Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Surprise Klan Parade

Darkness had fallen on that Saturday evening, February 24, 1923, when dozens of out-of-town vehicles, including a LaPorte bus, streamed into Hobart and disgorged their cargo of Klansmen — some 400 of them. A cross burned as the Klansmen marched from Lincoln and Tenth up through downtown Hobart and circled back to their starting point, watched by silent townspeople.

2017-9-23. Klan parade
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette, Mar. 2, 1923.

The "triangular park opposite the Kibler filling station," where the cross burned, is now the site of the Doughboy statue.

I like how the report includes all the rumors floating around: that no one in the parade was recognized (certainly not any Hobart citizens!); that the marchers were from Michigan City, Laporte, Valparaiso, Gary, and Hammond; that many in Hobart were frightened by this bizarre display.

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As we see in the next column, Hobart had also been invaded by a more familiar illness: smallpox. Our friend Harry Breyfogle had it. Last I heard, the young Breyfogles were living in the Guyer building; they must have moved. I have no idea which of the many houses around the intersection of East and Second Streets they occupied.

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