Here at LaBella Flora, we take great pride in our humble and small home town!
We are located in Auburn, a small town in Northeast Indiana that is larger than life despite its small size! Rich in both history and tradition, Auburn and has remained a bustling hub of activity and business for over 100 years! The city of Auburn is part of the history of our boutique, so to know a little more about us, you should get to know our little town! We thought that we would share with you a little bit of our town’s history so you can see where we have decided to plant our roots!
The city of Auburn was founded in April of 1836 on the banks of Cedar Creek by two explorers named Wesley Park and John Badlam Howe at the intersection of two major trails that wove through the Midwestern state. The village, at the time, is believed to have gained its name from a passage from Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Deserted Village” which reads “Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain.” The first lot purchased in Auburn was sold for $25.00 on September 5, 1837 and the first store was built on March 5 of the next year. In 1839, the city gained a post office and ten years later, the village was divided into wards and governed by a town board and constable. Over 700 people lived in Auburn by the end of the Civil War and the village gained its status as the City of Auburn on March 26, 1900 with an estimated total of over 3,000 residents.
Today, the city of Auburn is home to an estimated 13,000 people and is the county seat
of DeKalb County. Our downtown square is listed on the U.S. Department of Interior’s Register of Historic places as a historic district, and features many commercial buildings that were built between the years of 1870 and 1935, and include a variety of notable architectural styles including the Victorian, Classical Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Colonial Revival styles. Another historic building in Auburn is our beautiful Eckhart Public Library which was placed on the Register of Historic Places in the year 1981. The building was first constructed in 1911 and donated to the city with an adjoining park, by the Eckhart family who were prominent in the community and very influential in bringing the automotive industry to Auburn in the early 1900s.
While Auburn is home to many beautiful historic buildings and parks, the town is best known for its role in early 1900s automobile manufacturing. Auburn was the home of some of the best known automobile companies in the pre-depression era, and this is the reason why the city is known now as “The Home of the Classics.” Auburn was a part of the Automobile industry before automobiles were invented! The city built carriages in the late 1800s and then moved on to horseless carriages and eventually luxury vehicles thanks to the trail blazing works of the Eckhart Family.
Before the early 1900s, carriages were the main mode of transportation for people in the United States. Auburn, Indiana was the home of the Eckhart Carriage Company which was founded by Auburn native Charles Eckhart in the year 1874. This company first built carriages that were pulled by horses until the Eckhart brothers decided to experiment with constructing a “horseless carriage,” which we now know as a modern automobile. During this time, the Eckhart Carriage company absorbed two other local carmakers, Zimmerman and McIntyre, and created a larger plant in 1909 that closed shortly after the beginning of World War I due to material shortages. But this would not end the story of the Eckhart Carriage Company. In 1919, The Eckhart family sold their company to a group of Chicago Investors who, in 1924, would hire a man named Errett Lobban (E.L.) Cord to run what they named the Auburn Automobile Company. Cord eventually bought the Auburn Automobile Company from the investors and ran an incredibly successful luxury car company that would run almost through the Great Depression until it closed in the year 1937.
During the years that E.L.Cord ran the Auburn Automobile Company, the company saw greater profits than it had ever seen in its history. The company created landmark automobiles with some that are now regarded as the pinnacle of classic cars. The Auburn Automobile Company oversaw the production of three different automobile makes; the Auburn, the Cord, and the Duesenberg. The company closed permanently in August of 1937 since the cars they manufactured were too expensive for the falling economy of the Great Depression. One of my favorites is the 1936 Cord 810. Its sleek and elegant style exhibits the chic complexity of E.L. Cord’s namesake cars that were designed, and in some cases, manufactured in Auburn.
While the Auburn Automobile Company no longer exists and is no longer creating their
namesake cars, many of their beautiful cars can be seen today at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum located just outside of downtown Auburn. The building where these stunning automobiles are displayed is listed on the National Register of Historic Places that is recorded by the United States Department of the Interior, and it maintains its 1930s era Art Deco design that takes guests back to the golden age of automobile manufacturing as soon as they step foot into the original factory showroom. The building displays roughly 120 cars at a time and takes visitors through the history of both the Auburn Automobile Company and the automobile itself. The beautiful site is also the centerpiece of a yearly festival that falls over Labor Day weekend. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival has brought people from all over the world to our small town. Whether they bring their gorgeous classic Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles to be a part of countless parades and events or they come to participate in the annual auction, guests can find activities related to these fantastic cars all weekend long.
Classic Cars aren’t the only things that make Auburn the interesting place that it is. On October 14, 1933, notorious American bank robber John Dillinger and his accomplices raided the Auburn Police Station and stole a submachine gun, three bulletproof vests, three rifles, six pistols and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition before taking part in a crime spree that ravaged most of the state of Indiana and other states in the Midwest.
Auburn was also the home to a few athletes. Olympic track and field athlete Don Lash
was born in the neighboring town of Bluffton and was raised in Auburn. He competed in the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter races during the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin Germany. Professional baseball player Rollie Zeider was born in Auburn Indiana playedfor notable teams such as the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs. After completing his professional baseball career in 1918, he moved back to neighboring Steuben County in 1959 and then passed away in DeKalb County in 1967 at the age of 83.
Today, Auburn is known for more than its historic cars and professional athletes. Auburn is the home of both a private K-12 school and a public school district that both receive high praise for their achievements in academics, athletics, and the arts. The local public High School is home to one of the most highly recognized and regarded music departments in the State of Indiana. The Theatre program incorporates the talents of members of the band and choir programs to create two shows a year; a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. A cast of student actors and a pit band entirely composed of students create highly praised productions that attract audience members from all over the State. In the past ten years, popular shows like Annie, Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, and Beauty and the Beast have been performed phenomenally by DeKalb High School students. Both their Marching Band and Show Choir competition groups perform all over the state and even around the country, and are invited to compete at the State Competitions in their respective divisions almost every year.
The Show Choir groups, a mixed choir known as Classic Connection and an all-girls ensemble, Sound Sensation, have both brought home multiple State Championship honors in the last 10 years. Classic Connection was also invited to the Indiana State House in the spring of 2013 where they were recognized by the Indiana State Senate and House of Representatives for their achievements. They also wear fancy dresses that really sparkle like some of our favorite special occasion styles in our boutique! Our copywriter, Anna, was a member of both Classic Connection and Sound Sensation until she graduated from DeKalb High School in 2014; she won two state championships and performed at the State House and Lucas Oil Stadium with the group.
The Baron Brigade Marching Band is a highly regarded group of students at DeKalb High School. Filled to the brim with talented musicians and color guard members, the group has traveled to state many times since the competition began in 1985 which is now held at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. Our owner’s daughter Savannah was part of the Baron Brigade’s Color Guard until she graduated in 2015. Many of the girls in both the Show Choir and Marching Band were LaBella Flora Cuties when they were younger and have grown up to become beautiful, strong, and successful women (who still have a keen eye for fashion)!
Now that you know a little bit more about our little town, we hope you’ll come and visit us and explore the home we have come to love! Check out some of our favorite historic sites like the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum and the Eckhart Public Library and take in the beauty of Auburn! We are only about two hours away from Indiana’s capitol of Indianapolis, and we love to meet our valued customers in person!