Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Kellers

Downtown Mooresville, Indiana has its G.A. Keller building (constructed between 1907-1910), and Columbus, Indiana, has its C.M. Keller building (constructed 1913).  These two buildings resemble each other, suggesting a similar construction plan, architect, or general contractor.  Were the Kellers whose names grace these structures relatives?

According to my Library’s self-guided downtown walking tour, George A. Keller (1859-1923) started his hardware and implement business in 1885, purchasing Alexander Conduitt’s property on East Main Street in downtown Mooresville.  In 1885 George constructed a one-story frame structure on the front of the property (nearest the street) and used Conduitt’s residence (built ca. 1843) on the back of the property as a storeroom until it was demolished in 1907.

In 1907, George began constructing a new, brick building that was completed in 1910, and which bears his name today.

The G.A. Keller building is the light-colored brick structure in the middle
(photo ca. 1910 by J.P. Calvert)
(Click Images to Bigify)

The G.A. Keller building as it appeared in May, 2008
(photo by Mooresville Public Library)

Until 1921 Mooresville High School basketball games were played on the second floor of the G.A. Keller building, which had a wooden floor and was the only space sufficiently large to field a basketball court.  Fans sat in wooden chairs against the walls—essentially on the court itself—so out-of-bounds was a tricky matter of straddling seated spectators to pass the ball into play.

During construction George moved his old wooden store into the middle of East Main Street and continued conducting business there while work progressed on the new brick structure.  Eventually, citizens complained to local government officials, who pressured George to remove his old quarters.  George put the old building on logs, harnessed a team of horses, and, with the help of several stout fellows, hauled the structure to the southeast corner of West Main and South Monroe Streets, where it remains today as a single-family dwelling.

Old G.A. Keller building (constructed 1885) as a single-family home
at 155 West Main Street across from Mooresville Public Library
(2009 photo by MPL)

I had my minions research George A. Keller’s genealogy, and we discovered that his father, Frederick Keller (1826-1908), moved (at age 22) with his parents and siblings from Baden, Germany, to Morgan County, Indiana.  George’s grandparents, David Keller (1790-1864) and his first wife, Salome Keller, and his second wife, Margret Keller (1810-1904), had several children, three of whom were boys.  George’s uncles (i.e., Frederick’s two brothers) were named Michael Keller (1823-1897) and Michal (possibly Michel or Michael) King Keller (b. ca. 1838-?).  So we can safely rule-out uncles as “C.M.” possibilities.  Additionally, none of George’s other relatives’ names appeared to have the initials C.M.  Most of George’s clan are buried in the Mooresville Cemetery, and nobody in the Keller family plot has initials C.M.

So I sent my minions searching the federal censuses for a C.M. Keller who lived in Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana, around the turn of the 20th century.

Christian Martin Keller (1860-1927) was listed as a plumber in the 1900 U.S. census.  He operated his business, C.M. Keller & Company, in Columbus, and, according to the Complete Directory of BartholomewCounty, Indiana, 1903-1904 (p. 182), he owned (and presumably constructed) the C.M. Keller building in 1913, where, for decades, G.C. Murphy’s five-and-dime store operated.

G.C. Murphy Company (1950s) in the C.M. Keller building
at 415-417 Washington Street, Columbus, Indiana

According to Ancestry Library Edition, Christian’s parents moved to Columbus from Pennsylvania prior to 1860, the year Christian was born (in Columbus).  So it doesn’t appear that Christian Martin Keller and George A. Keller were related, at least as far back as the late 18th century family trees.

Since both Keller buildings were constructed within a few years of each other, one may presume that similar, popular architectural styles were incorporated.  But it wasn’t “all in the family,” so to speak.

These little local historical adventures are fun.  Visit our website to learn more about the history of Mooresville and Morgan County, Indiana.  Click here and here.  Oh, and here.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Two Superlative Supernatural Tales

Richard Matheson (1926-2013) mastered many genres in his long literary career.  Whether he was writing science fiction, fantasy, mystery/suspense, paranormal, or even romance stories, Matheson filled his plots with imaginative twists and fact-based details.  Two of his most popular novels were A Stir of Echoes (1958) and Hell House (1971).  Our book trailers briefly summarize the plots.

MPL Book Trailer #213
A Stir of Echoes, by Richard Matheson

MPL Book Trailer #212
Hell House, by Richard Matheson

Hell House grips the reader and relentlessly plies terror, once the exploration of Maine's haunted Belasco house begins in earnest.   The typical Matheson protagonist--an ordinary person faced with extraordinary circumstances--is modified here.  There's a physicist dabbling in parapsychology (along with his wife), and two mediums, all of whom have been hired by a dying rich dude to determine if there's an afterlife.  So these are hardly "everyday people." Still, the characters are realistically portrayed, and their individual weaknesses are adroitly exploited by the evil entity haunting the place.

