A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘San Pierre Indiana’

San Pierre and North Judson, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on September 2, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2048; A Landing A Day blog post number 466.

Dan –  After an oh for five, it was good to finally land in a USer . . . IN; 20/24; 4/10; 5; 151.8.  Here’s my regional landing map:

  landing 1

My closer-in landing map shows my proximity to North Judson and San Pierre:

 landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows an expected agricultural setting:

 ge 1

See the east-west road south of my landing?  It has GE StreetView coverage, so here’s a shot looking north from that road.  My landing is about a quarter mile away, out in the field:

 ge sv 0.25 mi s of landing

I landed in the Bogus Run watershed, on to the Kankakee River (5th hit, making the Kankakee the 147th river on my list of rivers with five or more hits); on to the Illinois R (18th hit); to the MM (805th hit).

 I need to pause a moment.  “Bogus Run?”  Sounds bogus to me.  A little research, and here’s what I found out (from the Starke County Historical Society in “Tidbits of Starke County No. 29” by Jim Shilling):

. . . The article [by Al Spiers] also tells of the Bogus Run Ditch east of North Judson. The legend say it was named for the counterfeiters who were arrested for making “bogus money” at their hideout near the ditch around North Judson.

There you have it.

 This post is going to feature San Pierre (and a nearby wildlife area), but I’ll start with North Judson, getting no further than the name origin.  From Wiki:

 The town post office was established on September 24, 1860 as North Judson after Adrian Judson, one of the promoters of the Great Chicago and Eastern Railway, which had just been laid through the town. The North was likely added to eliminate confusion with downstate Judson, Indiana.

OK, no big deal, really.  Yet another of the thousands of American towns named after railroad executives.  But I think that the “North” was a bad idea.  It makes one think that the town of Judson must be right nearby (and that North Judson is an after thought).  If I were Adrian Judson, I would have gone for “Adrian,” or maybe Judsonville or Judsonia.  Wait!  We’re in Indiana!  How about Judsonapolis?  Or even better, Adrianapolis?

 Not much else to talk about here, so moving right along to San Pierre.  Before I read anything, I was intrigued.  “San” is Spanish for “Saint.”  You know, like San Francisco.  Pierre, of course, is French for Peter.  So, I’d expect San Pedro or Saint Pierre.  Not San Pierre.  Let’s see what Wiki has to say:

First called River, the town was formally named Culvertown in 1854.  There are two competing local traditions about how the name San Pierre came about.

The first is that the town was named after a nearby French-Canadian saloon owner. The story goes that ‘Pierre’ built a shack some 400 feet south of the village of Culvertown and began to sell whisky there. As a consequence of this inducement, the town shifted slightly to the south and the name was changed to San Pierre.

Seems a little shaky.  And even if the town leaders decided to name the town after good ol’ Pierre, what’s up with the San?  Anyway, moving along to the second explanation:

Another tradition records the village being named after a French railroad worker called ‘Pierre’, with San being added to provide more importance to the name.

So, San added importance?  Still seems mighty shaky to me.  Continuing on:

 In any case, the name was changed simply to Pierre in 1894, possibly as a result of increasing tension between Spain and the United States, leading up to the Spanish-American War.

 Yea, right . . .

Finally the name was changed back to San Pierre in 1899.

You know, that story just doesn’t hold together.  As I have done on at least two previous occasions (most notably in my Rising Star TX post), I’m going to present the ALAD version of how the town really got its name (and I’ll stick with Pierre of whiskey-selling fame):

 So, Pierre was a good friend to all of the town whiskey-drinkers.  He kept his place clean, and sold pretty good whiskey at a reasonable price.  One late evening, the town fathers were meeting at Pierre’s tavern (which he graciously allowed the town to do at no charge).  The issue of the town’s name came up, and it was agreed that Culvertown had to go.  Old man Culver died some time back, and he really wasn’t well thought of (and he left no descendants). 

 The local powers-that-be were getting rather tipsy, thanks to Pierre’s excellent (but cheap) whiskey.  Someone rather drunkenly suggested that they could name the town “Pierre.”  Someone yelled out:  “He’s a Saint!  Let’s call the town Saint Pierre.”

 Someone else said, “Wait a second!  Pierre is French!  What’s the French word for Saint?”

 A drunken voice could be heard from the back:  “I ain’t sure, but I think it’s San!” 

 The group decided.  San Pierre, it is.

 A number of years go by . . .

