Feb 19, 2018
Searching for Beefcake in Northern Indiana
Or, on the way back, Laotto, Churubusco, Columbia City, Warsaw, Plymouth, Valparaiso, Chicago.
We never stopped in any of those cities, and you saw almost nothing of them from the highway. But I always wondered, who lived in them? What did they see, and do, and think about as they went about the ever-churning days of their lives?
So I looked for the beefcake.
1. Valparaiso, Indiana, population 33,000, home of the Lutheran Valparaiso University. I thought about going there, just because I had seen the Chapel of the Resurrection from the freeway so often.
It's the largest university chapel in America, seating about 2,000 people, with a 98-foot tall chancel shaped like a 9-pointed star. Especially impressive at night.
Oh, there's also a swim team, whose star athlete Ryan Hrosik has beat many records. In the top photo, he poses with two buffed friends on Instagram (no, I don't know which one he is.)
It is the home of Theodore Dreiser (author of dull modernist novels) and Ambrose Bierce (author of bitter satiric stories). One of its main draws is the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts, which this season is performing Seussical the Musical, My Fair Lady, Saturday Night Fever, and One Man Two Guvnors, and hosting the Symphony of the Lakes Young Artist Competition.
Last year Peter Rutkowski won.
Columbia City is the home of the Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow, an annual gathering of the Miami nation.
More after the break
Churubusco, population 2,000, was founded by combining two earlier towns, Union and Franklin, and named after the Battle of Churubusco during the Mexican-American War. It is known for the Beast of Busco (aka Oscar), a giant snapping turtle-monster who lives in Fulk's Lake. There are turtles everywhere in town, and an annual Turtle Days festival with a parade, a 5-K, and more turtle souvenirs than you can fit in your shell.