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Community Treasure Series to discuss Public Square

By HANNAH GUNNELL - hgunnell@shelbynews.com

The Strand Theatre will host the next Community Treasure Series presentation at 7 p.m. Aug. 14, where Grover Museum director Alex Krach will discuss “History of the Public Square.”

Krach said the presentation will focus on the history of the downtown square and how it has changed over the years.

The presentation will begin with history from the late 1800s, where the Public Square was first designed as a walking city.

“We’ll talk about what historians call walking cities – it’s a mile or two-mile radius from the center of your town out,” Krach said. “The idea is that everything you could need to purchase would be within walking distance.”

The presentation will examine why the Public Square went so many blocks out, what the buildings on the square were and why they were there.

Krach said the presentation will move to discuss the introduction of horse-drawn carriages, trains and automobiles, and how those affected the look of the Public Square.

“When we get into the 1950s, we will invite people to share their stories,” he said.

Krach thinks this presentation will generate more audience participation than previous presentations because the audience will have more memories about the topic.

“This is just me this time on-stage,” he said. “This one really lends itself to the community stories. I can walk through the history and give that lecture, and then we will really focus on the community and the stories.”

“The stories we will probably hear the most from is 1970s-80s, just based on the audience we had and what their memories are centered on,” he said.

Krach said he will also discuss the beautification process the circle underwent as well, such as the implementation of the statue.

Krach thinks this presentation is timely because of the plans to redesign the circle.

“This presentation is particularly exciting because of all the talks that are going on around the square, both online and around our community, with the proposed changes,” Krach said. “So being able to take a step back and look at our history and understand why our previous community members implemented the changes they did gives us an opportunity to examine the ideas through a different lens.”

The Community Treasure Series is a monthly presentation put on at the Strand Theatre that aims to preserve Shelbyville and Shelby County history by allowing the attendees to share their memories and perspectives on the topics of discussion.