20 May 2009

Back Home Again in Rensselaer

While doing some photo-documentation in the small city of Rensselaer, Jasper County, recently, I happened upon an Indiana Historic Bureau Marker in their downtown, dedicated to native son, James Frederick Hanley. Who is Hanley you ask? I asked the same question. To my pleasant surprise, Hanley is responsible for the tune we Hoosiers love to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana".

For many years as a kid I thought this was our state song. We never sang "On the Banks of the Wabash". In fact, I'm not even sure if I had heard our state song until the last several years. And if you were to ask Hoosiers what our state song is, they would probably hum the Hanley tune.

Rensselaer has a charming little downtown with an impressive courthouse and a handful of brick streets surrounding the square. It is also home to St. Joseph's College, the Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall), and one of 36 WPA era post offices in Indiana remaining with a Public Works of Art Project mural in its lobby. More on each of these in future posts. For now, toe-tap along....."through the sycamores for me".

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I got my degree from Saint Joseph's College and I never saw that marker. Thanks HR. Are you going to be doing anything on Drexel Hall ( the Indian Normal School) It has been renovated and is now used by the community and the college.

hoosier reborn said...

yeah, right, the bars were at the other corner. lol.

with my expanding enterprise, I plan to move operations to Drexel...sooo cool.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure you could adjust to the brand of beer and religion! But I might have fun watching you try. ( by the way the bar was right on campus when I was a senior it was called Core Eleven)