Bedford and Lawrence Counties
Thursday, September 21, 2006
For our Fall 2006 Pilgrimage, we toured our state’s world-famous limestone heritage and took advantage of a rare opportunity to tour special aspects of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, one of the largest high-tech employers of scientists and engineers in Indiana.
The day included lunch at a beautiful setting in the Crane officer’s club with spectacular lakeside views and a fascinating tour of Bedford’s historic Greenhill Cemetery and its unforgettable, artistic limestone monuments created by local carvers as tributes to their beloved family members and neighbors.
We also toured a limestone cutting mill and the limestone museum in Lawrence County and enjoyed a special opportunity at Crane to witness how military and airline pilots use night vision.
Author/journalist Nelson Price spoke about famous Hoosiers from limestone country and gave a historical background about towns in the area.
Historian Wayne Sanford guided us through historic Greenhill Cemetery, which has an astonishing array of diverse monuments to local residents ranging from a World War I “doughboy” to a Bedford man who invariably wore a fedora – hence, the distinctive “hat” carving on his tombstone.
We visited Crane’s antique gun exhibit and small arms area and learned how the military can reverse engineering to find faulty designs.
We had lunch at Club Lakeview on the base at Crane.
We had the opportunity to explore a cutting mill in Bedford that has supplied limestone to the Washington National Cathedral, the Pentagon, and the Empire State Building, as well as other major sites around the world; we also visited the renovated Land of Limestone Museum in Bedford accompanied by a local guide from Lawrence County Tourism.
We toured the power systems and electronic maintenance facilities at Crane, where the director of corporate communications presented an overview of the naval center. The “night vision” experience was quite memorable.
Finally, we enjoyed wine and a “light dinner” on the motor coach as we returned home with fond memories of a great day!