West Terre Haute.
Population of just over 2 thousand.
It may seem like a quiet town, but it wasn’t always so sleepy.
“Most people don’t understand and they may not believe this but West Terre Haute, Indiana was the fastest growing town in this nation,” Timothy Crumrin said. “Not in state but in the entire nation from 19 hundred to 1910.
After retiring from the Conner Prairie Museum historian and West Terre Haute native Timothy Crumrin returned back to where it all began to unlock the secrets and history of his hometown.
“As a historian I’ve written and taught classes the Holocaust, the history of Europe, but this was an area that I intimately knew,” Crumrin said. “You start with a nugget and then you discover all of these things you didn’t know about the place that you grew up.”
Crumin spent more than 3 years researching and writing.
What he found now fills the pages of his memoir, Til The Coal Train Hauled It Away.
Inside, pictures and stories of more than 170 years of West Terre Haute history that give a glimpse into the past.
“West Terre Haute represents so many other towns in this country,” Crumrin said. “Like I said, when the coal was flowing the town was on top. When this start to go bad it just started to go down.”
The best part about the memoir is the pride it’s brought to not only Crumrin but fellow Hautians on the west side of the river.
“Most people recognize themselves or their families that I write about,” Crumrin said. “So they are very very happy. The comment I get most is, finally someone remembers us, finally someone tries to understand how we lived. And to me that’s really been the best part.”
If you would like to purchase the book and meet the author, Crumrin will be at the Vigo County Historical Society signing copies, Sunday December 3rd, during their regular business hours 1 to 4 p-m.