There is no substitute for a real map. Like everyone else, I tend to fire up Google or Yahoo when I need to find a location, but it’s not the same thing. That, in any case, is my pathetic excuse for an error that I made a while back, namely, describing Metamora under the heading of Wayne County.
Metamora is in Franklin County, Indiana. So, yes, I have apparently meandered Franklin County, but without knowing it. Let me try to make up for that mistake by describing Franklin County in more, and better, detail.
Situated on the eastern edge of the state, to the north of the Cincinnati metro area, Franklin County is part of the historic Whitewater Valley, once populated by the Delaware, Miami, and Illinois tribes. Incorporated in 1811, the county was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. In the early years, the county seat, Brookville, was the home of Indiana governors and a center of industry, including mills and manufacturing. With the rise to prominence of Indianapolis, Brookville declined but surged back again with the building of the 76-mile-long Whitewater Canal from Cambridge City to Metamora to Lawrenceburg on the Ohio River.
Fast forward to today. The year 2008 saw the official launch of the Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway, a route that begins at Hagerstown and passes through Cambridge City, Milton, Connersville, Laurel, Metamora and Brookville on its way to Lawrenceburg and the Ohio River. Six Indiana counties, including Franklin, and two Ohio counties are now members of the Whitewater Canal Byway Association and are rapidly taking on projects such as the proposed Whitewater Valley Regional Interpretive Park in Metamora. This vibrant and active initiative recently received an Indiana Humanities Council grant for research on transportation history in the Whitewater Valley, Phase 1 of an extensive plan to interpret and present the history of the region through heritage tourism.
Franklin County’s third gem is the village of Oldenburg, yet another historic community. Settled by German Catholics and platted in 1837, this town became known as the “Village of Spires.” I have not yet meandered to Oldenburg, but maybe the Freudenfest in July would be a good time. This is a county with lots to see, and I’m eager to extend my experiences there and enjoy the attractions, especially my favorites – history, food, and shopping!
The Franklin County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission has an excellent web site with lots of information about the area’s history and culture.