Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Our Frigid Northern Indiana Trip

I'm sure like me, you are pretty tired of anything regarding snow and ice; however, I still have beautiful scenery and places to share.  

This was a view of our son's snow encased home in Northern Indiana before the snow plows came and before I got out with the shovel.

Early morning sunrise

This sweet granddaughter came home from college for a couple days and blessed our hearts.  Savannah is a senior at Trine University and will be receiving her BA and MBA in May.  Not only is she gorgeous, sweet but very intelligent.  Not to mention, she loves her grandparents.

Savannah suggested we take a road trip up into Michigan to see a beautiful old church on the St Joseph River.  Needless to say the scenery was amazing.

This beautiful old church is now only used for events rather than worship, and is part of a large estate where they also have B&B's for event attendees.

This is the iced-over St Joseph River and yes, that is a large snow bank on the other side.

The scenery was spectacular and I found it impossible to tire of it.

I was grateful for a very skillful driver and precious companion on this outing.

Later in the week, Michelle and I took another road trip, this time in another direction.

In Goshen, Indiana there is this large building with a most interesting history.

It is now simply called The Old Bag Factory.

In June 1896 an Ohio native with a canny business mind, opened the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company.  The building, built expressly for this business, was almost 80,000 square feet and strategically placed near a railway depot.  Their products were carried by train across the country.  Here they made laundry soap, fine bathing soap and toilet paper.  An interesting combination, don't you think?

In 1910, the plant was renovated and purchased by the Chicago-Detroit Bag Company.  After a merger in 1924 under the control of the Chase Bag Factory, the Goshen plant became one of the largest and most important of the 15 plants owned by the company.  Their specialty products ranged from waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey's Kiss wrappers. Again, very diverse products.

The term "bagology" was coined during this period, meaning "to elevate the production of bags to the level of science."  This evidently didn't go over very well, and after a long decline in business, the Bag Factory closed its doors in 1982.

In 1984 the Swartzendruber family bought the building.  Wind and weather had taken its toll, and electricity and plumbing were no longer working, so after an extensive renovation, the Swartzendrubers made the Old Bag Factory the headquarters for their handcrafted custom furniture.

During this time, they also made space available for other Artists and Merchants to use this historic building and its surroundings as their home.

In December 2010, the building was sold, but it continues to be used by area artisans and the tradition of locally made Amish furniture continues.

Inside the old building the first thing you see is this beautifully carved stair railing.

The majority of the main space is filled with some of the most beautiful handmade furniture I've ever seen, done by local Amish craftsmen.

Michelle found the glider of her dreams and she may have actually had a dream or two while enjoying the chair.

I seriously have never seen or felt a smoother finish than on the furniture in this place.  Legacy Home Furniture

Beyond the furniture section was a large room full of pottery.

While looking around and exclaiming over the beauty of each of the unique pieces, a gentleman walked out and asked which we liked best.  Because it was an impossible question to answer, I asked if he was the potter, to which he replied "Yes!"

Mark Goertzen was such a nice and friendly man and took the time to explain some of his process and didn't mind a bit posing for this picture.

If I had any extra space in my suitcase, I would have brought home one of his pieces.  But, that will be reason to return on another trip when we drive.

We had the best time exploring all three levels of this huge old Bag Factory.

It is said that now, instead of transporting goods by train, the Old Bag Factory's artists and merchants can send their crafts away in - what else?  Shopping bags.

Our next stop was in Elkhart, Indiana at another old building full of magic.

I couldn't find any information about this grand old building, except that it is now the home of the Steelyard Coffee Co.  And although I am not a coffee drinker, my daughter-in-law is an expert and she says they have the best.

After eating the most delicious lunch in the Coffee Shop and exploring and making a few very small purchases in the boutique, we found the rest of the magic.

For some reason the composition of mirrors encompassed by the long doors kept drawing me back to just simply enjoy.

There was so much to see and in this space and we made several repeated rounds before we left.  This too is a definite do over.

Before Savannah left to go back to school, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast together at Uptown Kitchen in Granger.

We treasure our family time with our family even and especially when its zero degrees and layers of ice and snow on the ground, because being with them brings nothing but warmth and tons of love, not to mention sweetness to our souls.

Elizabeth "Libby" Day
Elizabeth "Libby" Day

Hello, My name is Libby. I enjoy reading good books, painting, blogging, spending time with friends and whatever my "Heart" leads me to do. Welcome to Beauty Without Within.


  1. OOOO what fun! I LOVE architectural elements that either are or resemble old arched church windows! I finally found an affordable one for my own home decor. There is an old house in my area that has a number of them, unfortunately it isn't being properly cared for.

  2. Well, it is absolutely beautiful but I do not care to be a part of it at all. :o)) I know y'all enjoyed your time with Savannah as well. I cannot believe she is about to be a college graduate. She shouldn't be more than about 12 years old. Ugh! Have a great rest of your week!


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