I am incredibly optimistic about the future of our city. As a city councilman, I often think about Terre Haute’s potential. I think about where we are headed as a community. What will our city look like in five years? What will it look like in ten? I ask myself, what will Terre Haute be when my daughter is grown?
I often speak of the endless potential of this city. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful resources. These resources come in the form of our museums, parks, our art and culture. They include our local businesses and the many events held in our city each year. Most importantly, our resources are the people of the community. These are our volunteers, entrepreneurs, all of those who dedicate their time and energy to bettering Terre Haute.
One of our many resources, one of our greatest assets, is our history. I am a strong believer in looking back to the past to move forward as a city. There are many in Terre Haute who embrace our history, and do an excellent job in promoting it. Our history is interesting, it is exciting, and it is unique. We have been recently finding new ways to best utilize this asset of ours.
Last year a nearly 7,000 square foot mural was painted onto the future home of the Vigo County Historical Museum. This mural celebrates Terre Haute as the birthplace of the Coca-Cola bottle. Six foot tall coke bottles were painted and placed throughout Terre Haute and Vigo county. Last year our community was successful in hosting our first Birthplace of the Coca-Cola Bottle Festival.
In 2018 Vigo County celebrated its 200th birthday! Celebratory events occurred at the Courthouse, the public library, and other locations. This occasion offered us an opportunity to look back at two centuries worth of history and progress.
While looking for something to do one evening last Fall, my wife and I signed up for a haunted tour of Terre Haute. Tell-Tale Tours walked the two of us, along with a group of about twenty, through downtown Terre Haute and Indiana State University. The tour guide stopped at numerous points, offering the haunted histories of the various locations. As someone who prides himself in knowing Terre Haute history, I learned a few things. It was a great way to spend the evening and learn some things about my home.
Terre Haute is rich in history. I could write pages about our past, as many have previously done. It is because of this that I hesitated to write a brief article about the importance of utilizing our history. I sat in front of my computer thinking about numerous historical topics to write about. I knew I wanted this article of mine to focus on our history, but I couldn’t narrow the topic. I thought about writing on Fort Harrison, the Wabash River, Eugene Debs, Max Erhmann, Theodore Dreiser, Burl Ives, our economic and industrial histories…...my list went on and on.
I couldn’t make a decision. While initially looking at this as a problem, I came to realize it was a positive. The fact that I could not choose one area of our history to write about shows how much great history we have as a community. I greatly appreciate the work of those who are bringing our history to life. It is an important task that adds an immense value to our city. Our history is an important piece of our future. We are a historic city, let’s be proud of it.
Curtis DeBaun IV serves as Councilman-At-Large on the Terre Haute City Council.