Two flowing wells in Hancock County’s Brown Township

I’ll never forget the first time I came across a flowing well and I’ve been fascinated by them ever since. After finding eleven in Delaware County, I started branching out to other nearby places. I stumbled across one in Hancock County a couple years ago and visited another nearby just the other day.

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The sad fate of Delaware County’s Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church

I have a soft spot in my heart for old, country sanctuaries. I’m sure I’ve driven by hundreds of them over the years! Although many are incompatible with the needs of huge, modern megachurches, their continued existence is testament to dwindling congregations that push against the current, passionately committed to the glorification of a higher power. I’ve always morbidly wondered what happens to the actual buildings once their membership falls off, but I’m sorry to say that I found the answer at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church in eastern Delaware County.

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Resisting a deep dive into Randolph County’s Maxville Swimming Pool

Going swimming is fun! It’s a great way for kids to meet new friends, develop coordination, or just splash around for a while as I tended to do. For forty years starting in the 1930s, tons of kids went to the old Maxville Swimming Pool, which sits about seven miles east of Crystal Pool in Randolph County. I’ll try to resist taking a deep dive today, since spring-boarding into it in 2023 would be a tricky proposition. The place hasn’t operated in forty-five years.

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The ruins of America’s first consolidated schoolhouse, in Raleigh, Indiana

What’s left of the Washington Township Public School sits just east of Raleigh, an unincorporated community in the northeastern corner of Rush County. Local legend -and even a boulder that sits out front- proclaims the building to have been Indiana’s first consolidated school in the nation1. Fact or fiction, the building’s remains are among the most compelling schoolhouse ruins I’ve ever come across.

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INDOT right-of-way markers are here, there, and everywhere

Looking for a fun game to play next time you’re bored in the car? I sure was when I headed to South Carolina a couple months ago before I knew how common state right-of-way markers are. In Indiana, the monuments normally demarcate the boundaries of roads owned and operated by the department of transportation, and they’re everywhere. Sometimes, they pop up in unexpected places.

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Blackford County’s old Shinn’s Chapel church

I haven’t spent a lot of time looking into them, but I’m attracted to abandoned, rural churches for the same reason I love old schoolhouses. They’re testaments to communities that once thrived but have since been forgotten, and I’m driven to try and tell their stories. Although deserted schoolhouses were often repurposed into barns, corn cribs, or sheds, it’s uncommon for old churches to be recycled in that way. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened to Shinn’s Chapel -later known as the Blackford Methodist Episcopal Church- in the far northeastern corner of Blackford County. 

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Welcome to Gates Corner, Indiana. Population: ~3 (including you!)

Indiana is home to hundreds, if not thousands of tiny, forgotten communities. Take Delaware County’s Gates Corner, for instance: it sits at the crux of County Roads 600-South and 700-East in Perry Township. Today, it consists of an abandoned store and an occupied house. That’s it! I drove through the hamlet four or five times before I became aware that it was somewhere instead of nowhere.

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Three shuttered cinemas a stone’s throw apart in Anderson, Indiana

Movie theaters are closing: the rise of streaming services, competition from entertainment, changing consumer preferences, and residual economic factors from COVID-19 have shuttered many multiplexes over the past several years. Anderson, Indiana, alone has four! That’s not uncommon for a community of its size in the midwestern rust belt, but what is uncommon is that three of them sit within an astonishing eight hundred feet of one another! 

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Crystal Pool: A dammed great swimming hole near Windsor, Indiana

There are probably few things that pique a kid’s interest more strongly than going swimming. It’s fun because swimming allows them to explore a new environment and gain confidence in their abilities. It helps kids stay active, build coordination, and develop social skills. Plus -let’s be honest here- it’s a great way to cool off on a hot day! A couple of generations ago, Crystal Pool -about twelve miles southeast of the heart of Muncie- was one of the best places to take a dip and do a lot more, besides.

An extraordinarily picturesque barn near Deerfield, Indiana

I played drums in a metal band when I started my project to visit and take photos of every historic courthouse in Indiana. Between traveling to gigs and courthouses, I spent a lot of time behind the wheel between 2014 and 2017! One day after my band practiced, our singer, Steve, asked me a question. “In all of your driving,” he asked, “have you come across a photogenic old barn?” I admitted that I hadn’t, but said I’d keep my eye out for one.

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