"Living in a small town is peaceful. You don't do much. You're afraid to. You're sure to get caught."
- Herb Shriner, Hoosier comedian host of Two for the Money.
When you talk about Caruthers Corners, you may as well be talking about the entirety of Caruthers County. Even the Caruthers Corners Police Department serves the whole of the county, bordered on one side by the Wabash River, on the other by Burpy County. There are lots of interesting places to be found just outside the town limits. C’mon, we’ll show you.
• Haney Bros. Zoo and Exotic Animal Refuge – A local attraction (petting zoo, mini circus, and sanctuary for retired circus animals). Located on land donated by Ben Bentley. The remnants of a once-famous traveling circus.
• Aitkens Produce – The largest watermelon grower in Caruthers County. Now known as Aitkens Co-op. Covers 23% of land use in Caruthers County.
• Strays & Rescues Animal Shelter – A no-kill shelter located just off the Burpyville Highway. Financed by a non-profit foundation called Animals Anonymous. Managed by Bootsie Purdue.
• Turner’s Trash Heap – A dump on west side of town. Pete Turner also provides a commercial garbage collecting service. Land values in this area are low. The Turner family has been in the garbage business for three generations. They are talking about getting into recycling next year. Bring a Hazmat suit if you want to poke around this 12-acre dumpsite.
Turner's Trash Heap
• Star Lite Drive In – A defunct outdoor movie theater off Highway 21. Serves as a weekly flea market these days.
• Madison Farm – The original homeplace of Col. Beauregard Madison. Now part of the Aitkens watermelon co-op. Site where the so-named Madison Meteorite landed.
• Jinks Farm – The homeplace of Ferdinand Jinks. Now part of the Aitkens watermelon co-op. Rumored to be where Jinks buried a wagon-load of gold.
• Pizza Hut – Fast food restaurant out on Highway 21. Popular with families.
• McDonald’s – A new fast food restaurant on Highway 21. Popular with children.
• Old MacDonald’s Dairy Farm – A large dairy on Cow Pasture Road.
Owned by the Hitzer family. Delivers milk, butter, and ice cream. A herd of 20 Guernsey with a 15-acre pasture. Competes mainly with Sealtest in this area.
Wabash River – A 503-mile-long waterway that cuts across the State of Indiana, stretching from its northeast border to the southwest corner. Originally called Ouabache, an Algonquin word for “water over white stones,” the Wabash is now muddy and shallow in parts. It used to have barge traffic. The river is flush with catfish, bass, crappie, and bluegill. Indiana’s State Song is “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.”
“Bentleyville” – A collection of FEMA trailers housing victims of the 2018 Northeast Indiana Tornado. Informally named after Ben Bentley, who donated the land to the town. Located across from Petting Zoo.
Crackleton Crossing – A small crossroads community located about 10 miles north of Caruthers Corners. Home of the Crackleton clan, it consists of scattered shacks, trailers, a convenience store, a gun shop, and a used car lot. The residents are mostly interrelated. Considered “cuckoo,” people avoid the Crackletons whenever possible. The matriarch of the community is Celine “Granny” Crackleton.
Never Ending Swamp – 400 acres of bog, primeval trees, tangled brush, and deadly quicksand, located just north of Caruthers Corners off Highway 102.
The Bottomless Sinkhole – A karst formation that produced a sinkhole, a geological fracture more common in southern Indiana than in the northeast. This collapse of a “cave roof” formed a small lake. Despite its name, it isn’t very deep.
Gruesome Gorge State Park – A canyon complex with waterfalls, a “bottomless” pond, and a small peptic geyser called The Blow Hole. Popular for picnics and hikes. Site of an Indian massacre in 1831.
Gruesome Gorge State Park
Injun Woods – A Sons of Anthony Wayne campground on the north end of the county. Site of an Indian effigy mound (a mound in the shape of an animal). The wooded area is fenced in.
Burpyville – A small city located between Caruthers Corners and Indianapolis. Home of the Burpyville Gazette. Other notable amenities include Burpyville Memorial Hospital, the 8-screen AMC Multiplex, and Luxury Automobile Depot (one of the largest car dealers in the entire state).
Other places of note include:
• Luigi’s Italian Take-Out, “2 Pies for $10.”
• Mama Leone’s Cheese-Stuffed Pizza Parlor.
• Burpyville First Federal.
• Tatum’s Pontiac.
• Burpyville Regional Airport.
• Head In the Clouds Skydiving – Lou Ritchie’s private airstrip and skydiving school.
• Al’s Alley – An 8-lane bowling alley on the outskirts of town. Popular with a team called the Gutter Boys.
Pitsville – A tiny town known for its stone quarries. Home of WZUR radio.
Other places of note include (we’re stretching here):
• Cheesy Pizza & Fun Emporium.
• Thompson’s Insurance & Annuities.
• Harold Hillman’s Tractor Pulling Fairgrounds.
Indianapolis – Indiana State Capitol. Often referred to as “Indy” or “Circle City” (for the circular plaza of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument). A city of some 800,000 residents. Home of from the Indianapolis Star. Home of the world famous Indianapolis 500 races. Indy is second only to Washington, DC, in the number of war memorials it has.
• Chesterfield Spiritualist Camp District – Located in Chesterfield, Indiana, this campground is headquarters for the Indiana Association of Spiritualists. Go there if you want a séance with a departed loved one.
• Amish Acres – A touristy version of an Amish village, the centerpiece being a barn-like restaurant that serves family-style meals – dishes like friendship soup, country casserole, pork with dumplings, cream-baked chicken, cabbage rolls, stuffed squash, and fried apple pies. All served family-style at one long table. Located south of Burpyville on Highway 67.
• Illiana Watermelon Association – The organization of watermelon growers, shippers and other industry supporters in the bi-state area (Illinois and Indiana). Headquartered in Vincennes.