Local News

Pioneer Land Creator to Live On with Plaque

(La Porte County, IN) - The man responsible for Pioneer Land at the La Porte County Fairgrounds will be honored.


A plaque featuring a likeness of Dick Reel's face made of bronze will be made and displayed on the mantle of the fireplace in the log cabin, said Carl Schultz, a longtime Pioneer Land volunteer and good friend of Reel, considered the father of Pioneer Land. Reel passed away in February.


The log cabin was the first building erected in the 1800s-type village created in 1995.


Schultz said the Pioneer Land Committee voted to have the plaque created in Reel's honor in late June. The plaque will also have special words of dedication, though the wording has not been decided.


Schultz expects the plaque to be finished sometime in the fall and will be large enough for people to recognize and read easily.


"When people come three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now, they'll be able to look up there and know that Dick was the father of Pioneer Land, the one who got it started," Schultz said.

Reel, a retired Purdue Extension educator who for years worked with youth in the 4-H program, was 74.


Schultz was among the people who spoke about Reel during a brief ceremony before Sunday's annual ham and bean dinner fundraiser for Pioneer Land.


Pioneer Land now has 14 buildings and draws thousands of people during the fair, school tours, and the Christmas season. 

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