13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers
William Conner settled in this area in 1800. He lived as a trader and then as a farmer and became prominent in state politics. His Federal-style mansion of mellow redbrick, built in 1823, still stands, having been restored, and an entire village duplicating a typical prairie settlement of the 1830s is also on the premises.
The village has more than five historic areas with 45 buildings. Included among them are an inn, a schoolhouse, a loom house, and a barn with bins of sweet-smelling grain. The houses include those of a doctor and a weaver, and homes and shops for a carpenter, a blacksmith, a potter, and a storekeeper. The furnishings throughout include period pieces or accurate reproductions.
The buildings also have occupants in period attire, and they take their roles to heart. The carpenter, for example, hews wood and constructs items using authentic tools and materials. The doctor discourses on a then popular medical notion of the four cardinal humors that affect one’s health. And a talkative widower regales visitors with tales about his exploits as riverboatman and soldier.
The Conner house itself has been furnished simply but elegantly in the manner of the period. There are built-in cupboards and bookcases in the dining and drawing rooms; in the kitchen is a beehive oven that held 15 loaves of bread; on the stairs are rag-strip loomed carpets; and the main bedroom includes a four-poster bed with an 1858 patchwork quilt.
For youngsters and the young at heart, there is also the Discovery Station. Here visitors can build a log cabin, play with toy trains, dress up in period costumes, or put on a puppet show, all in the spirit of prairie life.
Hours change seasonally. Admission charged.