USA: MIDWEST: INDIANA, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NORTH & SOUTH DAKOTA

Favorite Midwest USA photos by Tom Dempsey


Click “i” to display informative captions. Add any of the above images to your Cart for purchase using my Portfolio site. Favorite photos above include:

  • Indiana (IN): Parke County, the “covered bridge capital of the world” (Burr Arch Truss, Mecca, Narrows, and Bridgeton Covered Bridges, Turkey Run State Park); beautiful Cataract Falls State Recreation Area and its 1876 Covered Bridge; Indianapolis Zoo animals; Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.
  • Michigan (MI): Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising Falls, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Presque Isle River potholes, spinning foam cake, birch bark patterns, William Mitchell State Park, Lake Mitchell, Cadillac.
  • Minnesota (MN): snow and water drops on orange, red, and yellow maple leaf color.
  • Missouri (MO): Gateway Arch in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis.
  • North Dakota (SD): Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit: badlands with fall colors.
  • South Dakota (SD): Badlands National Park, bighorn sheep, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park and wildlife reserve.

Indiana (IN)

IN: Favorite images


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IN: Indianapolis: Conner Prairie Interactive History Park


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IN: Parke County: Covered Bridges, history

Parke County, Indiana, is the “covered bridge capital of the world.” View fascinating Turkey Run State Park: Sugar Creek, Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve, surprisingly scenic narrow (almost slot) canyons, boardwalks, hikers’ suspension bridge, and the 1841 Lusk Home. Covered Bridge photos include Bridgeton, Crooks, McAllister’s, Neet, Thorpe Ford, Roseville, Mecca, Narrows, and Cox Ford bridges. See the Case 1822 log cabin in Bridgeton Historic District, Parke County Courthouse in Rockville, and an orange sunset with silhouetted tree.


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IN: Parke County: Turkey Run State Park

I was fascinated by Turkey Run State Park in historic Parke County. Bear Hollow Canyon is surprisingly scenic and narrow (almost like a slot). Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve is a National Park Service Registered Natural Landmark. Fun trails include boardwalks, stairs and ladders. See Sugar Creek Suspension Bridge. Cox Ford Covered Bridge was built in 1913 over Sugar Creek. The historic Lusk Home was built in Federal and Greek Revival style starting in 1841.


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IN: Cataract Falls State Recreation Area

The attractive Cataract Falls State Recreation Area features Indiana’s largest-volume waterfall, located near Cloverdale (an hour southwest of Indianapolis). Bright autumn foliage colors glowed for Tom Dempsey’s photos below captured on October 21, 2015. Altogether, Cataract Falls drop a total of 86 feet including intermediate cascades. Mill Creek plunges 20 feet in the set of Upper Falls and a half a mile downstream the Lower Falls drops 18 feet. The park’s limestone outcroppings formed millions of years ago when the region was covered by a large shallow ocean. The 148-foot wooden Cataract Falls Covered Bridge was built in 1876 at the Upper Falls of Mill Creek (formerly known as Eel River) and was open to automobile traffic until 1988. The bridge now serves pedestrians and was extensively repaired starting in 2000. It is the only remaining covered bridge in Owen County.


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IN: Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is well worth a visit. Photos below by Tom Dempsey include:

  • Inside the Dolphin Pavilion, admire these sea-going mammals from the intimate underwater viewing dome in the center of the main performance pool. The Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is also known as the Common Bottlenose Dolphin.
  • East African Crowned Crane (or Crested Crane, Balearica regulorum gibbericeps).
  • Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis).
  • Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus).
  • Addra Gazelle (Nanger dama), the world’s rarest gazelle.
  • White rhinoceros or square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum).


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Michigan (MI)

Photos from Michigan include: Presque Isle River potholes, cool geology along Lake Superior shoreline, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Lake of the Clouds, birch bark patterns, fall foliage colors, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Miners Castle, Sable Falls, Munising Falls, rounded pebbles), William Mitchell State Park, and Lake Mitchell, Cadillac.


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Minnesota (MN)

Photos from Minnesota include: snow falling on late September fall foliage colors in Superior National Forest, Two Steps Falls, Baptism River, Tettegouche State Park, peeling tree bark pattern, water drops on maple leaves, Lake Superior, Temperance River State Park, and watermelon, squash, and pumpkin harvest at farmers’ markets.


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Missouri (MO)

Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, Gateway Arch is the world’s tallest arch (630 feet high), the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to the American people, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947. It was built 1963-1965 at the site of St. Louis’ founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River and opened to the public in 1967. (Although built to last for ages, it is eventually susceptible to a tornado impact which could rip off the upper two-thirds.)


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North Dakota (ND)

Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit, in the Great Plains along Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota, USA. (Copyright Tom Dempsey / www.photoseek.com)

Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit, in the Great Plains along Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota, USA.


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South Dakota (SD)

Badlands National Park

In this peacefully remote park, bighorn sheep grazed fearlessly along the roadside and dramatic sunset/sunrise colors lit the colorful cliffs sculpted from ancient sediments.


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Custer State Park and wildlife area

South Dakota’s largest and first state park was named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Completed in 1922, the Needles Highway includes sharp turns, low tunnels and impressive granite spires along the northern 14 miles of South Dakota Highway 87 (SD 87). The road lies within Custer State Park, 30 miles south of Rapid City, in South Dakota. Needles Highway is part of the figure-eight route of Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway. A magical sunrise warmed the freezing air over idyllic Sylvan Lake. Cathedral Spires Area is most impressive. A famous herd of 1500 bison freely roam the Park, as seen along Wildlife Loop Road.


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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed and oversaw the Mount Rushmore project 1927–1941, with help from his son, Lincoln Borglum. Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).


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South Dakota historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills in order to promote tourism. Robinson’s initial idea of sculpting the Needles was rejected by Gutzon Borglum due to poor granite quality and strong opposition from Native American groups. They settled on Mount Rushmore, and Borglum decided on the four presidents. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding ended construction in late October 1941. Mount Rushmore is a batholith (massive intrusive igneous rock) rising to 5725 feet elevation in the Black Hills.

Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial is being carved into Thunderhead Mountain on private land in the Black Hills, between Custer and Hill City, 17 miles from Mount Rushmore, in Custer County, South Dakota. In progress since 1948, the sculpture is far from completion. It depicts the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. It is operated by the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. The sculpture is planned to be of record-setting size: 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet high (whereas the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet high).


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Crazy Horse (1840–1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the United States federal government to fight against encroachment by white American settlers on Indian territory. He earned great respect from both his enemies and his own people in several battles of the American Indian Wars on the northern Great Plains, including: the Fetterman massacre in 1866, in which he acted as a decoy, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, in which he led a war party to victory. Four months after surrendering in 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a bayonet-wielding military guard, while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. In 1982 he was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

Recommended Midwest USA guidebooks

Search for the latest Midwest USA travel books at Amazon.com: INDIANA, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA

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