By Hope Matthew
For many years Spring Mill State Park has been a beautiful, year-round destination where families enjoy the outdoors, experience educational programs and get a glimpse of history up close.
Spring Mill State Park has been described as a powerful illustration of the link between the natural and cultural world. The park has many features to offer, including the Pioneer Village, Nature Center, Gus Grissom Memorial, Twin Caves Boat Tour and Spring Mill Inn along with opportunities for hiking, camping, and swimming. The Pioneer Village is one of the most well-known attractions. It was founded in 1814 and contains 20 historic buildings.
One of the most recently restored structures in the Pioneer Village is the Mill Office. With the help of Paul Sanders, the Mill Office has been transformed into a print shop consistent with the 1800s. Sanders was a graphics and communications teacher for 37 years at the North Lawrence Career Center.
Last November, Sanders worked with the local organization, Friends of Spring Mill State Park, to apply for an Operation Round Up grant through Orange County REMC to secure funds to purchase equipment for the print shop. (The mission of the Friends of Spring Mill State Park is to support projects and events that help conserve, restore, and interpret the natural and cultural heritage of the park as well as enhance recreational and educational experiences for park visitors in partnership with park staff.)
Sanders explained, “Thousands of visitors, including students, visit Spring Mill State Park and the Pioneer Village. We feel that making the village print shop come to life can add to the enjoyment and learning that takes place because of that experience.”
After submitting a grant request application through the Operation Round Up program, The Friends of Spring Mill State Park was awarded $2,500.
Sanders used those funds to purchase an 1881 Paragon Guillotine paper cutter, various lead type fonts, hand tools, an imposing table, and storage cabinets specific to lead type spacing. The grant also allowed the shop to be rewired with brighter, more efficient LED lighting to replace the two fluorescent fixtures which did not supply adequate light for working safely on the press.
“By all accounts, it has been a great addition to the Spring Mill Pioneer Village and the overall Spring Mill State Park education and recreational offerings,” Sanders commented.
The print shop also hosts a 120-year-old Golden Pearl Letter Press series number 3 out of 247.
If you would like to visit Paul Sanders or his apprentice, the Pioneer Village is open from May through mid-October from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The print shop is located on the southwest side of the mill next to the school and Pioneer Garden.
Spring Mill State Park is located at 3333 State Road 60 E., Mitchell 47446 and can be reached at 812-849-3534. Learn more about Spring Mill State Park at www.springmillstatepark.com or Friends of Spring Mill State Park at friendsofspringmill.com.
HOPE MATTHEW is Orange County REMC’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator
How does the Operation Round up program work?
Orange County REMC is proud to have the Operation Round Up program in place, which can easily direct funds to local groups and organizations that have a big impact and improve lives in our community. Orange County REMC members who participate in Operation Round Up allow their monthly electric bills to be “rounded up” to the next dollar. That spare change is placed in a community fund, overseen by a volunteer board of trustees. This volunteer board meets three times a year to review the requests for grants. Local community groups, non-profits, organizations, and individuals can apply. To learn more about Operation Round Up visit myremc.coop/operation-round-up or call 812-865-2229.