Author: Shannon Hill

Outside the Circle: Vincennes

The Francis Vigo Statue on the grounds of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park and the Lincoln Memorial Bridge carrying U.S. 50 over the Wabash River. Way back in the 1730s, the French established a fort along the Wabash River and named it after a French officer, Vincennes. Vincennes became a profitable fur trading center and at various times was controlled by the French, British, and Colonial Americans until the Revolutionary War. In 1779, George Rogers Clark and his small army took from the British the largest land conquest of the Revolutionary War. Today, Clark’s legacy is prominently...

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Outside the Circle: Elkhart County

Probably best known by tourists for its Amish population (and their homemade goodies), Elkhart County was organized by the Indiana State Legislature in 1830. The county is large and there’s quite a bit for the heritage tourist to see and do. I suggest beginning your journey at the excellent visitor’s centerin Elkhart. There you can pick up a CD to take a self-guided driving tour of the “Heritage Trail,” which showcases many of the county’s highlights. The St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers meet in the city of Elkhart. Elkhart Located at the confluence of the St. Joseph and Elkhart...

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Outside the Circle: Columbus

Sometimes it’s a treat to be a tourist in your own hometown. Last month, I got to do just that as I embarked on the two tours currently offered by the Columbus Area Visitors Center. Best known for its Modern architecture, you can still find many examples of older styles lining the streets of Columbus. Although I moved away from Columbus at age 4, I spent many summers visiting family here and the city took on a magical quality in my young imagination. Columbus represented my family’s history—our place in this big world—and Columbus is a city that has...

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Outside the Circle: Perry and Dubois Counties

The architecturally impressive Monastery Immaculate Conception sits atop a hill overlooking the town of Ferdinand, Indiana. Sacred History Approaching the town of Ferdinand by car may be an awe-inspiring endeavor, especially if it takes you unawares. The town calls itself the “gateway to Dubois and surrounding counties;” a fair assessment when you first set eyes upon the place. Ferdinand’s skyline is dominated by the impressive Monastery Immaculate Conception, home to the Sisters of St. Benedict. The Sisters first came to Ferdinand in 1867 with the goal of making a difference in the lives of local settlers by teaching the...

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Outside the Circle: Wabash

The hilly streets of downtown Wabash are lined with historic storefronts. The Downtown Wabash Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Last month we visited New Harmony, a town situated along Indiana’s most famous waterway, the Wabash River. The Wabash flows 475 miles and drains two-thirds of Indiana’s 92 counties. In 1897, Paul Dresser penned “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” and in 1913, the Indiana General Assembly adopted it as the official state song. This month, we’re traveling up the Wabash to a place that takes its name from the...

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Outside the Circle: New Harmony

Situated along the Wabash River in Indiana’s southwestern-most county of Posey, New Harmony is a must-see destination for all Hoosier history lovers. Since 1965, a portion of town has been a National Historic Landmark and in 2001, even more of the town was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Downtown New Harmony welcomes visitors to its historic storefronts. New Harmony is best known for being home to two 19th-century utopian experiments in communal living. In 1804, George Rapp and his subset of Pietist followers, soon to be known as the Harmony Society, left Württemberg, Germany in search...

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