The Elkhart County, Indiana Courthouse in Elkhart (1915-1972-)

Lots of Hoosier cities are home to prominent intersections. One of the most famous is 96th Street and Hague Road just east of I-69! Elkhart -which flourished for much of the 20th century thanks to the musical instrument and RV industries- had its own landmark junction downtown: for about 45 years, the corner of 2nd and High signified the city’s prosperity and promise. 

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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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How three lessons from church camp helped me navigate a major Bipolar episode

I’ve been open about my thirteen-year-long struggle with Bipolar II disorder. On January 30th, I wrote that I was going through one of the worst depressive phases I’d ever experienced. Although there were fool’s springs here and there, I’m confident I’ve finally gotten through its darkest depths. I didn’t expect it, but a handful of lessons from a week I spent at church camp more than twenty years ago were instrumental in helping me make it to the other side.

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Fall Creek Township’s Kinnaman schoolhouse in Hamilton County

The second school in Hamilton County was taught by the Kinnaman family in a cabin near the home of pioneer Abram Helms in the early 1830s. The structure was built according to the style of a typical dwelling and featured a lone window made of a cut-out log covered in greased paper. A table stood underneath it to provide sufficient light for students’ studies1

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The Savinelli Alligator, a fine pipe with some teeth to it

Last time we talked about pipes, we discussed some handmade varieties by Boswell and Johs. Today, we’ll talk about one of the first pipes I bought for myself, a machine-made Alligator in the 311 KS shape by Savinelli, a storied Italian marquee. It looks weird, but it would have been the perfect companion when I first started smoking!

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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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The Perry County, Indiana Courthouse (1994-)

Indiana was pretty much a rough-and-tumble wild west frontier back in its early days. Hoosiers didn’t wear cowboy hats back then, and no, we weren’t all that far west given the scope of the Illinois and Missouri territories. But we sure did ride horses, and we engaged in all manner of skullduggery to ensure that our hometowns got the title of county seat, which was a big deal in those days!

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Edisto Island’s old Steamboat Landing still brings in the boats

I’ve said it before, but Edisto Island, South Carolina, is remote: there’s only one bridge in and out! Before there was even a bridge, though, travelers from nearby Charleston had to sail to the island. One route was via the Atlantic Ocean, a sixty-mile trip that, while direct, could be very dangerous1. Another way was through an “inner passage” that followed coastal rivers upstream between several islands. Sailing the inner passage took longer, but it was the safest way to get to Edisto2. Today, the island’s Steamboat Landing still provides access to Steamboat Creek, a branch of the Edisto River, for a modern variety of watercraft.

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