© 2022 Cincinnati Public Radio
purple_waveback6.png
Connecting You to a World of Ideas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

The highest point in Indiana might surprise you

Boulder on the ground reads: Indiana's High Point, Elev. 1257 ft. and gives the latitude and longitude.
Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU
The Wayne County Resource Inventory Council placed this commemorative boulder to mark the highest point in Indiana.

If you head north out of Richmond, Ind., to Fountain City, a sharp-eyed driver will notice a simple green road sign with a white arrow and the words "Highest Point In Indiana." The curious traveler will immediately abandon their destination and throw on the blinker to follow the signs.

A few turns later, situated just past a dairy farm on a low rise in a small stand of trees, is Hoosier Hill — the highest point in Indiana. The elevation is 1,257 feet, according to a boulder marking the spot.

"It's located on Elliot Road just south of the Wayne/Randolph county line," explains Ed Pollock, director of the Wayne County Resource Inventory Council, the group responsible for the site, which sits on private land.

To be fair, there's not much to see from the highest point in Indiana. The spot is in a grove of trees and includes a fire ring, a picnic table, a bench placed by the Highpointers Foundation, and a mailbox. Yup, a mailbox. It contains souvenir cards with information about the site and a log book for visitors to sign.

Pollock says he picks up the log book every so often and counts the visitors before ultimately sending it off to the Highpointers Club to be archived.

"There's about 1,500 people a year that visit this site from all over the planet," Pollock says. "Most of it's U.S., but I have seen people there from England, Germany, Japan, Australia ... it's all over the place and they keep coming."

Black mailbox covered in stickers and the words: Welcome to Indiana's Highpoint. Please sign our Register.
Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU
About 1,500 people from around the world visit the site annually, according to signatures on a register housed in this mailbox.

Pollock isn't certain when Indiana's highest point was discovered. It may date to 1936 when Arthur Harmon Marshall completed his goal of visiting the high point of every state, becoming the first person to do so. His trek began with Washington's Mt. Rainier on Aug. 13, 1919 and ended with Hoosier Hill on July 13, 1936.

In any event, Hoosier Hill became what it is today in 2005. A Boy Scout named Kyle Cummings made fixing up the site into a destination his Eagle Scout project.

It's clear some people use the spot as a place to gather and hang out. Pollock says he tries to get out there four or five times a month to check on the log book and tidy up the grounds. While not a major tourist attraction, he says it does draw visitors and their wallets, so it's good for Richmond and Wayne County.

"It's a project of the Resource Inventory Council and we take pride in it being there," he says, explaining why the site is so important to him. "I think we've got an obligation to do community service sometime during our lives and I'd rather see people come and visit a site that's in halfway decent shape."

Where are the highest points in Ohio and Kentucky?

Now that you're totally into learning more about the highest spots in each state, you may be wondering about Ohio and Kentucky.

Ohio's highest point isn't too far away. It's in the western Ohio city of Bellefontaine, which makes sense when you realize it's only a few miles from Mad River Mountain ski area.

At 1,549 feet, Campbell Hill sits at a slightly higher elevation than Hoosier Hill. It's home to the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, a two-year career-technical high school.

Our friend A.H. Marshall summited Campbell Hill on July 12, 1936, just one day before he finished his quest at Hoosier Hill. He cleared Kentucky's highest point a year earlier on June 26, 1935.

In far southeastern Kentucky is where you'll find Black Mountain — the clear Tri-State winner at 4,145 feet above sea level. The commonwealth's highest point is in Harlan County near the Virginia border and is part of the Cumberland Mountains which are in turn part of the Appalachian Mountains. Visitors can hike a dirt road to the summit.

Shawty got low, low, low, low...

If you're fully invested in the highs and lows of geography — pun fully intended — prepare to get wet. The lowest points in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky are all rivers.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Indiana's lowest point (320 feet) is the Ohio River in Posey County — the state's southernmost, southwestern-most, and westernmost county.

The Ohio River strikes again in Ohio, proving to be the lowest point in the Buckeye State situated in Hamilton County (455 feet). The Mighty Mississippi rounds out the bunch, marking Kentucky's lowest point in Fulton County (257 feet).