Life's Better Here: Huntington 2013 (VIDEOS)

By Eric Olson- 21Alive
By Jason Meyers - 21Alive
By Emma Koch-21Alive

August 14, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 4:45 AM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (21Alive) -- Huntington Indiana is a beautiful town with a gorgeous county courthouse, a magnificent library and a world class university bearing its name. And Huntington has a great story, critical to the development of northeast Indiana…to the entire state, really. Much of that story is told here at the Huntington County Historical Museum, full of artifacts and memories that can wisk you back in time a hundred years and more. But for the old history, the ancient story of this town, you need to travel a couple miles west of the courthouse…to this spot…the Forks of the Wabash Historic Park.

The park takes you back to a time before Europeans arrived, when the great Miami Indian nation ruled this land. The parks museum illustrates how the Maimis lived back then…their homes, what they wore, what they ate. The Miami controlled the great overland portage route traveled by traders and trappers between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River…control that made some of the Miami very wealthy.

“They were instrumental in being the transporter of materials and goods that brought the pioneers to this area,” says park volunteer Jim Hollar.

Miami Chief Richardville at one time was said to be the richest man in the state. His house is here, too, the first frame house built in Huntington County and the oldest house in the county. The museum illustrates how early trading posts worked, and how the building of the Miami Erie canal changed everything and inspired the birth and growth of the town of Huntington. There are many surprises at this lovely spot, early pioneer homes, native plants and grasses…and a way to reach back and touch a time and place that helps us all understand who we are, where we are…and how we got here.

Jason found two restaurants who love everything about being in Huntington. One is well established and has been in the national spotlight more than once. And the other is an up-and-comer with a big city feel.

When it comes to nationally recognized cities, Huntington, Indiana probably isn't near the top of that list, but a little restaurant downtown has put it on the map on more than one occasion.

Most recently, a cable show stopped by because they had heard about their pork tenderloins.

"Recently, we were on the Travel Channel. The show called 'Pork Paradise.' And it's bringing people in from all over the United States,” said Jean Anne Bailey, owner. “It's awesome the following that they have."

Now people are visiting from all over the country to try their sandwich. And because owner Jean Anne is front and center greeting these new customers, she also recommends their homemade sugar cream pie.

"The sugar creme pie is wonderful. We've gotten awards for that. It's been in Bon Appetit magazine,” Bailey said. “It's an awesome pie and the Indiana State Pie, so you have to have it”.

She bought Nick's in 1989, and before that, she was in and out of this restaurant since she was 7 while her parents owned the place. And now she says she couldn't be happier doing business in downtown Huntington.

That same sentiment is shared right around the corner at Brick House Grill.

"I want to be downtown,” Andrew Sprinkle said. “Try to bring back the downtown. Huntington, I was just born and raised. I've been here all my life."

This is where you can get a good steak in an atmosphere that feels more like Chicago than downtown Huntington. But don't worry, the city where they work and live is still their number one priority.

"We hold fundraisers for the Boys and Girls club, and there's another group called Love, Inc. that we actually just did a fundraiser for this Tuesday,” Sprinkle said. “They brought their staff in and kinda waited tables and all the tips, and we donated some of the proceeds."

The food tastes a little better knowing your money is going to stay in your hometown. And that makes life a little better in Huntington.

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