The Hoosierist: Crown Hill Catastrophes, Mulberry Season, And Holiday World

An illustration depicts a car crashing into a wall around Crown Hill Cemetery.

Q: I often see people repairing the walls around Crown Hill Cemetery. Is that a higher-than-usual crash site? A: Anyone who has driven that stretch of 38th Street can attest to the fact that collisions with the Crown Hill brick wall are a semi-regular occurrence. Unfortunately, anecdotal accounts are all we have. “It’s difficult to point to any specific places, because we don’t really track accidents by location,” says Hannah Scott-Carter, public information officer for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. But you know what the city does track? Car collisions with traffic light poles, which apparently take a far worse beating than any wall. “On average, traffic equipment somewhere in the city is hit 1.2 times per week,” Scott-Carter says. If the toll on the Crown Hill barrier is anything close to the hammering that those poles endure, perhaps we should swathe it in bubble wrap. 

Q: I hear June is mulberry season here. Where can I find them?
A: The Hoosierist, who has spent years battling volunteer mulberry bushes in the alley behind his house, thinks the proper question should be, “Where can you not find them?” These invasive shrubs are pretty much everywhere, and they have only one redeeming feature: a sweet, blackberry-like fruit every June. There are two varieties, the red mulberry (an Indiana native) and the better-known white mulberry, a scrubby Chinese import that has run wild across the U.S. Interestingly, the “white” mulberry’s fruit are usually red and purple. And the “red” mulberry’s fruit is typically black. Berries from either variety can be eaten off the vine, or converted into pies. Here’s an easy way to know if you have some nearby: Come June, do the birds start dropping purple, seed-infested BMs on your car? Congratulations! You live near a mulberry bush. 

Q: What happens to retired rides from Holiday World and our other amusement parks? A: According to Leah Koch, director of communications at Holiday World, some dated rides can be disassembled and sold to other parks. But the end-of-life strategy is different for their many wooden coasters. Each of those “woodies” requires a forest’s worth of heavy timber beams, making it impractical to dismantle and relocate. If you want to get rid of one of those, you’re going to need backhoes and chainsaws. But while wooden coasters typically require lots of annual maintenance, they’re also sort of immortal. Many of their rot-prone components must be replaced each year, meaning that large portions of a 40-year-old ride are actually younger than most steel coasters. 

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