23 Sep 2012--Hi everyone! We drove from Ohio to Indiana on Friday and were supposed to be staying at this Army National Guard base in Edinburg until Monday, but we got news that Cathy's mother is experiencing some health problems and went in the hospital yesterday so we left early and have been driving to Florida all day today (Sunday). So instead of sightseeing our way into Texas over the next 3 weeks, we will be in Florida by sometime tomorrow and then stay there until we have to go back to San Antonio for my appointments mid-October.
This base is a training/mobilization base for troops and civilians going into Afghanistan, etc., but surprisingly it is also a minimum security state and city prison. I guess they can do that because it is a Guard base? I have only seen federal prison facilities on any other bases I have been on, so this was a little surprising.
The base has a small, outdoor museum of old army weapons, so we took a few pictures for Jack. So Jen, show these to Jack, please.
The boat looks like the predecessor to the duck boats of today, and was actually nicknamed "the duck" during WWII. I think the picture after that is some type of anti-aircraft gun, but whatever it is, it was so small in comparison to everything else, it was cute. haha The next pic is a rocket launcher.
We drove into Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, on Saturday, and learned that it was the 19th state admitted to the Union, in 1816. The state flag has 19 stars, with the big one on top of the torch indicating Indiana. Their license plate is sort of ho-hum, but not the worst, I guess. NOTE: I want you to pay attention now. My friend Barb told me today that she was watching Jeopardy the other day and got an answer on something to do with the Puritans because of something she previously read on my blog. You never know when this info will come in handy. haha
Like Columbus, OH, Indianapolis didn't exist prior to it being picked to be the capital city. There were 2 other capital cities before this, but they wanted it centrally located, so they built the city after the fact. The 2 stars in the southern portion of the state show where the capital cities used to be. And in the 2nd pic, I took a picture of a magazine layout because the Capitol building is so huge I can't possibly show you what it looks like from the outside. I asked the tour guide and the receptionist inside where the actual front of the building was and neither of them knew. haha This was built in 1888.
If I had to guess, I think the 1st 2 pics are of the front of the building, and that's because it faces Monument Circle several blocks down the road (as you will see later). The statue out front is of the man who was the Governor during the Civil War, Oliver Morton.
On the east side of the building, George Washington is prominently displayed. At the top of the building are these life-sized statues depicting Indians, a farmer, an industrial worker (?), and some settlers. I didn't even take pictures of the other 2 sides, but they were pretty also.
The 1st thing our tour guide pointed out inside the building was this statue of Colonel Owen. The Colonel served during the Civil War, was the commandant of a POW camp who was supposedly very nice to his prisoners, but when re-assigned he was at one point captured by the rebels and made a POW himself. The story goes that when they found out who he was, they thought so much of him that they gave him back his weapon and released him. The Confederate POWs even paid for this bust after the war. The moral of the story is "It pays to be nice!" haha
Some random pics as we wait to get to the best stuff!
So here's the deal. We took so many pretty pictures that I struggled in determining which to put up and which to leave out. So this may seem like a lot of pics to you, but believe me when I say I left out far more than I included. This building was built in 1888, all 3 branches of government still work here, and it is really beautiful, especially the main hallways, rotunda, and dome .
Our tour guide didn't take us into the Senate meeting room, but we looked thru some windows and I don't feel we missed anything. This is where the 100 members of the House of Representatives meet, and I specifically mention the 100 members because there are 100 light bulbs in the this chandelier, one for each member. Believe it or not, there are so many light bulbs in this building that one person is employed, full-time, to do nothing but change light bulbs here. The mural along the front wall is very nice, and if you blow up the stitch pic in the 2nd row you will see that it represents, from left to right, arts and education, Miss Indiana and William Henry Harrison in the middle, and then industry. Notice in the last pic here, in the area that represents art and education, the lower right area almost looks like the hat in the Harry Potter series. haha Indiana is one of a long list of legislative bodies that are considered to be "part-time...they generally only meet from Jan-Apr each year.
And here is a fun fact: I mentioned William Henry Harrison, who you will remember is claimed by both Ohio and Virginia as a President from their states...would you believe that he was once of the Governor of Indiana when it was still a territory? Did he get around or what!? Also, his grandson Benjamin Harrison, also became president, and he lived in Indianapolis before that. (Whatever happened to us being a meritocracy?) haha
The state Supreme Court also meets here, and the room is actually prettier than the pics would indicate. I think it is the way the light hits the camera lens, because the windows are all stained glass but you wouldn't know it in most pictures. When finally caught at the right angle, the last pic shows what they really look like.
