Handling thousands of bricks for the reconstruction of the summer kitchen/freed slaves quarters from the old Townsend Inn gave Lee Stewart a link to the small town’s distant past. “One hundred ninety years ago, a freed slave laid those bricks and made those bricks,” Stewart said. “Then the next person to touch those bricks was me.” Touching those bricks put Stewart in contact with the year 1828, when freed slaves who had accompanied former owner James Townsend from Kentucky built Townsend’s inn as well as their own quarters and summer kitchen.

The restoration of historic Putnamville features the 1828 brick building constructed by James Townsend, an abolitionist who traveled to Putnam County after freeing his inherited slaves. The building, home to freed slaves and a summer kitchen for the Townsend Inn, launched the Townsend/Layman Museum when it joined the restored 1834 Putnamville United Methodist Church. History buffs enjoy this area’s restoration of early Hoosier life.