The Crawfordsville Strawberry Festival

                                                    Lane Place Background

Henry S Lane

  • US Representative, Senator and 13th Governor of Indiana
  • Early leader of Republican Party, president of the first Republican Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln
  • Married Joanna Elston, daughter of Col. Issac Elston
  • Moved to Crawfordsville in 1823
  • Built Lane Place in 1845 and lived continuously until his death in 1881
  • He was a land developer, businessman and banker at Elston & Co.
  • General Lew Wallace was his brother-in-law.

Joanna Elston Lane

  • Socialite in Washington D.C. and Crawfordsville
  • Active in Methodist Episcopal Church in Crawfordsville
  • Lived at the Lane Place until her death in 1914

History of the Strawberry Festival

  • June 12, 1878, organized by Joanna Lane
  • 500 people attended on the lawn of the Lane Place
  • Ladies of Methodist Episcopal Church sold admission tickets-10 cents
  • Wooden stage- speeches, skits, various musical programs
  • Tables were placed about the grounds with cakes and strawberries and ice cream for visitors

Modern day- “Strawberry Bowl Festival”

  • 1974 – afternoon only
  • 1975 one day event
  1. Montgomery County Council of Arts – Art Show
  2. Culver Hospital served strawberries, cake & ice cream

   3.Downtown on the courthouse veranda and adjoining areas
   4. Musical entertainment & talent contest
   5. Indiana State Tourism committee visited Crawfordsville- historic “Athens of Indiana” authors,          architecture, etc
   6. Jane Kessler – member of MCHS – discussed bringing Crawfordsville to prominence with the        committee, her dream was to expand the event and link it to local history.
   7. Pat Cline spearheaded changes to the festival.

  • 1977- Dorman Winger preached his first church service on the grounds
  • 1982- by now it was a two day event on the grounds and 3 days downtown.​

Jane’s dream prevailed after seven years of work.

Expanded Festival

  • Included museum tours, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and some historic homes in the community
  • Antique show at the 4H grounds, tours to the airport, Style show, basketball at Pike & Reccenter, Volleyball tourney at Elston Park, parade, Indianapolis newscasts on site, children’s fence​ painting, etc.
  • 1983 expanded to three days at the Lane Place​