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Jaxon Newton, left, and Colt Seacat wave from the Crawford County Youth Expo float during Saturday's parade at Old Eckerty Days. Photos by Stephanie Taylor Ferriell

Life is simple in Eckerty

October 02, 2019
For the past 21 years, residents past and present of the tiny town of Eckerty in western Crawford County have come together in September to reminisce and remember. The annual Old Eckerty Days draws a crowd to two parades, music, contests, entertainment, food and conversation, and this year was no exception.

Marilyn Brown Wirth was born in Eckerty, where her father, Paul Brown, was postmaster and a rural mail carrier "for years and years." She said when she thinks of the Eckerty of her youth, she remembers the old train trestle. It was removed sometime in the 1980s.

Harry Williamson, left, and Clyde Cummings grew up together in Eckerty.
Brown now lives in Louisville. She said she loves the annual festival because "it brings people like myself back. The people here are so kind. They're just beautiful people."

A native son who went on to a career in agricultural education was honored as parade grand marshal. Dr. Jim Kaiser attended the old Crecelius and Pedora schools near Eckerty before graduating from French Lick High School in 1948.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Purdue University in 1952, about the same time he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He went on to earn his master's and Ph.D. His career was in agriculture education and included overseeing research farms at Purdue and the University of Illinois.

It was Eckerty that gave him his start. Kaiser first worked on his father's farm near the small town, later purchasing an adjacent property. The family farm has been recognized as a Centennial farm. After serving in the Korean War, he returned home to work at the farm and taught vocational ag, physics and chemistry at Milltown High School.

Kaiser said he was honored to have been selected as grand marshal and said Old Eckerty Days is important because it helps keep memories of the past alive.

Harry Williamson and Clyde Cummings sat side by side at a picnic table in the shelter house, listening to the musical entertainment Saturday following the parade. Dressed alike in bib overalls, the two said they grew up together in Eckerty.

"We're about as old as this town!" joked Cummings.

Both remember a vibrant and active little community and both worked at local establishments in their younger years: Cummings at the store, and Williamson at the feed mill.

Connie Lee, a member of the Tunnel Hill Free Methodist Church, was one of several people preparing a float for Saturday afternoon's parade.

"I grew up right down the road," she said.

Old Eckerty was very different than what remains today, but the memories haven't faded.

"Life was simple, very simple," Lee said. "It was neat. I wish every child could experience that."

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