Indiana: Monroe County

Monroe County (pop. 137,974) is west of Brown County. It’s one of 18 Monroe counties, all named for James Monroe (1758-1831), fifth president of the U.S.

The county seat of Monroe County is Bloomington (pop. 80,405), seventh-largest city in Indiana.

Bloomington is the home of the flagship campus of Indiana University, founded in 1820. IU Bloomington, known for its Indiana limestone buildings, has more than 40,000 students.

Famous graduates of IU include actor Kevin Kline, journalist Jane Pauley, businessman Mark Cuban, composer Hoagy Carmichael, and the a cappella group Straight No Chaser.

The World’s Largest Anatomically Accurate Sculpture of the Human Brain is on the IU campus. The limestone brain weighs six tons.

David Lee Roth, lead singer of Van Halen, was born in Bloomington.

Most of the 1979 movie “Breaking Away” was filmed in Bloomington.

5 Academy Award nominations

The Indiana Theater (1922) in Bloomington is now the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, hosting a variety of concerts and other events.

The town of Ellettsville (pop. 6,378), northwest of Bloomington, is the starting point of the annual Hilly Hundred bicycle tour, a two-day event that attracts about 5,000 cyclists from around the country.

Lake Monroe, southeast of Bloomington, is the largest lake entirely within the state of Indiana. It was created in 1965 by the damming of Salt Creek.

Limited ice fishing in winter

The community of Elkinsville was evacuated to make room for Lake Monroe; as it turned out, elevation estimates were incorrect, and the lake’s waters never reached the town.


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Florida: Seminole County

Seminole County (pop. 422,718) is south of Volusia County, between Daytona Beach and Orlando. The only other Seminole counties are in Georgia and Oklahoma.

The county seat of Seminole County is the city of Sanford (pop. 53,570).

Ritz Theater (1923)

Sanford is on the southern shore of Lake Monroe, the head of navigation on the north-flowing St. Johns River. Boats can reach the Atlantic Ocean from Lake Monroe.

Marina on Lake Monroe

The city has a two-mile RiverWalk that’s actually along Lake Monroe.

Sanford is the southern terminus of Amtrak’s 855-mile Auto Train, whose northern terminus is in Virginia. The non-stop Auto Train carries passengers and their cars, taking about 17 hours.

Cars loading onto train

Orlando Sanford International Airport is not as busy as Orlando International Airport, closer to Orlando, but it has many daily Allegiant Air flights, as well as an active flight-training business.

Built in 1942 as Naval Air Station Sanford

Tennis pro Jim Courier and baseball star Tim Raines were both born in Sanford.

7-time All-Star

The city of Oviedo (pop. 33,342) is known for the wild chickens that roam the downtown area.

They hang out at the Popeye’s drive-thru.

The American Automobile Association has its headquarters in the unincorporated community of Heathrow.

Founded in 1902 in Chicago


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