Perhaps the greatest legend in this neck of the woods is the legend of Stiffy Green. John Heinl, a resident of Terre Haute, could often be seen walking the streets with the company of his little bulldog named Stiffy Green. the nickname was given to the dog because of his quirky, stiff-legged trot and his exceptional emerald green eyes. In 1920, John Heinl passed away leaving his 4 legged friend all alone. Friends took the dog in and tried to care for him, but time after time the dog would disappear only to be found miles away at the door of his master's mausoleum. Stiffy refused to leave his friend even in death. Eventually, his caretakers stopped trying to take him away and would bring food and water to Highland Lawn Cemetery. Stiffy refused to eat. The bulldog guarded the mausoleum day and night, rain or shine, until he was found dead one morning, on the cold stone steps.
Word spread of the dog's loyalty and people contributed to a fund to have the dog's body preserved by a local taxidermist so that he could be placed next to the crypt of John Heinl. He was mounted into a sitting position with his bright green eyes open, forever watching guard over the tomb. This is only the start of the legend.
Several months later, a caretaker was leaving the cemetery one warm evening when he heard a dog barking from the general direction of the Heinl tomb. He recognized it as that of Stiffy Green. Soon, many others could hear the barking, always in the early evening hours, around the Heinl mausoleum. Some even claim to see old man Heinl walking around Highland Lawn Cemetery accompanied by his stiff legged, green eyed dog. Highland Lawn is no longer open at night to the public. Stiffy has also since been removed due to constant vandalism. He now resides in the Historical Museum of the Wabash Valley for all to see. Still, rumors persist that, on certain nights, you can still hear him barking within the closed gates of Highland Lawn.
The best part of the story is the idea that Stiffy Green was never a real dog. Some say it was just a statue. I guess you will have to visit the basement of the Museum to know for sure.
1411 S 6th Street
Terre Haute, Indiana 47802
Highland Lawn Cemetery
4420 Wabash Ave
Terre Haute, IN 47803-1498
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