 One of San Pierre’s own managed to get into Princeton, where he studied romance languages.  While there, he realized that the name of his hometown was linguistically paradoxical.  Now that he was a high-brow Princeton man, he thought that he’d see what he could do to get it changed.  His father was on the town council, and agreed to carry the flag for his son:

 “My Princeton-educated boy pointed out to me that “San” is Spanish and “Pierre” is French. He has heard that the folks in North Judson are laughing at us behind our backs.  He suggests that we change the name to plain old “Pierre,” or “Saint Pierre.”

 Although there were some objections, all saw the logic of the suggestion (and hated the thought of the North Judsonians laughing at them), and the decision was made to keep it simple and change the name to Pierre.

 A number of years go by (with most of the locals still referring to the town as San Pierre) . . .

 In 1899, the new mayor of Pierre, one Charles Fulmer Hawkins, was having a few drinks in Johnson’s Tavern.  Pierre had died some years ago, and his tavern had been abandoned.  Fred Johnson saw the need, and opened up a new tavern.  He charged a little more for a whiskey, but the locals seemed to have adjusted to the higher prices.  Anyway, Mayor Hawkins and some town council cronies were reminiscing about ol’ Pierre, and his role in the town’s name-changing drama.

 Mayor Hawkins was recounting the rather funny story of the tavern owner Pierre, and then how Saint becoming San, and then San Pierre changing to Pierre. The mayor (who was a college man with a passing knowledge of French) joked that now that Pierre was gone, the town should be named “Sans Pierre.”  The mayor laughed heartily at his own joke, as did the one other French-knowledgeable colleague at the table. 

After he explained the joke to his non-French-speaking colleagues, a serious discussion ensued, where all agreed that nearly everyone missed the good old San Pierre days.  They agreed that old concerns about the North Judsonians making fun of their name were overblown.

 At the next council meeting, the only discussion was whether the town should be named Sans Pierre or San Pierre.  It was agreed that Sans Pierre, while linguistically consistent, would likely be too confusing (and would likely be mispronounced, with folks saying “sanz”  instead of just “san”). 

 And so the town has been San Pierre since 1899 . . .

 Moving right along, here’s some more info about San Pierre from Wiki:

 Due to its closeness to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, each year San Pierre and the surrounding vicinity is briefly home to more than 10,000 sandhill cranes during their fall migration.  The bird has become so synonymous with the town that it has become an unofficial emblem of the community, including a depiction on the welcome sign.

800px-San_Pierre,_Indiana_welcome wiki

So, the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area is about 8,000 acres of wilderness, just southwest of San Pierre:


From the Indiana Dept of Natural Resources:

Acquisition of the land for Jasper-Pulaski began in 1929. During the 1930s, Jasper-Pulaski was designated as a game farm and game preserve. Hunting began at the property in 1958, and in 1965, the area was designated as a fish and game area.

An inspiring bit of far-sighted wildlife conservation management, eh?  And what about the Sandhill Crane migration?  Ten thousand cranes visiting every fall?  Way cool.

 Here’s a little info from an article in Chicago Wildlife Magazine, by Paula McHugh:

AFTER THE FIELDS HAVE YIELDED THEIR LAST HARVEST, chill north winds signal the time when greater sandhill crane head to warmer climes. From their nesting grounds in the northern Great Lakes states and provinces, the gray birds will set their internal compasses on a southeasterly course toward Florida and southern Georgia. Ten thousand, twenty thousand — and in peak years as many as thirty thousand birds — will stop to rest at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, 50 miles inland from Lake Michigan near San Pierre, Indiana.

This seasonal mass-gathering of the sandhills is a marvel that attracts birders, nature lovers, and the just plain curious. The number of human spectators in past seasons has topped 30,000, with busy days drawing upwards of 200 visitors.

The long-legged, long-necked sandhill cranes depend on this wetland habitat for protection and rest, while the surrounding agricultural land in this still-rural region provides them with meals of waste grain, small rodents, and insects. Such large numbers of cranes may also choose Jasper-Pulaski for its convenient location along an almost direct line between their start and end destinations and because they seem to be funneled here along Lake Michigan, an obstacle they won’t fly over.

Obviously, it’s time for pictures of Sandhill Cranes from the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area (although I’ll start with a generic Wiki head shot):

 439px-Grus_canadensis_-British_Columbia,_Canada_-upper_body-8 wiki

Wildlife photographer Robert Visconti has posted a number of Jasper-Pulaski Sandhill Crane shots on AboutAnimals.com.  Here are a few:



 robert visconti

Click HERE to view the entire portfolio:

 I’ll close with this Panoramio shot by ~Marlene~, taken just north of San Pierre:

 at the end of the rainbow by ~Marlene~  just n of san pierre


 That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »