Spencer in Owen County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Before refrigeration, the Peden springhouse kept food cool using old-fashioned ingenuity and the local geology.
The Peden family raised livestock, chickens, had a vegetable garden and farmed hundreds of acres. Keeping milk, butter, eggs and other produce from spoiling required a springhouse.
A springhouse takes advantage of the cold water emerging from the ground. The cold water cools the air within the building, while the structure provides cooling shade, protection from animals and storage space.
Springs occur when water soaking through the ground encounters a harder layer of rock or clay. Unable to continue downward, the groundwater follows this impervious layer until it emerges from the ground. The groundwater of a spring maintains a constant cool temperature as opposed to surface water, whose temperature fluctuates with the air temperature.
Springs and caves are abundant at McCormick's Creek.
Water percolating through limestone forms a weak acid, dissolving passageways.
The Peden springhouse most likely pre-dates the 1857 barn.
The sediment pit allowed dirt and mud to settle before water flowed into the trough. Milk cans were set in the trough to keep cool. Other perishables such as eggs and butter were stored on shelves.
Erected by Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1857.
Location. 39° 17.667′ N, 86° 42.683′ W. Marker is in Spencer, Indiana, in Owen County. Marker is on Bridal Trail, 0.3 miles north of Park Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spencer IN 47460, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Pedens: First Family of McCormick's Creek (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Owen County (Indiana) War Memorial (approx. 2.8 miles away); Owen County War Memorial (approx. 2.8 miles away); Owen County Courthouse (approx. 2.8 miles away); American Revolution War Memorial (approx. 3.1 miles away); Civil War Cannons - Owen County Indiana (approx. 3.1 miles away); To the Memory of Those Who Served Their Country (approx. 3.1 miles away); Stinesville Limestone Industry (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spencer.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 2, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.