By BOB SHRALUKA
It may take a little longer to complete, but Adams Memorial Hospital’s 100th Community Service Project will conclude the effort with a well-deserved recognition of an important figure in the history of Adams County.
“Adams Memorial Hospital is proud to announce a meaningful partnership with the Adams County Historical Society (ACHS) in a mission close to our hearts,” a news release said. “Together, we are playing a crucial role in the restoration of the burial site of the esteemed county historian, French Quinn, and his family.”
To celebrate its 100th anniversary of operation, Adams Memorial set out to complete 100 projects through 2023. The collaboration with the historical society will finish the effort.
“French Quinn’s legacy is deeply woven into the fabric of Adams County, particularly the city of Decatur. His contributions have left an indelible mark on our community’s development,” hospital officials said.
It was noted that special acknowledgment is due Decatur resident Larry Macklin, a member of the hospital’s board.
“(Larry) dedicated an abundance of time and effort to lead this impactful service project for the Quinn family,” the news release said. “Larry’s commitment is driving the restoration project forward, and we’re thrilled to share that our involvement will continue into the spring of 2024.
“Thank you, Larry, ACHS, and everyone involved, for preserving the rich history of Adams County and honoring the legacy of French Quinn,” the news release continued. “Together, we are ensuring that our community’s past remains a source of inspiration for generations to come.”
(Macklin is at the Quinn grave site with Adams Health Network Project Coordinator Rebecca Webb in accompanying photo. Other photo shows, from left, historical society president Sandy Collier, board treasurer Dorothy Reiter, and board member Mary Bertsch with a fellow who didn’t want to reveal his name.)
Historical society officials launched the project last September and now say that it is about halfway completed.
Estimated cost of the project is $1,500-$1,800. Donations are being accepted by the historical society.
Officials said a dedication ceremony will be held at the site when the restoration is complete.
February marks the 75th anniversary of Quinn’s passing in 1948.
“French Quinn has a powerful legacy in the development of Adams County and especially Decatur, the county seat,” hospital CEO Dr. Scott Smith noted previously. “While much of his accomplishments have been heretofore announced and known by many in the community, it sometimes remains important to look back and wonder how some of the events happened.”
Smith said earlier that French Quinn had a community passion to make it a better place. To summarize, he was an author, historian, abstractor, banker and public speaker.
Officials said Quinn either facilitated or was a participant in many projects, including being the first president of the Decatur Commercial Club, a forerunner to the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, and along with then-judge Studebaker led the effort to line the streets of Decatur with trees.
He remembered Adams County author Gene Stratton Porter (author, naturalist, nature photographer) by having a boulder moved from the St. Mary’s River to the courthouse square with a plaque. That boulder remains today and is known as Elephant Rock.
Quinn’s effort there was supported in part by a countywide fundraising blitz with school children who contributed their pennies, nickels and dimes. This brought awareness across the county of the significance of Porter’s work after she was killed in an automobile accident.
He also spearheaded the extensive Peace Monument project, also on the courthouse square, negotiated for Decatur’s Hanna-Nuttman Park, and helped secure and establish the former General Electric Plant in Decatur.
Quinn’s book, “A Short, Short Story of Adams County, Indiana” includes many of his community efforts.