A True Hancock County Treasure - Bob Burchfield of AroundIndy.com

I had one of the best conversations I've had in sometime with a social savvy Hancock County gentleman a couple of weekends ago - Bob Burchfield. The time flew, and the stories flowed. You see, in my eyes and many others, Bob Burchfield is a bit of a treasure, not only in our state, but in Hancock County as well. He's a self-taught photographer that takes some of the most amazing photos this girl has ever seen of our gorgeous Hoosier state, and in his spare time, he runs the informative groundbreaking statewide site - AroundIndy.com. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only site of its kind that covers the entire state - all 92 counties.


It's one of my favorites of his! Hinkle Fieldhouse
Photo Credit: Bob Burchfield. AroundIndy.com LLC. 
A Hoosier through and through, he's a Hamilton County boy by birth, but has lived all over the state in his growing up years, as his Dad worked as a Methodist pastor for churches in locations like Anderson, Kokomo, Whiteland, Cicero, Arcadia, Muncie, Brookville and Greenfield. Bob himself was once a Methodist pastor back in the 80s. The little white church just south of the Olio and Southeastern roundabout, yep that was his stomping grounds.


Bob Burchfield and his then fiancee, Pam, on June 11th 1972.
The day he graduated from college and was commissioned as a 2nd
Lieutenant in the US Air Force. They were married 13 days later. 
After graduating from the University of Evansville, he and his bride embarked on a 6 year military career that took them to places like Thailand, England, Missouri, Florida and Michigan. In Bob's words, "Thailand was just like Forrest Gump says - one day it started raining, and it didn't quit for four months, England was 40 degrees and blah, Missouri was tornado-ville, Florida the hurricane belt and when we lived in Michigan the blizzard of 1978 blessed us with 240 inches of snow. Everywhere I've lived in the world the weather was awful, and that's why I love Indiana! There are four distinct seasons." Of all that is truly Indiana, Bob's most favorite thing - the weather. I'd have to agree. I love a good Indiana fall. Nothing like it. 

After his military career ended, he came back to Greenfield because his father was the minister at Trinity Park Methodist. He's been teaching computer technology classes at the university-level since 1987, and web design since 1998. He is currently the Director of Support Services at a local university.

Back in the fall of 2002, Bob found himself teaching a web design course, where one of his students piped up and said, "Hey, you know what we need in Indiana, a website that shows what there is to do in Indy!" And there it was, the idea for AroundIndy.com was born. By the time the class was coming to an end, the site was getting a few hundred hits a day and Bob thought hmmm... I ought to keep this. This past January, AroundIndy.com averaged 15,000 hits per day.

During our lovely Saturday morning chat, out of curiosity and amazement of how much AroundIndy.com has to offer the public, I asked Bob, "How do you do it all? Does your family help?"

Nope. AroundIndy.com has always been a one man show. Bob advised that his girls (his wife and two daughters) for the most part ignore him and his AroundIndy.com passion. For 12 years (his 13th year began on Feb 1st), he's done it on his own. Not only event posts on the site and awesome pictures of tons of Indy venues, but at times, pod casts, daily audio recordings and videos as well. His newest savvy part of AroundIndy.com is a smart phone app sponsored by Indy Fringe that lets you search all sorts of categories to find fun Indy events. You can search by date, county and event type. There's also a food truck locator mobile app! All of the Indy food truck drivers update their locations in real time, so you are getting real live data. However, for the less tech savvy, you can just use the search bar on the website to find fun things to do in and around Indy as well.


Photo Credit: Bob Burchfield. AroundIndy.com LLC.
I asked Bob, "Really how the heck do you do it all? What are your secrets?" Bob smiled and let me in on a few. He gets off on Fridays at 4:30 p.m. and loves to stroll around downtown and shoot for a bit. He loves getting groups together to do events, especially if it involves food. Having an entourage with him allows him to maximize the photos, especially of yummy signature dishes from restaurants. He also plans his routes when attending an event to maximize and make the most of the trip and hit as many cool Indiana spots as possible. He's doing a fabulous job! He owns photos for 81 of the 92 counties!

However, my most favorite "secret" that Bob shared with me is that his mama gave him a great skill when he was a boy - she taught him to type at 8 years old and to this day he is an amazing typist. He even came in second in the 1965 Johnson County Secretarial Contest. Back then boys just didn't type. He's pretty sure he could have come in first if it wasn't for being a boy and all. He still has the necklace they gave him as a prize. You see they didn't have any boy prizes to give!

With so much wonderful stuff on AroundIndy.com and knowing Bob has seen so much around the state over the years, I asked, "So Bob, what's your absolute favorites in Indiana and Hancock County?" He pondered my question for a bit and said hands down The Lighthouse Lodge Bed and Breakfast on Lake Shafer is his favorite spot in all of Indiana. In his words, "It's paradise! A glorious piece of heaven and only a 100 miles from downtown." In Hancock County his favorites are the Riley Festival and the new Veterans Memorial Park near the Courthouse in Greenfield. He advised me that the Veterans Memorial Park is pretty awesome and a nice tribute to all branches of the military. I'm definitely going to have to check it out soon.


Hancock County Veterans Memorial Park.
Photo Credit: Bob Burchfield. AroundIndy.com LLC.
So what's up next for the great Bob Burchfield of Indiana? Ever tech savvy (or as he says - tech geeky), he's been experimenting with a fun hand held recording device (really almost a full recording studio in the palm of your hand) with amazing sound quality. You may be seeing some fun audio AroundIndy.com pieces coming from him in the near future!

In the end, as he so humbly tells me...he's just a guy and most often he's doing all his AroundIndy.com updating in the early morning hours in his PJs. Cheers to Bob! One amazing Hancock County gentleman!

Bob Burchfield at age 6! Adorable.

January-March 2015 Hancock County Treasures brought to you by Moody's Butcher Shop - Geist Location. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2015 even cooler than 2014!



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Comments

  1. I've known Bob for several years, but I learned so much about him from this article. A true treasure.

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