Here are a bunch of pics with me and/or Cathy in them. I love the one about 1/2 way down where Cathy is sitting on the long staircase, and further down, the one with me in it where the dome is showing behind and over my right shoulder.
So when you leave what I believe is the main entrance of the capitol building, and walk a couple blocks down a main street to what is called Monument Circle, you will come to this "Europesque" statue, called the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It is a tribute to those who fought in the Civil War, and is in the middle of a major rotary circle like those in Boston. As you can see, all of this is in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. This monument was built in 1902, is only 15 short of the Statue of Liberty, cost just under $600k when it was built, and it is estimated that it would cost over $500 million today!
The top and 2 sides of the base.
This is an extra pic I loaded by mistake, but I am in it so I am leaving it here! haha
At the top of the stairs, but at the base of the statue, you can see a doorway...it leads to a stairwell of 30 flights of stairs, or an elevator, to the observatory at the top of the statue where you can look out over the city in all directions. We took the elevator and then had to walk the last 3 flights of stairs.
In the 3rd pic here you can see a church, which we found out later was unfortunately closed, and in the distant center, a tall pointed building that you can see better in the 4th picture. That is the World War 1 Memorial and museum, which we will visit later.
Below the base of the statue, built into the side of what would be the stairs leading up to the statue I guess, is a small Civil War Museum, named after the famous Eli Lilly. He was in the Civil War and you probably recognize his name from what I think is the pharmaceutical company.
Just a few pics from the museum that caught my eye. Hallie, my friend, I just have to start with these 2 pics, where they color-code the states involved in the Civil War by what side they took. Notice that Missouri is colored as a "border state"...we asked what that meant and someone told us it was because they couldn't decide which side they wanted to be on. haha Notice that the last picture in the series has a nun in it...haven't seen one like that before.
After we left the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, we headed down the street towards that World War 1 monument, not really knowing what to expect. What we ended up seeing was a several city-block long plaza, much like the Mall in Washington, DC, with several monuments to those who fought in different wars like the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. As you look at this 2nd pic you are looking back towards the downtown area, 1st at the WWII memorial, past the Obelisk in the middle which I think was for Korea, and further back is the WWI memorial. In the 3rd pic you are looking in the opposite direction, towards the Museum of Art.
Believe it or not, inside the WWI memorial is a dining area, (someone was actually setting up for a wedding there later), a "shrine room", and then another, more extensive war museum. (We thought at this point that the people of Indiana must really be big-time into wars! haha)
So up to the Shrine room we went, and what a room it was! This staircase to the room is lined on both sides with lists of names of men, Marines and Army soldiers, who fought and died or were wounded during the war. Pretty long staircase and therefore, a pretty extensive list of names!
In the center of the room is this monument, which has different sayings on all sides, and the top of which is painted and has the Pledge of Allegiance".
All 4 walls of the room are fronted by massive columns, behind which are these carvings of historical scenes, which are under these beautifully colored windows.
Directly above the monument, high into the ceiling, hangs the flag surrounded by these beautiful lights. I am in the lower right hand corner of this picture, and I love it!!! I especially love how the light hits the columns, showing more detail than you could otherwise see.
The flag and lights from different angles...I just couldn't leave them out. Look how the light is reflected off the columns in the 3rd picture.
And finally, Cathy, in a corner of the room shot.
Back down from the Shrine Room, we headed to the War Museum, and although this is a WWI Monument, the museum covers all wars from the Revolution thru Iraq/Afghanistan.
This display on the Gadsden flag was interesting. I have seen this a thousands times, more often than not used by Tea Party types to protest our government or our President, but I never really knew how it got started. Here it is!
Just thought I would give you one more shot before we leave the building! haha
Along one side of the street that fronts the Plaza is this massive building, called the Scottish Rite Cathedral, that I was dying to get into, but unfortunately they only allow visitors Mon-Fri, from 10 AM to 2 PM. We actually got inside the door, but a guard was there and told us that he could not make an exception. He told us it was a Freemason building. I don't know anything about Masons or Freemasons, but I have always had the feeling that they were a secretive group, and their limited visitation policy has done nothing to dispel that belief. haha Anyone know anything about them? I heard from someone at the RV park later that it is a breathtaking building inside, so I really felt ripped off!
Not to be thwarted, I eventually found this Catholic Church (haha) to check out. A wedding was getting ready to take place, so I ran in and took some quick pics...just a few...nothing great, but pretty nonetheless.
And finally, on our way back to the RV, we saw this giant rocking chair, so we stopped for a picture. Barb loves these stupid things along the side of the roads throughout the country, so this is for her!!!
That's all for now folks! We will be in Tallahassee tomorrow. TTYL