The Three Creeks Monument in downtown Lowell has been mentioned in several 'Pioneer History' columns during the past seven years, but the interesting story of its dedication was not included.
The dedication took place on a rainy Fri., June 9, 1905, about three years after the original plans were made. Many fundraisers were initiated by a committee headed by H.H. Ragon, editor of The Lowell Tribune and president of the Monument Assn. In all, $3,000 was collected for the memorial.
Clark Bros. Monument Co. of Wabash was given the contract and asked to build one of the finest memorials of the time. Built of the best Barre granite, the lower base is nine foot square and one foot, ten inches high; the next is six feet by two, and the third is four feet square by ten inches high. The die for the names is seven feet in height, with a plinth of eight inches, followed by an upper base thirty two inches square and forty nine inches high. The statue of the soldier so proudly standing on top is five feet, five inches, and weighing forty five tons.
The monument honors veterans of four wars who came from the Three Creeks townships: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. The names of those from Eagle Creek Township were placed upon the east face, those from Cedar Creek Township on the north, and those from West Creek Township on the west. The south side lists the names of those veterans who lived or were buried in the area at the time of the dedication, but who did not enter the service from the three townships.
More than four thousand people came to Lowell for the dedication ceremonies, despite the rainy weather. They came from Rensselaer, Chicago, Chicago Hts., and from all parts of Lake and Porter Counties.
The visitors were escorted by the popular M.C. Wiley Band, with the parade including thirty members of the John Wheeler Post -- the Grand Army of the Republic of Crown Point, and twenty members of the W.R.C. (Women's Relief Corps), the Auxiliary of the G.A.R., founded in 1883.
The Grand Army of the Republic was organized at Decatur, Ill., Apr. 6, 1866, and was open to all veterans who fought in the Civil War for the Union. Rensselaer sent thirty members from G.A.R. Post No. 84, and many members of their W.R.C.
One hundred and fifty old soldiers also fell into the procession to escort Indiana Gov. J. Frank Hanley, Dept. of Indiana Commander Lucas of the G.A.R., and Rev. David Handley of Shadeland.
Because of the bad weather, part of the program was held in the Old Opera House, a downtown building built just before 1900 and destroyed in a fire in 1976. Music by the N.C. Wiley Band opened the program, followed with an invocation by Rev. Handley.
Ragon, a former captain in the Civil War and a member of the G.A.R., gave the history of the monument from the start of the fund drive. He was followed by a duet sung by Daisy Dinwiddie and Blanche Babcock, and Flroa Brown McGill, who sang the "Star-Spangled Banner."
Ragon introduced the G.A.R. commander, who "entertained his audience in a manner pleasing and instructive." His patriotic speech lasted nearly an hour.
The crowd then marched to the public square (now Senior Citizens Park) for the dedication. Rose Kimmet was chosen to draw the cord that held the flag in place over the monument.
Ragon then presented the memorial to the trustees of Eagle Creek, Cedar Creek and West Creek Townships, and to their successors in office. Commander Lucas, assisted by the veterans of Burnham Post G.A.R. of Lowell, proceeded with the dedication.
The following is from the June 9, 1905, Lowell Tribune: "Governor Hanley gave a thirty-minute address, so impressive that his vast audience listened attentively though they were standing in mud and slush while being wet through by the falling rain. He paid a most beautiful tribute to Mrs. Abigail Cutler, the nurse whose name appears on the monument."
After the Governor's speech, Commander Lucas sang "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" with the audience joining in the chorus. Rev. John Bruce (1824-1914) then gave the benediction, and the joyful, though soaked crowd returned to their homes.
The monument was originally planned for four hundred names, though now its four sides display the names of 503 men and one woman, honored for their part in one of the four wars of the past century.
In 1972 a fine bronze plaque was placed on the north face of the large monument in the park by the Lowell Women's Club with the following inscription: "Three Creeks Monument, dedicated 1905 in honor of those who served in the Civil, Mexican and Spanish-American Wars and the War of 1812, by the Women of Tri-Creek, Lowell Women's Club, 1972."
The long-winded governor was J. Frank Hanley, the 26th governor of Indiana, who was born in Illinois in 1973 and came to Indiana with his family in 1879, settling at Williamsport on the Wabash River, near Lafayette. A school teacher, he became a lawyer in 1889 and was elected to the legislature that same year. He served in Congress from 1895 to 1897, and in 1916 ran for President of the United States on the Prohibition Party platform. He died in a car-train accident at the age of 57 in 1920.
On May 1, 1988, another dedication of a monument is being planned, for the new veterans' memorial erected on East Commercial Ave. in Lowell, near the Lowell Fire Station. Five stones are placed on a raised platform, neatly landscaped and topped by three flagpoles.
The center stone reads: "Dedicated to the men and women who served in the armed forces and these who have given their lives for our country; By Citizens of West, Cedar and Eagle Creek Townships; dedicated May 1, 1988."
Four stones honor the dead of World War One, World War Two, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts. Like the dedication of 1905, many dignitaries and veteran's groups are expected to attend the ceremonies of 1988, and a large parade is being planned for the occasion.
The monument project, which began in 1986, was planned and engineered by the Lowell Hoosier Celebration '88 Committee, chaired by Town Trustee William Marshall, with the cooperation of the people of the Three Creeks area, who contributed time and money so that the veterans of the four wars of this century will not be forgotten.
Return to Lowell History
Return to the "Pioneer History" A to Z Index Page