You’re standing in the heart of the Beardsley Avenue Historic District, so it’s fitting this triangle of land formed by the avenue and Riverside Drive is the site for a monument to Elkhart’s Founder, Dr. Havilah Beardsley. A lot of history and growth happened in this area, from the building of mills to supply needed products to settlers and local native Indians, to the transformation of the settlement of Pulaski north of the river to a full-fledged town of Elkhart south of the river.
This was Beardsley’s neighborhood, so to speak. Imagine yourself in the 1840s. Right here, you’d be standing in the shadow of one his mills. You might even see Dr. Beardsley walk by on his way to check on business. And you might stop him to ask about purchasing land in the new town. Or, you might be waiting to board his rope ferry to take you across the river. In this area, you couldn’t really avoid Beardsley’s influence.
His nephew, A. R. Beardsley, who guided Miles Laboratories to worldwide success years later, had this statue made in about 1913, and the entire setting was designed by E. Hill Turnock the architect who designed Ruthmere and many other notable buildings around Elkhart. Even though Elkhart has changed around it -- the mills are gone, and so are the rope ferries -- the statue of Havilah Beardsley still watches over the city he started.