PARKER CITY HISTORY (Entrance To Parker City Website)
In early 1893, a petition was sent from a “committee of interested citizens from the unincorporated community of Parker, Indiana” to the Randolph County Commissioners, “expressing a desire to form an incorporated town and governing body.” The petition was sent in the name of JOHN H. SCOTT. The reply letter from the commissioners, dated March 6, 1893, to Mr. Scott, granted the local petitioners permission to start incorporation proceedings by holding an election to see if the community did indeed want the incorporation. Before an election could be held, a census had to be taken to register all eligible voters. The census of January 1894 gave the total population as 482. An election was then held and the results prompted the County Commissioners to declare the town incorporated on March 9, 1894.
On March 20, 1894 the first official Town Board meeting was held and the first record of Town Board Meeting minutes were recorded. The minutes contained the results of a town election that was held previously to elect 3 Trustees, a Clerk and a Treasurer. The results of that election were – Ward No.1 – W.H. Williams. Ward No.2 – Benjamin F. Dragoo. Ward No.3 – W.W. Watson. Clerk – Elmer E. Deal. Treasurer – I.C. Gunckel. B.F. Dragoo was then elected as first Town Board President.
On April 4, 1894 the board met in special session in the store room of B.F. Dragoo and Ordinances No. 1 through 8 were read and adopted. The very First Ordinance provided that the corporate seal “shall be a circle with the words Town of Parker, Indiana in the margin and the word seal in the centre of the circle.” NOTE: Even the original “seal” gave it as Parker, Indiana. Ordinance No.2 divided the town into 3 wards. Ordinance No. 3 fixed the amounts of the official bonds. Ordinance No. 4 provided the manner and time for performing day labour on the streets of the town. Section 1 proclaimed that the “Town Marshal shall call out all male, able-bodied persons residents citizens over the age of 20 and under the age of 50 years, between the first day of April and the 30th day of November of each year to be required to work on the streets of Parker for 2 days or for the space of 1 day if required to furnish a team, and to furnish for such labour any such tool required by the Marshal if the demand is a reasonable one.” Section 2 provided that “a person that is deemed able-bodied to perform labour on the streets may be exempt from such labour by paying the Marshal the sum of two dollars or by sending in his place an able-bodied person to do his work.” Ordinance No. 5 regulated and licensed the sale of intoxicating liquors in the city limits. Ordinance No. 6 regulated and licensed Billiard Tables, Pool Tables, Bagetelle Tables, Pigeonhole Tables or any kind of gaming table or Bowling Alley, commonly called a Nine Pin or Ten Pin Alley. Ordinance No. 7 restrained Hawking and Peddling in the town limits and provided a fee for a license. Fees were: Hawking and Peddling – $1 per day. Selling jewelry on the streets – $5 per day. Selling medicines on the streets – $1.50 per day. Selling fruits and vegetables from a wagon or stand – $1 per day. Selling cigars, candies, ice cream, lemonade, popcorn or peanuts on the streets – $1 per day. Selling notions or merchandise not specified above – $1 per day. Persuing the vocation of auctioneer – $1 .50 per day. Running or operating a merry-go-round, swing or striking machine – $3 per day. Operating a hack or other vehicle to carry passengers for hire – $1 per day. Ordinance No. 8 licensed certain industries. To operate a carnival, menagerie or circus – $10 per day. To exhibit any theatrical entertainment, concert, hall entertainment, minstrel show or other performance to the public – $1 per exhibition.
The salaries of the Trustees were $.50 per year. The salary of the Clerk was $25.00 per year. The salary of the Treasurer was $12.00 per year. The salary of the Town Marshal was $50.00 per year. The first Town Marshal was Clement L.V. Heaston. Mr. Heaston resigned one month later and was replaced by Martin Hall. Mr. Hall resigned the following December and was replaced by Samual Ruble. Mr. Ruble resigned the following May and was replaced by George W. Hutson. Mr. Hutson resigned the following November and was replaced by Ed A. Long. The Marshal’s salary was then set at $25.00 per month. Mr. Long resigned the following May and was replaced by A. Sherman Tumpaw. In October, Mr. Tumpaw was released for not securing a personal bond and was replaced by Albert King. In May of 1897 William H. Coon became Marshal and then resigned the following September and was replaced by John Cecil. Mr. Cecil resigned the following March and A. Sherman Tumpaw again became Marshal. Mr. Tumpaw resigned in November of 1899 and was replaced by Stephen Barr. Mr. Barr resigned the following January and was replaced by Martin Badders. Enough said!
In May of 1897, Central Union Telephone Company was given “the right to place and maintain the poles, fixtures and wires necessary and convenient for supplying to the public, communications by telephone or other improved electrical devices.”
In June of 1898, bids were received for a water well on the street. The well was then built. A resolution was read in August of 1898 declaring that “since the Town now owns a water well near the business center of said Town, and that the well has no power to operate it, and that said well shall be a benefit for the use of persons, animals, and fire protection if said well is operated by sufficient power and machinery to operate said water well at a cost not to exceed $300.00 and that the sum be paid from orders issued against the general fund of said Town.” (The equipment to operate the pump was purchased for $207.00.)
In January of 1901 the Board bought a “double 42 gallon CHEMICAL FIRE ENGINE and a TWO WHEEL HOOK AND LADDER WAGON complete ” from the Obenchain and Boyer Mfg. Co. The cost of the fire equipment was $500.00 NOTE: From the original bill of sale and brochure, it resembled a buckboard towing a two-wheeled trailer. A fire house was then built. Later, a 30-inch diameter FIRE ALARM BELL No. 30, was bought and installed on a bell tower. NOTE: The bell is now on display at the corner of Howard and Fulton Sts.
In July of 1901, the Parker Telephone Co. asked for and got a franchise to erect, maintain and operate a complete telephone system within the Town limits.
In January of 1902, J.E. Lowes, a representative of the Dayton and Northern Traction Company, requested a franchise to construct a line of railway through the Town and “to operate an electric railroad with all the necessary tracks, switches, sidings, turnouts, poles, wires and other structures over, across, upon and along certain streets and alleys and highways in Parker, Indiana, commencing at the east corporation line, running west on Jackson Street to Fulton Street, then south on Fulton Street to Howard Street, then west on Howard Street to the west corporation line. The object of said railroad shall be the transportation of passengers, freight, mail and express matter. Said cars shall be supplied with fenders and kept in good repair.” The entire ordinance regulating the railroad had 12 sections.
In February of 1902 a motion passed to buy 30, 10-quart galvanized iron buckets for the use of the Fire Company.
In the meeting of August 12, 1902 Ordinance No. 52 established a Volunteer Fire Department ” consisting of twenty able-bodied and competent men who shall select one of their members as fire chief.”
In the fall of 1902, small pox “surfaced in the Town.” Before the perfection of the small pox vaccination, the only means of preventing the spread of the disease was to isolate the households that were affected. Two guards were placed at each affected home to work 12 hours on – 12 hours off and paid $1.50 per 12-hour watch until the quarantine order was removed. Claims were still being paid in June of 1903 for guards and disinfection of homes.
The town’s first fire truck cost $500.
The town’s most recent fire truck cost $100,000.
When certain diseases were found in the town, placards such as this were posted on the affected house along with a guard to insure isolation to control the spread.
S.Main street’s Village Shoppe pre-1925.
The town’s first water tower is seen in the background.
It was approximately 50 feet tall and made of redwood.
A Letter Given to Us from Willard Deeds. Author unknown.