(the “about Kekionga” page is a work in progress. More to come!)
An Indiana of the Mind
(some stuff about Kekionga)
What is Kekionga?
Kekionga is a traditional small town in the American Midwest, the county seat of Salt County Indiana, and it doesn’t technically exist. I made it all up and any resemblance to any actual town or towns is purely part of the creative process. But that doesn’t stop some pretty interesting people from living some pretty interesting lives there. Kekionga is a place where anything can happen.
Where is Kekionga?
Northern Indiana is an interesting place, at least geographically. Historically, this is where the glaciers stopped, leaving a terminal moraine. This is where the edge if the great Eastern Woodlands met the fringes of the equally great Western Prairie. To the North are mighty dunes along the coast of Lake Michigan. More recently, native peoples moved and traded from East to West and back again along the Sauk Trail, which followed the high ground of the moraine, picking a dry path through the wetlands of the lake shore. Today the urban sprawl of Chicago in the West ebbs and flows over the long-drained swampland, pooling around small towns two centuries old and trickling away to the East into farmland. There it is corn and soybeans, scattered houses, straight grey roads numbered in a grid, and a big, grey sky.
Kekionga is there, somewhere. We know from the stories that it is one of those original small towns, a county seat with a courthouse square, built along the old Sauk Trail, surrounded by farmland, but on the train line to the big city. From Mystery Hill, the highest point in Salt County, you can see Lake Michigan.
Knowing these facts, a quick glance at the map (or years of living in the Region) will suggest that there is no place in the our world that it could possibly be. That’s true. But Kekionga is there, somewhere.
This is an Indiana of the mind.
What does “Kekionga” mean?
“Kekionga” is a native American place name in the Miami language meaning “place where there are blackberries” or “Blackberry Town”. In the “real world” it is the original name of the place that is now called Fort Wayne, which is somewhat to the East of where Kekionga would be if it actually existed. But blackberries grow thick everywhere in Northern Indiana, and I didn’t think anyone would mind if I borrowed the name.