Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indiana Time

I'll add just a couple things to Pam's Indiana marvelous post.

As strange as the time-zone situation was, I kind of miss it. Indiana greatly simplified its time-keeping about five years ago, but the "What Time is it in Indiana?" web page is, thankfully, still available to assure us we were not making any of it up. It really was impossible to keep track of the time in Indiana through most of the twentieth century, since the state did not observe Daylight Savings time, except in some counties. And these counties were always changing. Having a watch was a liability, and I can only imagine what would happen to the clock on a cell phone, as a traveler passed from tower to tower through the state. See the page for an explanation of the map to the right, including the fact that some parts of this map reflect times that were officially "unofficial."

The time-zone situation had a couple of interesting implications for us. We lived in the border town of Oxford, Ohio for three years, mostly in the center of the town, but the last eight months house-sitting right on the line. Hoosiers were to us as Russkies were to Sarah Palin, except, as Pam points out, in our case it was literally true: we could see Indiana from our house. The practical implication was that my medical doctor was on the Indiana side of the nearby town of College Corner. Appointments were never as simple as "come in at 2:00 on Tuesday."

In that same town, school planners had gone out of their way to celebrate the odd situation. The inevitable "Stateline Road" has one interruption in town -- a gap where the local school is located. Not only did this school have the privilege of reporting to two, different state-education bureaucracies, but the classes in each side of the building would be on the same clock at the beginning and end of the school year, but not in the middle. The dashed line on the map below quite deliberately splits the school. I can only imagine that the principal's desk is on the line (I'd put it there if I were principal, just for the thrill of it).

View Larger Map

I was grateful that in Indiana, counties did matter, and that might account for part of my nostalgia. I've visited 60 of its 92 counties at one time or other, and certainly wore a groove in the Indiana section of Interstate 70, which is between several of the places I've lived.

As we've said, the time-zone confusion is all in the past. It made the state a bit more interesting than it otherwise would have been, and I guess all we can tease Indiana about now is its obsession with high school basketball.

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