formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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December 15, 2015 Historical surprises and other fun discoveries

The Liberty Gazette
December 15, 2015
Ely Air Lines
by Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Linda: A funny thing happened on the way to Thanksgiving. First came a blessing. One of Mike’s customers, a company whose pilots look to him for their annual training to stay current and legal flying their company jet, was in a bit of a quandary. One of their pilots would be unavailable the week of Thanksgiving, meaning that if anyone in the company wanted to take a trip they would need another qualified pilot to be available.

Being a week normally filled with travel and family time, the company generously brought both Mike and I to Cincinnati so he would be available should they want to travel - all expenses paid and he only had to stay within a few hours’ drive in case they needed to call on him.

Since my daughter and her family who live in Cincinnati would be out of town for Thanksgiving, we opted to drive two hours west to Indy to visit my mom and sister. The week included lots of food, family, fun, and The Game of Things - try it sometime for good laughing spells. We would have the final day back in Cincinnati with my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Spending some unhurried time back in my home state allowed me to gaze once again at the architecture of homes and other buildings built in the early nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. Daydreaming of these lovely historic Hoosier homes, I landed on After joining the non-profit preservation organization I quickly ordered the beautiful coffee table book, "99 Historic Homes of Indiana".

I’m still making my way through amazing photos and inspiring stories of original homeowners and present-day caretakers of these landmarks, but I knew when I first opened the book that surely there would be at least one story that would make its way here, to this space in the Liberty Gazette.

In the small town of Peru, Indiana in 1913 there lived one of the most materially wealthy people in the country, James Omar Cole. His empire included California gold fields and West Virginia timber land. But in one of the most beautiful places he’d seen, he built a stunning Colonial Revival style home for his daughter, Kate. She and husband Sam Porter lived many years in the home called Westleigh.

Kate and Sam had only one child, and his focus on music caused the family great concern. Grandfather Cole is said to have admonished him for not having a real job. But when the young Cole Porter found success on Broadway the family was proud.

When Cole’s parents passed away he asked his cousin, James O. Cole to move in to the magnificent home, so the family of six left Washington, D.C. to call Westleigh home. One of the four children who grew up there, Joanne, married Major Sid Kubesch, who was stationed at nearby Bunker Hill Air Force Base. It was Sid as commander of his three-man crew who set the world speed record flying a B-58 "Hustler" named "Greased Lightning" (just like the one retired Liberty City Manager Norman Dykes had worked on) 8,028 miles from Tokyo to London in just eight hours and 35 minutes, an average of 938 mph, a record still standing today as the longest supersonic flight.

Mike: The company that brought us out there did not make any trips that week, giving us a relaxing vacation instead, one more thing for which we gave Thanks.

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