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Historical Bluffton

The most courageous person I ever knew

Photograph of Captain Richard Louis Basinger courtesy of The Virtual Wall.

By Bill Herr, Icon columnist

Courage is defined in Webster's Dictionary as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. The most courageous person I ever knew was my friend, Dick Basinger. His father was my Vocational Agriculture teacher at Bluffton High School, Mr. Lorain Basinger. 

1893 Bluffton High School grads speak their minds

By Fred Steiner

High School graduation weekend is here. The Bluffton High School class of 2022 is the 141st class to graduate from our school system. The first class, of 1881, had six graduates.

1892: Bluffton's worst railroad accident

By Fred Steiner

Imagine an out-of-control and fast-moving freight train colliding into the rear of a mixed passenger and freight train stopped at a station.

That scene describes Bluffton’s most horrific railroad accident and it happened here 130 years ago, in 1892.

The accident killed one person, and caused damages in today’s money amounting to nearly $800,000, almost forced the railroad out of business.  

A chat with the woman who played the piano in Bluffton’s silent movie theatre

Read the complete story at

By Fred Steiner

Question: Can you name a business that has continually operated on Bluffton’s Main Street for over one century?

Answer: You may not guess this, but the answer is a movie theatre. Today’s Shannon Theatre was once called the Carma. And, the Carma’s origins started in the silent film era as the Star Theatre.

In the days of silent movies, a piano player sat in a pit near the screen providing music to accompany the drama unfolding.

That piano player was Helen Worthington.

Remembering past Bluffton High School graduations

With the Bluffton University commencement of 2022 celebrated on May 7 and the Bluffton High School ceremonies in our sights on May 28, you may be preoccupied with what the future will bring for these young people.

In a hundred year's time will Blufftonites be reading about them?

In a series of blogs for, Fred Steiner provides us with lists of and information about Bluffton High School graduates beginning in 1881.

Photo-story: Bread baking in the Swiss Settlement

Demonstration for Senior Center members

Members of the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center recently enjoyed an outdoor bread baking demonstration at the Schumacher Homestead, 8350 Bixel Rd. It was a damp and chilly week, but the group brought blankets and chairs, and made themselves comfortable.

Ivan Friesen provided the bread baking expertise, while Swiss Community Historical Society curator Keith Sommers filled in the guests on the history of bread ovens in the area known as The Settlement.