Life's Better Here: New Haven 2013 (VIDEOS)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

August 29, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 11:11 AM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (21Alive) -- We're approaching the end of our summer-long look at local hometowns. This week our focus is New Haven.

This is a sight and a sound your grandparents were likely familiar with, a sight and sound heard and seen across this country for 150 years. Welcome aboard engine 765, the historic steam engine that plied the rails between Fort Wayne and Chicago 70 years ago, alive and well today, thanks to this little spot in New Haven.

“It got into our blood at an early age and we feel that this is an important part of American history and heritage,” Bill Otter said.

It's called the Fort Wayne railroad historical society but this facility in New Haven is its home. This is where volunteers spent years restoring engine 765. This is where they maintain it and this is where dozens of other pieces of railroad history sit and await their turn, to be restored and placed back on the track as pieces of living rail history. Volunteer Bill Byers grew up by the tracks in Goshen and remembers the steam engines as a kid. He worked for the railroad 42 years and now, in retirement, drives to New Haven from Goshen every weekend just to work on engine 765.

They're just fascinating. Most people say it's like they're alive,” Byers said. “I don't know what it was to me but I still have that fascination ever since my first memories.”

The railroad historical society's main mission is education, keeping the steam locomotive technology alive and reminding all of us that steam locomotives built this country. Engine 765 is their ambassador, running steam rail excursions across the country all summer long, attracting crowds, spreading the word that rail history is our history. It made life better in these United States for generations, and continues that proud heritage today, in New Haven.

Jason Meyers spent the last week sampling the food in new haven to see what makes life better there. He found two local places where at one, you're likely to start your day there, and the other, would be a great spot to end it.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you're in New Haven, Rich's Cafe is a great place to start. That's what current owner Jim Simonton did.

"I used to eat here every day on my way to work to Huntington, and I said, 'It's time for a life change. I've had 35 years of manufacturing, let's do something a little different," Simonton said.

He may be doing something different, but this is still breakfast and a good one at that with big portions, because people in New Haven have taken notice.

"New Haven's a nice little town, about 13,000 to 14,000 people, and I betcha I probably know 10-thousand of 'em!" Simonton said.

While most may know about the great breakfast and lunch items at Rich's Cafe, Carousel Ice Cream near Schnelker Park is still catching on. They've been here for a little more than a year and they've been making their own ice cream the entire time.

"Usually I can do about 4 or 5 batches a day, so when one starts to run down, I'll make another batch," Jamie Trammel said.

This fresh ice cream can draw a crowd on a hot summer day, and on the last day of school last year they were lined up out the door. Deciding which of their 32 flavors to try can be time consuming. But in the end, there isn't a bad decision.

"We've got the best ice cream. We have a higher quality than all the other ice cream shoppes. And we don't order, we make it fresh," Trammel said.

A fresh breakfast in the morning to get you started and some ice cream at the end of your day makes life a little better in New Haven.

What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "QUESTION OF THE DAY” comment.

© Copyright 2016, A Quincy Media broadcasting station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.