Before each county got theirs to decorate
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 bison. 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.” We’d seen a few around the state, and just last week we saw a newly placed one in Shelbyville.
Balsar the Bison in front of the old Porter Pool Bath House
Lots of local landmarks, businesses
Recognize that Kennedy Covered Bridge?
The bison is named Balsar after the main character in The Bears Of Blue River by Shelbyville resident author Charles Major. Not sure where Balsar has been since 2016, but now the Shelby County bison grazes in front of the old Porter Pool Bath House which was built in 1930. (Read about the current use of the Porter building here.)
The Joseph Fountain was first dedicated in 1923 on the center of the town square in Shelbyville, Indiana. It has been the center of the “square” (as the center of town has been known for decades by the locals) and has supported the Christmas Trees and for one year in the 1950’s it was covered with cornstalks in the fall.
Vintage photo showing the Fountain in the center of the square
New information plaque placed at the rededication of the fountain
During the years 2020-2021 a massive project completely reconstructed the square, entrance streets, sidewalks and parking. There the fountain, after complete restoration, was replaced in its historic location. With water again flowing freely, the fountain is once again the center of the square delighting young and old alike.
Shelbyville, Indiana is a small Hoosier town southeast of Indianapolis. Recently it has developed the Blue River Trail, a hiking and bike trail that runs from one end of town to the other. As part of the celebration of the trail, the city commissioned a large public art piece on the north end of town.
Blue River-Wind, Rain and Water
The title Blue River – Wind, Rain and Water is inspired by the river basins of the Big and Little Blue rivers, which run through Shelby County. The two come together within about 100 yards of this artwork placement. According to the informational plaque, the sculpture is inspired by the rivers’ courses and the wind and rainstorms that keep the water flowing.
This statue was the winner of a contest that was held where many artists proposed a piece at this location. An artist from Shelbyville, Michael Helbing, was chosen for the project. The 40 foot tall stainless steel sculpture is the result. It was erected in 2018.