History on the Hoof

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The second night of the raid, Morgan’s Raiders camped out in a field 16 miles south of Salem, the hardest hit of all the towns during Morgan’s travels through Indiana.

Downtown Salem today is a pretty place. The Washington County Courthouse, a combination of Gothic and Classical styles, is immense, dominating the small downtown with its 19th and 20th century commercial buildings which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Check out the railroad tracks in Salem. It was here that Morgan’s Raiders burned down the train depot. Indeed, railroads and telegraph lines were the biggest targets, disrupting supplies and communications.

While in Salem, visit the Depot Railroad Museum which showcases Salem’s 125 years of railroad history. The depot is part of the John Hay Center, built in honor of John Milton Hay who was personal secretary to Abraham Lincoln and the U.S.Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt.

The Center includes the Pioneer Village, a replica of an 1830’s community featuring a jail, blacksmith, school, church, Haganman house, smoke house, barn, bell tower, loom house, and New Philadelphia Post Office and General Store. Other attractions are the John Hay Home, the small brick house, built in 1824, where Hay was born and the Stevens Memorial Museum which highlights area history.

If you like speed, stop at the Salem Speedway, a 65-year old racing track.

Salem, which has a rich Quaker history, was a stop on one of the three main Underground Railroad Routes that ran through Indiana. This one started, after slaves crossed the Ohio River, in Corydon to Jackson/Jennings to Salem to Bloomington to Mooresville to Marion County to Crawfordsville to Porter then onto


Browse the shops in the old fashioned town square, centered around the ornate 1880 Washington County Courthouse in Salem.

Spend the night at the elegant Lanning House Bed & Breakfast Inn, a post Civil War mansion built by Dr. Lanning.

And be sure to visit historic Beck’s Mill just outside of town.

At A Glance

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