Zionsville resident writes book on Boone County’s hidden history

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Front and back of “Hidden History of Boone County Indiana” (Photo courtesy of Heather Phillips Lusk)

Heather Phillips Lusk calls this book her baby.

Fittingly, the process of writing and researching “Hidden History of Boone County Indiana” took nine months. The book will be released April 11 by The History Press.

“I learned so many things about Boone County history that were really fascinating and interesting,” said Lusk, a Zionsville resident and freelance writer.

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Lusk said some of the things she knew about from organizing the Ghost Walk for SullivanMunce Cultural Center for five years.

“But I was able to dive into them even more and find more information,” Lusk said. “Then other stories that aren’t really scary or spooky are really interesting.”

Lusk said she learned that Boone County used to be a large swamp.

“No one ever thought it could be turned into farmland or any place anyone would want to live,” Lusk said.

Lusk said she regularly drives between Zionsville and Jamestown for children’s activities.

“I wondered how we turned this giant swamp into this fertile area,” she said. 

Lusk learned how pioneers turned the county into what it is today. Another fact she learned is that a quarter of the county was a Native American reservation.

“There also is a story about what I believe is Boone County’s only dog to serve in World War II,” Lusk said. “There is a tragic tale of twin girls who died within a few years of each other in the last 1800s.”’

Lusk said she relied heavily on local newspapers from the past 150 years for information. She said it took time to get out of the habit of condensing stories to provide longer stories.

“It’s a different style of writing that I don’t do on a daily basis,” Lusk said. 

Lusk said The History Press publishes books about local communities, culture and specific events. The publisher reached out to SullivanMunce about ghost stories in Zionsville.

“After talking to the editor, they were looking for true ghost stories and haunted stories,” Lusk said. “Those aren’t really well known in Zionsville and definitely aren’t part of the Ghost Walk. In talking to the editor, he mentioned they have this separate hidden history line of books and the stories we do for Ghost Walk would fit well in there.”

Lusk said the Ghost Walk, held every October, retells haunted ghost stories that explain local history in a fun and interesting way.

Although Joan Lyons wrote a book “Remembering Zionsville” in 2009, Lusk hadn’t come across a recent book about Boone County as a whole.

“But no one had written anything about Boone County,” Lusk said. “The only books that are in existence are very old or they don’t provide information on the county in general. My hope was to let people know more about the county because a lot of people may know about their own little area but not the county overall.”

The 156-page book will be available at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.