The Not-so-usual Indiana Info
Want to impress people with your Hoosier knowledge? Looking for something to Tweet about? Then this is the page for you. We hope you enjoy these little nuggets about Indiana.
Sung annually during the opening ceremonies of the Indianapolis 500 race over Memorial Day weekend, this song is perhaps the best-known song about Indiana. It was composed by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley and first published in 1917. The composers’ inspiration was “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” the official State Song.
Santa Claus, Indiana, receives more than a half million “Dear Santa” letters at Christmas time every year. And Santa’s little helpers are sure to get them to the North Pole in time for Christmas.
Indiana produces more than 20% of the United States’ popcorn supply. In a typical year, almost half of all cropland in Indiana is planted in corn.
During Prohibition, the Al Brady and John Dillinger gangs were patrons of The Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, one of Indiana’s oldest bars, established in 1850. The gangs used the rear building (originally the horse stable) for target practice. Today, several bullets remain embedded in the lower east wall.
The Indiana Dunes region on the shore of Lake Michigan provides habitats for many unusual plants, including prickly pear cactus, lichen mosses, bearberry and more than 20 varieties of orchids. Mount Baldy, the largest of the sand dunes, is a living dune that moves away from shore a few feet each year.
Before you go fishing, check your gear because it is illegal to catch a fish with dynamite, firearms, a crossbow or your bare hands. And don’t go to a liquor store really thirsty, because it’s illegal for them to sell you a cold soft drink or water.
If you’re traveling on U.S. 41 just north of Vincennes, look for the famous “Big Peach” in front of the produce market near Bruceville. It’s 20 feet tall and stands next to a Washington Monument replica.
In the 1870s citizens of Greensburg noticed a small sprig growing out of the corner of their courthouse tower. Somehow a tree had taken root in the crevices of the roof some 110 feet above the ground. Other sprigs sprouted, as well. All were removed but two, and one grew to 15 feet tall and five feet around. While that tree died, another two trees made their appearance and have now been there for over a century.
There have been five men from Indiana who have been elected vice president: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle. They have earned Indiana the nickname “Mother of Vice Presidents.”
When Nancy Kerlin Barnett died in 1831, her family had her buried in her favorite place on a small hill near the village of Amity overlooking Sugar Creek. A small cemetery was then formed in the area. When Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh was being formed, several small cemeteries were uprooted and moved – all except for Nancy Barnett, whose son objected. Later a bridge over Sugar Creek was being planned and this time a grandson came to Nancy’s rescue, camping out with his shotgun and refusing to let her be disturbed. So, the county built the road around it and placed a concrete slab on top of the grave. It won’t be moving now, because it was granted a historical marker in 1912.
In June 1972, Lowell Elliot of Peru was said to have found $500,000 in cash on his farm. It appeared as if the money had fallen from the sky. And in fact, it did! A skyjacker parachuting out of a plane had dropped his stolen profits over Elliot’s farm. Elliot returned the money to the authorities.
The first successful goldfish farm in the United States was opened in Martinsville in 1899.
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