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June 11, 2013

Carnegie Center hosts ‘Bicentennial Biographies’ workshop Saturday

NEW ALBANY —

The Carnegie Center for Art and History,  201 E. Spring St., New Albany, hosts a series of monthly workshops for children ages 8 to 11 in commemoration of New Albany’s bicentennial. 

The “Bicentennial Biographies” workshops will be offered the third Saturday of each month during 2013 and will teach participants about a local historical figure or significant local event. The workshops are taught by David Condra, an avid historian who recently retired from Floyds Knobs Elementary after many years of teaching. 

 Each “Bicentennial Biographies” workshop will begin with information about that month’s topic, followed by a craft or activity along that theme. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The workshops are free but registration is required and must be made no later than the day before the workshop. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and space is limited. Call 812-944-7336 or email dthomas@ carnegiecenter.org to register. 

The topic for Saturday, June 15, “Bicentennial Biographies” workshop is William Stewart Culbertson. Culbertson was born Feb. 4, 1814, in a small Pennsylvania town called New Market.  As an adventurous young man, he left Pennsylvania in 1835 and headed west seeking a happy and successful life for his future. 

 He stopped in Louisville and tried to get a job in a dry-goods store. The owner didn't have any job openings, but he recommended that Culbertson cross the Ohio River to New Albany to seek a job in dry goods. The 21-year-old William S. Culbertson applied for a job at New Albany's largest dry goods store.  Its owner, Alexander S. Burnett, hired young Culbertson as a clerk in his store.  William Stewart Culbertson came to New Albany in 1835 and lived in New Albany for the rest of his life.  He established his own drygoods store in New Albany, first having his brother John, then his oldest son William Arthur Culbertson, to assist him as business partners.  Culbertson earned a fortune in dry goods, banking and utilities.  He became a philanthropist, and shared some of his wealth with people who had special needs, such as widows and orphans.  He died on June 25th, 1892, of congestive heart failure, at his home.  He was 78 years of age.  He had lived in New Albany for 57 years.  At the time of his death, William Stewart Culbertson of New Albany was the richest man in Indiana with a fortune valued at $3.5 million.  

A craft activity will follow the discussion of Culbertson.  Children attending will make a dry-goods collage using scraps of material, lace, yarn, and buttons. Materials are provided, but children may bring any of these items from home that they would like to use. 

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