07 May 2008

Indiana Dispatch #5

There are a few places in Indiana that I consider "hometowns." When meeting folks from other states, I claim Bloomington as my hometown because most folks from outside the state have at least heard of it, know that it's where IU is, and perhaps know about John Mellencamp and/or Bobby Knight. If I'm talking to a fellow Hoosier, I'll usually mention that I went to school in Bloomfield but lived out by the Crane Depot, they usually know about the area enough to know what I'm talking about. I feel really connected to this chunk of land where I'm staying this week, this is the only place I ever lived until I moved into Bloomington for college when I was 18.
However my roots run deep in Martin County, even though I never lived there, my family has been around Shoals for the better part of 150 years. I spent a whole lot of time there as a kid, Mom & Dad both grew up there, Dad is the undisputed winning-est Catfish Festival bridge fisherman, and it seems I'm related to about two thirds of the town in one way or another. Even though all of my immediate family have moved away to other places near and far, Shoals is a very special place with an interesting history, and quite photogenic, with one of the most peculiar high school mascots in the entire country.

The Jug Rock, a unique stone formation that stands in the woods on the edge of town. That little guy in the upper left corner of this post is "Roxer Boxer," the personification of the rock.

Main Street

The old Martin County Courthouse, now the county museum. The courthouse before this one, on this same site, burned to the ground sometime in the late 1800's, with the exception of the vaults, which were saved and are still inside and used for county records. Coincidentally, I just found out today that at least one of those vaults was built by a great-great-great-great ancestor.

The Treasurer's Office, with the original counter still intact.

Bo-Mac's Drive In, terrific diner food, car hop or walk up service. They still have those neat trays that clip onto your car window. This place has been a Shoals institution for at least fifty years, probably even longer. I'll have to ask Mom and Dad about that.

This church was built by my Great-Grandfather Ernest Holt. He was an old-timey fire and brimstone Pentecostal preacher. I never got to see him preach, but I know that he and Grandma Ella had their own a radio show back in the day as well as his own church.

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