Matheson melds a supernatural thriller with some genuine psychical research methodologies to move the horror along to its inevitable conclusion.  The author subtly warns against overly-arrogant scientists who too readily dismiss what cannot be replicated in a laboratory setting, as well as gullible believers who are easily misled by their own preconceptions and uncritical analysis.  Matheson thoroughly researched his subjects, so it's probably no coincidence that his physicist is named Dr. Barrett, and one of his mediums is called Florence.  Real-life physicist/psychical researcher Sir William F. Barrett (1844-1925) and medium Florence Cook (1856-1904), as well as novelist/spiritualist Florence Marryat (1833-1899), may have received the tip of the literary hat from Matheson.  However, Matheson's Barrett is much more conceited and closed-minded than his true-life counterpart, who was renowned for his objectivity and commitment to demonstrated facts.

A Stir of Echoes is another ghost tale, but it's a paranormal mystery rather than an exercise in supernatural terror.  It has scary bits, though.  The main character, Tom Wallace, is about as 1950s ordinary as one could get.  When he develops extra sensory perception (ESP) and begins "hearing" the thoughts of others around him, he struggles to cope with this preternatural, but unwelcome, ability.  Things become more troubling for Tom as he begins perceiving communications from an apparently deceased person.  But all this unwanted information leads Tom toward something diabolical involving living people he would never have otherwise suspected.

I'm having Scowl-Face relate the plot details here--he read both novels a quarter century ago or more, but he thinks he remembers most of what happened--so you should definitely read the books yourself to see if his memory has faded.  Considering that he can't recall what he ate for lunch today, I'd say that's a big probably.

Both A Stir of Echoes and Hell House are available to check-out from our Evergreen Indiana online catalog.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Sunday, October 19, 2014

OcTOBER 19 is Tober Finding Day

Today is Tober Finding Day.  Long-time readers know that Tober is Boss Cat at Thorntown (Indiana) Public Library, which is celebrating its centennial in exciting fashion. Although Tober is miffed about all the attention being focused on non-Tober activities, he gives a fine accounting of all the terrific things TPL has been doing lately.  Check-out his blog post for the four-one-one.

Tober enjoying a sun-patch at Thorntown Public Library
(in all his handsome man-catliness)

Although his colleagues seem to have forgotten to spring a huge celebration for Tober Finding Day, we certainly remember!  Let's reprise our Tober tribute video, which you may remember from my previous blog post:

Celebrating Tober Finding Day (October 19)
by Cauli Le Chat
(MPL Promo Trailer, 2012)

Alternate Soundtrack Version of Tober Finding Day video
(MPL Promo Trailer, 2012)

Thorntown should hold a parade specifically to honor Tober and his finding a forever home at TPL.  This is a good month for Fall parades, after all.  I hope there's at least a big party at the library.  Catnip cake for everybody!  N'yum, n'yum.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mind-to-Mind, Mind You

Here's another book trailer featuring an interesting read.

MPL Book Trailer #211
Breakthrough to Creativity
by Shafica Karagulla, M.D.

The book is available through interlibrary loan (ILL).  Pick-up an ILL form at our circulation desk.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'll Show You "Nevermore," Edgar!

Last Wednesday my Library was invaded by a winged dinner--an American gothic writer, no less.

Crafty Gal with Edgar Allan Crow
(Click Photo to Bigify)

Conference time, Boss Lady!  I have an employee grievance.  As we know, I, being of feline persuasion, am not officially allowed inside the Library (sneaking inside doesn't count against moi).  So why is this winged dinner permitted inside?  AND sitting with Crafty Gal at the youth services desk?  I could curl up in Crafty Gal's lap and take a much-needed snooze, or stretch out on the counter behind the youth services desk, or find a comfortable spot in a thousand other places around the Library, but, instead, I am banished to the outer regions while this--this--feathered entrĂ©e with writer's block is perched on the back of Crafty Gal's chair.  I surmise Edgar is the Library's new resident writer.  Something to "crow" about, I suppose? Well, it's an improvement over Scowl-Face's writing.  Just saying.

Need I remind anyone that I purr?  Rub against ankles and give gentle head-butts?  I am massively cute!  Edgar, on the other claw, just poops pretty much everywhere.  (Thank goodness we kitties have litter boxes!) He probably just squawks "nevermore!" repeatedly like a broken record.  No one is "raven" about this fellow, I can tell you that right now.

Showdown time, Edgar Allan Crow!  This Library's not big enough for the both of us!  High noon in the grand hall.  Your beak versus my claws.  Fair's fair.

Oh, so now Boss Lady says that we can't have an O.K. corral-style showdown anywhere on Library premises.  Figures.  We can't have any fun.

Just remember this, Edgar.  I was my Library's first mascot wearing black. You're a distant second.  You must know all about "pecking order," surely.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  The Black Crowes had a huge hit with "Hard to Handle," a cover of an Otis Redding song, which was included on the band's debut album, Shake Your Money Maker (1990).

P.P.S.  Want to hear Otis Redding's original version (1968)?  Sure you do.