Aancihtoonki Kiihkihsenki

A Mended Picture

Blufton Tavern circa 1898: From left to right – Florentina Strack Hull, Elizabeth Strack McClaren, Mary F. Strack Holzworth, Mary L. McClaren, George “Dick” Strack, Charles Strack, Jesse McClaren, Charles McClaren (seated on step), and Charles F. Strack

On the first page of this year’s lunar calendar (link here), you may have noticed the picture titled “aancihtoonki kiihkihsenki” (pictured above).  In the lower right corner is the original version of this photo showing numerous serious cracks and other damage.  The larger photo is the result of the hard work of Elizabeth Brice, the Head of Special Collections and Archives at Miami University and John Millard, Head of the Center for Digital Scholarship also at Miami University.  We greatly appreciate Elizabeth and John’s help.

The photo is of the Strack family, Richardville and Godfroy descendants, in front of their family saloon, which opened around 1880 on family reserve lands south of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Initially it appears that the saloon was called the Blufton Road Tavern as well as Strack and McClaren’s Saloon, but in 1894 the establishment redecorated and reopened under the name The Richardville Valley Sample Room.  There are many entertaining news stories about the tavern in the Fort Wayne newspapers and perhaps we can share a more substantial post about this in the future.

Until recently, the original photo was in the possession of Lew Fox.  Mr. Fox is the grandson of Lila McClaren, who is the little girl forth from the left in the white dress.  Lila and her brother, Charles McClaren, the little boy sitting on the step second from the right, were the children of Elizabeth Strack McClaren and Jesse McClaren.  Elizabeth is the woman standing on the left and Jesse is the man standing in the doorway underneath the beer sign. We still have a lot to learn about this photo and we look forward to talking more with our families about this period of Myaamia history.  Neewe to Mr. Fox for sharing these photos.  Now that they are scanned, the entire collection can be shared among his entire extended family and digital copies can be archived within the Myaamia Heritage Museum and Archive for all Myaamia people to enjoy and learn from.  If you’d like to learn more about how to help preserve, scan, and share your family’s heirloom photos, please call or email Meghan Dorey at MDorey@miamination.com or (918) 542-1445.

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