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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Staff Picks: Limestone Rocks!

Categories: Arts & Culture

June is limestone month, a time when the communities in Monroe and Lawrence counties celebrate the limestone heritage, industry, architecture and artistry that permeates the area.  Besides enjoying the sights along the Indiana Limestone Heritage Trail (as you can do all year long), there are special events and activities that only happen in June.  There are guided tours, presentations and special exhibits that all highlight that unique geological feature that lies under our feet.  You can find a calendar of limestone events and more information on that trail at www.limestonemonth.com.  To celebrate limestone month with this month's Staff Picks blog, I asked everyone to share with me their favorite limestone experience or attraction. 

    Bloomington Banquet
  • Teal- My favorite limestone feature is located in one of my favorite spots in town where all my favorite events happen!  The Bloomington Banquet sculpture is located on the B-Line trail right behind city hall, the same spot where the Farmers' Market and Taste of Bloomington take place.  It represents all the things that the town & the community bring to the table to make Bloomington so great & unique, and it reminds me of all the great food & restaurants we have here as well!
  • Ryan- I love the natural limestone bluffs along the western most portion of the Grubb Ridge Loop in Deam Wilderness.
  • Mike- I love the Gothic styles of many of the building on Indiana University's campus.  Every time I walk through there I know I'm being watched by gargoyles, serpents, owls and bats as I've caught a couple of their eyes moving on occasion.  It's a little bit freaky but very cool.
  • Erin- My favorite limestone feature in the area is the building that my great-grandfather owned and ran his cobbler shop out of (on H Street in Bedford) that has my last name, Erdmann, carved into a limestone header at the top of the building.
  • Tosha- Touring the underground quarry at Elliott Stone Company is unique and fascinating. (Check out Tosha's previous blog about the experience here.)
  • Carol- Several years ago I had the good fortune to take a walking tour of the IU campus led by Brian Keith of the Indiana Geological Survey. While I had always admired the beauty of the limestone buildings, the expertise and enthusiasm he demonstrated led to an even greater appreciation. The raw material itself is beautiful, but to see what generations of artisans have constructed from it - both massive buildings and intricate carvings - with a most knowledgeable guide was a terrific experience.
  • Sam- I've always been intrigued by the "little Stonehenge" at the Bloomington Harley  store.   How it got there is just as puzzling as the real Stonehenge, but I bet it was just a bunch of tough bikers.
  • Marcia- I like the limestone sculpture (Red, Blonde, Black and Olive) Red, Blonde, Black & Oliveat the Miller-Showers Park as you enter town from the north.  The two faces just say welcome home!  It shows that Bloomington is an outgoing and welcoming community to everyone.
  • Laura- I think the limestone carvers are amazing artists.  That they can take this huge block of stone and turn them into works of art is pretty awesome.  The visions they have and the care in creating something (one wrong tap or cut and they have to start over) is pretty cool.  (Check out the Indiana Limestone Symposium this month to see some carvers in action, or take a hand carving class yourself!)
  • Julie- It's not very experiential, but I like seeing the old quarries along the side of the road.  They're kind of haunting; these massive piles of stone surrounding cavernous quarries now filled with water.  But they're pretty too, and reminders of the powerful industry and the unique geology of the area.

The variety of experiences you can have with limestone is expansive.  There's great artwork, amazing architecture, nature appreciation and historical appeal.  And many times, there's a local connection to the stone or the industry.  Limestone is a part of Bloomington's culture from the bedrock underground to the gargoyles high overhead.  I'd say limestone pretty much rocks!


Julie Warren

Julie Warren

Julie was raised in Bloomington and attended IU, and all of that experience and knowledge comes in handy as the Director of Tourism. She loves live music, ice cream, swimming, craft beer, and of course her adorable family.