Board looks to adopt county seal


More than 200 years after becoming a county, Jackson County could be on its way to having its own official seal.

County commissioners will consider three designs for county seals drawn by Medora artist Nick Walden. The seal would appear on official county documents, correspondence and perhaps even the floor of the new judicial center under construction behind the courthouse in Brownstown.

“I’ve talked with the architect, and he said he can take a step back and look and see if it can be incorporated because he thinks it’s a good idea,” said Arann Banks, executive director of the Jackson County Visitor Center, who has spearheaded the project. “That would be a way to incorporate more local history into our judicial center.”

Banks said many people have suggested adding the seal to the floor at the entrance of the judicial center, which is set to open this December.

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Commissioners’ President Matt Reedy said Thursday he did not have a concrete timeline for adopting the seal but would like to do so before the judicial center opens in case it could be used there.

“I’d say August or earlier is when we’d want to decide,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea. Indiana has a seal, and everyone has a seal. Other departments use some seals, but they’re ones they’ve made themselves, and this would be official and consistent. I think it would bring continuity.”

All three designs feature the Jackson County Courthouse’s clock tower and Fort Vallonia.

Two of the proposed seals include the intersection of U.S. 31 and U.S. 50 and the CSX and Louisville & Indiana railroads and Interstate 65.

Other landmarks included on the designs incorporate the Medora Covered Bridge, a Ferris wheel from the Jackson County Fair, sandhill cranes from Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, the dock at Starve Hollow Lake and produce Jackson County is known for, including corn and watermelons.

One seal declares Jackson County as the “Crossroads of Southern Indiana,” Walden said. Another has the county’s founding year, 1816, in Roman numerals.

That’s a lot to fit into one seal, but it important because all of those items serve not just one community in Jackson County but all communities, Banks said.

“They depict the entire county as a whole and everything that serves the entire county,” she said. “He didn’t pluck out any communities. He just went with what Jackson County is known for.”

She said discussions to adopt a seal have been made throughout her tenure with the visitor center and even before that. Banks became executive director in 2015 when the center was planning the bicentennial celebrations of the county, Brownstown and state in 2016.

Research was done while volunteer committees planned the celebration, and no one was able to find a seal.

Since the county recently gave its website a facelift, Banks decided to finally pursue a county seal.

Reedy seemed to think it might not be a bad idea to weigh residents’ thoughts on the seals.

“I wouldn’t mind putting them on the website and getting public input,” he said.

Banks has worked with Walden in the past through various projects, including the bicentennial puzzle.

“He’s very humble and easy to work with, and dedicated to our county,” she said. “I enjoy his vision.”

Walden also has done work for the Medora Covered Bridge, painting original wood from the bridge the committee sells to fund restoration and upkeep.

Walden has designed the Jackson County Recycling District’s logo and the Jackson County Dog Shelter’s promotion logo.

Sketches of the seals were first hand drawn by Walden, and then he designed them on a computer to give them better edges.

“It’s definitely an honor to design it,” he said. “I think every county should have a seal to express what your area is all about.”

As he thought about what to draw first, Walden said he thought of the clock tower at the Jackson County Courthouse because he felt it was the structure for which the county is known.

From there, he thought about how everything began with the fort at Fort Vallonia, which was settled before Indiana became a state in 1816.

“I then thought of the county’s progression, and that has a lot to do with Seymour starting with the railroad crossing,” he said. “Then the little things came along, like Freeman Field and the Medora Covered Bridge.”

One thing many people may notice on each seal is the time on the clock tower. All of them feature hands on the clock tower that point to 12:18.

That represents the date for which the county was adopted through legislation, Walden said.

“I did that symbolically because on Dec. 18, 1815, is actually when Jackson County was signed into legislation, but it didn’t take effect until the first of the year in 1816,” he said.

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