Lawrence County is affectionately named “Limestone Country” for a few reasons. Everywhere you look, limestone sits just beneath the ground creating the rolling hills and rocky terrain that is perfect for outdoor adventures and weekend getaways in nature. The limestone from this area has been mined for centuries, leaving a piece of Hoosier history in some of the Unite States’ most famous buildings: The Empire State Building, The Pentagon and the new Yankee Stadium. Since Lawrence County is The Home of Indiana Limestone, it’s only natural that Lawrence County has a few limestone gems hidden in plain sight.
Wilson Park Shelter House
The shelter house has a large open seating area, two restrooms and a playground. It’s frequently used for community events, such as business meetings, workshops, reunions and more. Wilson Park has easy access to the Milwaukee Trail for hikers, bikers and runners to enjoy.
Otis Park Bandshell
Otis Park was gifted to the City of Bedford in 1935 by local newspaperman, Fred B. Otis. The 150-acre park is now on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the most notable sights that you see as you enter the park is the Otis Park Band Shell. This Neo-Classical structure, weighing hundreds of tons and reaching almost two stories high, was built in 1939. Looking at the Band Shell you will see the four Doric columns that frame it, two urns at the ends and the nearly 26-foot-wide back wall. Each of these are made of limestone. The bandshell still hosts performances and musical productions.
Lawrence County Museum of History & Edward L. Hutton Research Library
The Museum currently residents in the Hamer-Smith building, originally constructed in 1908. One of the owners was the grandson of Hugh Hamer, who once owned part of the village now known as the Pioneer Village in Spring Mill State Park. After extensive renovations, the Historic Landmarks Foundation presented the restoration work with the Historic Preservation award. Today, when you enter the gallery of the museum, you can find early limestone carvings, displays and pictures of the Lawrence County limestone industry.
Pope Place is a dedication to the aviation pioneer, WWI hero and Bedford native, First Lieutenent Harley Halbert Pope. He was killed in 1919 when his plane, crashed into the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The U.S. War Department designated the flying field at one of the nation’s oldest bases, Camp Bragg, now known as Fort Bragg, as the Pope Army Airfield. His gravesite is at Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford.
Snuggled into Spring Mill State Park, the Inn is one of the greatest limestone buildings around. Built in 1936, it proved to be an architectural feat. During construction, a cave was discovered beneath one of the Inns wings. Originally, the Inn was supposed to be built out of logs to match the neighboring Pioneer Village, but a limestone fascade was used instead. The outside of the building remains mostly the same as it was in the 1930s, but the interior has since been renovated.
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