Keith and I visited Jay County recently. We came to town for the Tri-State Gas and Engine Show. While there, Gyneth Ausburger, Director of the Jay County Indiana CVB shared some of the glories of the little town of Dunkirk, “Glass Capital of the Indiana”. It was the discovery of natural gas in the 1880’s, that caused the massive expansion of glass manufacturing in Dunkirk, Indiana. The town was once home to 23 glass factories! Along with the Glass Museum, there are many things that make Dunkirk an alluring place to visit.
Glass Capital museum and more
We tried, but were unable to see the inside of the beautiful Glass museum that is attached to the public library. What I saw inside looked quite inviting! The website shares that there are over 8,000 pieces of glassware from around the world!
There is also a neat memorial to Benjamin E. Rubrect the First Secretary of the Flint Glass Workers Union of North America. He was an active member from the inception of the union in July 1878 until his death in 1922.
Kathy and Rock Faqua have taken over the former firehouse built in 1900 and converted the building into an amazing event center. Currently while they are building their new home, they are actually living in the 1900 building.
Kathy is an artist and she said they took the front doors and saved them using the old wood. They built an amazing bar inside. “The bar was created by Stan an amazing master woodworker,” she shared.
Upstairs she has an amazing art collection. “We have weddings, book signings, funerals, etc.”
Rock and Kathy didn’t want to be hemmed in on what the Firehouse could or could not be. What it is, is lovely!
The Mural shares Dunkirk, Indiana history!
Artist Pamela Bliss has been hard at work on a mural in downtown Dunkirk. This talented artist is also responsible for the Reggie Miller mural in Indianapolis. The mural was underway when we visited. I loved the way the train appears to be coming right out of the wall and the A&W glass of root beer looks to be pouring 3D style!
Glass Capital Grill
This wonderful restaurant was just opened with new owners the night we were there. Great food and a big crowd indicates this will be a huge success. Keith and I both had porkchops and the food was awesome.
Kathy and Rock have been buying buildings and fixing them up. Others have then been taking them over like the very successful fitness club that Kathy said now has over 500 members! Along with being a fitness club, the club was also a hair salon as well!
S.D.P. Manufacturing Inc.
Dunkirk, Indiana also has successful businesses as well. Dru Hall, who is also on the tourism board gave us a tour of S.D.P. Manufacturing. The company, which he is Vice President of manufactures the EZ hauler which can do what a line-truck can do setting poles etc.
On their website it states, “The EZ Hauler 55MLP is designed to do what a line-truck can do, but is able to work in confined spaces and hard to navigate areas. The EZ Hauler is able to carry multiple utility poles and transformers to the job site for you.”
Dru shared that they are ANSI certified and that they have a remote control that controls all the work. With a QR code the entire manufacturers directions can be downloaded. The remote control is also transferable between the EZ Hauler 55MLP the mini digger derrick to the EZ Crauler and the Terex Aerial device.
This is a family business that employees 25 people. Dru says he married into the business. When asked what SDP stands for (really it is his wife and brother-in-laws names) he laughs and says Set Dat Pole. Funny, but this has caught on and he even has a shirt made up reflecting the words!
These are just a few of the reasons to head to Dunkirk. Be sure to check out some of the neat museums in Jay County! Contact the Jay County Tourism Bureau to learn more about what to see and do in the area!