Step back in time when you visit Pioneer Village! Nestled between the Machinery Field and the Renewal by Andersen Family Fun Park, come visit this little village straight out of the 1800s. Be sure to stop by and check out:
- Opry House
- Antique Tractor Exhibition
- Farm Toy Show
- Liar’s Contest
- Fiddle Contest
- and more!
Mauri Williamson – Agricultural Preservationist, Storyteller, Visionary
Founder of Pioneer Village
Mauri Williamson was born on a livestock farm just outside of Economy, Indiana in Wayne County. He spent his youth milking cows, shooting baskets and suffering through the hard times of the 1930s. He was active in 4-H, and was probably the only person chosen to attend the National 4-H Club Congress who had never won a blue ribbon.
His wife is June — they married in August 1948, so their anniversary falls during the State Fair each year. Mauri and June are parents to David, who farms on the Williamson home farm in Wayne County, and Marsha, a retired nurse who shares her dad’s love of rural heritage that she showcases in her professional photography and in numerous books, some of which she coauthored with her dad.
After an inglorious hitch in the Navy during World War II, he entered the Purdue University School of Agriculture to become a farmer. In 1950, he graduated with highest distinction.
For several years after graduating, Mauri went back to his family’s cattle farm. He soon recognized he was too much of a social being to enjoy hauling manure, planting corn and milking cows. At that point, he returned to Purdue in 1953 to take the position of Executive Secretary of the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association. During his tenure, the Association has grown to the point that it is now considered the model in alumni relations throughout the country. He is a founding member and past president of the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association and is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Agricultural Hall of Fame.
With 37 years of service, Mauri retired from Purdue University in 1990. He has dedicated his entire life to the improvement and appreciation of American agriculture. His country wit and tales taller than a silo have captivated audiences across the state, and his innovation has led him to become one of the best-known agriculturalists across the nation.
After retirement from Purdue, Mauri continued to work at Pioneer Village, coauthored books about barns and covered bridges. He also helped establish the Indiana Barn Foundation, which lobbies for the successful passage of legislation that gives tax incentives that encourage the preservation of Indiana’s historic barns.