A Tale of Two Indiana Cities: Warsaw vs. Plymouth

warsaw-plymouth 3

Koskiusko and Marshall County Courthouses

By Ostrander

25 March 2013 (Edited from a version written on 4 February 2013)

It is the best of towns; it is the worst of towns:[1] two Rust Belt cities dominate north-central Indiana, both similar in size to the other, both transit points along US 30 and the CFE Railroad,[2] and both have voted overwhelmingly for Republican presidents the last three times.  In one town, the mayor possesses a large jaw under a head of gray hair;[3] in the other town, the mayor wields a large jaw under a bald head.[4] [5]  Of course, I am describing the two great towns of Warsaw and Plymouth.


Warsaw contains its own Biblical Gardens.

Warsaw, Indiana, founded in 1836, grew into a town of 752 pioneering citizens by 1854, and now contains over 13,500 happy and industrious people noted for their wisdom and creativity.  Several orthopedic manufacturers and suppliers make their homes in Warsaw—including DePuy, Biomet, and Zimmer—truly making this city the “Orthopedic Capital of the World”.  The town includes four breathtaking lakes and five pristine parks within its city limits, and these, along with the thrilling Tokens ‘N’ Tickets amusement park and sensational Wagon Wheel Theatre, make Warsaw a recreational powerhouse.


Plymouth factories just manage to feed their workers.

Plymouth, Indiana, swiped from the Potawatomi Indians after the Indian Removal Act of 1830, was founded in 1834 and incorporated as a town of rowdy citizens by 1873.  The city now contains about 10,000 dejected and suffering people noted for their sad and sooty faces.  The city’s west side contains a gloomy industrial park that just manages to supply the people of Plymouth with food for their tables.  The town includes five solid waste management facilities and one nearby junkyard for its recreation.  The winter has taken a particularly harsh toll on Plymouth this year, and donations of blankets and shoes are always appreciated.

In terms of marriage statistics, Warsaw and Plymouth show tremendous differences.  In Warsaw, 55.4% of the people are sharing their lives in blissful and abundant matrimony, while in Plymouth, just 52% of the people are managing to keep their marriages working despite the ailing economy.  In Warsaw, 12.4% of the people have happily parted ways with their spouses in order to seek a better life, while in Plymouth, 14.0% of people are bitterly divorced.  In Warsaw, 23.9% of the population is single and hopes to find that special someone; in Plymouth, 23.7% of the people are struggling through great adversity to find a mate, a struggle that more than likely will only lead to terrible heartbreak.[6]


Warsaw’s Ace Hardware is better than both of Plymouth’s combined!

Shopping experiences in the two cities also can vary greatly.  Warsaw is blessed with two Arby’s restaurants while Plymouth only has one.  Warsaw possesses four Subway “Eat Fresh” restaurants to Plymouth’s three.  Warsaw has five FedEx’s versus Plymouth’s one.  And although only one Ace Hardware store exists in Warsaw while Plymouth boasts two,[7] Warsaw’s Ace Hardware is larger and so much better stocked than Plymouth’s, and the cashiers are prettier and more helpful, too.  I heard that both of Plymouth’s Ace Hardware stores are run by grouchy ex-convicts, and that one of their cashiers beat a customer with a garden rake one time because he asked too many questions.


Just look at those sensible and scenic streets!

Warsaw impresses the visitor and satisfies the resident.  The streets of Warsaw, while of course not paved with gold, run smoothly through the town and combine good order with scenic beauty.  One proud resident, a Wal-Mart cashier named Barb Snider, boasts “You just can’t get lost in Warsaw!”, a statement so obvious to the citizens of Warsaw that it hardly needs to be expressed in words.


Warsaw is full of good Samaritans!

I traveled to Warsaw myself the Saturday before last and found myself running out of fuel much to my embarrassment.  Then, as I walked to the nearby Marathon gas station, I realized that I’d forgotten my wallet!  A kind-faced Warsovian overhead my phone conversation to my dear old wife Millie, asking her to bring my wallet and some fuel.  After hearing this, and without even speaking to me, this kind soul called out to the surrounding people at this Marathon station, and each and every one of those twelve people bought and filled up one of the station’s gas cans.  This group of good Samaritans followed me to my abandoned car, and they lined up to empty their cans into my fuel tank until it was full.  Afterward they insisted that I keep the remaining fourteen gallons for myself, and they proceeded to wash and wax my car.  I was so dumbfounded that I’d forgotten to call off Millie, who sat impatiently at the Marathon station before calling to bicker at me for making her waste her time.


