Sunday, April 27, 2014

APRIL 27, 1814

200 years ago today the sale of lots in the newly platted county seat of Washington County, Indiana was a slow market as the town's streets and public area had not yet been cleared of its forest and underbrush. Smoke was arising from the south end of the platted area of Main Street by Royse's Fork as brush and trees were being cleared there to determine how best to later build a bridge. In fact, smoke loomed throughout Washington County and the Indiana Territory as recently arrived settlers were beginning the process of deforestation to clear land for agriculture. 1816 would be called "The Year Without a Summer" because of the smoke from deforestation and the worldwide atmospheric effect from the Tambora volcano located in the Dutch East Indies. In 1800 it was estimated that there were 20 million acres of forest in what became the State of Indiana. By 1900 only 1.8 million of this original forest remained in Indiana.

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