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Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

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Explore County Bicentennial Activities > Lawrence County Lawrence County

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Q&A with County Coordinator Marla Jones

What do you consider the key accomplishment(s) of your county's bicentennial celebration?

  • Lawrence County stayed true to the Indiana Bicentennial theme, “Celebrate the Past, and Ignite the Future.” Our greatest accomplishment was bringing Hoosiers together, of all walks of life, to celebrate the great State of Indiana, its people and progress.
    Through community celebrations, legacy projects, and public involvement, I believe the legacies of the Indiana Bicentennial are spirits of collaboration, innovation and inspiration.
    The year-long celebration provided the opportunity to rekindle old relationships and build new ones. From raising the flag on Indiana Statehood Day in unison across the state to planting space trees at local schools, carrying the torch or performing at a local celebration, Lawrence Countians of all ages enthusiastically embraced and participated in this historic, once-in-a-lifetime commemoration.

What Legacy Project do you most like to tell people about, and why?

  • The most inspiring legacy project, attracting the attention of young and old alike, was the Lawrence County Legacy Trees project. The project provided a tulip poplar tree, State Tree of Indiana, and the space gum tree to every Lawrence County school campus.
    Lawrence County is proud of its astronaut heritage and the Legacy Trees project celebrated both the Indiana Bicentennial and the three Lawrence County native astronauts: Gus Grissom, Charlie Walker and Ken Bowersox. One of those men, Charlie Walker, took seeds into space as his connection to his former job with the US Forest Service and his hometown in southern Indiana. The seeds flew on an Apollo flight in 1984. When Walker returned with his seeds, they were germinated, and about 150 trees were planted around the state. A few were sent to other states.
  • The project was a collaboration of the US Forestry Service, Indiana DNR, Lawrence County Bicentennial Committee and local schools.
    The sweet gum seeds were taken from an original Space Tree and propagated. The Space Trees progeny, along with the tulip poplar, were distributed to Lawrence County schools. Participating schools include: Bedford Middle School, Bedford North Lawrence High School, Burris Elementary School, Dollens Elementary School, Fayetteville Elementary School, Hatfield Elementary School, Heltonville Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Mitchell High School, Mitchell Junior High School, North Lawrence Career Center, Needmore Elementary School, Oolitic Middle School, Parkview Intermediate School, Parkview Primary School, Shawswick Elementary School, Shawswick Middle School, Springville Elementary School, Stalker Elementary School, StoneGate Arts and Education Center and Veale Elementary School (Daviess County.) Additional tulip popular and Space Trees were given to the public for public and private spaces.

Describe a highlight or most memorable moment related to your county's bicentennial celebration.

  • On September 14, 2016, the Indiana Bicentennial Torch relay made its way to Lawrence County, Indiana. It was the local highlight of the Indiana 2016 Bicentennial celebration. The torch relay united neighborhoods, communities and generations as it passed through our rural countryside.
    As it was handed from torchbearer to torchbearer, it symbolized the community working together for a brighter future. Torchbearers (in alphabetical order) Lynn Andrews, Smokey Bear, Dan Bortner, Adele Bowden-Purlee, Allen Burris, Linda Chezem, Civilian Conservation Corps* - Mark Young, JoAnna Cobb, Terry Cole*  - Ben Cole, Judy Elliott, Steve Ferguson, Dr. Winthrop Foote* - Bill Spreen, Susan Gales, Shawna Girgis, Dr. Joseph Gardner* - Paul Patton, Enola Gardner* - Debbie Patton, William, Inman and Frank Gillan*  - Dave Smith, Lisa Grissom, Gus Grissom* - Steve Grissom, William Harrison , Christina Hooten, Elisha Huddleston, Marla Jones, Dwight Jones - Mark Jones, Teena Ligman, Richard McIntyre* - Meredith McIntyre, Gene McCracken, David Miller, Susan Miller, Jacob Morris, Jim Pemberton, Lori Quebbeman, Jon Ramsay, Mark Scherschel, Kim Scherschel, Jocelyn Schlegel, Becky Skillman, Jim Sowders, Ann Steele, Ruel Steele * - Barb Steele Mitchell, Mary Margaret Stipp, Albert (Al) Tolbert, Charlie Walker, John Williams, and Lauren Winnefeld. NOTE: * Denotes posthumous selection. A designated representative represented this torchbearer.

How/where are you preserving information and artifacts related to your county's celebration?

  • The commemorative book and other associated bicentennial Items donated to Lawrence County Museum and on display at Bedford City Hall.

Do you have a website and/or social media presence?

Total number of volunteers who participated.

  • 360

Estimated total attendance.

  • 3,000

Estimated dollar amount raised.

  • 5,000

Estimated dollar amount spent.

  • 4,000

Lawrence County Legacy Projects

Photos of Lawrence County's Bicentennial Events and Activities

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Lawrence County Facts

Lawrence County was named for Capt. James Lawrence, who uttered the famous words “Don’t give up the ship” after being mortally wounded during the War of 1812.

The county is also known as “Limestone Country” and its unique geological surroundings include caves, trails, forests, lakes and a hilly terrain over the limestone that lies beneath the soil.

About the courthouse: Walter Scholar was the architect and the building was completed in 1930.

Lawrence County has had several native residents that have become astronauts over the years. They include:

  • Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, killed in the Apollo 1 accident
  • Charles Walker

Kenneth Bowersox Hoosier Insight:
The historic Empire Quarry, in Lawrence County, was the source of the limestone used to build the Empire State Building in New York City.“I hail from Lawrence County, Indiana, the Limestone Capital of the World.  We are proud of our limestone heritage and the industry’s contribution to our state’s economy since the early 1800s.  Lawrence County limestone flanks the Empire State Building, the National Cathedral and several prominent national treasures.

“The natural limestone formations among the rolling hills of southern Indiana also create a wealth of outdoor experiences, from exploring caves and caverns, to fishing, hiking, and boating. We celebrate Limestone Month in June of each year.  Special events include quarry tours, carving workshops, architectural walking tours, and exhibitions.”

County Seat: Bedford
Year Organized: 1819
Square Miles: 449.17