Fifteen from Washington County will carry the Indiana Bicentennial Torch through Washington County during a 90-minute stint on Thursday, Sept. 15, beginning at 1p when the torch is transferred from Jackson to Washington County on the Millport Bridge.
“Ninety minutes isn’t a long time,” said Washington County Historian Jeremy Elliott, who is also serving as the county torch relay coordinator. “They are trying to cover at least 97 miles or more each day. There will be a caravan of staff from the State that will be there to assist and keep everyone on time.”
The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay will start September 9 in Corydon, Indiana’s first state capital, and culminate with a celebration October 15 on the grounds of the statehouse in Indianapolis.
Accompanying the torch will be a high-tech mobile experience—an interactive museum that highlights important milestones during Indiana’s first 200 years and looks ahead to the future of the state. State Police personnel will provide logistical support and escort the torch caravan over the course of the relay.
The 15 local torchbearers are:
- Steven Davisson
- Maurice Godfrey
- Judy Hall
- Raymond Lee
- Carolyn Lindley
- Grant Mahuron
- Jack Mahuron
- Shane Mahuron
- John Mead
- Meredith Peters
- Paul Scifres
- Joe Snider
- Thomas Snider
- Kaleb Tucker
- Rebecca White
They were nominated through a process that started last year and closed in March 2016.
“They could be nominated as long as you were a resident longer than 12 months,” said Elliott. “The state performed background checks on everybody and went through a screening process. They made the announcement late in the spring.”
Torchbearers were nominated by the public and nominations are currently being vetted at the local level by county torch relay coordinating committees.
Over 4,000 torchbearer nominations were received.
The 2000 torchbearers that were selected are Hoosiers who demonstrate exceptional public service, excellence in their profession, acts of heroism or volunteer service to their neighborhood, community, region or state.
Elliott said the torch has to be handed off to Floyd County in Palymra by 2:30p.
“I assume they’re going down 150, through Greenville and to New Albany,” Elliott said. “So we have to have it there by 2:30p. We have 90 minutes.”
Elliott said a short ceremony will be conducted on the south lawn of the courthouse.
Jack Mahuron will take the torch through the courthouse.
Becky White will take the torch and proceed down Main Street and hand off to Raymond Lee.
“We Strongly encourage anybody who lives around 135 to come out….go out along the road to see this,” said Elliott. “People should come see the torch go by. I know it’s a work day and a school day. We hope people will turn out to see it because this only happens every 200 years.”
Noting that those participating won’t see this again, he encourages school children and adults alike to make arrangements to be in downtown Salem on Sept. 15.
“I remember when the county celebrated the nation’s bicentennial in 1976,” Elliott recalled. “The big parades and all that went on. Those memories still stand out in my mind. I’m hoping some of our youth will be able to experience this.”
However, with today’s technology most people don’t have to participate in events to be part of them.
The entire route of the torch will travel 3,200 miles and pass through 260 cities and towns and all 92 counties with more than 2000 torchbearers — all streamed online.
“You’ll be able to watch it all online,” said Elliott. “There is a hi-def camera built in to the torch. Plus there will be a delegation of those from the state coming along to assist and document the journey.”
Developed by IOTD, the relay is patterned after the Olympic Torch Relay and is designed to connect Hoosiers across the state and nation with their home state during the bicentennial year.
The relay will also employ other modes of conveyance that are symbolic of the history and heritage of Indiana, including watercraft, farm equipment, a racecar, horse and wagon, antique automobile and others.
The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay route touches:
- 260 cities and towns.
- 17 state and national parks, including Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run, Falls of the Ohio and Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home.
- Nine lakes and rivers, including the Ohio and Wabash Rivers.
- 27 national, state and local sites of historic significance including the Levi Coffin House, Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and Lanier Mansion.
- 22 colleges and universities.
- Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Bridgeton Mill, Conner Prairie, Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science, French Lick Resort, Holiday World, Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame, Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Lew Wallace Study and Museum, NSA Crane and many additional landmarks and destinations.
And the final stop of the torch will be a huge celebration in Indianapolis on October 15.
Elliott said the state is trying to organize the largest gathering or re-enactors the Indiana has ever seen.
“Mark Ray, who portrays John Hay, has been invited to go to Indianapolis to re-enact and portray John Hay at the state celebration,” said Elliott. “I’m sure Lincoln would be represented along with other famous Hoosiers.”
He said the State is also trying to gather as many of the Bicentennial Bison as they can on the state house lawn for this celebration.