More than a dozen historical markers dot the city streets of Richmond and the rural roads of Wayne County, revealing fascinating stories of the region’s people, places and heritage. A leisurely drive to follow the signs provides all the context visitors need for an intriguing and educational self-guided tour of the area.
Overseen by the Indiana Historical Bureau, the Indiana State Historical Marker program was launched in 1946 to recognize the significance of historical sites and often marginalized communities throughout the state where these stories and folklore are in danger of disappearing. Easy to spot, the signs themselves are made of cast aluminum with raised gold lettering set against a brown enamel background.
As you might expect, most of Wayne County’s historical markers are found along U.S. 40/Old National Road. Centerville claims signs that identify the Oliver P. Morton Home, Indiana’s Civil War governor, political leader/abolitionist George Washington Julian, and the Wayne County Seminary. In Cambridge City, you’ll find four historical markers. The Overbeck sister’s House and Art Studio; the farm of “American Agriculture Queen” Virginia Claypool Meredith; a sign distinguishing the town as an early eastern Indiana transportation center, and the former home and farm of General Solomon A. Meredith, the Iron Brigade Commander at Gettysburg. After the Civil War, Meredith returned to his beautiful farm where he died in 1875. He is buried in Cambridge City’s Riverside Cemetery.
Also in western Wayne County, a marker recognizes the East Germantown Civil War Band, while Dublin holds the distinction of hosting the very first Indiana Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. Indiana suffragists presented the first petition advocating for women’s right to vote in the state legislature in 1859.
In Richmond, the marker at S. 10th Street Park denotes the Civil War training Camp Wayne; and another on Chester Boulevard commemorates the Indiana University East extension created in 1946. Downtown on S. 6th Street, a marker honors Bishop William Paul Quinn, a traveling missionary and preacher who helped to establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) prior to the Civil War. In 1836, Quinn organized Richmond Bethel A.M.E. Church. He made Richmond his home. Quinn is buried in Richmond’s Earlham Cemetery.
On U.S. 27, Levi Coffin operated what has been called the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad from his Fountain City residence, sheltering thousands of freedom seekers during their arduous journeys to find liberty. While you are at the Coffin marker, be sure to take time to tour the Levi and Catharine Coffin House State Historic Site and Interpretive Center.
To learn more about the historical markers in Richmond, throughout Wayne County and across the state of Indiana, visit the State Historic Marker page.