Indiana: Morgan County

Morgan County (pop. 68,894) is east of Owen County. Located conveniently between Indianapolis and Bloomington, it’s been growing steadily since the 1930s.

It is one of 11 Morgan counties, and one of the nine named for Daniel Morgan (1736-1802) of Virginia, an American general in the Revolutionary War.

The county seat of Morgan County is the city of Martinsville (pop. 11,858).

Morgan County Courthouse (1859)

Martinsville has been known as “The Goldfish Capital of the World” because of its fisheries businesses, dating from 1899 and continuing today.

From the late 1800s to the 1960s, Martinsville was also known for its artesian mineral water health spas, or “sanitariums.” The athletic teams at Martinsville High School are still known as the Artesians.

The gym at Martinsville High School, built in 1924, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

John Wooden (1910-2010) grew up in the area, and played basketball at Martinsville High School.

State champions in 1927

Singer Bobby Helms (1933-1997) spent much of his life in the Martinsville area. His biggest hits were “Jingle Bell Rock” and “My Special Angel,” both in 1957.

North of Martinsville, the town of Mooresville was the hometown of artist Paul Hadley, who designed the current Indiana state flag.

Adopted in 1917

NEXT: JOHNSON COUNTY

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Indiana: Marion Clounty

Marion County (pop. 903,393) is west of Hancock County. The largest county (by population) in Indiana, it’s had a consolidated city-county government with Indianapolis, called Unigov, since 1970.

Indianapolis (pop. 820,445) is both the state capital and the county seat. More interstate highways intersect in Indianapolis than in any other city.

Indiana State Capitol

The 284-foot Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, in Monument Circle, was built in 1902. The observation level is 330 steps up.

Chase Tower (811 feet) in background

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest museum for children.

Dinosaurs breaking out of the building

Author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was born in Indianapolis and grew up there. He attended Cornell University after graduating from high school.

Vonnegut mural in Indianapolis

Author Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) was also from Indianapolis. His 1918 novel “The Magnificent Ambersons” was largely set in the then-exclusive Woodruff Place neighborhood, just east of downtown.

The movie came out in 1942.

Indianapolis Union Station (1888) now contains a hotel, a charter school, several offices, and a small Amtrak station.

The Grand Hall is rented out for special events.

A downtown statue of Indiana-born basketball coach John Wooden has been informally called “The Coach of the Leg Lamps,” because of its disembodied legs of basketball players.

Unveiled in 2012

Indianapolis is not only the home of the Indianapolis 500 auto race; it’s also the home of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Just west of downtown

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis belongs to the university systems of both Indiana University and Purdue.

About 30,000 students

Action Duckpin Bowl and Atomic Bowl Duckpin, both in the Fountain Square Theatre Building, are the only duckpin bowling alleys in the Midwest.

The balls are smaller.

The Pyramids are three 11-story pyramid-shaped office buildings, located north of downtown.

Built in 1967-72

The community of Acton, in Marion County’s southeastern corner, has a seasonal attraction called Veal’s Ice Tree – a structure covered in winter with colored water.

Up to 60 feet tall

NEXT: HENDRICKS COUNTY

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Indiana: Tippecanoe County

Tippecanoe County (pop. 172,780) is southwest of Carroll County.

It’s the only Tippecanoe County. The name apparently came from the anglicization of “Kethtippecanoogi,” a Miami Indian term meaning “place of the succor fish people.”

The Battle of Tippecanoe took place in 1811 near the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash rivers. U.S. forces led by William Henry Harrison fought Native Americans associated with Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (“The Prophet”).

The county seat of Tippecanoe County is the city of Lafayette (pop. 67,140).

Tippecanoe County Courthouse (1884)

Lafayette is served by two Amtrak trains: the “Cardinal,” between New York City and Chicago, and the “Hoosier State,” between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Big Four Depot (1902)

Axl Rose (William Bruce Rose, Jr.), lead singer of the rock band Guns N’ Roses, was born in Lafayette in 1962 and grew up there.

Lafayette participated in the first airmail delivery in U.S. history, in 1859. A hot-air balloon took off from Lafayette, bound for New York City. It only made it 30 miles – in the wrong direction.

The 123 letters eventually reached NYC.

The Lafayette Theater (1938) hosts concerts and a variety of other events.

West Lafayette (pop. 29,596) is across the Wabash River, to the west of Lafayette. It’s the home of Purdue, Indiana’s land-grant university, founded in 1869. Purdue has about 39,000 students.

Boilermaker statue (2005)

Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), the first man on the Moon, was a Purdue graduate, in aeronautical engineering.

John Wooden was a three-time All-American basketball player at Purdue. He graduated in 1932 with a degree in English.

“The Wizard of Westwood”

NEXT: WARREN COUNTY

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