When our country was preparing to celebrate its 200th birthday in 1976, CBS Television aired a nightly feature called “Bicentennial Minutes.” For just 60 seconds, a well-known American talked about what was happening in the colonies 200 years — to the day — earlier.
Each segment of the series, which aired from July 4, 1974, to Dec. 31, 1976, concluded with the catchphrase “That’s the way it was,” a nod to then-CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite who ended all his newscasts by saying, “And that’s the way it is.”
As Indiana begins its bicentennial year, which culminates in the state’s 200th birthday Dec. 11, six TV stations throughout the state will air “Indiana Bicentennial Minutes.” The program, narrated by broadcasting icon Jane Pauley, an Indiana native, kicks off with a segment on the signing of the Indiana Constitution. “Indiana Bicentennial Minutes” will be broadcast once a week throughout the year.
Fodder for the program is coming from the Indiana Historical Society, where for the last five years workers have going through millions of photos and documents.
We at Electric Consumer are debuting our own bicentennial feature this month. Beginning in February’s issue, Bicentennial Zingers will highlight trivia involving famous Hoosiers or Indiana history that happened during that respective month throughout years past.
Indiana is rich with historical gems, including facts related to rural electrification. For instance, I. Harvey Hull, an Indiana Farm Bureau general manager, was a pioneer in electrifying rural Indiana back in the early 1930s. Thanks to Hull and the Farm Bureau, the Indiana REMC Act was drafted to allow the formation of electric co-ops throughout the state. It was the first legislation of its kind in the country. And Clark Woody’s farm in Thorntown was one of the first in the country to be electrified through Rural Electrification Administration lines back in 1936.
Let this year’s celebrations begin! But first, congratulations to reader Kelly Mager who won the “The Polar Express” DVD that I mentioned in last month’s column. Enjoy the movie, Kelly!
Emily Schilling is the editor of Electric Consumer.