Chad's Garden, November 19: 1820 Tippecanoe County Vegetation & What the Barrens Originally Looked Like

We take a look back at original Tippecanoe County vegetation based on pioneer accounts & land surveys & reconstruct the original fairgrounds barrens.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:48 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 9:21 PM

I have completed this map of 1820 Tippecanoe County vegetation.  I did not distiguish wet prairie, dry prairie or wet, swamp forest, etc.  I kept it confined to two groups..........either prairie or forest.

"P", uncolored areas were tallgrass prairie when European settlers arrived. Solid green areas were forest. I did not color in over the town & city names, however, even if it were originally forest.

There were buffer zones of oak-hickory barrens & savanna, however between these areas of forest & treeless prairie in many areas.

Some names of communities are based on original vegetation.  "Shadeland" was named for the shade there of the forest, as the Wea Plains just west of there were treeless all the way to West Point.  "Ash Grove" was named for a grove of ash trees in a low, wet area on the edge of an area of forest on 43 north of Battle Ground.  There were a few oak-hickory groves on the prairie, like the one just out of the range of this map, "Round Grove" on 231 just north of the White-Tippecanoe County line.  There were originally a few prairie groves between Purdue Animal Sciences & I-65 as isolated patches of oak emanating from fingers of forest extending from the Hadley Lake & Little Pine Burnett & Indian Creek areas.

Also, the old oaks & hickories at Salem Courthouse apartments, the farm south of Harrison High School, the Cumberland Park area, Veteran's Home, Central Catholic Grove & former fairgrounds trees, are all remnants of oak-hickory barrens..........a transition zone between prairie & forest that can be seen as a reconstruction at Celery Bog now.

So what did the fairground oaks originally look like around 1820-1830?

Probably very much like this...................with Durkee's Run forest in on the north side of the barrens, these oak barrens crept out into Wildcat Prairie, which extended all the way through the 26 corridor, around the mall & all the way to Subaru.  There were some fingers of oak-hickory around Veterans Memorial Parkway & some barrens & small, open oak groves were Ivy Tech is currently located.

This a very rare painting of an actual prairie scene west of Logansport in the 1830s by George Winter:

So............fairgrounds & edge of neighborhood just to the south & southeast of it 1820-1830:

Some of the oaks cut down probably were exactly like this when Andrew Jackson was president, growing in the prairie grass with the forest nearby.

The White & Bur Oak acorns I collected are rooting well in the nursery beds.  I even have a batch of Bur Oak acorns in the refridgerator.  Still going to get some Northern Pin Oak acorns (Quercus elipisoidalis) from the southernmost native one I have ever found (near Klondike) on the edge of an an oak-hickory woods.  All the acorns I currently have are from oaks that sprouted 1810-1850.  The Bur Oak I collected from is calculated to be 179 years old (germinated in 1839).  A large Shagbark Hickory I found & collected nuts from came out to 200 years old (based on calculating its diameter at 4.5' & the appearance of the bark, branches, height & width.......the oldest hickory I have found in the county yet.  I would have germinated in 1818.  It still cannot beat that White Oak on the far northside of the fairgrounds that had a trunk about the width of the front of a Ford Ranger.  It dated back to 1810.

West Lafayette
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Kokomo
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Frankfort
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Delphi
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Monticello
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Chilly and cloudy Tuesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events