Our kids won’t ever know what it was like to slide your finger over a stretch of highway in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. We’d cross the country with just a sheet of paper to guide us. Nothing to give us weather conditions. Nothing to warn us of road construction. Just an awkward map that never refolded correctly.
On the hand, peeping down on stuff from outer space is pretty fun.
In the last three years, since Nick and I birthed this site, I have spent many MANY hours searching satellite photos for one story or another, sorting GPS data, and always enjoying the view. If you’d like to do your own explorations via GPS, then I recommend Google Earth Pro. Five years ago, Google charged $399/year to use this premium software. Today, it’s free. Let me repeat: this $399 software is free. Here’s the download link for PC or Mac. I don’t get compensated to endorse, it’s just that good. Although it’s available on iOS and Android systems as well, the mobile versions are nowhere near as robust as the desktop.
Now, let’s play some planetary peekaboo.
Bedford Limestone Pyramid
Bedford loves limestone so much, the city wanted a monolith to celebrate it…then it fizzled. Workers completed only a single layer of this limestone pyramid by 1980. The town of Bedford hoped to build a 1:5 scale model of the Great Pyramids of Cheops to attract visitors to a planned Limestone Tourist Park. Government grants money and local enthusiasm ran out quickly. Only this 95′ square of cut Indiana limestone remains.
Hobart, Indiana. In some records the site is located in Wheeler. Sometimes in Portage.
This historic site is a personal favorite, and one I visit a couple times a year. Owned by the Portage Community Schools and listed as a National Historic Site, C-47 is the last complete base of the Chicago-Gary Defense Area. C-47 was also one of the first Nike missile sites to deploy W31 nuclear warheads.
In the early 50s, the threat of nuclear war loomed over our daily lives, but no national radar systems had been established. The Ground Observer Corps was formed. Composed of volunteers, the Corps utilized these 40-foot towers and constantly scanned the sky for a Russian bomber attack. Each tower had a glass-walled office and a direct phone line to nearby military bases.
Entrepreneur David Rose invested a fortune in Rose Island, transforming it into a recreational paradise for families across the Midwest. It was one of the first family-oriented theme parks. Determined to keep prices affordable, David Rose ran very thin margins of profit and once had to personally float the employee payroll during the worst of the Great Depression. He kept the park alive and lively until 1937, when the Ohio River buried the park under a deluge of water. *Notice the park’s massive swimming pool is easily visible in the photo.
The Cholera Pit in Arba contains 27 Arba citizens that perished during an 1849 cholera epidemic that had burned a swath of disease through the Midwest. This mass grave is marked with a single row of faded stones. Because of the Community’s intense fear of cholera, these bodies were separated from the other graves. Even from a satellite image 170 years later, you’ll notice the isolation of these poor Hoosiers, buried in a lonely corner behind the church.