The Crawfordsville Strawberry Festival

Lane Place Background

Henry S Lane

  • US Representative, Senator and 13th Governor
  • Early leader of Republican Party /president of first convention/nominating Lincoln
  • Built Lane Place in 1845 and lived continuously until death in 1881
  • Married Joanna Elston- Col Issac Elston- Moved to Cville in 1823
  • land developer, businessman and banker- Elston & Co.
  • General Lew Wallace

Joanna Elston Lane

  • socialite in Washington and Cville
  • active in Methodist Episcopal Church in Cville
  • Lived at Lane Place until death in 1914

History of the Strawberry Festival

  • June 12, 1878
  • 500 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, 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. Ind State Tourism committee visited Cville- historic “Athens of Indiana” authors, architecture, etc
  6. Jane Kessler – member of MCHS – discussed bringing Cville to prominence
  7. Jane’s dream – to expand the event and link it to history
  8. Good friend Pat Cline-Journal
  • 1977- Dorman Winger
  • 1982- by now it was a two day event downtown/ 3 days downtown
  1. Jane’s dream prevailed after seven years of work
  2. 2 days at the Lane Place


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