Celestine celebrates its roots in family, faithJune 27, 2018
By CANDY NEAL
CELESTINE — This weekend, the community of Celestine will celebrate its dodransbicentennial, marking its 175 years of existence.
“It will be like a homecoming for a lot of people,” said Tony Buechler, promotions chairperson for the celebration. “We’re expecting a lot of natives to be back.
“Celestine is full of German Catholics and German Christians, who love being a part of this community.”
Celestine’s roots are in family and faith. The community started with its church on the hill, St. Celestine Catholic Church.
The church came about because of a man rather famous in Dubois County — Father Joseph Kundek. The Croatian priest, who founded other parishes in Dubois County, purchased land for the church on Oct. 4, 1843, and platted the area on Nov. 16, 1843. He named it Celestine after Rev. Celestine Rene Lawrence De La Hailandiere, second bishop of the Vincennes Diocese. De La Hailandiere Street in Celestine is also named in honor of the bishop.
The first priests to serve Celestine were responsible for multiple parishes and often held Mass only once a month.
So the times were a little challenging for the members of the community.
“The early settlers at Celestine had their joys and sorrows. Life was not easy,” according to Celestine’s Sesquicentennial book. “The early settlers lived in solitude and stillness among the hills and trees. With oil burning wicks and tallow candles, they managed to bring a little light into their homes when darkness came. On their open fireplaces, they prepared their frugal meals. When death came, many times there was no priest to bless the graves of loved ones. They lived on, hoping for better days and praying to find a happier home in heaven.”
The townspeople cleared forests to build houses and cleared farmland.
The early industries were logging and farming. Once sawmills were built, many residents made a living selling timber.
The community’s first post office was created in 1851, and the first mention of a school in history records was in 1852. There were also some general stores in the community. After the Civil War, blacksmithing proved to be a profitable business in Celestine, along with agriculture. According to records from 1859, “160 Catholic families were present in the Church,” the Sesquicentennial book says.
Some of the notable sites in Celestine’s history were Millers Restaurant, which was built in 1932 and destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve 2000; the Ursuline sisters’ house, known as the “old school,” that was constructed east of the church in 1879 and remodeled in 1891; the Hasenour store that was built in 1899 and operated until 1965; and the Buchart store that was built in 1879 and operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1966. These buildings and more are depicted in a mural about the community that is painted on a wall at the Dubois County Museum.
Celestine has continued to march on. The community celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1993, printing its history book up to that point, and will celebrate its 175 birthday this weekend.
A continuation of the community’s history was published this year. The update includes stories from longtime residents and acknowledgements of community businesses, activities, sites and milestones since the history book was published.
Celestine amps up fest activities for 175th
Celestine is ready to celebrate its 175th birthday this weekend and is inviting everyone to the party.
“We’re very good friends and neighbors with our neighboring communities,” said Tony Buechler, promotions chairperson for the celebration. “We are welcoming everyone to come celebrate with us.”
Normally, the community hosts its Celestine Fest this weekend. But since it is the community’s 175th anniversary, the celebration was stepped up considerably with some special features to make the weekend more memorable.
One of those is the nationally touring musical group Dirty Deeds, an AC/DC tribute band, who will perform Friday night.
“This band has played around here before, performing at the Lincoln Amphitheatre, in Montgomery (and) at the Dale Fall Fest,” Buechler said. “I already know about groups coming from Washington, coming to see them.”
The Cincinnati Circus Company will do three one-ring circus shows Saturday. “Two of the shows will be very traditional, with a high wire and everything, during the day,” Buechler said. “There will be a show at 10 o’clock on Saturday night, that will involve a lot of fire, aerialists, a lot of twirling. That will be very exciting.”
Tethered hot air balloon rides will also be a part of the event on Saturday evening.
“This is kind of an unusual thing,” Buechler said. “We expect there to be a line of people waiting for that.”
Along with the traditional parade, which will be on Sunday and features more than 100 entries, there will be a night parade Thursday night. It will start at 10 p.m. and more than 20 entries are already signed up. The last night parade was done in 1993 as part of the community’s 150th celebration.
“There will be lighted floats, tractors that will be lit up, tractors, walkers,” Buechler said. “There is even a lawn mower that someone has entered that will be decked out in lights. It should be a lot of fun.”
Celestine is also welcoming 20 members from its sister city of Wagshurst, Germany. Those guests were due to arrive today and are staying with families in the community. They will be recognized as part of Celestine’s opening ceremonies and ride in Sunday’s parade, Buechler said. Some members of Wagshurst’s brass band will perform in the Sunday morning mass at St. Celestine Catholic Church.
The dozens of people involved in organizing the event are excited to get the celebration started.
“The mood around here is bubbly. We’re happy to be putting this on,” Buechler said. “We’re happy that the community has been around for 175 years, and the community is vibrant.”
Celestine 175th Celebration Event Schedule
5 p.m. Booths and German beer garden open
6 p.m. Opening ceremony
7:30 p.m. Fashions of Yesteryear contest
8:30 p.m. DJ music by Boogie Tunes
10 p.m. Night parade
5 p.m. Booths and German beer garden open
5 p.m. Kids games
5:30 p.m. Antique farm demonstrations (weather permitting)
6 p.m. Singer/songwriter Bobby Reutman performs
6:30 p.m. Guided Celestine Elementary tours; quilt raffle at the merchandise stand
7 p.m. Dodgeball tourney
8 p.m. Traveling troubadour Troy Miller performs
10 p.m. Fireworks
10:30 p.m. Dirty Deeds USA band
8 a.m. Car show, Celestine Park, 5k run/walk (registration starts at 7 a.m.)
10 a.m. Booths open, zipline and rock wall open, Kid’s Zone inflatables and games, craft show
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kid’s races (signups begin at 10 a.m.), antique farm demonstrations (weather permitting)
Noon Sheephead tourney (signups begin at 11:30 a.m.), beer garden opens
1 p.m. Circus show, dunking booth
2 p.m. Sander Processing tour
3 p.m. Cornhole tourney (signups begin at 2 p.m.)
4 p.m. Meal stands open, Mass at St. Celestine Catholic Church, Sander Processing tour
4:30 p.m. Dubois County Cloggers
5:15 p.m. St. Celestine Catholic Church tour
5:30 p.m. Circus show
6 p.m. Adult pedal tractor pull (signups begin at 5:30 p.m.), tethered hot air balloon rides
6:30 p.m. Guided Celestine Elementary tours, quilt raffle at the merchandise stand, Fire and Ice band performs
9:30 p.m. Hot air balloon glow
10 p.m. Circus show
10:30 p.m. DJ music by Boogie Tunes
8 a.m. Mass with German musicians at St. Celestine Catholic Church
10 a.m. Food booths open
Noon German beer garden opens
1 p.m. Parade
3 p.m. Parade awards, raffle drawing, Brothers of the Brush and closing ceremony
Most of the events will be held on the St. Celestine Catholic Church grounds.
For a map, visit www.celestineindiana.com.
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