Thursday, August 12, 2010

How much of a Hoosier are you?

Having lived in Indiana for only a year now, my knowledge of the Hoosier state goes something like this: It's located between Illinois and Ohio, people really like the Colts and everyone calls everyone else a "Hoosier," even though no one really can explain with any certainty what the word means.

Being that outsider, I took refuge in learning that today is "Hoosier Heritage Day," so I picked up the camera and trotted over to State Fair Boulevard to take in all the history I could handle from educational and historical organizations in an attempt to educate my poor Michigan-raised mind.

Here's what I learned:

I had no idea how old the state's universities are. For example, I spoke with this calligraphy artist (at left) -- who will write out your name for free on a piece of paper -- and he said he was in attire from the 1800-1816 period. The woman next to him was fanning a Ball State University fan, to which I replied "I guess that's appropriate -- Ball State was around back then." Well, not really, as I soon learned only Vincennes University -- not even IU or Purdue -- was around back then.

During World War I, the battery commander often used this telescope at right to peer into the distance to spot enemy artillery rounds. Doug Blackford with the Hoosier Dougboys, a historical organization, said soldiers, like with Indianapolis' 150th Field Artillery, would then fire their rounds. Overseas fighting at that time was dangerous, he said, noting soldiers didn't have helmets or respirators. Also, did you know that the 150th is still around today, almost 100 years after its founding?

Not much of a war history fan? Then test your knowledge with the Indiana Historical Bureau's state trivia, the Indiana Historical Society's timeline of Indiana politics, or any of the several other displays and demonstrations going on all day!

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