Athens of the West
Salem's progressive institutions of learning attracted students from all over Indiana and made Salem a notable center
in the early years of the state. Salem was once called the "Athens of the West," a designation attributed due to the number of reputed academies and seminaries within the town. John I. Morrison was the principal architect of this nomination. John was associated with the Hay-Morrison House as the principal of a grammar school located there, he later created the Salem Female Institute and the Washington County Seminary. He was joined by Barnabus Hobbs, a renowned educator and Dr. Benjamin Trueblood, who lectured nationally on world peace.
Perhaps because of Salem's established presence in state government and position of leadership in education, Salem was a candidate the first state university. Salem came up a few votes short and Indiana University was established in Bloomington instead.
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