At the Leadership Johnson County retreat two weeks ago, attendees received homework to complete before our next day long experience in October. Me and my classmates were each given a 32 page stapled document which was a combination of driving instructions, historical references, facts and quotes, and questions to be answered. We were told that it would take between 3-5 hours to complete the historical driving tour of Johnson County and that we could do it anytime with anyone we chose.
Since my husband Dave is new to the area, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce him to the area and learn some things myself at the same time. For four and a half hours we meandered our way through country roads. Dave drove while I read aloud the pages upon pages of history. We did take a lunch break halfway through in Franklin, but otherwise stayed the course.
There are nine townships in Johnson County. We made it to eight of the nine. The ninth is where Trafalgar is located. Since my parents live there, I feel like I know that area fairly well. We moseyed on many country roads looking for historical markers and imagined what the area must have looked like when it was all forest before the farm fields were cleared. Johnson County was fairly slow to develop, and stayed quite rural for a long time after the Revolutionary War. The low population was a primary factor in why the Government later decided to house Camp Atterbury in Johnson County. We learned other stuff about the people themselves, as well. We both found the history of how Franklin came to be the county seat particularly interesting. Lobbying and politics, in some ways, hasn’t changed much.
This was a nice Sunday afternoon adventure. I am not a history buff, so some of the information was a bit dry to me. We were both quite ready to be done by the time we found our last historical marker – but I’m glad we did it. I do like having a solid knowledge of where my community began. It helps me to appreciate how far we have come and to imagine how much further we could go. I am guessing that is the reason why we were tasked with this assignment, but I’ll find that out next month!