The visitor to Plymouth recoils in horror!

Plymouth offers a different sort of experience.  The visitor to Plymouth recoils in horror and the local residents only reluctantly step outside their shanties.  Plymouth paved its streets with asphalt long ago, maybe during better times back in the ’70’s, but now a car must navigate through rubble-strewn ruts, broken-down automobile husks, and the occasional dead and rotting dog.  The streets twist and turn in incomprehensible disorder, the signs either rusted away on bent poles or stolen, and the sights along the way are hard to discern through the smoke and scraggly overgrowth.


These fellows wouldn’t get a second glance in Plymouth.

Just last Saturday I decided to explore the town of Plymouth myself, and this time I made sure to bring my wallet and fill my tank!  I was navigating the treacherous North Michigan Street, trying to avoid rotting dogs, when I got my car stuck in a muddy rut.  A mob of scrawny, tough-looking men surrounded my car and demanded five dollars to push me out.  I nervously agreed, extending a five-dollar bill to the nearest hunchback.  This man bit my outstretched hand with his two brown teeth and the other hooligans pulled my frail body through the open window by my what remains of my hair.  These villains then swiped away my wallet and siphoned all my fuel.  An old screeching witch poured a bucket of sewage on my head.  When I tried to call Millie on my cell phone, a filthy little boy clad only in a dusty pair of underwear briefs snatched the cell phone from my bleeding hand and disappeared into the bushes.  Ultimately, these Plymothians stripped my car to the frame and ransomed me to Millie for twenty-five dollars (she refused to pay more).  Apparently this happens all the time to the unwary visitor of Plymouth.

Only twenty-four miles separate these two great north-central Indiana towns, yet for all their similarities on paper, the towns of Warsaw and Plymouth represent two completely opposite worlds.  Warsaw is a far, far better place that I go to for hotels and refreshments, than I have ever gone; Plymouth is a far, far better place to notice, and to just keep on going.[8]

[Update:] Just this day, two letters have arrived in my mail.  The first is a letter from the big-jawed mayor of Warsaw, thanking me for my visit to his town and extending his well-wishes.  The second is a $230 parking ticket from the city of Plymouth.

[1] Misquoted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Dickens 1).  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. London: Chapman & Hall, 1859. Print.

[2] At the end of January, when I wrote this article, RailAmerica did own this railroad.  Now (25 March) it seems that Genesee & Wyoming has taken over that company.  And their new rail maps are terrible compared to RA’s old maps.  RailAmerica, Inc. “Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad (CFE).” RailAmerica. RailAmerica, Web. 04 Feb. 2013. http://www.railamerica.com/railservices/cfer.aspx.  Genesee & Wyoming Inc. “GWRR Home.” Home. Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. http://www.gwrr.com/.

[3] City of Warsaw. “City Elected Officials.” Warsaw, IN. CivicPlus, Web. 04 Feb. 2013. http://warsaw.in.gov/index.aspx?nid=78.

[4] City of Plymouth. “Mayor’s Office.” City of Plymouth. DC Tech Solutions, LLC, Web. 04 Feb. 2013. http://www.plymouthin.com/index.php/government/mayor/.

[5] Misquoted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Dickens 1).  “There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France.” Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. London: Chapman & Hall, 1859. Print.

[6] City-Data.com. “Indiana Bigger Cities (Over 6000 Residents).” City-Data.com. Onboard Informatics, Web. 04 Feb. 2013. http://www.city-data.com/city/Plymouth-Indiana.html. http://www.city-data.com/city/Warsaw-Indiana.html.

[7] City-Data.com. “Indiana Bigger Cities (Over 6000 Residents).” City-Data.com. Onboard Informatics, Web. 04 Feb. 2013. http://www.city-data.com/city/Plymouth-Indiana.html. http://www.city-data.com/city/Warsaw-Indiana.html.

[8] Misquoted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Dickens 466).  “‘ It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.'” Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. London: Chapman & Hall, 1859. Print.


