On Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted as the 19th state to join the union, making this year our state’s 197th birthday. Knowing Indiana’s history is important as it allows us to truly understand the significance of our rich past and appreciate the cultural heritage we possess as Hoosiers.
Our community has played host to a multitude of historically significant events over the years. During the Indianapolis 500, I shared with you before that Stant Manufacturing, headquartered in Connersville, was vital to the performance of some of the first cars driven on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. One of the cars that participated in the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911, a McFarlan, was made in Connersville.
Greensburg boasts the home of Civil War General John T. Wilder who played a significant role in both the war efforts and in the economy of Decatur County. He was a millwright and inventor who provided major employment in the area as well as the general who helped troops defeat Confederate soldiers at Hoover’s Gap, earning them the nickname ‘Wilder’s Lightening Brigade.’
The city is also known for the unusual addition to the Courthouse tower, a tree that was spotted in the 1870s growing from the tower roof that is still there today.
Batesville is well known for the companies that shaped the economy - Batesville Casket, Hillenbrand Industries, Hill-Rom and Romweber Furniture, just to name a few. These industries employ thousands of Hoosiers and have made a name for Batesville, bringing international recognition.
Even with all these accomplishments, people, companies and historical oddities are just a very brief overview of a few facts that make our communities significant in Hoosier history. There are countless success stories that may never be heard outside our family trees. Whether those stories are shared or not, they still made an impact on the state of Indiana and helped us progress to where we are today.
Gandhi said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” I think it applies to any culture. As a state, our heritage can say a great deal about where we’ve been and where we have yet to go. I am proud to be a Hoosier and to represent part of what I believe to be the best place to work, live and raise a family.
Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.