History is Made as Bicentennial Torch Travels Through French Lick Resort

By Joy Neighbors

Tom Taggart's Rolls

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay made its way through Orange County today amid tears and cheers in a sojourn that lasted about an hour at French Lick Resort.

The iconic torch entered resort property on board a 1927 Rolls Royce originally owned by Tom Taggart and driven by Transportation Director, Alan Beck with Bill Harris, Springs Valley Hall of Fame Coach, bearing the flame.

It was then taken aboard the 1930 rail trolley by Marilyn Kessler – a retired employee of over 30 years and traveled the rails with seventeen senior resort employees who had a combined 644 years of resort service between them; all were chosen to ride with the torch on the trolley motored by Sheryl Yeadon.

Golf Director, Dave Harner conveyed the torch up Mt Airie Road on the trolley bus driven by Gene Breedlove, Livery Supervisor. The road trolley stopped at the 17th hole on the Pete Dye Course and the torch was passed to Jackie Carnes who carried it in honor of her father, the late Jack Carnes, a 44-year employee of the resort.

Chris Leininger
Steve Ferguson
The torch arrived as West Baden Springs Hotel among much fanfare before being lofted through the domed atrium by Chairman of Cook Group, Steve Ferguson and Sales Director, Adina Cloud. Awaiting the torch on the hotel’s historic front steps was French Lick Resort COO, Chris Leininger, who carried the flame down the steps and out to a waiting 1926 Model T driven by Resort Transportation Manager Sam Ray.

Jeff Lane
Under the memorable hotel arches, the torch was passed to Orange County Historian and Resort Archivist, Jeff Lane, traveling in a 1931 Model A driven by Rex Hinkle, Vice President of Cook Aviation. From there, the Bicentennial Torch relay continued its historic journey east on State Road 56/150 to Paoli and on through the state.

Here's a video of the event.