Wild & Scenic Indiana

Overview

Environmental writer, Scott Russell Sanders, and nature photographer, Rich Clark, take the reader on a systematic tour of Wild & Scenic Indiana. All 26 of Indiana's landscape provinces are described in individual chapters, illustrated with 240 exhibit-format color photographs and keyed to 28 color maps. Sanders' text surveys the contemporary landscape of natural and rural Indiana in terms of the interaction of geography, history, and environmental awareness.
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Overview

Environmental writer, Scott Russell Sanders, and nature photographer, Rich Clark, take the reader on a systematic tour of Wild & Scenic Indiana. All 26 of Indiana's landscape provinces are described in individual chapters, illustrated with 240 exhibit-format color photographs and keyed to 28 color maps. Sanders' text surveys the contemporary landscape of natural and rural Indiana in terms of the interaction of geography, history, and environmental awareness.
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Editorial Reviews

Indiana Business
"240 stunning landscapes splashed across 168 pages and divided into 26 landscape types defined by the Indiana Geological Survey."
October/November 2005
The Indianapolis Star
"A glorious view of Indiana."
August 14 2005
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763184643
  • Publisher: BrownTrout Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Series: Wild and Scenic Series
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 12.40 (w) x 12.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction THIS PIECE OF THE EARTH WE CALL INDIANA
1.   NORTHERN MORAINE AND LAKE Region
a.   Lake Michigan Border
b.   Valparaiso Morainal Complex
c.   Kankakee Drainageways
d.   St. Joseph Drainageways
e.   Plymouth Morainal Complex
f.   Warsaw Moraines and Drainageways
g.   Auburn Morainal Complex

2.   MAUMEE LAKE PLAIN Region
3.   CENTRAL TILL PLAIN Region
a.   Bluffton Till Plain
b.   Iroquois Till Plain
c.   Tipton Till Plain
d.   New Castle Till Plains and Drainageways
e.   Central Wabash Valley

4.   SOUTHERN HILLS AND LOWLANDS Region
a.   Wabash Lowland
b.   Boonville Hills
c.   Martinsville Hills
d.   Crawford Upland
e.   Mitchell Plateau
f.   Norman Upland
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Introduction

