Sierran Masthead

John Muir Marker to Be Erected in Indianapolis

Most Hoosiers do not know that John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club over 100 years ago, lived in Indianapolis. Nor do they know that Muir, while working in the city, had an accident that inspired him devote the rest of his life to nature and conservation.

To recognize John Muir and this turning point, an Indiana Historical Marker will be erected at the intersection of South Illinois Street, between South Street and Pogues Run, in Indianapolis. This location was the site of the Osgood, Smith & Company factory, where Muir worked. John Muir was an inventor, machine shop operator, naturalist, conservationist, and author who chose Indianapolis as his home because of the many manufactories and the close range of forests. Muir spent his days working as a machinist/inventor and weekends in the rich forests of Indiana.

On March 6, 1867, a file Muir was using to unlace a power belt slipped and pierced his right eye at the edge of the cornea. Muir was blinded in his right eye, and his other eye went dark in sympathetic reaction. During this period of blindness, Muir had much time to reflect. While recuperating, he decided to devote his life to the environment, becoming one of the most influential environmentalists ever. Muir wrote, "I bade adieu to all my mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God."

John Muir is known as the father of our national parks and the founder of the now-nationwide Sierra Club.

The Hoosier Chapter is raising funds to pay for the historical marker. If you wish to donate to the John Muir Historical Marker Fund, please send your donation to the Hoosier Chapter. Mail with your check made payable to the Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, 1915 W. 18th St., Suite D, Indianapolis, IN 46202. The chapter hopes to erect the marker on April 21, which is John Muir's birthday. Your financial contributions are greatly appreciated. Please join us in remembering the founder of the Sierra Club.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[03/01/04]efp

Spring 2004