What to expect

Destination Indiana’s recent revamp contains a wealth of connections to Johnson County. Here are a few of the discoveries that you can make through the exhibit:

Johnson County courthouse

Photo taken: 1919

Significance: The present courthouse was designed by George W. Bunting and completed in 1882. It is the fifth county courthouse, two earlier ones having been destroyed by fire. The first courthouse was a log structure located just north of the present building.

Baconian Society of Hopewell Academy, Franklin

Document from: 1865

Significance: Hopewell Academy was started by subscription in 1854. At that time, the state and local governments were reluctant to spend money to start schools. The people in this area wanted a school so they personally contributed the money to construct the building. The first classes were conducted in 1855. It offered advanced courses and accepted students from across the state. Maximum tuition was $8 per 12-week term.

Baumgart & Axt Store

Photo taken: 1887

Significance: Henry Axt, right, and John Baumgart, left, standing in front of their store on West Jefferson Street in Franklin. When the first lots in Franklin went on sale, the county agent reportedly “laid in a plentiful supply of whiskey for the thirsty crowd to encourage bidding.”

Students at Clark School

Photo taken: Approximately 1920

Significance: The first graded high school in the township was established in 1897, taught by Ralph Jones in a farm house in the township. In 1911, Clark High School was constructed. This building, with many additions, is still in use for lower grades since the advent of consolidation around 1960.

Nineveh High School

Photo taken: Approximately 1910

Significance: In 1872, Nineveh Township became the first in the county to open a high school. Many county residents opposed taxation for so-called higher education.

Roger D. Branigin

Portrait painted: 1967

Significance: Franklin native Roger D. Branigin, Democratic governor from 1965 to 1969, enacted the state’s first minimum-wage law and created a Department of Natural Resources. He vetoed bills legalizing abortion and outlawing the death penalty. When President Johnson did not pursue re-election in 1968, Branigin ran as his stand-in in the state’s Democratic presidential primary and came in second. Later he returned to his law practice in Lafayette, Stuart & Branigin.

G.E. Harrell and Sons Display of Ribbons at the Indiana State Fair

Photo taken: 1951

Significance: G.E. Harrell and Sons of Bargersville display their ribbons for Shropshire sheep. The family was a Breeders Gazette Blue Ribbon exhibitor at the Indiana State Fair in 1951.

Franklin College

Photo taken: 1909

Significance: Stott Hall and Shirk Hall on the campus of Franklin College are shown in the early 20th century. Founded in 1834, the college named one of its main buildings for its alumnus and longest-serving president, William Stott. Franklin was the first coeducational college in Indiana.

— Information from the Indiana Historical Society

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.