The Hoosierist Talks Town Names, Lottery Winnings & Irish Bars

Are you harboring a question about Indy or Indiana life, culture, and history? Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: Why does Indiana have so many Irish-themed bars? Aren’t most of the people around here of German descent? 
Rachel W., Indianapolis

A: The state is indeed up to its lederhosen in Germans, with 40 percent of the population claiming Teutonic roots. Our Irish friends constitute only 11 percent, but you wouldn’t know it from the number of local bars with names like O’Hooligan’s and Hidey McCarkey’s. But honestly, can there ever be too many Irish pubs? It’s like asking why there are so many Japanese-themed sushi joints. Japanese folks are really good at preparing those tasty rolls of fish, just as the Irish are the internationally recognized experts of drunkenness. Germans can pound ’em back, but not with the same elan as the sons of the Emerald Isle. And if you’d like to dispute that, the Irish are more than willing to fight about it.
Q: What’s the most common town name in Indiana? I see a lot of Needmores.
Cicely O., Carmel  
A: There are indeed three Needmores, which seems like two more than we really need. And there are four Millersburgs. (A couple more, and we’d have a six-pack!) But oddly, the most common town name in pool table–flat Indiana is Mount Pleasant, five of which dot the landscape. In fact, there are a total of 26 Indiana towns with “Mount” in their names. There are also four Buena Vistas (Spanish for “good view”). The Hoosierist, who has passed through these flyspecks and found nothing particularly mountainous or scenic, thinks the founders had a knack for publicity.

Oddly, the most common town name in pool table–flat Indiana is Mount Pleasant, five of which dot the landscape.

Q: Has anybody ever not claimed a Hoosier Lottery prize? 
Harrison P., Indianapolis  
A: It’s not unheard-of for lottery prizes, even big ones, to go unclaimed. Which doesn’t surprise The Hoosierist, who has at times discarded Powerball tickets without checking them. Mostly because (spoiler alert) you have absolutely no chance of winning. If lightning strikes, however, you have just 180 days to claim your riches, after which your bucket of money gets dumped back into the prize pool. In those situations, the only person who wins is the convenience-store owner who sold you your ducat (along with, The Hoosierist surmises, a bottle of Mountain Dew and a Slim Jim). Last fall, some schmuck bought a $1 million Powerball winner at the Circle K in Jeffersonville and never claimed the cash. But since a retailer that sells a Powerball ticket matching the first five numbers gets a bonus of 1 percent of the prize, the lucky Circle K shop still collected 10 grand.
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Illustration by Shane Harrison

This article appeared in the March 2014 issue.