Sunday, December 31, 2006

Back home again in Indiana

I’m back from a short holiday trip home to Liberty, Indiana. Liberty is a small town close to the Ohio state line. It is located in Union County – one of the smallest counties (in population) in the United States. It’s the community where I grew up.

The community is rural – farming is still predominant but the number of farmers is declining. There used to be a greater variety of small industry than there is now. Walmarts in surrounding towns are putting a real crunch on local merchants. The railroad still runs through Liberty but the train doesn’t stop there anymore. It’s a lot like small towns and rural communities across the United States.

Despite ups and downs of the area’s economy, the residents remain proud of their little community. The Union County Courthouse, located in the center of Liberty, is quite a magnificent work of architecture. Across the street from the courthouse is the Blue Heron Art Gallery featuring a variety of works including some by local artists. Whitewater State Park is in Union County just south of Liberty and the Brookville Reservoir is south and west of Whitewater. Each provides ample outdoor recreation for locals and tourists alike.

Students from nearby Miami University have worked with local resident photographing the community and preserving stories. The final product is called Portrait of Liberty and can be found here. Check it out and get a feel for small town America.

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