Groups to discuss future of preservation, tourism

Three speakers will give updates this week on projects that have a bearing on Brown County’s history and future.

The program, “Brown County Celebrates the Bicentennial” will include talks about Wellness and Heritage in Brown County, a Vision 2020 project; efforts to put areas in Brown County State Park on the National Register of Historic Places; and designating state highways in this area as Hoosier Hills Scenic Byways.

Speakers will be Pam Raider, vice president of the Brown County League of Women Voters; Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services of Indiana Landmarks; and Diana Biddle, Brown County commissioner and county historian.

For the past several years, groups of residents have been discussing how to better promote and highlight the many opportunities Brown County offers locals and tourists who are interested in wellness and in history. Raider will speak update listeners on that vision and project.

Dollase will discuss a years-long process to get certain structures in Brown County State Park formally recognized as historic places. In 1995, 21 possible sites and structures were identified.

In recent months, a broader study has been under way to create a “Brown County State Park historic district” including vistas, trees planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps, dams, lakes and some trails and archaeological sites, Dollase reported. The next step will be to write and submit the actual nomination for the National Register of Historic Places, said Ruth Reichmann, a member of local preservation group Peaceful Valley Heritage.

The scenic byway project is a multi-county effort to get state roads such as 136, 45 and 46 designated as official scenic byways on maps. Such a designation could boost tourism and “draw attention to roads less traveled,” Reichmann said — and to the many historic buildings and sites that lay along them.

The presentation will start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Brown County History Center. Refreshments will follow.