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The 812 List, | Jan 04, 2014

More than a fly-over state

8 reasons Hoosiers should be proud to call southern Indiana home.

They say Indiana is a fly over state, a notch in the Corn Belt with a funny nickname. But there's plenty to brag about when it comes to Hoosierland, tidbits that stretch beyond IU basketball and copious cornfields.

Jake Oakman, Director of Communications and Media Relations with the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, told 812 exactly why we should be proud to call this place home.

"Once you take a minute to do some research and look around, there really are interesting things here in Indiana," Oakman says.

Here he offers an arsenal of Hoosier pride you can sling at the next person who asks you "is there anything besides corn in Indiana?"

In the town of Santa Claus, Ind., every day is Christmas. It's a winter wonderland 365 days a year in Santa Claus, Ind., with opportunities to tour Santa's Candy Castle and check out the Santa Claus Post Office, the only one in the world with the Santa Claus name. "They celebrate Christmas year-round there and their post office becomes one of the busiest of the year in December when they receive millions of kids' letters addressed to Santa," Oakman says.

Don Mattingly, Yankee great and current Dodgers manager, is from Evansville. After a long and successful career with the New York Yankees, Mattingly moved on and became a manager of the San Diego Dodgers. But before his fame on the baseball field, Mattingly attended high school in Evansville.

Lewis and Clark chose to begin their great adventure on Hoosier soil. In 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met at the Falls of the Ohio, a state park in Clarksville, Ind., located along the Ohio River. They spent weeks recruiting men from Clarksville and Louisville to join their expedition before heading west to explore and map the land purchased by Thomas Jefferson as part of the Louisiana Purchase. "Everyone thinks it started in St. Louis, but it actually started here in southern Indiana," Oakman says.

We're in the Guinness Book of World Records for housing the world's largest collection of cookie jars. In August 2012, Grannie's Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor brought recognition to the small southwest Indiana town of Metamora for the business's collection of more than 2,600 cookie jars, ranging from Looney Tunes characters to jars that look like mooing cows.

Our nickname is the "Mother of Vice Presidents." Five U.S. vice presidents have hailed from the Hoosier state, including Schuyler Colfax, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle.

Colonel Sanders, the man who gave us KFC, grew up in Indiana. Before he moved to the other side of the Ohio River and founded Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harland "Colonel" Sanders called Henryville, Ind., home. He may have taken his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices to Kentucky, but we know his true roots started in the Hoosier state.

Our courthouses grow trees. There's a courthouse in Greensburg, Ind., that's more than a century old, but that's not it's most defining characteristic. At it's peak, above the tower's clock, are trees sprouting from the white rooftop, Oakman said.

Abraham Lincoln spent his formative years in Indiana. While born in Kentucky and from Illinois, President Abraham Lincoln actually spent his boyhood in Indiana. "There is a national park in Spencer County where his family's home and farm was," Oakman says. "Indiana shaped the president Lincoln become much more so than Illinois or Kentucky"

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