At the intersection of Farmers Gravel and Sleepy Hollow Road in my home Clinton County, there stands two large concrete posts. These are the landmarks to help guide curious teenagers down the road to Sleepy Hollow Bridge (North CR 400 West) over the Wildcat Creek. At one time, there was a tall concrete-walled bridge awash in graffiti. The legend, or myth, is that someone was killed here, but never found and they still haunted this valley. It was a great route for a scary high school hayride I took in the 8th grade.
Occasionally, I would notice concrete posts while I traveled throughout Indiana. They might serve as property lines, corner field posts, or entries to once prosperous farmsteads. In the summer of 2016 I was driving south of Scircleville and spied three posts made of mortared stones juxtaposed against a cloud-filled blue sky on a mid-summer day. I was wandering home from a speaking engagement at Ancilla College near Donaldson and I was compelled to stop in the middle of the road for a picture (there was no traffic to watch out for).
Fast forward to January 2, 2021. I had an itch to get out and wander and now I was doing it alone. I chose to revisit the Seven Pillars of Mississinewa east of Peru. As always I was traveling north on country roads. Passing through small towns in Hamilton, then Tipton, and into Howard County, I stayed on the west side of Kokomo driving through Alto even though I eventually needed to be east of US31. As I wandered through rural Howard County, I saw a farmstead in the distance with five or six concrete posts all painted white, standing guard at the road’s edge. Several miles farther I passed Northwestern High School and then Zion Lutheran Church near the village of Kappa. Turned north on CR North 700 West and drove into concrete-post-opolis. Every farm seemed to have concrete posts and with all the crops harvested they stood like sentinels on the flat lands. These were rather plain square posts, some standing alone while others still had woven-wire fences attached to them. At one intersection stood a corner post flanked by two concrete braces. Now my brain was keyed up to notice these rural fixtures.
On the rest of my drive to the Pillars I saw them everywhere and of varied shapes. Nearer to Bunker Hill, I came upon posts with round heads, posts with ornate sides and pedestals topped with balls, and another similar pair marking an old farmstead entry without a farmstead! East of Peru in front of the Wallace Home at the Circus Hall of Fame stood two just like the last ones. After arriving at my destination I took pictures of the Pillars, but it was a cloudy day and I have better photos from visiting years before with Beth. I ‘looped’ back toward home, stopping for many pictures, including Chief Richardville’s Home, Westleigh Farms (Cole Porter family), Francis Slocum Trail, and the Mississinewa Dam. South of Scircleville, I passed the posts I wrote of earlier and had a bit of dèjá vu. A few miles farther I came across a pair of octagonal posts with two flat pedestals on top of each post. Now my curiosity was piqued.
Upon arriving back home I called my niece Lyndsay, another wandering soul and an amazing photographer, and asked if she would go the intersection of Sleepy Hollow Road and Farmers Gravel and get pictures. She did more than get pictures of the two posts I remembered. Many of the posts were painted white and embossed with the letter “H.” There were other unpainted H posts and even narrow concrete posts rather than metal fence posts. I did some research in old plat books and found that in the 1910s the farm’s owner was named Hillis.
Now as I wander I see posts everywhere and if they are out of the norm, (like the ones below) I stop and take pictures. I have shared this search with others and they now tell me of their discoveries and some even send me pictures. This is why wandering is so fun.