Bluffton Indiana and Wells County, Part Two, in Otto, a cyberzine

     Updated 6 April 2001      URL is

Welcome to Part 2 of the welcoming Bluffton page, not an official city page, just a fun stop. It’s the foremother of all Bluffton pages. This page has some older news and background.

What’s A Parlor City?

I thought we are called the Parlor City because we manufactured many pianos and much parlor furniture here in the past. The Wells County Historical Society has put up a HomePage to tell us these things. There is also a site for the active and successful Bluffton Apple Dumpling Gang. Oops, make that the Bluffton Lion’s Club. They sell apple dumplings and oranges to raise funds. One or the other project probably makes more money, in which case we can, at last, compare apples and oranges.

Later note: on February 27, 1996 the Bluffton News-Banner published this: In a Wells County Historical Society column written by Barbara Elliott, Mrs. Elliott informs us that Bluffton’s nick became the Parlor City because its paved streets and sidewalks "made it as neat and clean as a parlor." In 1881 a state law provided for the first gravel roads in Indiana. By 1883 Wells County had more miles of gravel roads than any county except Allen County, (where Fort Wayne is.) Until that time, farmers were unable to get to town for about five months every year. Thank you, Barbara. Jim Foster writes good historical columns too.

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Learn about Bluffton

Who was Captain William Wells?

Captain William Wells, for whom our county is named, was captured and raised by Native Americans. There is controversy over whether he became a famed "Indian fighter" or whether his heart remianed with his adopted people. I call upon one of the knowledgeable local historians to give us a paper on Captain William Wells.

No sooner written than wish granted! Read the Historical Society’s new pages on the history of this city!

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Charles Deam, Superb Naturalist

Local Principal Jon Bennett tells the fascinating story of Charlie Deam, a local lad and pharmacist who grew to be the pre-eminent botanist in Indiana. Deam travelled in his model T Ford to every township of every county of this state. He planted an arboretum of every kind of tree native to Indiana. That arboretum is five blocks from my house. Deam identified an oak tree never before found, the Deam oak. It’s here in our county. Deam exemplifies the best result of following your passion. Read about Bennett’s wonderful book on line. I got the link from the Historical Society page.

Bill Weinhardt at Deam Oak sign, at the smallest Nature Preserve in Indiana.

I can also envision a script with Deam co-operating with Gene Stratton-Porter to further study Indiana flora. Great local and world-wide appeal. Who wants that challenge? Go for it! There is no evidence that they ever met, but surely they must have.

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Lt. Laurel Kelly, WW II

In case you aren’t reading this in Bluffton, something interesting has been happening here about the Kelly family. (Local residents are up to speed on this one.)  I was delighted to hear from Sergio Costagli by email  He sent us these three photos:

Lt. Laurel Kelly, WW II





  A Browning rifle

Our newspaper published this address for the website of an Italian man who rescued Lt. Kelly when his plane crashed in Italy in World War II. The researchers making the site are Italians Unia Gerardo and Sergio Costagli.

The new email address(2001)for this site is

Even Mr. Kelly’s sons Dave and Steve were unaware of the details of his rescue by Italian Partisans who saved his life. His widow Doris resides here too, and is equally glad to learn these details. 

The whole story is heartwarming. I want you to learn all about it.

Dear Mrs. Sandra Weinhardt,

I am the Sergio Costagli, researcher that found again the remains of the  crashed   B-17G N.42-107016 reconstruct the story of the L.t Dave Kelly.

Io sono sempre in contatto con la gentile famiglia Kelly di Bluffton. La storia dei nostri padri che combatterono contro il nazi-fascismo è sempre vivo nei ricordi di anziani partigiani italiani. Quando io faccio interviste a partigiani, essi ricordano volentieri soldati americani che combattevano insieme a loro, dietro linee nemiche.

Io sono a disposizione per eventuali chiarimenti o racconti.

Thank you heartily for your collaboration and attention

Sergio Costagli

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Mysterious Murals Materializing in Courthouse?

Our architectural historian, Craig Leonard, is excited about the possibility of restoring ten murals in the courthouse. They were painted in 1906 by artist Will Peace who also did murals in Huntington County, and many other places. You can see an example in the Huntington County Assessor’s office. Peace was of the super-realism school. There is a good chance that most or all of our historic murals can be recovered. Funding would be necessary.

There are two murals in the hall of the third floor, three in the hall of the second floor and more in the big old courtroom. There is a good chance that most or all of these historic murals can be recovered, in spite of what has been painted or nailed or glued over them. In the courtroom, the ceiling has been lowered ten feet. When you go up above the ceiling, (and I take Craig’s word on this!) you can see those murals even today. Private or grant funding would be necessary. Is anyone interested in undertaking this delightful project?

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We’re Getting a Huge New Sewer Project

And a Massive By-Pass with a Bridge

And a New High School

And a New City Building Interior

And Another Park

And a Huge Community Building

Life in Bluffton is so interesting! Why does it feel like I’m in a game of Sim City here? What’s next? I can’t wait to find out. We are building for the future.

By the way, that’s **SIM** City, folks. It’s a computer game where you design and run a real city. It is endlessly fascinating. Buy it. Play it. Just do it.

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Bluffton: The City with a Sense of Humor

Rumors are flying about the newly painted water tower. We didn’t get to have a smiley face on it, but we do have an event to commemmorate. Not too long ago, one of the second-shift workers in town left work to drive home. A bright light in the sky started following her. It followed her into the next county, where the sheriff and mayor concurred that it seemed to be a UFO.

But the object was first spotted in our county. So I have heard that we are going to have a wonderful ring around the center of the new water tower, with lights pointing down from under the ring. Perhaps that will attract the UFO back to our city. NO PUBLIC FUNDS will be used.

And to the professor down at Knight School, the spoilsport who says it was only Venus, who’ll have the last laugh then, eh?

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From my observation, more people eat meals in restaurants here than anywhere else in the world, and you would think we would have a Wendy’s and/or a Long John Silver or a Ponderosa. We don’t, but the newspaper is advertising for a manager for Wendy’s, so one must be coming..

We love our Bummies Drive-In Billy Ann’s Supper Pub, the Rittenhouse, the Branding Iron, 2 Chinese restaurants, Richards Restaurant, The Snug Cafe,  the Corner Depot south of town and a few chains and others, but there are "neverrrr enuffff." We have our own coffee house now, the Bohemian Bean on Main Street, next to Garret’s Marathon station.

With two all-night groceries and several convenience store/filling stations, we are in good shape for a late-night food run. The restaurants are able to close at a reasonable hour, so the kids can rest up before school.

There is bad news about the Dutch Mill on a separate page.

Speaking of food, for a most excellent page about agriculture, see Harnish Farms’ home page.

Our ISP Provider

Be sure to appreciate my sponsor, without which I would be silence and darkness.

There is a nice list of other Blufftonites’ home pages at that site.

A big thank you and three cheers toour ISP for bringing us into contact with the world on the Internet!!  PCI has branched out to other cities. Well-deserved success!

You are smilingly encouraged to bookmark this page.

  This site is 100% speech friendly, for anyone vision-impaired.

Go to the table of Our Bluffton pages

There is a big genealogy site related to Wells County that is most comprehensive. I learned a ton there! Thanks to Cathy Burnsed in Tallahassee!

But please come back home to this page soon.

Would you like to contact our publisher? Write to Terry Miller, email

This page is written by Sandra Weinhardt. Send all additions and corrections for the Bluffton pages to me at

and come back soon! I’m opinionated and outspoken, and I love having you read in this site.