‘Your Town Friday’ travels to Jamestown

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JAMESTOWN, Ind. (Aug. 21, 2015) -- This morning "Your Town Friday" is in Jamestown!  You’ll find the small Boone County town 32 miles northwest of downtown Indy.  If you've ever wanted to have an old car restored but you don’t want to empty your bank account doing it, we have just the place for you in Jamestown!

“The big trend now for a lot of these guys is to have an original old hot rod that was built from the day,” said Steve Panarites, owner of Steve’s Auto Fab in Jamestown.

Steve has been restoring old cars since the 80s.  He doesn’t have a website or Facebook page, his business is all from word of mouth.

“People want to modernize them with a late model engine and transmission and rear end so you can get out on the interstate, you want to go to a show in Columbus, Ohio or California or wherever and you can safely get out on the interstate or roads and go 60, 70 mph or 80, whatever you want to drive and do it safely and comfortably.  We build cars like this, we take old cars and this is called a traditional car, it’s built in the way they did it back in the 50s and 60s and we do some race car restoration,” said Steve.

In fact, right now he's working on this old race car engine.

“It’s a pretty significant car.  Mario Andretti took his rookie test in it and won three championships in it!” said Steve.

Steve specializes in cars from the 20s, 30s and 40s and does exhaust work, front end work, suspension and framework.  If you've got a hot rod in need of some work - don't give up on it - just take it to Steve!

“They don’t make them anymore.  There’s a lot of reproduction stuff built now but it’s not like the real thing.  It depends on how much a car means to someone.  Older cars have a lot more personality than new cars do I guess and you drive down the road and everyone knows it’s a Ford or Chevy, with the later cars it’s hard to distinguish” said Steve.

Even though Jamestown is small, the population is right around a thousand, it has some beautiful outdoor spaces and it’s rich in history!

“It’s 17 acres of wooded area and we have trails; you can take the trail outside the perimeter of the park it's 6/10th of a mile,” said Jim Brown, park board president of the Pleasant Acres Nature Park.

Pleasant Acres Nature Park sits just outside of downtown Jamestown.

“It’s small, it’s quiet and there is hardly ever a large crowd here.  It’s the perfect opportunity to exercise or get some mental exercise.  You can relax, take a break, get out of the house, enjoy nature and have the opportunity to meet people you may not otherwise meet.  It’s the only nature center in the immediate area other than the one that’s outside of North Salem so it’s available to anyone.  We use it for education purposes,” said Jim.

Along Main Street in downtown Indy you'll find the Jackson Township Historical Society.  It’s a really neat space with a lot to see!

“All of our artifacts in here are things we’ve gathered from people in the community. We try to preserve some of the history of Jackson Township.  Jackson Township includes the towns of Jamestown and Advance. All of our photographs you see, we have a ton stored away, that is some type of historical event that took place in this community years ago,” said volunteer Bill Leeke.

And the building itself holds a great deal of history!

“You’ll notice over here there is a lot of printing equipment.  This was a newspaper office for three generations.  When the gentleman retired, when he turned age 65, he locked the doors and walked out and left all the equipment and he sold the building to a group of people in town and they started the Jackson Township Historical Society.  We’ve tried to leave everything in place as he had it.  That’s all of his printing presses over there and in the middle is his composing where he printed a weekly newspaper in here.”

Bill says he hopes the younger generation will appreciate everything that’s been preserved.

“This is the oldest town in Boone County. We were settled in 1833.  We are losing our old people in town, unfortunately, and the younger people in their 20s, they don’t understand what this is and they’re not interested in it.  We find a lot of younger people just aren’t interested in the history of the town and it seems like when they reached 50 or 60, that’s when they develop an interest, so we try to sell this to them and let know it’s part of their history.  It’s very difficult to do,” said Bill.

The Jackson Township Historical Society is open every first and third Saturday of the month and also open by appointment.