What Time Is It?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday morning I left home at 7:00 a.m. for the almost three-hour drive to Fort Wayne and an 11:00 a.m. meeting. Traffic was good, and I didn't hit any major road construction along the way. So did I arrive an hour early? Or is my math wrong?


Indiana is one of several states that is in two time zones. Most of the state (including Fort Wayne) is in the Eastern Time Zone. The red counties are in the Central Time Zone. And no, they don't match the political map where red is Republican and blue is Democrat.

The red counties weren't the ones that changed. The entire state was originally in the Central Time Zone. According to Wikipedia, prior to 1883 towns in the U.S. set their time to noon when the sun was at its peak in that particular location, so the time was different even among neighboring towns. No big deal when people rarely traveled, but the advent of the railroads changed that and made the constantly changing time confusing. So in 1883 the major railroads decided to create four time zones in the U.S., and they placed Indiana in the Central Time Zone. When the U.S. Congress adopted official time zones in 1918, it kept Indiana in the Central Time Zone. In the years since then, however, most of Indiana crept into the Eastern Time Zone to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening.

Northwest Indiana will never join them. We have stronger ties to Chicago than to the rest of the state (at least in terms of where we work and play), and Chicago is on Central time. Being in a different time zone from Fort Wayne and Indianapolis is inconvenient, but being in a different time zone from Chicago would be much worse.

At least things aren't as bad as they used to be when most of the blue counties stayed on Standard Time all year long. In those days, we matched the rest of the state during the summer but were still off an hour in the winter, and I had trouble remembering when we matched and when we didn't. At least now I always know I have to leave an hour early if I'm going to Fort Wayne or Indianapolis.

But why should I be the one who has to adjust? Everything would have been just fine if the blue counties had stayed where the railroads and Congress put them.

Until they see the light, I guess I'll just have to get up an hour early.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

LOL. At least you get extra hours sometimes. :)

Good post, Kathryn.

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