East Central Indiana offers affordability, a diverse range of lifestyle options, and plenty to see and do.
A region of nearly 400,000 residents, East Central Indiana is located east of Indianapolis and borders Ohio. The nine counties that comprise the region – Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Rush and Wayne – offer affordability, a diverse range of lifestyle options, and plenty to see and do. Here are some things about the region you might not know.
Plenty of Hoopla
Henry County has become a hotbed for basketball, especially basketball in Indiana. For instance, New Castle is home to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, which features a 14,000-square-foot museum and several interactive exhibits. Also in New Castle is the Steve Alford All-American Inn, a hotel named for the point guard who starred at New Castle High School and played for Bob Knight at Indiana University. And in Knightstown, its famed Hoosier Gym is where the movie, “Hoosiers,” was filmed. A block away is a Hoosiers Mural in downtown Knightstown that captures a memorable moment of the movie.
Richmond is recognized as the birthplace of recorded jazz, thanks largely to composer and musician Hoagy Carmichael recording the classic record “Stardust” in 1923 at Richmond’s old Starr Piano Building. The building housed a recording studio for Gennett Records, which Richmond-based Starr Piano founded. Noted musicians who made discs there included Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Tommy Dorsey. In 1997, Richmond began to commemorate its jazz heritage with several murals on various buildings. One of the most visited murals is on the side of Paulee’s Restaurant and depicts Armstrong and Carmichael, while another is called “Remembering the Immortals” and is located in Richmond’s historic Depot District.
Scream for Ice Cream
Located in an ice cream parlor building nicknamed The Penguin, The Chocolate Moose has operated at its same location on North Main Street in Farmland in Randolph County since 1983, even though the original founding of the business dates way back to 1933. All homemade ice cream flavors are blended and prepared fresh daily, with menu offerings that include cones, shakes, floats and freezes – even in vegan flavors. Besides ice cream, The Chocolate Moose sells breakfast sandwiches, muffins, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches and the popular Spanish Burger. Customers can also choose from 10 flavored coffees.
Enjoy the Garfield Trail
Jim Davis, cartoonist and creator of the comic strip “Garfield,” was born in Fairmount in 1945 and joined the faculty of Ball State University in 2016 as an adjunct professor. Odd fact: Davis’ first wife, Carolyn, was allergic to cats. Today, the Grant County Garfield Trail features 11 statues dedicated to the cartoon cat, and it takes about a day to visit all sites. Highlights include the Speedking Statue in Swayzee that features Garfield in a basketball uniform, and the Worldly Cat Statue at Van Buren Public Library, where the portly feline is standing on a stack of books. For more information, visit showmegrantcounty.com.
Way Up High
The highest-elevated plot of ground in Indiana, Hoosier Hill, is located northwest of Bethel in Franklin Township in Wayne County. Hoosier Hill is 1,257 feet above sea level, and everyone is welcome to visit the site, which is located in a grove of trees beside a dairy farm. The summit features a picnic area, fire pit and a mailbox decorated with stickers from travelers. Hoosier Hill is on private property, so be respectful.