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Rockport Days Of Old!
Stationery by jrd with countless help from others.
Photos obtained from Hilma and Dale.
Rockport Area!
Rockport in the later part of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century must have been some town. A wild town, perhaps, as well as a party town. After all there was a town marshal and a jail. Add that to a bar or two and situations are just not what they are today. With a hotel, livery stable, a bank in later years, and several mercantile stores, Rockport was on the move. Rockport was also a religious town. Just about every Church denomination was well represented in Rockport. Many Churches existed then, where only two or three exist today. I don't remember any Catholic Churches, but there may have been one at one time. Coal mining in the Rockport and Echols area provided a work source for income. Lumber was plentiful and rail and river transportation provided a means of shipping material out as well as bringing people and material into the area. Wildlife was also plentiful and hunting, trapping, and fishing provided an income for some. While the "Fur" trade was not a big business, it did exist and continued, in a big way, until the middle of the Twentieth Century. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, bankers, merchants and others provided the needs of the people and there was enough strong backs to provide a work force to extract the natural resources from the land. Ah, what an area!

A "Party Boat" or a Passenger Steam Boat on the Green River! I don't remember ever seeing one, but have been told that they frequently landed at Rockport and stayed overnight. Ah, what a trip it must have been? One could now only dream of sitting on the deck of a Steam Boat and watching the Green River and nature at its' finest. The picture of the "Steamboat" in the upper left hand corner of this stat has been identified as "Evansville At Rockport". Guessing that the Steam Boat was named "The Evansville" and it probably departed from its' home port in Evansville. After an overnight stay, it probably headed back to Evansville the next day. In doing so, there may have been passengers added and some passengers may have elected to stay, either for fun or for business. In the photo A gangplank has been established and it appears that passengers are debarking and I would assume, going from the boat to get a room at the Brown Hotel. I don't know the actual landing site, but am thinking that it probably was about half way between where the bridges are today. The Railroad "Swinging Bridge" would have prevented a landing dock being located within two hundred feet of the pier. Thus, I am thinking the Steam Boats docked some five hundred feet downriver from the railroad bridge. There is an old concrete structure in the area, just about where the Rockport Water Works used to take suction for their pumps. It would have made a good place for a dock. What a pleasant trip for the people from downriver to take a "Boat" trip to Rockport, get a room for the night, and take in a movie or an opera in the evening. A place to eat must have been available, but I am in the unknown here. "Fat Mammies" was just not in operation at this time.

The picture below the steamboat is of the Brown Hotel. What a magnificent hotel. I don't have any recollection of this grand hotel, but it must have been something in its' earlier years. The hotel was located on Main Street just up the hill from the railroad crossing. Not sure if the street is called Main Street, but the location was just across the street from Jamie Reid's last grocery or the old Redman Building. There used to be a large concrete slab from the sidewalk to the front of the hotel. This slab was the entry to the hotel and it went from the sidewalk, that went up the hill to the Water Works Pump House, to the vacant lot between the old Post Office and the hotel. At one time, a restaurant was located on this lot, but I don't know the time frame. The Hotel guest may have been served by this restaurant. In later years, Dorothy Harris "ran" a restaurant in the old building and I was told that "Fat Mammie" and Adral Shaw were also in the restaurant business here. There were others. This concrete slab was our favorite place for a checker board. A bottle of shoe polish, or any type of dark paint, was all that was needed to make a checker board. "Pop Bottle" caps were used for the checker men. With feet on the sidewalk and sitting on this concrete slab, a person, young or old, could be comfortable while playing checkers. One or more checker boards could stay occupied for most of the day or until something more exciting happened. The hotel was destroyed years before I ever played a game of checkers. I am thinking that a part of the hotel burned and the remaining structure was torn down. If I was guessing and I am, I think that the hotel was completely demolished in the mid forties. Such a shame.

The picture to the right of the Brown Hotel is of the Methodist Church in Ceralvo. It is still standing and is in use now, not only by the local people, but by "Friends and Kin" of most of the people that ever lived in that area. A few people still live in Ceralvo, but houses and people are steadily decreasing. Ceralvo is an old river town that has a history somewhat like Rockport. Although all roads ended in Ceralvo, and no bridge access, to the other side of the river, ever existed. Even so, to my knowledge, Ceralvo was a "Booming Town". Here, at one time, professional people took care of the needs of the people. The "Workforce" extracted the raw resources from the land, and they were shipped downriver to places like Evansville. Steamboats were also a regular visitor to the shores of Ceralvo. I am thinking that Dr. Everley practiced medicine here and maybe operated a drug store. Possibly a druggist existed, but all my knowledge of this, is that a drug store was located in Ceralvo. The Church also served as a Masonic Lodge. My most pleasant memories of Ceralvo is of the "Homecomings" at the Church. Ah, what a wonderful time all had, and a most delightful meal ever to be enjoyed. This was my first taste of a "Buffet". In my pre-teen years and even in early teenage years, our family would head out to Ceralvo for each "Annual Homecoming". I had to be forced to go, as my idea of a fun Sunday would be to play, fish, or hunt and not to attend a "Homecoming". Once there, I always enjoyed myself. After all, the meals were good and there was always some girl, my age, that I would meet and run with for that particular day. Ah, Ceralvo. Guessing, I would say that the picture of the Church was taken in the late forties, maybe a little earlier. I have been to Ceralvo recently and the Church seems to be everlasting. Since the picture was taken, the Cemetery, behind the Church, may have had a member or two added and the trees are now a little larger, but the Church is still in use. Lead on people and friends of Ceralvo.

To the left of this "Text Box" is a picture of a "Railroad Crossing" at Echols. To most of the people growing up in Rockport, Echols, Pumpkin Ridge, Tunnel Hill, Chiggerville, Number 19 School area, and other small communities, this area of Ohio County just seem to be one and the same. The main thing that separated the communities was where the citizens received their mail. Schools in this area, at one time, were just about as numerous as the Churches. In later years, most students attended the schools at Rockport and now they go to Western Elementary. A few went to school at Beaver Dam. Ah, the tales of some of the students in these one and two room country schools. But, that is another story and the picture of the "Crossing" at Echols is the subject of this paragraph. May try to tell you more that I know about this picture, but if so, feel free to come on back at me. I am thinking that this crossing is located at the bottom of the hill and past Echols Baptist Church. It is across from where "Shotty" Curtis lives. A Jones lived further down and on the same side as the team of oxen. The Echols mine was on the other side of the tracks and I would venture to say that the pictured workers are hauling some mining machinery to the mines. Although the load looks like a cannon, I will stick with some type of mine equipment. It appears to be some type of "Steam Operated" equipment. Just behind the team of oxen is the old Echols Post Office. I don't remember this Post Office and don't remember the old company store. There are pillars and concrete structures, still standing, just up from this crossing. I am thinking this is where the company store was located. I can remember an old road that went from this crossing toward Rockport. It went around Jackson Hill and between the Green River and the Rockport Bluffs and connected to the highway just above the old ferry. From the pictured railroad crossing and going in the other direction, the road went past Ted Key's house and past Scott Town and into what is not the "Waste Land" of the Ken Mine area. It probably went up river and to the Chiggerville area. I can't identify any of the workers in the picture. They may be my kin or your kin. In either case, they were just hard working men trying to do a decent days work for a decent days pay. Such was life in the earlier years of the Western part of Ohio County.


See you.....

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