Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
The star attraction of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum is, well, the study. Wallace was the bestselling author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. At various times he was a lawyer, a Union Army general, an inventor, an artist, a governor, and a diplomat, He also had one heck of a man-cave.
The study was completed in 1898, with flourishes of Carnegie steel and Bedford limestone among its components. A moat once surrounded two sides, but Wallace had it filled in before his death in 1905. The city of Crawfordsville later acquired the property, and the Study was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Most of Wallace’s original house is gone, but his separate study and carriage house remain intact for historical and tourism purposes, and nicely show off the works and collections of a Hoosier Renaissance man.
Anyone out there who prefers Timur Bekmambetov’s 2016 adaptation to William Wyler’s winner of eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture will be disappointed by the paucity of Timur-related exhibits. I watched that latest, CGI-happy, woodenly frenetic version the other day, and…well, I don’t blame them for snubbing it. On the other hand, it’d be awesome if they could someday convince Toby Kebbell to come out for an autograph signing.
To be continued!
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