The Hoosier State. The Crossroads of America. Restart Your Engines. 50 Million Years Tidal Wave Free. We so Corny.
I will freely admit, while I’ve been through Indiana any number of times, I haven’t ever really been to Indiana. This has been a mistake on my part, because there is an absolute treasure trove of stories here. Did you know that the farming community of Fountain City was called the “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad? Levi and Katie Coffin estimated that they provided lodging for over 2,000 runaway slaves heading for Canada in the years leading up to the Civil War. Indiana was the first state to mobilize for the Civil War, providing 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery and 13 regiments of cavalry to the cause of the Union. Then, following the growth of industry after the Civil War, Indiana partnered up with the new automotive industry; from 1900 to 1920, over 200 different makes of cars were produced in Indiana, like Duesenbergs, Auburns, Stutzes, Maxwells, and Studebakers. And speaking of Studebaker, did you know that the company – located in South Bend – started as the nation’s largest producer of horse-drawn wagons?
Have you ever heard of Sarah Walker? I hadn’t. In 1905, Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker developed a conditioning treatment for straightening hair, and – starting with door-to-door salesmen – became one of the nation’s first woman millionaires. How cool is that? James Dean, David Letterman and Red Skelton were all born in Indiana, Marcella Gruelle of Indianapolis created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914, and after Indianapolis grocer Gilbert Van Camp discovered that his customers enjoyed an old family recipe for pork and beans in tomato sauce, he opened up a canning company and Van Camp’s Pork and Beans was created.
And as if all that weren’t cool enough, Indiana is home to a sea of limestone that’s one of the richest, top-quality deposits found anywhere on the globe. New York City’s Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center as well as the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury, and 14 state capitols around the nation are built from Indiana limestone.
Places to go
**Hall of Heroes – Elkhart
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Stuff to see
**World’s Largest Ball of Paint – Alexandria
**Botanical Conservatory: Gardens of New Orleans – Fort Wayne
**The Covered Bridges of Parke County
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Things to do
**The Backyard Roller-Coaster of John Ivers – Bruceville
**Midwest Trail Ride – Norman
**Whitewater Valley Railroad – Connersville
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** denotes places and events I have no personal experience with – YET!