Governor portraits adorn government center

COLUMBIA CITY — Local history became even more visible Tuesday as large portraits of the county’s only two former Indiana governors were officially unveiled at the entrance to the Whitley County Government Center.The portraits, along with two plaques, grace the entrance and were made possible by a collaborative effort of local political organizations and a law firm steeped in local history.The portraits, 30-inch by 40-inch photographs of Thomas R. Marshall and Ralph F. Gates, both former governors of Indiana, flank plaques commemorating their careers as well as one in gratitude of a local law firm that financed the framing of the portraits.The firm of Bloom, Gates, Sigler and Whiteleather paid for the framing of the portraits, according to Dennis Warnick of the Whitley County Historical Society.The official unveiling was also attended by former judge Pat McNagny, daughter of Gates.The plaque commemorating the two former governors was underwritten by the county Republican and Democratic parties.“We left places on the plaque for future governors if there ever are any,” said Warnick.Marshall was not only the 27th governor of Indiana, but was also the 28th vice-president under Woodrow Wilson, wielding significant power in the executive branch when illness debilitated the commander in chief.Gates served as Indiana’s 37th governor, coming to power in the wake of a Ku Klux Klan scandal of the 1920s.