Located in the west-central Indiana town of Dana, the site features Ernie Pyle’s birthplace and a museum highlighting the famous journalist’s life and writings as a correspondent during World War II.
The historic site is owned and operated by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Pyle’s legacy in Dana, as well as throughout Indiana and the nation.
Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, to a tenant farm family just outside of Dana. He was an only child. He was educated in local schools, and studied journalism at Indiana University-Bloomington before setting out on his newspaper career.
He maintained contact with his family and hometown throughout his life. He was on assignment as a war correspondent when he died on April 18, 1945, after being struck by a Japanese machine gunner’s bullet on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa in the South Pacific. He was 44 years old.
The house in which Pyle was born was rescued from demolition in the mid-1970s and restored by an upstart organization which became the Friends of Ernie Pyle. A local fundraising effort allowed the house to be moved from its original rural location into the town of Dana. It was dedicated as an Indiana state historic site in 1976.
The site in its expanded form was re-dedicated with a new museum in 1995 and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources until December 2009, when it was closed due to state financial cutbacks. In September 2010, the Friends re-opened the site through special arrangement with the state. In fall 2011, the State of Indiana gave ownership of the site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle.
On Jan. 1, 2012, the site was renamed the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum. A grand re-opening is scheduled for the spring. Keep watching this site for more details.
The Friends plan a nationwide fundraising campaign beginning in 2012 to help ensure that the museum and its Pyle exhibits and artifacts will remain open and accessible to the public in Dana for years to come.