the fall of 1900, surveyors came down the Ridge Road (currently St. Rd. 37) to
doing survey work for the Wabash Railroad. This railroad would
run from Fort Wayne, Indiana to
Detroit, Michigan. The railroad would cut across both the
David Sauder and Joseph Grabill farms from North to South. A station was built
with the name, "West Maysville", and tickets were issued. The people
in the area protested, wanting no part of the older town. The Wabash railroad
changed the name because of the protest. Everyone wondered what the name would
be. One morning,
the name "Grabill" appeared on the depot and the matter was settled.
On January 1, 1902, the first steam engine
moved through Grabill, not yet a town. By February 1902, Joseph A. Grabill
recorded the original plat of the town, which laid out 23 lots. A post office
was established in August of 1902. Joseph Grabill became the first postmaster
and the town was named in his honor.
The 23 lots that
comprised the town of Grabill were all sold by the fall of 1902. The first
John Gerig, Joseph Witmer, Roy Shuler, Alvin Klopfenstein,
J.M. Klopfenstein, Menno & Emma Sauder,
Henry B. Houts, Esther & George Waite, and Samuel Egly.
These individuals, along with others invested
in a grain mill, a lumberyard, a bank, a department Store, a
hardware store, several hotels, a tile mill, a
drugstore, a harness shop, a hatchery, and a print shop. A
volunteer fire department was started in
1916. A dentist and doctor's office, a town hall, and a two
room school house followed. The telephone
came in 1903 and electricity came in 1915.
In 1912, the town
of Grabill was incorporated so that it could have it's own school and voting
Joseph Grabill was interested in every phase of Grabill's
development. As he platted more additions
to the town, he lined the streets with tree plantings from his
own woods. He served on the school board, as Church trustee for 50 years, on
the board of directors of the Grabill Bank, and on the board of directors
for the Grabill Grain Company. He lived to be 93 (1866-1959).
To the end, he had real pride and concern for his community.
THANKS TO KATHRYN MOORE FOR THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE.
Grabill Historical Society
The Olde Church Museum is located at First & West Street. The museum houses a permanent display of area memorabilia along with special displays during Town events of the Grabill Country Fair and Christmas. The Memorial Walkway is located in the Museum garden area.
The Grabill area is
the home of Indiana Allen County's Amish settlement; the first arriving in
1852. Grabill began as a Mennonite community which had its roots in the
Anabaptist movement after Luther's European Reformation. The Amish are probably
the most conservative group to have come out of those beginnings. They came to
America in search of religious freedom and a new land in which to grow. The Amish
are God-fearing, hard working, peace loving, Bible-believing people who put
their religion into practice each and every day in all that they do. They truly
strive to apply the words of Christ, to "have love for one another".
To most "English" (the
name given by the Amish for all non Amish), their ways are strange and unique.
However, they can give you their reasons for dressing as they do, driving a
horse and buggy, living without electricity, and other ways that make them
stand out from society. The biggest
difference that you will notice about the Amish of Grabill is that their buggies
are not enclosed like the ones in Pennsylvania or Ohio. In recent years, they
have gone more away from the farm setting and into other markets. Some have
gone into manufacturing of cabinetry and countertops, while others have gone
into some retailing and distribution.
The Amish people of Grabill had helped to shape the Town of Grabill into what it is today. Their contributions have made Grabill a special place to live, work and play!