Armchair photo tours: Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop & Cafe in Terre Haute, Indiana

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Photos by Cheryl Landes

I passed the exit to the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, twice in the middle of the night during two cross-country drives. The third time, I was determined to stop for a visit. When it appeared my timing wouldn’t work out again, I stopped for the night at a hotel near the museum so that I could visit the next morning before continuing my journey.

Clabber Girl opened in 1850 at 900 Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, Indiana. The company is still located here today, manufacturing baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, and other products. The Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop & Cafe are in the same location.

The Clabber Girl Museum has displays on the history of the company, the history of Terre Haute, and the evolution of American baking during the past two centuries.

Exploring the museum was a nostalgic trip into my childhood while I was growing up in the Midwest. I recognized the old cans, bottles, and boxes of many products on display, such as Pen-Jel for making jams and jellies, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Brer Rabbit Molasses, Karo Corn Syrup, and Quaker Quick Mother’s Oats.

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A collection of food products on display at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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Farmer’s Pride spice collection at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

The antique refrigerator and wood cookstove reminded me of similar appliances my grandparents had in their kitchen in the Missouri Ozarks.

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An antique refrigerator and cooking stove on display at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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Instructions on how to build a fire in a wood cookstove on display at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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A shortcake recipe published in The American Frugal House, a book by Lydia Maria Francis Child, on display at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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A Singer sewing machine on display at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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Inside the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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A Hulman Coffee Company sign inside the Clabber Girl Museum in Terry Haute, Indiana

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More displays at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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Inside the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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A switchboard at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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The Clabber Baking Powder wagon at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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An antique racecar from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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An Indianapolis Motor Speedway mural at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

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A Lionel Trains mural at the Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana

The Clabber Girl Bake Shop & Cafe serves homemade baked goods, breakfast, and lunch. Breakfast items include fresh biscuits and gravy, yogurt parfaits, cinnamon rolls, and breakfast sandwiches. The lunch menu features salads, soup, sandwiches, and a daily special. The cafe also serves Rex Coffee, which is roasted at Clabber Girl.

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An old Clabber Girl Baking Powder sign in the Clabber Girl Bake Shop & Cafe in Terre Haute, Indiana

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An old Dauntless Coffee sign on display at the Clabber Girl Bake Shop & Cafe in Terre Haute, Indiana

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The Clabber Girl plant in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop & Cafe are on the bottom floor of the building on the right.

When I left the museum, I noticed a status of a basketball player across the street at the Hulman Center. It’s Larry Bird, a native of West Baden, Indiana, and one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was the all-time leading scorer at his high school and went on to break 29 records at Indiana State University (ISU), including the top scorer in the university’s history.

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The Larry Bird statue at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, with the Clabber Girl plant in the background

After he graduated ISU in 1979, Bird played 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics and was on the 1992 Dream Team in the Olympics, which won the gold medal. He coached the Indiana Pacers from 1997 until 2000, where he received NBA Coach of the Year, two consecutive titles in the Central Division, and a spot in the NBA Finals.

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A closer look at the Larry Bird statue at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana

In 2003, Bird returned to the Indiana Pacers as the President of Basketball Operations. He was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2012, which makes him the only person to receive the NBA’s highest awards at the player, coach, and executive levels.

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