9 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Indiana Cities: Warsaw vs. Plymouth

  1. This is a silly article… are you seriously trying to malign plymouth? If so, your thinly veiled bias and weak arguments are laughable. Or are you just having fun writing a silly article.

    • I can only guess that you have never have ventured into Plymouth or else you would know how serious my article was! I didn’t mention the half of the horrible things that have happened to me there!

      One time I was forced against my will to eat at a local bar and grill called the Brass Rail. The strange server there kept staring at me for uncomfortably long periods of time, and I was getting very self-conscious. When I finally asked her why, she told me that I looked just like her grandfather! GRANDfather, hmph! She couldn’t have been a day younger than 50 years old, so I’m only old enough to be her father! I cannot express how insulted I felt, and ashamed! I almost couldn’t finish my salad and fish dinner.

      And they didn’t put enough ice in my water, either. This is just another sample of the horrors of Plymouth, such a frightful and miserable place, and certainly nothing to joke about or make light of. I would encourage you to visit Plymouth and see for yourself, but I could not help but feel responsible for whatever unspeakable terrors and outrages you might encounter.

      But you should visit Warsaw. It really is nothing but a delight to savor, to take one’s time, and to enjoy life as we were intended to live it. 😉

      • I lived in Plymouth for 17 years. Don’t dare tell me it looks that way and I don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re a crazy idiot!!!! People don’t live in shanty’s and there are no rotting dogs in the street. Maybe you think Warsaw is better. I prefer Plymouth, THANK YOU!!! You won’t find a more hospitable friendlier bunch of people then you will in Plymouth and the entire Marshall County!!!!! I think you are making all the crap up because you couldn’t handle someone making you act like an adult and made you WORK!!!! Cry baby!!!!

      • Oh, my poor friend, you haven’t been to Plymouth in the past few years and seen what I’ve seen. I would recommend that you visit the place again to demonstrate your error, but I could never advise anyone to take such risks with his life.

        The very best houses in Plymouth are shanties, and the liveliest dogs the rotting ones.

        I was reading the newspaper two days ago and it warned people to avoid Plymouth this summer because of the mountains of rotting dogs spreading the Zika virus during the hot spell Indiana just had! But then I read another article describing how Warsaw scientists may have found the cure for the Zika virus, ironically with a protein found in healthy dogs’ blood!

        And you write about hospitable people from Plymouth??! We are talking about Indiana’s Plymouth, right? For denizens of Plymouth like yourself, the barking tone of your insulting message may pass for everyday conversation, but it surely doesn’t pass for civility in the rest of the country!

        Compare that with the noble citizens of Warsaw, where just last week a smiling young woman (and very pretty, too, unlike many of the Plymouth ladies) glided up to me saying that even though the lovely smell of my fine cigar filled her with joyful memories of brilliant summer sunsets on the lake with her father and uncles, she had to ask me to put it out for the sake of her smoke alarm system. She later felt so grieved that she apologized to me for her harsh tone, but all the while I had believed that she had paid me one of the finest compliments in all my years!

        Oh, when I finally pass out of this world, if I the gates of heaven are barred from my entering, I would gladly settle for Warsaw instead! Have you ever been there?

    • Are you sure we’re talking about the same Plymouth? Maybe there are two of them in Indiana? I still wake up sometimes in a cold sweat from the Plymouth flashbacks! ;D

      Seriously, though, thanks for reading and taking the time to respond to my city reviews. I’ll have to venture back into Plymouth (if I dare) to see what I might have overlooked.

  2. I think this article was a little biazed. Its obvious this guy likes warsaw more because he grew up there but his attacks on Plymouth were with out basis and merit. I will agree that warsaw is a little bigger and has more industry and job prospects then Plymouth. But for him to say that warsaw was better and Plymouth inferour was wrong

    • Thanks for your comments! I always love to hear input from people about their reactions to these writings, especially when the commenters disagree with something that I’ve said.

      Sometimes bias is a difficult thing to overcome, but I think that I tried to be as unbiased and as fair as possible while comparing the two great northern Indiana cities. I do admit to a slight preference for Warsaw, and I’m afraid that a little of that preference must have bled through my attempts to be objective and neutral in my descriptions.

      You may enjoy this retort to my article, in which Hoosier Happenings offers a defense of Plymouth against what he also claims is my pro-Warsaw bias:

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