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West Central
East Central
Welcome to east central Indiana  
East central Indiana, once covered by dense deciduous forests, is now a collage of farmland and scattered woodlots. The landscapes are generally flat, thanks to the work of a glacier thousands of years ago that leveled the land by filling in valleys and crevices with till (sand, clay, and gravel). The original forest cover was largely flatwoods, which were level forested areas that drained poorly. Straddling the border of northeast and east central Indiana is the Limberlost, which was originally more than 13,000 acres of wetlands, most of it swamp. Today, nearly 1,100

acres are being restored to wetlands, thanks to the Limberlost Swamp Remembered project.

This region flourished in the late 1800s primarily because of the gas boom. Natural gas was discovered in 1886 in Eaton, just north of Muncie. Soon, nineteen counties, most of them in the east central region, were growing exponentially. More than 300 factories were built, thrusting this largely rural area into manufacturing and industry.

Everyone assumed that the gas existed in limitless quantities and allowed the gas to burn continually. Giant flambeaux, or torches of burning gas, would shoot 100 feet into the air; in Hartford City, fifty million cubic feet of gas escaped from a gusher every day. But in 1903, thanks to such incredible wastefulness, the gas supply ran out and the boom was over. Nevertheless, Muncie, which had been dubbed "the Birmingham of the North" by this time, was considered by sociologists in the 1920s to be the "typical" American city. Its reputation as "Middletown"—representative of most American towns— persists today.

Pertinent ecosystems

Relevant environmental terms/issues
Deforestation/habitat destruction
Wetland destruction

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