The community of Florence is about to celebrate a birthday.
The town will hold a bicentennial celebration in hono of 200 years on Saturday, October 14th. The celebration will be held at the York Township Volunteer Fire Department firehouse, and will be from 1-5 p.m.
There will be several events, including a cake contest; cornhole tournament; face painting; music by the band ‘Diamondback’; and more.
There will also be chili and hot dogs provided; and lots of old friends gathering and new friends meeting.
Those wanting to enter a cake in the cake contest should have it at the firehouse no later than 11:30 a.m. that morning.
All of Switzerland County is invited to come out and help the residents of Florence celebrate 200 years!
From “Harriman’s History of Switzerland County, Indiana 1885”:
The village of Florence dates its existence from 1817, in which year it was laid off by Benjamin Drake and given the name of New York.
Additions were subsequently made by Joseph Malin, William Campbell, and Benjamin L. Robinson. An effort was made at one time to secure the location of the county seat at Florence, but the movement failed. The village has always been a good shipping point, and still large amounts of produce are annually sent over its wharf.
In the year 1825 there were but five families residing in the village. There were William Campbell, John Gibson, George Hutchinson, a Mr. Clancy, and Benjamin Drake. The latter of these erected the first dwelling in the place, a log house, a portion of which is still standing, having been moved back from the river. In contains port holes which were utilized during the early Indian troubles in that locality.
Up to 1832 William Campbell kept the only store in the place. He also operated a carding machine, or a small woolen mill….
The follow scrap in reference to Florence and York Township was published in 1876: “Florence has a population at present of 316. There are 4 dry goods stores, 1 drug store, 2 shoe shops, 2 blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, cooper shop, saddle shop, and post office, most all of which are doing a good and profitable business. There is also a substantial school building, capable of seating over 100 students, and one church, the Methodist, which was dedicated by the venerable Dr. E. G. Wood, the present presiding elder of this, the Moore’s Hill District….
York Township, as a whole, is in a truly prosperous condition. In an agricultural sense there is everything to encourage the present citizens and those who may see proper to locate here in the future.
For more on early Florence, see page A-8 of today’s edition.