Street. The first week in October Mayor candidates John Lawson and Jess Alumbaugh met at the invitation of Save Our Stories, the local affiliate of Indiana Landmarks organizations dedicated to the preservation of historic properties in Marion and throughout the state.

The meetings, the walks, and the discussions were focused on the the neighborhood which stretches along Washington Street from the Marion Public Library to the former railroad station at 10th street. These three blocks are the heart of our city’s gas boom history. The former Knights of Columbus. The Richardson House, Gethsemane Episcopal Church, the Thornburg House, the Wilson House, the Marie Webster/ Quilter’s Hall of Fame, were at ground zero of our city’s development.

Three blocks on three sides of the public square still are the densest populated area in Grant County. Several locally owned businesses have successfully competed with malls and mail order. But all is not well. Zoning laws and building code enforcement has been lax. Businesses and home owners that do make the effort to maintain properties are stone walled when the seek help from the city.

Lawson and Alumbaugh went walking with SOS and a group of neighbors. It takes a walk to see both the devastation and the possibilities of a once elegant neighborhood. Both men shared memories of their younger days in the city and of Washington Street when it was the main street of Marion. They visited the Marie Webster house and spoke of their commitment to stopping the deterioration of not only this area, but Marion’s entire downtown area. The voters and time will tell. Great change may come from a walk around the neighborhood

“Moments in Grant County History” originally broadcast on WBAT 1400 AM on 10.12.2015