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A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Story of Mark C. Honeywell

You may have heard that The Honeywell Foundation will reach an exciting milestone this year—its 75th anniversary!

Starting this month, we're hosting 75 Days of Gratitude: A 75-day long celebration, jam-packed with fun activities for community members and visitors to enjoy. But, before we start celebrating, we’d like to take a trip down memory lane.

75 years ago, Mark C. Honeywell, a successful industrialist and charitable member of society, brought his passion for the arts and vision for our organization to life. Since then, The Honeywell Foundation has spent nearly a century living out our mission to provide recreational, educational and cultural experiences for community members and visitors of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.

A Revolutionary Mind

Mark C. Honeywell was born in 1874 and raised in our hometown of Wabash, Indiana. He spent most of his life in Wabash, leaving for a short period of time to attend Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

In 1905 at age 31, he successfully installed what is believed to be the first hot water heating system in the country. He would use this success to build M.C. Honeywell Heating and Sanitary work, which is more widely known today as Honeywell Inc.

Mr. Honeywell was no stranger to success in his professional career. In 1906, his company manufactured thermostats and automatic controls for heating systems, which was a revolutionary product for the time. By 1927, the company was profiting more than $1.5 million in yearly sales.

Commitment to Community

Beyond establishing a modern way to heat buildings and homes, Mr. Honeywell was also an extraordinarily charitable and artistic person.

Mr. Honeywell had a love for the arts, and expressed it through amateur photography, filmmaking and playing the violin. He practiced filmmaking at his Wabash film studio, which would later become the Wabash Country Club.

Stemming from Mr. Honeywell’s passion for fine art, he began conceptualizing plans for the Honeywell Memorial Community Center (now simply known as the Honeywell Center), which he dedicated to his late wife, Olive, and parents.

Construction of the Honeywell Center began in 1939; however, the project was not completed until 1952 due to labor and material shortages during World War II.

Today, the Honeywell Center is a major recreation center for the entire Wabash community and visitors to enjoy theatre, fresh food, meeting spaces, an art gallery and so much more.

The Founding and Legacy of The Honeywell Foundation

The Honeywell Foundation was formed to oversee the construction and management of the Honeywell Center in 1941.

During this time, Mr. Honeywell married his long-time friend, Eugenia Nixon. Mr. Honeywell and Eugenia shared a dedication to the arts, and together were actively involved in the Foundation’s formative years.

Mr. Honeywell passed away in 1964 at the age of 89. Even after a few decades, his legacy and vision live on in the works of the Foundation and the Wabash community. Today, The Honeywell Foundation continues to provide social, artistic, recreational and cultural opportunities for visitors of all ages.

In fact, Mr. Honeywell’s legacy played a role in the Foundation’s operation of the following venues:

  • Honeywell Center

  • Honeywell House

  • Eagles Theatre

  • 13-24 Drive In

  • Charley Creek Gardens

  • Dr. James Ford Historic Home

Each venue offers programs and activities throughout the year, ranging from musical performances to educational outreach programs. (Spoiler Alert: Each venue will host special activities during The Honeywell Foundation’s 75th Anniversary celebration!)

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