I absolutely love going to new places. It is so much fun to get a change of scenery and do something new. Since I do not have an internship this summer, I have more free time to do things I enjoy. So among other things, I am spending part of my time this summer traveling.
As most of you probably know, I went to Boston a couple of weeks ago. I promise I’m not going to spend the rest of my summer going to places like that (although that was a really good trip). I don’t have enough money or time to book flights and go all over the country/world like I would like. So instead, I’m doing some things a little more local.
Although my internship last summer was unpaid, I did receive other benefits. One of which is that I was eligible for a free year-long membership to the Indiana State Museum and all the other sites. There are 12 sites in the state, including the State Museum. Being a member means that I get to get in for free at all of the sites throughout the state, from Rome City to Evansville. My goal this summer is to visit all of them. These sites are obviously important to Indiana history, so I’m going to tell you more about them:
- Angel Mounds (Evansville)- Angel Mounds was a town built by Native Americans before Europeans crossed the Atlantic. It was used by members of the Mississippi tribe and was abandoned before Europeans settled in the area.
- Corydon Capitol (Corydon)- Corydon was the first capital of Indiana when it became a state. Since there was a large majority of people living on or near the Ohio River, Corydon was the most centralized location until Indianapolis was built.
- Culbertson Mansion (New Albany)- William Culbertson was possibly the wealthiest person in Indiana when he was alive. In 1867, when he built his home, it cost him $120,000. Today, that equates to $1,940,988! He sold dry goods and invested in other companies. When he died, he was worth $3.5 million then, or $61 million today.
- Gene Stratton Porter House (Rome City)- Gene Stratton Porter was a writer and photographer of nature. She is regarded as Indiana’s best-known female author and wrote 12 novels.
- Lanier Mansion (Madison)- James Franklin Doughty Lanier was a financier and banker. He helped found Winslow, Lanier, and Co., an investment bank used to finance railroads and even to Thomas Edison for his electric light. While Lanier never became as rich as Culbertson, he actually was able to loan money to the Indiana Governor to provide Hoosier troops with food and clothing during the Civil War.
- Levi and Catharine Coffin House (Fountain City)- Levi and Catharine Coffin were Quaker abolitionists. They used their house for the Underground Railroad, a network of people and places runaway slaves used to get to freedom. This house was so popular that it was sometimes referred to as “The Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.” The Coffin house was situated in the center of a Quaker community, and the other residents of the town would often be able to warn the Coffins when slave hunters came through. The Coffins were so successful at hiding slaves that every slave who reached their house made it to freedom.
- Limberlost (Geneva)- Limberlost was the home to much of Gene Stratton Porter’s work and inspiration. Six of her novels were written here as well as a large portion of her other works.
- New Harmony (New Harmony)- New Harmony was home to not one but two “utopian societies,” societies meant to be lived in perfect cooperation by all. The first was The Harmony Society, a group of German zealots. The leader of the Harmony Society, George Rapp, sold New Harmony to Robert Owen after living there ten years. Clearly, the Harmony Society did a better job because Owen’s society dissolved after only two years.
- T.C. Steele House (Nashville)- T.C. Steele was a landscape painter. His house stands in Brown County, which any Hoosier should know provides some of the best landscapes of the state. His house, workshop, and gardens are all still there today, so it is easy to see where Steele got his inspiration.
- Vincennes (Vincennes)- Vincennes was the capital of the Indiana Territory (And later the Illinois Territory when Indiana became a state). It is also home to Jefferson Academy, the first higher learning in Indiana. This later became Vincennes University.
- Whitewater Canal (Metamora)- Whitewater Canal used to be 76 miles long in Indiana, and Ohio built a 25-mile section to connect it to Cincinnati. Canals were used to transport heavy goods and a large number of people. Today, the state only owns 14 miles of it, but you can still ride that section in a boat pulled by Belgian Draft Horses.
I’m actually really excited to visit all of these sites. The nice thing about living in Indianapolis is that the farthest one from me is still only three hours away. These will be fun day trips, and it’s a good way to learn more about local history. (You can find more info about these sites here).
What trips do you want to do this summer? I would love to know what your state offers for cheap or even free! I hope maybe some of these piqued your interest.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!
Until next week!