Readers have petitioned for columns that ignore our dysfunctional politics, disrupted economy, and medical calamity. I am compelled to comply. What could be more neutral, more emotionally void, and more sleep-inducing than a focus on Indiana’s townships?

In truth, I must alert you to the fact we have lost three townships since the 2010 Census. Their departure was not widely broadcast beyond the borders of their two counties, Boone and Delaware. No sympathy cards are expected.

In Boone County, as you might have heard, has seen considerable growth. Whitestown and Zionsville engaged in very suburban competition for present and future tax base. This is what passes for foresight in suburbs. In the process Eagle and Union Townships were absorbed.

In Delaware County, Yorktown sought greater recognition as an alternative to Muncie and to secure part of I-69 with whatever future benefits might be expected there. This was achieved by allowing Muncie to retain its small portion of Mount Pleasant Township, with the rest renamed for the site of Washington’s victory over Cornwallis (Yorktown).

Hence, whereas previously compulsive Hoosiers might have memorized the names of Indiana’s 1,008 townships, they now have a mere 1,005 to commit to memory. But it does present a minor issue for the Geography Division of the Census Bureau.

Townships no longer encompass the 35,800+ square miles of our 92 counties. In the future, a comprehensive report of geographic detail in Boone and Delaware counties will have to include the names Muncie, Whitestown, Yorktown, and Zionsville where once actual township names were used.

Do you care? If not, some of your neighbors will label you as ANTI-TOWNSHIP, one who would destroy the intent of the Continental Congress which bequeathed townships unto us in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

You will have allies. The existence of townships, these revolutionaries claim, has been brought into question by 20th Century technology including autos, trucks, radio, TV, internet and other manifestations of modernity.

Have these disruptive persons ever examined the list of township names and contemplated their significance. Precisely 46, one half of our 92 counties, have a Washington Township. These nay-sayers to history probably don’t care about the mystery of Aubbeenaubbee Township in northwest Fulton County.

Nor have the ANTIs pondered the size and density of population in our townships. Yes, they had superstars Joe Kernan and Randy Shepard issuing a report in 2007 that might have eliminated townships. But you can consider the issue anew in future restful columns right here.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His column appears in Indiana newspapers, and his views can be followed his podcast.

© 2022 Morton J. Marcus