This Piece of the Earth We Call Indiana
This piece of the earth we call Indiana could just as easily have been called something else--in fact, several things else, not all of them easy to say. When control over the land northwest of the Ohio River fell to the brand-new United States of America following the Revolutionary War, a commission chaired by Thomas Jefferson was set up to recommend what should be done with this vast, wild territory. Needless to say, the Indians living here at the time weren't asked their opinion. Jefferson and his colleagues eventually proposed divvying up the area now known as Indiana among six states, bearing such names as Metropotamia, Polypotamia, Pelisipia, and Assenisipia. Fortunately for generations of schoolchildren learning geography, Jefferson went off to become U.S. minister to France before his scheme could be enacted. His successor as head of the commission, James Monroe, favored a smaller number of new states, lest the original thirteen eventually lose control of Congress, or at least of the Senate, where each state was entitled to a pair of votes, those of the venerable Massachusetts or Virginia counting for no more than those of the newcomers. In line with Monroe's caution, the Northwest Ordinance eventually passed by the Continental Congress in 1787 provided for the creation of no fewer than three and no more than five new states in that raw frontier. The first piece carved from the "Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio" took its name from the river itself, entering the Union in 1803 as the state of Ohio. The river in turn had been named by the French explorer La Salle, who'd borrowed an Iroquois word he freely translated as "beautiful waters." How the remainder of that region, from Ohio's western border to the Mississippi River, came to be called the Indiana Territory is less clear. The place name Indiana, meaning "land of the Indians," was evidently first applied in 1768 to a tract between the Ohio River and the western slopes of the Allegheny Mountains, a gift from the Iroquois Confederacy to a Philadelphia trading company, in settlement of a grievance over goods stolen in the Iroquois homeland five years earlier. This syndicate of "suffering traders" had been formed in 1765 under the name of the Indiana Company. The stolen goods were valued at £86,000 in colonial New York currency ($5,250,000 in today's money), and the repayment amounted to 2,860 square miles in what is now northwestern West Virginia, which works out to an acre of land for every $2.87 worth of merchandise in today's money. This grant--or grab, depending on your perspective--showed up on maps bearing the label Indiana from the 1770s until 1798, when the Indiana Company lost its claim to title in a U.S. Supreme Court decision.Two years later, by a path no scholar has yet uncovered, the label migrated westward to become attached to the Indiana Territory. Here the label stuck, and thus helped to perpetuate the notorious mistake of Christopher Columbus, who on making landfall in the New World thought he had reached the spice-rich East Indies. The northern bank of the Ohio River had long been known as the "Indian shore," so perhaps the addition of a territorial -a seemed natural to a populace who had already commemorated a virgin queen in Virginia, King George in Georgia, William Penn's forested domain in Pennsylvania, and the rolling Pelisipi (the Ohio River in Algonquian) in Pelisipia. Originally, the Indiana Territory contained all of the land that would become the states of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a part of Minnesota, as well as Indiana. After the northern portion was lopped off to form the Michigan Territory in 1805, and the western portion was lopped off to form the Illinois Territory in 1809, the remainder continued to be known as the Indiana Territory until 1816, when it entered the Union as plain old Indiana, the nineteenth state. The resulting shape has often been compared to a well-stuffed sock, straight on the top and sides, rumpled about the toe and across the sole. The rumples reflect the meandering of two great rivers, the Ohio on the southern boundary and the Wabash on the southwestern. Where the two flow together they shape the decidedly crooked toe. Hoosier hosiery is large as socks go--some 36,000 square miles, or 23 million acres--but even at that, once the U.S. had grown to fifty states, Indiana would rank only thirty-eighth in size. The borders drawn along those meandering rivers at least correspond to something real on the ground, but the rest of Indiana's outline, except for the bite taken out of the northwestern corner by Lake Michigan, is arbitrary, the scribing of ruler-straight geometry onto undulating land. By the time Indiana's boundaries were drawn, most of the public lands in the Northwestwhich meant nearly the entire regionhad already been diced up by survey lines into mile-square sections, their sides running due north and south or east and west, without regard to hills, streams, or other natural features. Dictated by the Land Ordinance of 1785, this grid reflected an Enlightenment faith in the power of reason to impose order on unruly nature. By defining a township as a square formed of thirty-six sections, six miles to a side, the Ordinance provided for a unit of local government. More important, it provided a means for transferring public real estate into private hands, thus insuring there would be citizens on hand to watch over and participate in that government. There was corruption from the start, of coursespeculators, swindlers, sweet-dealing insidersbut on the whole the grid survey worked. Its lasting impact can be read in the landscape today, in the checkerboard of cultivated fields, the isolated farmsteads, and the right-angle bends of section-line roads. The outline of any state is a fiction traced on the unbounded globe, and in the case of Indiana the fiction only became a legal one in 1816. However, to avoid having to say "the land that would become Indiana" or "the future Indiana" or some equally clumsy phrase, henceforth I shall refer to this sock-shaped terrain simply as Indiana, as if it had always borne these boundaries and that name. Before these 23 million acres could be parceled out to people of European descent, the land had to be taken away from the indigenous people. Late in the seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth, the first Europeans to reach IndianaFrench trappers paddling down from Canada and English traders riding horseback over the mountains from the eastern seaboardfound hunting camps, small villages, and large towns, especially along the Wabash River, complete with orchards and plantings of corn, beans, squash, and other crops. By 1730, the French, always more comfortable than the English in living alongside Indians, had set up trading posts in three of the largest settlementsKekionga (today's Fort Wayne), Ouiatenon (close to Lafayette), and Chippecoke (Vincennes). The names these tribes called themselves, translated into French or English with more or less fidelity to the originals, have come down to us as Shawnee, Miami, Wea, Potawatomi, Piankeshaw, Delaware, Eel River, Wyandot, and Kickapoo, among others. Some of these tribes had been forced to leave territories further north or east by the pressure of European conquest and settlement, and their numbers had been diminished by Old World diseases. Still, each of them at the time of contact possessed a rich language, a deep oral history, and elaborate customs. And each possessed a detailed knowledge of the landits animals, plants, weathers, dangers, and giftsthat enabled them to survive, and often thrive, in what Europeans considered the howling wilderness. They did not think of the land as belonging to them, but of themselves as belonging to the land. Their languages had no word for wilderness, none for nature, and none, of course, for Indiana. The woods, rivers, meadows, swamps, and all that dwelled therein were simply home. These tribes, in turn, were the successors of much earlier peoples, who had arrived in Indiana, according to current estimates, between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago, around the time the most recent glaciers were melting away beyond the northern border. First to arrive were nomadic hunters, who could have followed woolly mammoths, mastodons, and other now-extinct mammals that roamed the tundra on the margins of the retreating ice. These hunters would have found a boggy, open terrain, with islands of spruces and firs in seas of grass and sedge. Except for the stone points from their spears and darts, they left almost no imprint on the landscapeunless, as most paleobiologists believe, they helped wipe out the big game. Around 5,000 years ago, more permanent settlements began to appear, especially along the major rivers, as evidenced by large middens of discarded mussel shells, pits used for the preparation or storage of food, and numerous graves, many containing jewelry, stone tools, and other artifacts. By this time, the grassy parkland had given way to hardwood forest and the conifers had disappeared, except for damp, cool pockets here and there, where more northerly species such as hemlock, white pine, and Canada yew lingered onand where they linger still today, as in Big Walnut Preserve in Putnam County, Pine Hills in Montgomery County, or Hemlock Bluff in Jackson County. Beginning around 2,000 years ago, and continuing until the middle of the fifteenth century, these ancient peoples left their most distinctive marks on the land, raising massive earthworks and burial mounds. One of the best-preserved examples from the earlier period is a great circular mound, 384 feet in diameter and 9 feet high, on a bluff overlooking the White River in Mounds State Park, on the outskirts of Anderson. The most elaborate earthworks from the later period are preserved in Angel Mounds State Historic Site, covering more than 100 acres along the Ohio River just east of Evansville. Near the center of the Angel site is a flat-topped mound 44 feet high by 650 feet long, which archaeologists think might have served as the base of a temple, and which they calculate must have taken generations to build. Before the settlement was abandoned for unknown reasonswar? disease? starvation?as many as a thousand people lived there. Their art works, burial goods, and the layout of their town link them to a culture that stretched down the Mississippi River Valley and across into Mexico. It is not known whether descendants of these industrious, mysterious people were among the tribes encountered by the first Europeans who began trickling into Indiana around 1700. Estimates of the native population here at the time of contact vary from a low of 20,000 to a high of 100,000. Even at the larger figure, the landscape would scarcely have been altered by human presence. Aside from the earthworks, long since covered by brush and trees, the only human signs would have been the scattered clearings for settlements and cultivated fields along rivers, prairies kept open by fire to improve hunting, and footpaths through the woods. As soon as the settlements were abandoned and the fires ceased, the forest came back. Even the footpaths often followed animal trails, as in the case of a trace gouged by bison lumbering between the western prairies and the salt licks near present-day Louisville, a route that roughly corresponds to U.S. 150 between Vincennes and New Albany.
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