As we travel with our modern modes of transportation on the Cedar Lake Lowell road, very few of us know that we are passing the site of an early settlement just a mile south of the Cedar Lake town limits.
The village of Tinkerville was located there in the days of the early settlers, having its beginnings in about 1850. The site of the community, sometimes called "Cutler's Corner," is the half mile west of Lake Dalecarlia. The business enterprises there included a general store, a post office, a blacksmith shop, several houses, and a school house just one half mile south called the "Stilson School," built about 1849.
The settlers in that area included many of the descendants of Obadiah Taylor I, who had staked claims on the east side of Cedar Lake as early as 1836, and who gradually extended their claims to the south.
The post office was originally located at the Lewis Warriner home, about one eighth of a mile north of the Tinkerville Corner, but was later moved closer to the small business section at the corner. Alfred Edgerton was postmaster.
Adelbert D. Palmer became postmaster in 1869, with the office in his general store called the "Cedar Lake Post Office." His store at Tinkerville burned to the ground in 1875, about the time when Obadiah Taylor III was busy laying out lots and streets for a new village one half mile to the west. Plans were made for a railroad to come through that new village, so in 1876 Palmer built a new store building and dwelling at "Creston," with the post office still designated as the "Cedar Lake Post Office."
The name was retained until July 1, 1882, when it was changed to Creston, soon after the new railroad curved through the town. All the business ventures in the early village of Tinkerville were moved west to Creston. The post office was moved many times and postmasters were changed along with the federal administrations.
In 1929 World War I veteran Floyd T. Vinnedge received his appointment and the office became a part of his general store. The building, on the north side of the street near the railroad, was demolished a few years ago, and the site is now an empty lot.
Some of the early Creston businessmen were: Arthur Taylor, general store; V. Jacobson, grocery; Obadiah Taylor III, who built a frame building on the southwest corner of Main and Township roads in 1877 and later sold out to his son, Cassius Taylor, and John E. Love.
Love sold his interest in the store when he purchased his father's interest in the large hay business in the village. Cassius sold out to his brother, George W. Taylor, who sold it back to the original owner, Cassius Taylor. The 1914 building, a two-room brick general store, was built on the north side near the tracks by Arthur G. Taylor, and by 1934 it was the only store left in the village, operated by Floyd "Swede" Vinnedge.
In about 1876 James Reebe bought the old German Methodist frame church building on West Creek and moved it to Creston. He added store rooms on each side and opened up a small, three room department store with groceries, boots and shoes, and dry goods. He also was an inventor, one of his inventions being a corn planter, but he was not successful in marketing it.
The building was used later by August Gehre of Chicago for his rug weaving establishment, a venture that proved unsuccessful. For a few years William McCarty rented the building as a general store, and then C.M. Taylor bought the building, removed the two wings, and remodeled the main part into a dwelling.
The Schillo brothers ran a blacksmith shop in a Creston building built in 1881. Other blacksmiths were Mr. Dillabaugh, the Porch brothers, W. Kerney, and Rev. J.S. Van Orman. The building was torn down before the 1930's.
Will and John Love, who were large hay buyers for many years at Creston, erected a huge haybarn west across the tracks from the depot. Wagon loads of hay were bought from miles around, pressed into bales and shipped to southern and eastern markets. Creston, for a time, was one of the largest shipping points for hay in the northern part of Indiana.
In the southern part of the village was a coal and lumber yard operated by Obadiah Taylor III, who sold out to Thomas E. Vinnedge. Taylor was also a partner with George W. Palmer in operating a large ice house at the south end of Cedar Lake, just north of the village.
A grain elevator stood at Creston for many years, built in the early 1880's by Adelbert Palmer, who later sold out to Marshall A Nichols, who became a Lowell resident of the "Flower Hill" area. The building burned in 1908 and was not rebuilt.
The railroad, the Monon Route, established a freight, express and passenger station at Creston as soon as the line was ready for operation, but through the years the service was discontinued.
Many residents were veterans of the wars, including James Palmer, who was an officer in the War of 1812. His wife, Almira, was a daughter of Revolutionary soldier Obadiah Taylor I. Many served in the Civil War, one in the Mexican War, and one in the Spanish-American war, and many in World Wars I and II.
The old frame church, still standing proudly near the old pioneer cemetery, was built in 1875 by William Palmer, Reuben Wood and James T. Vinnedge. It has always been the heart of the Creston community, with prayer meetings, church socials, parties. Many of the old graves lay unmarked in the well-maintained graveyard. Several smaller family cemeteries were scattered around the farms near Creston, most of them now unmarked.
When the Old Timer was a small lad in the 1920's, his father showed him the old plank road which continued the township line road north through the swamp to the early village of Paisley, at the southwest corner of Cedar Lake. It was about one-half mile of planks laid over pilings through the marsh, a road used by many Paisley residents to come to the shopping area of early Creston. Very little can be seen of this old road today.
Before the school was built in Creston, the children attended the Stilson School, with the school year divided into two terms, a winter term ending in March, and a summer term ending in June. The early school house (1894) at Creston was also the community center for religious meetings, social gatherings, spelling bees, and other social gatherings. The one large room was usually overcrowded with schoolchildren.
When the school was discontinued, West Creek Township students were bussed to Sheridan School to the west, and those in Cedar Creek Twp. went to the Lowell School.
Now there is a small park with a picnic shelter on the site of the old Creston School, maintained by the Obadiah Taylor Historical Society.
The business area of Creston has been gone for some time now, and the quiet of the cozy residential village is broken only by the roar of the trains rounding the bend over the two crossings.
Go to "Creston" for further information.
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