A community with 150 years of memories

Photos courtesy of Marge Stenftenagel
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Maltersville's centennial celebration in July 1967. This Sunday marks the unincorporated community's 150th birthday. 

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

MALTERSVILLE — A small chunk of Dubois County will hit a milestone Sunday when Maltersville — the tiny, unincorporated community between Jasper and Bretzville — turns 150 years old.

The 50 homes in the hilly area now comprise a drive-by settlement for those speeding north and south on State Road 162. But longtime Maltersville resident Marge Stenftenagel has a different perspective.

A Herald report from July 1967 said the community’s centennial celebration drew between 12,000 and 15,000 people on just one Saturday night, with about half that number attending the Friday before. Stenftenagel’s daughter, Pamela, was crowned the mini queen of the event through a random drawing.

“An airplane flew over and said it looked like Little Coney Island,” Stenftenagel said. “There were so many people.”

At the time, only about 30 people actually lived in the community.

Despite the big getup Maltersville hosted in ’67, there are no plans to celebrate the community’s sesquicentennial Sunday. Stenftenagel said back in those days, everybody pitched in. Most of the residents who helped facilitate that bash are now gone.

Stenftenagel, who has lived in the community for 54 years, just wants the little history there is of the town to be remembered for as long as it can be.

“History is important,” she said. “(Maltersville) has a past.”

According to information compiled by county historian Art Nordhoff, Maltersville was founded and recorded in 1867 by Anna Barbara Malter, whose residence was located at the intersection of U.S. 162 and County Road 230 South. The first floor of the house had a tavern and the second floor a dance hall, so it was a familiar spot for travelers to stop in for a cold drink. At one point, five streets and a main road ran through the community.

Before roads were laid, Maltersville was located on the Yellow Banks Trail which led to the Buffalo Trace Trail north of Jasper.

Despite the big getup Maltersville hosted in ’67, there are no plans to celebrate the community’s sesquicentennial Sunday.

Stenftenagel’s late husband, Si Stenftenagel, who owned and operated a welding shop in town, contacted the state and got the community limit signs placed 50 years ago.

The area used to have a community baseball park where pickup games were often played and an annual picnic was hosted, but it was gifted to Holy Family Parish after kids and residents stopped using it. The church later sold the land and it is now farmland.

As far as the rest of the history of the area, much of it has been lost with time.

“Like Art Nordhoff said, there is not a lot of information about the little town of Maltersville,” Stenftenagel said.

But you can’t miss Maltersville’s baby blue bridge ­— which is listed in the Indiana Historic Bridge Inventory project — on SR 162, smack dab in the middle of the county.

The community is currently home to five businesses: Design4U furniture design firm; Schroering Plumbing, Heating, & AC; Designs by Marge; Central Concrete; and Knies Welding. And yes, you can still find Maltersville on an Indiana map.

To Marge, it’s a town of memories. You’ve probably seen her house on SR 162 — it’s the one currently draped in Christmas lights and decorations with a yard filled with intricate wood cutouts. She has photo books filled with moments captured in time, like picnics at the community park and snapshots of women dressed in 1860s clothing at the centennial party’s period dress contest.

“It was just a lot of fun,” she said.




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