Named the county seat of Hamilton County shortly after the county was created in 1828, Greenfield was initially a town of small grist mills built along two small creeks which flow south through the area. Around 1835 the National Road, U.S. 40, was built through the town, and it eventually became a stop in the Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad on the line connecting Pittsburgh to Chicago and St. Louis.
Perhaps the town’s best known resident is James Whitcomb Riley, known as the “Hoosier Poet” and “Children’s Poet”. His most famous works include “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Raggedy Man”, and his statue in Greenfield is the end point of the annual Riley Festival parade. His poems were the inspiration for the names of Little Orphan Annie and the Raggedy Ann doll.
An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,–
You better mind yer parunts, an’ yer teachurs fond an’ dear,
An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
–from Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley
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