Leading Questions for Researching Places

The following is an archived post from the IHB blog Marking Hoosier History.

May 1, 2013 | Featured Posts, Researching Hoosier History, State Historical Marker Application Help

 

Leading Questions is a series provided to help researchers get started.  These questions below are intended to be broadly applicable for use by researchers at any level of experience.  If you are an applicant for an Indiana State Historical Marker, answer these questions using primary sources to support your findings; you should then have a very strong application! Keep in mind that several Leading Questions issues may be applicable to your marker topic. 

Not sure where to find the answers to these questions?  Start with the Research Checklist IHB uses when beginning a research project, and try to visit these local resources.  No matter where you find the answers, be sure to keep track of what you found and where you found it with citations!  Also keep track of sources that did not prove helpful at the time; it can save time later as your research proceeds.

Leading Questions for Researching Places (e.g., natural heritage sites, parks, etc.)

Note: other issues of Leading Questions, especially those related to researching institutions or events, may be relevant to your research as well.

  • What kind of place is this?  How and why was it created or formed?
  • What was the date platted, founded, or acquired?  What are the exact boundaries?
  • Do/did natural features contribute to the popularity of the place?
  • Has the site been improved with landscaping or structures?  Who were the architects, designers, and/or builders?
  • What historical events have occurred at this place?  Do any other associations give it unusual prominence?
  • Is the place still in use as originally intended? If not, how has its use changed over time?
  • Why is the place important to the local community and/or the state?  How does the place demonstrate the social, cultural, environmental, and/or economic history of Indiana?