Fire destroys much of historical collection

The Bartholomew County Historical Society estimates it lost as many as 75,000 items in a fire that destroyed the United
Way building in Columbus.

Society director Julie Hughes called the fire a "devastating blow" as the group
might have lost up to 80 percent of its collection of Indiana historical items in Thursday night’s blaze.

The feared
losses include memorabilia from local companies such as Arvin Industries and several quilts and other items that dated to
the county’s pioneer families. Hughes says all the society’s photographs and most of its correspondence survived as they were
stored at its downtown museum.

Investigators haven’t yet determined the fire’s cause, although city Fire Department
spokesman Matt Noblitt says foul play is not suspected.

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