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If These Walls Could Talk

Contest Guidelines


What Would They Say?

Tell Us, and You Could Win $1,250.00 in Prizes and Scholarships!

This year's competition is open to all Tipton, IN, high school students.

  1.  To enter the competition, you must register your contact information and your choice of building online at by April 16, 2024. If a single building has more people interested in researching it than others, we may call and ask you to consider writing about a second choice. Our intention is even distribution so the judges may compare essays by subject.

  2,  You must register for Great Towns, Inc. to allow us to communicate with you over the next few weeks while you are doing research and conducting interviews to include in your essay. The deadline for the essay to be submitted is midnight, Thursday, May 9, 2024. You may submit your completed essay by email, or it may be snail-mailed. Please ensure that your essay is post-marked or time-marked by 12:00 AM midnight, Thursday, May 9, 2024.


Email to:


Post mail: “If These Walls Could Talk” Tipton

                    C/O Great Towns, Inc.

                    7428 King George Drive

                    Indianapolis, IN 46260"

  3.  To begin your essay, first choose ONE of the three historic buildings to be your subject.

   The buildings are:

  1.  Diana Theater 137 E. Jefferson Street

  2.  Leatherman Building 113 N. Main Street

  3.  Old Tipton County Bank 128 E. Jefferson Street


You can register and choose your building by going to:







4.  Your essay should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words long. Use a 12-point standard font and double-space your text.

5.  Please cite ALL YOUR SOURCES whether internal or external (i.e. interviews and research) using MLA style.

6.   You need not tell the entire history of the building, but include some interesting facts and include these topics:

  •  When was the building built and what is the style of architecture?

  • What was the building used for originally and at various points in time? (Be specific in your reporting. Did anything of historical significance happen here?) 

  •  Name THREE recognizable features of your building using newly-learned terms to identify them (for example: gable windows, portico, Eastlake carved doors, etc.). For books that can help you identify special features, ask your librarian to see the books and pamphlets provided by Great Towns, Inc. and Indiana Landmarks.


7.  You may learn more about the building by going to the Assessor’s Office at the Tipton County Courthouse in Tipton, by interviewing older townspeople or relatives who can share facts and/or tell anecdotal stories about the building and people who worked or lived there, and by searching through old newspapers, yearbook photo albums, scrap books, etc. Every building has stories to tell—so try to play detective and uncover as many as you can! 

8.  After you have a grasp on the history of the building, start thinking about tomorrow - in other words -  the FUTURE. Your essay must also include your ideas for preservation. For example, if the building has been overly modernized, would different windows make the building look more like it did when it was new? Do you have recommendations for paint, awnings, or signage that may be more in keeping with the character of the architecture?  Your essay must include:

  • Your recommendations for historic preservation of the building: paint, repointing the brick, etc.

  • Aside from the business or entity that may be housed there now, what OTHER use or kind of business could be there?

  • What kinds of businesses would you like to see in Tipton?

9.  Use your imagination and be as descriptive as possible. There are no limits!

10.. As you write your essay THINK VISUALLY! Collect images, if you can, or take some photos because if your essay is selected as a finalist, you will choose a “Video Partner” to help you turn your ideas and essay into a video that will be seen by your community.

11.  A team of judges will select the best essay based on historical fact and interesting narrative. The essay's author shall win a cash prize of $500.00. They shall proceed to tell their story by producing a short video using a smart phone, with the help of a schoolmate he/she/they have selected to be their “Video Partner.”


12.  The video will be shown at various sites in Tipton and the public will be invited to comment on your ideas. Who knows? Someday your vision may become reality!

 13.   But that’s not all! The winning essay author and their “Video Partner” also will receive a public recognition reception and a $750.00 Scholarship to the post-secondary education institution of their choice! This is a great opportunity to learn more about Tipton, its architecture and how the people and places in our community become woven into our future.

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