From Winona Lake’s Billy Sunday, whose exhortations helped pass Prohibition in 1919, to Jim Jones, whose Indianapolis People’s Temple came to its tragic end in 1978, Indiana has produced its share of charismatic preachers.
Although these observances predate it, the Pekin celebration is noteworthy for having recurred annually since its inception in 1830, when several families gathered for the 54 th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Though Pekin was platted on the south side of the Blue River in 1831, within twenty years a station for passengers traveling on the New Albany and Salem Railroad was built on the river’s more level north side.
Located in Washington County on Mill Creek, Beck’s Mill was built in 1808 by George Beck, Sr. It’s the only surviving mill in a county that once boasted more than sixty mills. Using just a water wheel and a turbine to propel the grinding stones, this mill was in operation until 1914, when modern roller mill operations and the urbanization of flour mills made it obsolete.