Parks measured fair with yardsticks
How do you measure memory and tradition? These are not quantitative items. At least not usually. But any Harrison County citizen who attended the Harrison County Fair in the ’50s and ’60s can remember making an early visit to the Parks Chevrolet Building to pick up one of the 500 yardsticks that were given away every summer at the fair.
The Parks family gave away scrapers, bottle openers, fly swatters, jar openers and even samples of perfume. They sponsored a horse blanket for a winner at one of the races. But you find that the nice wooden yardsticks imprinted with the dealership name are the one item that simply everyone remembers and values around their house to this day.
E.A. Parks was a Packard dealer in English along with his sons, Lowell and Estel Lee. They made a trip to Louisville to the Chevrolet Zone Office and asked the manager where they could start a new Chevy dealership. He suggested Corydon. E.A. and his sons moved here in January of 1950 and bought a building on the east side of Corydon. A day after they moved in, Indian Creek flooded and all the automotive parts had to be washed down and oiled so that they wouldn’t rust.
Terry Parks Haub, a granddaughter of E.A., and daughter of Lowell, remembers her grandfather as ‘always wearing a suit and smoking a cigar.’ He had a mogul-like quality and was considered a ‘character’ around town with his low voice and gruff manner.
Terry remembers one time riding with her grandfather and family members along with Wilson Hiser, another renowned character from the Palmyra area, to Indianapolis in a stagecoach. Although Terry didn’t make the whole journey, the stagecoach arrived in the capital to hand deliver a personal invitation to the governor to attend the Sesquicentennial Harrison County Fair.
E.A. loved the fair, and he loved a parade. He rode his beloved horse Gold Star in any parade he could. In the early ’50s, Chevrolet had a promotional event for the dealership that involved a herd of elephants. These elephants ended up walking down Capitol Avenue in the Harrison County Fair parade.
At one of our Birthday Committee meetings, I brought up the subject of the Parks Chevrolet yardsticks, and the reaction was immediate and vocal in fond remembrance. How surprising that one little item like a yardstick can resurrect so many happy and loving memories. Unmeasurable.
Leah Porter will be at the library on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m.