Of course, like all good stories, it began with someone who cared about a place rooted in history: deep like the roots of the sycamore trees dotting our riverbanks.

In 1943, a local historian named Luke Scheer purchased the Chief’s House from the last living relatives of Chief Lafontaine and Richardville.  The home had been rented out for several years, but then sat empty, due to a damaged water line.

Jean Gernand, a home economics teacher at Huntington North and a budding historian, knew of the Chief’s House and its historic past, and wanted to help restore the home.  Under Gernand’s direction (and with Scheer’s permission), the Junior Historical Society began an extensive restoration of the Chief’s House in March, 1977. The Society and its many volunteers provided the free labor over their spring and summer vacation from school, and Scheer paid for the materials.

The property, and Huntington’s love for its unique history, began to grow. In 1979, Jim and Carol Shuttleworth donated the Nuck house to the Junior Historical Society. The Board of Zoning Appeals approved moving the log cabin to the northwest corner of 9 and 24 west. By 1987,the Junior Historical Society was able to purchase the Chief’s house, and the Historic Forks of the Wabash Inc. was born.

Over the next five years, the Historic Forks of the Wabash restored and developed the property.  They put a museum in the building where the Riverforks Farm fruit and vegetable stand was located. Ironically, this building was originally built by Scheer to house a museum. In 1990 the Historic Forks of the Wabash purchased the Treaty Grounds, which encompassed:  Wabash and Erie Canal Land, Interurban RR land, Norfolk & Western RR (Wabash RR), Long Portage Land, Chief Richardville’s home, the Treaty Grounds, Indian Villages locations, and the Bishop Noll’s summer home.

In the early 1990s, Bill and Polly Shriner donated additional property to the Historic Forks of the Wabash, and the Chief’s house and Nuck House were moved across US 24 to make way for proposed widening of the highway. Work also began on transforming the fruit stand into a museum.

In June of 1994, the Forks was finally ready for its dedication and Grand Opening in its new location. Guests included the principal chief of the Oklahoma Miami, Chief Floyd Leonard and his wife, Pat, Paul Godfroy, Tribal Council member, and Chief Peconge, interim chief of the Indiana Miamis. There were about 2 miles of trails leading to the Wabash and Erie Canal and along the Wabash River at the Forks, and a new log structure was under contruction and would soon become our 1840’s schoolhouse.

Over the years, many people have stepped up and volunteered or supported the Historic Forks of the Wabash in one way or another.  Today, the Forks is still entirely volunteer-run.  Contact us today to volunteer, and find your own place within the pages of history.