Historic Jennings County Mural

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  • A red fox

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In partnership with the Jennings County Historical Society and Indiana Destination Development Corporation, Perceptions Yoga, Mindfulness & Art's Executive Director, Lead Artist, and Project Manager Karen Chilman designed, painted, and directed the painting of the over 1500 square foot mural project located in the heart of Historic Vernon. The mural depicts the history, arts, recreation, and livelihood of Jennings County. Funded by over 100 individuals and businesses as part of the Indiana Housing and Community Development's CreatINg Places crowdsourcing grant program, the mural was painted on 5' X 5' squares of Polytab cloth, which were then installed on the wall using adhesive. The project involved over 30 different artists and volunteers, three different groups of students, and participants of the JC Senior Center and took approximately 800+ hours to create.

Dedicated on November 6, 2022

Click to Access the Mural Key

1. T.C. Steele’s On the Muscatatuck (1886) Painting (Sponsored by Cyrus Adams) - Steele, considered to be one of the most prominent American impressionist painters, made multiple trips to paint Vernon and the surrounding countryside.

2. Rock Rest Falls (Sponsored by Jennings County Community Foundation) - Located in the Calli Nature Preserve and owned by the Jennings County Community Foundation, Rock Rest Falls is worthy destination for hikers.

3. Muscatatuck Park Climber (Sponsored by Daniel & Haylee (Ballard) Smith) - Muscatatuck Park just outside Vernon is one of the few places in Indiana where one can rock climb. The county park was originally a state park, and in addition to climbing, is home to hiking and mountain biking trails, a splash pad, picnic areas, a campground, and various other amenities.

4.-6. Muscatatuck Kayaker #1 (Sponsored by The Friends of the Muscatatuck), Muscatatuck Kayaker #2 (Sponsored by Diane Abernathy) & Canoeist - With multiple access sites, the river provides a scenic float through the county’s picturesque terrain.

7. Orlo Blomquist - Orlo, a local physical fitness enthusiast and founder of the Spring Tonic Sports Festival run, bicycle tour, and canoe race, represented Jennings County on the Olympic Torch run in 1996.

8. Girl Reading Jessamyn West’s The Friendly Persuasion Under a Poplar Tree (Sponsored by the Family of Sherida Moore) - West’s novel, which was made into a movie, tells the story of a Quaker family living on the outskirts of Vernon in the 1860’s.

9. Scipio Covered Bridge (Sponsored by Andrew & Tamara Flora & Finley Palmer) - Built between 1886 and 1887, the 124 foot bridge is one of two surviving covered bridges in the county. A Toledo construction company constructed the bridge for $600.

10. Park Theatre and Civic Center (Sponsored by Park Theatre and Civic Center - Patricia Yount) - Originally built in 1916, the theatre, now a nonprofit, was restored by a group of citizens and is a beautiful movie, music, and performance venue for the county.

11.-13. Wilbur Shaw Race Car (Sponsored by Delta Theta Tau), Pat O’Connor Race Car (Sponsored by Dustin Roller) & Jim Hemmings Race Car (Sponsored by Rock Steady Racing) - Racing is a significant part of the history and lifestyle of many in Jennings County. The three drivers featured in the mural all called Jennings County home. Shaw and O’Connor were both winners of the Indy 500 and Hemmings took podium spots in the USAC Sprint/Midget Car Series. O’Connor & Hemmings both died in tragic accidents. Shaw served as president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway until his death. All are buried at the Vernon Cemetery.

14. The North American House (Sponsored by Jennings County Historical Society) - The current headquarters and museum for the JC Historical Society was originally built in 1838 as a stagecoach stop and inn. It now hosts programs and houses artifacts and documents detailing the history of the county.

15. Jennings County Farm Scene (Sponsored by Wagster Crop Insurance) - Most farmland in the county has passed from generation to generation by families, many who acquired the land from the U.S. General Land Office in the early 1800’s. The State of Indiana’s Centennial Farms program lists over 37 homestead farms in Jennings County, but there are several more that have not been researched and thus not listed.

16. Crosley Green Bridge (Sponsored by Jennings County Pallets) - Constructed in 1937 as a private bridge for original land owner Powel Crosley, Jr. , this bridge is located today in the Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area. The state purchased the Crosley property and the bridge in 1958.

17. Jennings County Courthouse (Sponsored by Jon & Julie Webster) - Located in the heart of Vernon, the smallest county seat in Indiana, the JC Courthouse was built between 1857 to 1861. It has survived two tornadoes and been remodeled twice, once in 1953 and again in 1983. The clock was added to the structure in 1985, the carillon of which plays chimes throughout the day.

18. Vernon Blacksmith Shop (Sponsored by Eli & Nicole Brown & Family) - The working blacksmith shop partners with the Jennings County Historical and is located just north of the North American House.

19. The Vernon “Culvert” (Sponsored by Historic Vernon) - Built in 1837 as the first elevated railroad overpass west of the Alleghenies, the “Culvert” is still in use today and is an iconic image for Historic Vernon.

20.-21. Muscatatuck Fisherman (Sponsored for Rob & Nancy Apsley) & Child Fishing (Sponsored by Decatur Mold) - Fishing in the river is generally good for largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, bluegills, rock bass and channel catfish.

22. James Covered Bridge (Sponsored by Anonymous Donor) - The Howe Truss bridge, the second of the surviving covered bridges in the county, is located over Graham Creek. It was constructed in 1887 and rehabilitated in 2008.

23. Vernon Row Houses (Sponsored by Albert & Carol Jackson & Family) - The row houses along US Highway 3 were constructed in the late 1830’s/early 1840’s and were reportedly used as stops on the Underground Railroad in the Civil War Era.

24. Vernon Iron Railroad Bridge (Sponsored by Amber Fields, Joe Robb & Gavin Regan) - The iron truss style bridge spans the Muscatatuck River and is viewable from The Commons, location of Indiana’s first ever public playground.

25. Muscatatuck River - The river’s name translates as to “Land of Winding Waters” and runs through the county dominating the topography and providing beautiful landscapes and recreational options.

26. Stream Cliff Farm - Stream Cliff Farm is an award winning historic farm located in southern Jennings County near Commiskey. It was raided by John Hunt Morgan during his cavalry march through Indiana in 1863. As of 2007, it is the oldest herb farm in Indiana.

27. Hayden Historical Museum (Hayden Graduate Steve Elsner) - The museum was established in 1990 to exhibit, display and preserve the various items highlighting the history of Hayden and Spencer Township.