Indiana’s Statehood Bicentennial was celebrated in 2016. The remnants of that celebration can be seen all over the state in the form of 5 feet tall fiberglass bisons. The in.gov website states: “Indiana Association of United Ways was the proud sponsor of the statewide Bison-tennial Public Art Project. This legacy project helped celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday by decorating and displaying 5-foot-tall fiberglass bison with an end goal of at least one – if not a herd – of bison on display in each of Indiana’s 92 counties.”
Courthouse with Tower Tree in background
This side says DECATUR
This side says COUNTY
This Bison-tennial beast has scenes from Decatur County painted on the hide. Most of the ones in counties around the state have some depictions of local places, schools or attractions. We’ve seen a few of these colorfully decorated statues around the state, as each of the 92 counties received one or more to custom decorate. This one we found at the center of Greensburg on the Decatur County Courthouse grounds, and is pictured above with its information sign. Note that the header photo show the bison in the raw as they were delivered back in 2016.
In the early 1870’s in the then small town of Greensburg, Indiana, some citizens noticed some odd greenery on the roof of the Decatur County Courthouse Tower. As the years went on, the green tree seemed to thrive as it grew. Local officials began to be concerned that the tree could cause structural damage to the apex roof of the tower. Legend says that in 1888 a steeplejack was hired to “trim the tree”. He was said to have found not one, but two individual Large Tooth Aspen trees growing quite nicely on the roof.
Decatur County Courthouse and Clock Tower
Word spread rapidly that Greensburg had two trees growing out of the courthouse clock tower roof. The tree drops leaves seasonally like all deciduous trees. Mystery surrounds the origin of the first Aspen seed that sprouted in the roof. Large Tooth Aspens are not native to Central Indiana. Thus history and legend began to grow around this Indiana town. For over 130 years trees have sprouted, grown and perished in a cycle that continues to this day. No, the tree you see today is not 130 years old. But Greensburg remains a National Treasure for its oddity known as the famous Tower Tree.
Greensburg is on I-74 between Indianapolis, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio. Oh, and by the way, do you know how the tree gets water? Answer: From the spring in the clock. (cue rimshot)