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Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Indiana: 101 Places to See by Earl L. Conn

Probably the best travel book about Indiana.

West Baden Springs at Christmastime
The Indiana Historical Society's My Indiana: 101 Places to See is a colorful, informative guide to touring the state of Indiana. Every one of the 101 sites gets two pages, including at least two color photos (some have as many as four), a multi-paragraph, well-written description of the place and a section called "If You Go" that includes direction, phone numbers, websites, hours of operation and fees.

The choices are all solid and are spaced throughout the state. But, I could easily come up with 101 more places to go and see so hopefully the author is considering another volume. (Update: The author has created a book called My Indiana: 101 More Places to See)

Two notes of correction:

1) the entry for West Baden Springs (pp. 200-1) is out of date (thankfully). What was just an abandoned hulk of a ruined hotel (impressive even with pealing paint and no prospects for large-scale repair when this book was written) has become a 5 star resort and casino. I saw the atrium pictured on page 201 during the Christmas season and it is now a breathtaking spectacle that caused my 3 & 8 year old daughters to suck in their breaths and quietly say, "Wow!" (see picture above). They were inspired play princess in the castle for 20 minutes while my wife and I looked around and spoke with a very nice concierge about the building.

2) #29 is the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What was once the largest privately held museum of Lincoln memorabilia is now closed. The entire collection is now in the hands of the Indiana State Museum in White River Park in downtown Indianapolis (see #39 for White River Park). You may ask, "Why Lincoln? Isn't he from Illinios?" Well, sort of. He grew up in Indiana. He lived in Indiana from age 7 to age 21 (see location #90 for his boyhood home).

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5

Reviewed on February 15, 2009.

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