Roann, Indiana was founded in 1853 and in 2000 had a population of roughly 400. You will find 4 beautiful churches in this small town with numerous others in the surrounding area. The four “local” churches come together several times a year for a community service, one which is held the Sunday during the Roann Covered Bridge Festival.
Roann is also home to the Roann Paw Paw Public Library, the smallest town to have a Carnegie library. You can also tour the Stockdale Mill, drive across one of two covered bridges that remain in Wabash County or reminisce on days long ago.
It’s easy to spend a day visiting the antique shops like Mom & Pop’s Jazzy Junk or the Antique Mall next door. Grab a basket of fish at Lynn’s Restaurant or a pizza from The Pizza Shoppe to satisfy your hunger. Other businesses in town include beauty/barber shops, insurance agencies, a gas/convenience store and a post office.
There are two legends concerning the naming of the town:
As one story goes a short time after the town was planned and surveyed a young lady, Ann Beckner, was crossing the Eel River in a small boat near the location of the new town to join a group of persons on the opposite side. Winds of an approaching storm, we are told carried her boat from its course, causing considerable alarm to those awaiting her on the shore and someone in the group shouted encouragingly to the distressed maiden, "Row, Ann, Row Ann", and it occurred to someone present that the new town might be called Roann.
The following is credited with being the really true story which is authenticated by the obituary of Ann Beckner Brower (furnished by Opal Rantz), who was related to the writer by Elsie Brower Kreig, and daughter of Ann Beckner.
It was about 117 years ago when Joseph brought his family to Indiana from Virginia and bought 600 acres of land from the Government. They operated a tavern where in early days weary travelers found feed for their horses and board and lodging for themselves. The Indian trail led from Stockdale, or Squirrel Village to Wabash Town and it was not uncommon for the Indians to stop by Beckner's Tavern on their way to Wabash Town.
In 1853 when the site for the new town was surveyed, the Beckners employed a "hired girl" who was the same age as the Becker's daughter. She, too, was named Ann- Ann Roe.
As the days of the surveying were concluded the air about the Beckner Tavern was charged with excitement. Evening came and the long kitchen table was covered with important papers which later became a living reality in the form of the new town. Now to name the town, they mused together. Then the surveyor snapped a finger, "Why not name it after the cooks?" He looked about for the blushing, giggling girls. "The two Ann's" then thinking aloud, Annsby- Annro- I have it! He laughed loudly. "RoAnn!" and so it has always been.
Taken from "Roann-150 years of small town life" by David Zinsmeister