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Some old railroad tracks in the industrial area of Marion, IN. Some areas are quite lovely, but others are derelict and run down. Marion is a medium-sized town (for the region, anyway) of about 30,000, in Grant County, IN, named for a Brigadier General from South Carolina who served in the Revolutionary War. It is also the home of Wesleyan University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the Midwest and the largest private one in Indiana. A bit of trivia: it was the birthplace of both James Dean and cartoonist Jim Davis, of "Garfield" fame, and was the location of the wedding of Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett in 1993. Not sure how that came about!

The town got off to a somewhat slow start for about fifty years after its founding, relying primarily on an agrarian economy, but in the 1880s, fields of natural gas deposits were discovered and it began to experience rapid growth. The economic boom was short-lived, however, and the industries soon departed. The smaller towns surrounding it were little more than ghost towns as of the 1940s. Marion's prosperity had reached its zenith just prior to World War I, and then subsequently declined, but in the mid-1950s, the booming US economy brought renewed prosperity with the construction of a General Motors stamping and tool plant.

Although it isn't growing by leaps and bounds, the town and surrounding communities are fairly stable. The region enjoys a rich history, which is a draw for many visitors. It also enjoys some tourist revenue, particularly from James Dean fans, many of whom venture north from the small town of Fairmount where he grew up (there are no hotels in Fairmount: indeed, there's only a SINGLE TRAFFIC LIGHT!) to see the site of his actual birth, in Marion. The region remains predominantly agricultural, as it is situated in the nation's Corn Belt, augmented by production of soybean, hogs and specialty crops such as tomatoes.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1188] (2104)
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