Monday, March 16, 2009

Pawnee, Indiana -- remarkably close to my hometown...

In case you haven't heard, Amy Poehler's going to be the new Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana. At least, she'll be acting like one.

You can read more about Pawnee, Indiana here. It's a fictional place, which I actually did not know even though I've lived about 20 miles from where Pawnee is supposed to be all my life. I actually had to Google it, just to be sure because there are an infinite number of teeny tiny towns with names just like this all around the state.

I just had to point out some realistic points from the website. It looks like Pawnee is a compilation of several Indiana cities. It mentions being the 7th largest city in the state. In my perception, the 7 biggest cities in Indiana are (in order): Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Bloomington, Lafayette, Muncie, Terra Haute. Muncie, IN--my hometown could very well be the 7th largest city. Other cities that could be about the same: Richmond, Wabash, Columbus, Gary, and Anderson

Muncie is just south of where Pawnee is on the map. Muncie is 70 miles from Indianapolis. Pawnee is 90 miles. Every city in Indiana is oriented by its proximity to Indianapolis, or "Indy" as it's called by the locals. Anderson, Indiana, about 10 miles from Muncie, has an old Indian burial ground in Mounds State park. So does Pawnee. But, Lafayette has something similar, as do other Indiana cities. Lafayette also has a nature preserve (the celery bog) on the site of a former Wal-mart--as does Pawnee! And Muncie does too, I think! Although, in both cases, it's the site of a current Walmart.

Starting to sound similar to you?

I'm looking forward to seeing just how much they rip on my home state when the show starts and what's real and what's not. If they do it right, they will show Indiana as it is, seriously, and it will be absolutely hilarious. And you will all see why I left. Fast.

Edit 9/2011: Turns out I was right. The writers for this show use Muncie as one of their towns to base Pawnee off of! Article here.


Storky46 10:46 PM  

Yup, I left Indiana, too....and I never have regretted it!

Katie 4:38 PM  

Hahaha I understand completely. I'm from Fort Wayne and went to Ball State in Muncie. Now I live in DC... I miss the quietness sometimes, but other than that, not much. Can't wait to see the Hoosier state in the spotlight :)

28 3:35 PM  

it says pawnee is 90 miles from indy, but i don't know where everyone is getting northeast of indy from. any reference to contact is always using the 812 area code, so it's got to be south of indianapolis.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

I'm from a tiny little dive named Winchester. It's 90 miles east of Indy. I also worked in Muncie...And that's the reason I left...I'm sensing a pattern, ha!

Travis(From Nashville)

Anonymous 9:58 PM  

I'm from Fort Branch, just north of Evansvile. I currently live in Mississippi. I will say there is no place like home no matter where you are and watcing this show fixes the home sickness. Thanks for being so funny and for making us Hoosiers proud!


chris 1:13 PM  

I heard that too that pawnee is suppose to be by New Albany.
I love the show. Ron Swanson is the best.

MsKirko 2:43 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
MsKirko 2:44 PM

I'm right. Muncie is one of the towns it's based off of.

Can't find any stars on the map anymore, but it used to be near the Muncie area. BTW, Indiana people calling me names really doesn't help your case that Indiana is a wonderful place to be...

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

Nope your wrong, it is based on new albany, check wikapedia, also pawnee is always mentioned as being south of Indy, muncie is not 90 miles south of Indy, oh and the fact they mention muncie on the show.....

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

It's based on new albany indiana, the last episode even mentioned the muncie sanitation department, so def not based on Muncie

mlosco 3:31 AM  

I know this is an old thread, BUT --

I just re-watched season 1, episode 3. For a brief moment in the opening credits, there is a satellite photo of Muncie's south side (inverted). There are also two large maps in the episode that are clearly inverted maps of Muncie. The first is a satellite map on the wall of the Parks Dept. office; the second is a political map on the wall of Mark's office. The second map is also visible in episode 5 through Leslie's window.

I grew up in Muncie and had been wondering about this for a while. I know some people claim otherwise, and really it seems like Pawnee was inspired by several towns, but for me Pawnee = Muncie.

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

You said you were from Ft Wayne and went to Ball State. Now you are saying you grew up in muncie. Get your story straight.
You are wrong and you deleted people's comments that you don't agree with.
The show is great and I appreciate your out look on it.
They also show the giant indiana from montpillar in the title sequence . Which isn't real close to muncie. The title just was showing different places in the state.

Sueli Rita 3:06 AM  

The map of Pawnee is Muncie's map upside down and mirrored, a link for the Pawnee map is right here (, click and compare with the Muncie map at Google! Even Buck Creek, southwest in Muncie, is shown Northwest in Pawnee.

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

@suelirita Buck Creek is a town near Lafayette...almost directly west from Muncie.

Sueli Rita 12:02 AM  

Yep, but I was talking about Buck Creek the creek, not the town... It crosses the Muncie area, but you have to get really close to spot it on Google; but in the Pawnee map it's very clear, running from west and then to north. The path is exactly the same, as for the main river, just mirrored.

Sueli Rita 12:30 AM  

For comparison:

Unknown 12:35 PM  

Season 2 ep 3 they say Miss Pawnee will represent "south central Indiana" for the next year.
Indy is at the center of the state. Muncie is north east of Indy.
So that being said I don't think Muncie is Pawnee.