Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Athens of Indiana

Why was the name "Athens of Indiana" given to the city of Crawfordsville? A visitor's guide published circa 1930 describes how Crawfordsville earned the famous nickname:

The name, "Athens of Indiana," which has long been applied to Crawfordsville, was originally bestowed not merely because Crawfordsville is a college town, but more especially because it was the home of Lew Wallace and four other writers of national prominence—Maurice and Will H. Thompson, and Misses Mary Hannah and Caroline Krout. And this was at a time when the writing of books had long been almost a monopoly in the hands of New Englanders. Under these circumstances, "Athens of Indiana" was really a very modest title—it might almost as well have been "Athens of the West."

Their example was encouraging to younger citizens of the town with talent for writing, and a number of these have won great success. Meredith Nicholson went out from Crawfordsville to become one of the principal American novelists of his time, and in the last few years three of Crawfordsville's young people have been writing plays for Broadway—Kenyon Nicholson, Maurine Watkins, and Catherine Clugston.

It's pride in its writers and its schools has by no means made Crawfordsville a chilly and exclusive community. Instead it has greatly enriched the church, school, club, and general social life of the town. It has done much to make Crawfordsville a very pleasant place in which to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment