ribbon cutting

Former Mayor William F. “Peachy” Collins with Howard Eldridge at the ribbon cutting of his new store.

I generally write about history in the abstract but the blizzard of 1978 exists in my lifetime and I have distinct memories of it. My father pacing the floors on Wednesday evening January 25th watching the weather and being alarmed by a record low barometer reading all over Indiana. My mother working at Stant and being stuck there overnight than being driven a block away and braving her way through 70 mile an hour winds through tall snow drifts. All of our neighbors pulled together to help each other. We missed seventeen days of school to the point we were ready to go back. People all over town have the same stories. One couple, the Glovers, got married in the blizzard. A number of children were born in the storm including Connersville’s first lady Amy Frank. Rick Wilcox remembers his father Dick being the coolest dad around as he was picked up by a psi energy helicopter and flown off to work. David Baker remembers his dad, late local attorney Jon Baker, being driven by tank to the courthouse to be part of a trial in his role as prosecutor. Anyone alive the week of January 25th 1978 will have many great stories to tell. One story though tops most.

Howard Eldridge was born in northern Indiana and graduated from high school in Hammond Indiana. He made his way to Gary where he and wife Betty had 4 children. Sometime in 1964 local pharmacist Tom Spargo let his friend Howard know he could use some help with his drugstores in Connersville. Howard visited but wasn’t ready to make the move. After lobbying from their wives Howard agreed to come to Connersville for one year only to help Tom out. We know now to our cities great benefit the Eldridge family stayed for life. Howard and Tom ran the Elliott hood drugstore at 19th and Grand that eventually became Grandview Pharmacy. In the early 1970s Howard’s innovative spirit guided him to a spot in the new shopping center north of Kunkels on park road and doing it as sole owner. In this location many shut-ins and nursing homes came to depend on Howard for their regular prescription deliveries.