For a second time in the past century, the musical work of a Terre Haute native was officially recognized for its place in history as Indiana's state song.
The Indiana House of Representatives, and the Indiana State Senate each passed resolutions honoring Paul Dresser for his song, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away."
"This is an immense day in Indiana's history as we recognize the centennial anniversary of our state song," said Rep. Bob Heaton, R-Terre Haute as he introduced the resolution he authored. "Our state song symbolizes more than just world-renowned music, it is intertwined in the very fabric of out Hoosier heritage.
Nine Terre Haute residents representing groups including Art Spaces Inc. - Wabash Valley's Outdoor Sculpture Collection, the Cultural Trail, the Vigo County Historical Society and the Swope Art Museum joined Rep. Heaton and Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, who co-autored the House resolution along with Rep. Randy Truitt, R-West Lafayette.
Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute, authored a similar resolution in the Senate.
"The state song was the first official symbol of Indiana," Rep. Kersey said. It was adopted four years before the state flag was adopted."
Kersey, a former public school teacher, said he wanted to make clear that a song heard annually before the start of the Indianapolis 500, "Back Home Again in Indiana," while also connected to Dresser, is not the state song.
Parts of Dresser's "On the Banks of the Wabash," were incorporated into "Back Home Again in Indiana" when the Maurice Richmond Music Company purchased the copyright from Dresser's bankrupt publishing company.