Hobart historian honored for service
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 10, 2014 3:16PM
Elin Christianson, president of the Hobart Historical Society, recently received the Hubert Hawkins Award for her work in preserving local history from the Indiana Historical Society at its Founders Day Dinner in Indianapolis. Also pictured are Jerry Semler (lef)t, chair of the IHS Board of Trustees, and Jim Madison, IHS trustee and vice chair of the IHS Awards Committee. | Photo provided
Updated: February 14, 2014 6:08AM
Elin Christianson recently received the 2013 Hubert Hawkins History Award from the Indiana Historical Society, honoring her 42 years’ of work to preserve the city’s history.
The Hubert Hawkins History Award is given to a local historian for distinguished service in his or her career in local history.
The award was one of several given by the state society at its annual Founders Day Dinner, held last month at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.
Christianson, who has served as president of the Hobart Historical Society since 1980, has been instrumental in saving several historical buildings in the city, including the former Carnegie library that now houses the historical society and the Pennsy Depot, the state historical society pointed out.
Both those buildings, along with the 1st Unitarian Church, which Christianson also nominated, are on the National Register of Historical Places.
The state historical society also pointed out that Christianson has written several books on local history, the sale of which supports the Hobart Historical Society Museum.
“Through the solicitation of donations and grants, her work has enabled the museum to offer free admission to all visitors. She also conducts annual tours and presentations on Hobart’s history for all third-grade students as well as other audiences,” the IHS stated.
Christianson said she was honored to receive the award.
“I worked all these years not thinking about getting an award for it. I’m very honored to have received it,” Christianson said.
She said her proudest accomplishment has been organizing the historical society’s library.
“It took a long time and it’s being kept up by other volunteers,” Christianson said.
Christianson has followed in the footsteps of her parents, Donald and Dorothy Ballantyne, who were charter members of the Hobart Historical Society. Dorothy Ballantyne served as its president.
While her parents were life-long residents of Hobart, Christianson lived in Chicago for 17 years before returning to the city she was born and raised in in1971.
She was an adjunct lecturer for the Library Schools at Indiana University and University of Chicago.
Christianson said she plans to remain active in the local historical society and continue with programs already implemented, but has no new projects on the horizon for 2014.
She invites the public to visit the museum at 706 E. 4th St . from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays.