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Dana, Indiana: Home of Ernie Taylor Pyle

Dana, Indiana was home to Ernie Taylor Pyle

Dana, Indiana was home to Ernie Taylor Pyle

Dana, Indiana is smaller than small with a population of just over 600 people.

Yet as small as this Vermillion County town may be, it is certainly no less interesting!

Dana, Indiana in Vermillion County

The first thing you see when you enter the town is a big painted mural on the side of the building that reads, “Ernie Pyle State Memorial” with a big arrow pointing off to the right.

Yes, teeny tiny Dana, Indiana was the home of the beloved Ernie Taylor Pyle, a war correspondent killed overseas outside of Okinawa. If you haven’t read anything of his, you should–it’s superb.

His childhood home and plenty more are available to tour and would be a great spot for the war history buff. There’s two out buildings full of things!

Unfortunately we couldn’t get inside. It sounds like there’s talk about the town of Dana taking possession (which I do so hope happens)! More about Mr. Pyle in a future post.

Things to Do in Dana, Indiana

Dana, Indiana mystery circle right on the street downtown! Can you guess what it is?

Dana, Indiana mystery circle right on the street downtown! Can you guess what it is?

Walking around this small Indiana town didn’t take long, it was basically up one block and down another. Other than the Memorial, there is only one shop that we could see is still open in the downtown area (antiques) and a few blocks away there is a candy store.

Besides that, there was one mystery in Dana that we could not figure out: a big circle in the middle of town right in the center of the street with squares of numbers up to 100. Do you know what it is?

Luckily, someone stopped in town and we were able to ask if they knew what it was for. Would you believe that Dana, Indiana has a big cake walk and that they hold it right there in the center of the street? Small town living for sure!

It’s not every town that puts a cake walk right smack dab in the middle of things. I think that says a lot about the sense of community in this little place.

Go There

Dana, Indiana downtown (and a very grand building)

Dana, Indiana downtown (and a very grand building)

There were a few rather grand buildings–but far more empty lots of vacant buildings that I like to see.

If anyone has a story to share about this very small town, please share it in the comment below. I’d love to read it!

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

Find pictures in Indiana on my Flickr photostream or on the new little Indiana Tumblr blog.

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Dana, Indiana in Vermillion County

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the little Indiana owner, Host of a little Indiana segment state-wide on PBS and Publisher of the little Indiana Quarterly magazine. Sometimes, she even sleeps. You'll usually find Jessica gallivanting around Indiana towns (population 15,000 and less) with her husband, Jeremy, and two boys (ages 7 and 3) in tow in search of where to stay, play and eat in small towns across the state! Small towns: destinations, not drive-thrus!

11 comments

  1. Jessica Nunemaker

    What nice memories!

  2. Patricia (Barnum) Sheldon

    I spent many summers in Dana at my grandmother’s house. At that time, they had one telephone operator, whose name was Lena. Loved walking into town and stopping at the corner drugstore on the way. My grandmother kept house for the local Dr. and dentist at the time. Knew a lot of the people in town and loved going into Overpeck’s Hardware store. I remember that the post office and the feed store were in the same building. My grandmother’s neighbors were Phoebe
    Conklin and Gertie Smith. Loved my visits to Dana.

  3. Are wind turbines turned off during thunder storms?

  4. Jessica Nunemaker

    Thanks for the insight, Cindy. I’ll have to switch around that article a bit then! :)

  5. Cindy Taylor-Matuse

    I enjoyed your blog on Dana. My Grandpa Taylor and Ernie were cousins, so I feel obligated to point out that the wonderful memorial was not Ernie’s home. His parents were tenant farmers for the owner of this beautiful museum, and was born in one of their shacks, which has since been torn down. When Ernie was about a year old, they moved to what was known as The Mound, and where his parents lived until their deaths. I have visited this memorial in the past, and it had a lot of wonderful items of his, and honored him well. I hope you will be able to visit, as it is well worth the time spent.

  6. I lived in Dana for six years, it was a nice little town and everyone knew everyoen else. Ernie Pyle was a famous war Correspondant during WWII. People of a certain age remember him for that reason.
    Eleanor Marshall Bailey

  7. Wow, that is one small town. I’m afraid I’d never heard of Earnie Taylor Pyle, but I must look for his work. I just found a big library a couple of blogs from my house with a HUGE collection of English and American writers. Have a great weekend!

  8. I am so glad to hear that Dana took possession! We will have to schedule an appointment to get in there — I don’t think we can wait until May. ;) It looked really great!

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Jessica Nunemaker

  9. The Friends Of Ernie Pyle

    So glad to see this post. I am the president of the Friends of Ernie Pyle group here in Dana. Just to give you a little bit of information. The cake walk is held every Aug. at the Ernie Pyle firemen’s festival . This Is a money maker for the Firemen’s women’s auxiliary organization. This group of women help support our volunteer fire department. People in our community donate the cakes for this event.
    For the Ernie Pyle Historical Site. The Friends of Ernie Pyle will be taking ownership from the state in late Dec. of this year. The state decided back in Dec. of last year that they no longer wanted to support this site. We have been in a long struggle with the state to stay in their system and lost our plea with them. So therefore after much consideration, the Friends board of directors decided we would take ownership. We are now in the process of doing just that. We are open for tours by appointment only for now and will have regular hours come May 2011. We also take donations for thoughs interested to help The Friends keep the doors open. You may send your tax deductible donation to the Friends of Ernie Pyle p.o. box 345 Dana,In 47847. We would love for all to visit the site, it is worth the time!

  10. I love Ernie Pyle’s writing-and I recently read Last Chapter. I also love small towns-I’ve lived in a small college town for the last 10 years. Some of the college students get bored here and say that there is nothing to do. If they could redefine what they consider fun and interesting, they would be very surprised at what this small town, like most small towns, have to offer.

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+Jessica Nunemaker