(AVOCA) – More than 120 tickets were sold for the 1st annual Reed Station conflagration. The event was sponsored by the Lawrence County Museum.
Officials had to turn around some individuals due to the popularity of the event.
In the first decade of the last century, Reed Station was a small but thriving community of Italian immigrants between Oolitic and Avoca. It became the scene of a dramatic series of events that would baffle law enforcement and test community ties.
On Friday evening, attendees were given a history lesson on some of the families that were involved in the Reed Station events that included a fire and murders of some of the Reed Station residents and the possible involvement of the Chicago mafia.
Filippo Rocco, or Phillip Rock as he was known in Indiana, was an Italian immigrant living with his wife and most of their nine children in the small community of Reed Station, between Oolitic and Avoca, at the first of the century.
Among Rocco’s businesses was a saloon at Reed Station with a boarding house upstairs for 18 or so Italian workers. All was well until the Italian Louis Lottio walked into the saloon on August 5, 1906.
When he walked into the saloon, he could smell the aroma of garlic and onions as well as the finest tomatoes grown in this small community. But, Lottio got drunk and ending up hitting Maddie Rocco which caused such a commotion that Reed Station was never the same.
One day, Reed Station was attacked, buildings were burned down, and a prominent businessman was murdered and a threatening letter was sent by the committee. A group then attempted to force the Italians out of their homes.
Lawrence County justice was never served or was it?
About six groups of twenty on the guided tour walked towards Reed Station while the actors told the story of Reed Station. After the story was played out, groups were shown video evidence of possible ghosts haunting the upstairs of the home that sits on the Avoca Fish Hatchery property.
The presentation of video and audio was provided by Believe Paranormal regarding its findings at the location. Attendees were then fed soups, cornbread, and desserts.
“My grandmother, Mary Magnus rode the train into Reed station. She came from Italy and died around 1992 in her 80’s,” says Marianna Teague. “Her husband was Joe Magnus who also operated the Magnus grocery store in Oolitic. I enjoyed the program.”
The Lawrence County Museum did research to try to portray the events as closely as they could.