Tarzan King of the Jungle originally appeared in a silent black and white film starring an Indiana native. Otto Elmo Linkenhelt of Rochester, Indiana was the first to play Tarzan on the big screen. Of course, Hollywood shortened his name to Elmo Lincoln when the Hoosier actor took the Tarzan role in this 1918 film. The Fulton County Historical Society Museum keeps the actor’s legacy alive and displays other proud moments in the area’s history.
Another prominent figure featured in this educational Indiana museum is Doctor Otis Bowen. He served as Indiana’s governor and as Ronald Reagan’s cabinet secretary of health and human services. Before his career success, Dr. Bowen grew up in Fulton County, and attended Fulton County High School.
Historic people from Fulton County aren’t all there is to learn about at the Fulton County Historical Society Museum. Over a dozen other exhibits feature schools, toys, old-fashioned kitchens, transportation and even the circus. Like many central Indiana towns in the 1930s, Rochester served as a winter home to the Cole Brothers Circus. On your way up to Rochester, make a stop in Peru and visit the International Circus Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Round Barn Museum is a popular site to see in Rochester. The Fulton County Historical Society acquired a historic round barn from the nearby Bert Leedy farm in 1989. It was the last barn of its kind built in Fulton County and it dates back to 1924. Just shy of a century old, the barn has been through a lot over the years. In 1989 the roof was removed by a tornado, and that’s when it was donated and eventually transported to the Fulton County Historical Society. Donations, grants and a loan from the Historical Landmarks Fund afforded the barn’s restoration.
Fulton County Historical Society Museum is perhaps best known for its annual Trail of Courage Living History Festival. Each year a different family is honored at this Indiana event, all Potawatomi Indians. There are even informational signs on the grounds to inform visitors about this part of Indiana’s rich history. The museum also participates in a Trail of Death commemorative caravan. Native American history in Indiana can be witnessed and studied several Indiana landmarks, including the Pigeon Roost Massacre State Historic Site and the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park.
Fulton County Historical Society Museum
37 East 375 North
Rochester, Indiana 46975