Indianapolis - History

Indianapolis - History

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Indianapolis ( / ˌ ɪ n d i ə ˈ n æ p əl ɪ s / ), [11] [12] colloquially known as Indy, is the state capital and most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. According to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the consolidated population of Indianapolis and Marion County was 886,220. [13] The "balance" population, which excludes semi-autonomous municipalities in Marion County, was 876,384. [14] It is the 17th most populous city in the U.S., the third-most populous city in the Midwest, after Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio, and the fourth-most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona Austin, Texas and Columbus. The Indianapolis metropolitan area is the 33rd most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., with 2,048,703 residents. [15] Its combined statistical area ranks 28th, with a population of 2,431,361. [16] Indianapolis covers 368 square miles (950 km 2 ), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.

  • 46201–46209, 46211, 46214, 46216–46231, 46234–46237, 46239–46242, 46244, 46247, 46249–46251, 46253–46256, 46259–46260, 46266, 46268, 46274–46275, 46277–46278, 46280, 46282–46283, 46285, 46290–46291, 46295–46296, 46298

Indigenous peoples inhabited the area dating to as early as 10,000 BC. [17] In 1818, the Delaware relinquished their tribal lands in the Treaty of St. Mary's. [18] In 1821, Indianapolis was founded as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana's state government. The city was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1-square-mile (2.6 km 2 ) grid next to the White River. Completion of the National and Michigan roads and arrival of rail later solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. [19] Two of the city's nicknames reflect its historical ties to transportation—the "Crossroads of America" and "Railroad City". [20] [21] [1] Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration operates under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor.

Indianapolis anchors the 29th largest economic region in the U.S., based primarily on the sectors of finance and insurance, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, government, and wholesale trade. [22] The city has notable niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. [23] [24] The city is home to three Fortune 500 companies, two major league sports clubs, four university campuses, and several museums, including the world's largest children's museum. [25] [26] However, the city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. [27] Among the city's historic sites and districts, Indianapolis is home to the largest collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war casualties in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. [28] [29]

Historic Indianapolis Neighborhoods

Indianapolis is one of those places where you ask where someone is from or where they live, the response is the name of a neighborhood or side of town. Consider this map your personal decoder ring. One of the coolest maps you will ever see of historic and other neighborhoods of Indianapolis by our friends at Naplab – copies are still available.

And while we plan to add more substance to this list in the near future, you may want to start with the Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis, a group originally formed under what is now Indiana Landmarks.

We have heard readers say they want to hear more on Indianapolis neighborhoods, so here’s the starting list of Historic Neighborhoods of Indianapolis. Which is your favorite and who has stories to share? Please let us know if we missed any!

Arsenal Heights (Market St. to New York St., between State St. and Oriental St.)
Bates-Hendricks (I-70 to E. Beecher St., Madison to I-65)
Beech Grove (Prospect St. to E. Thompson Rd./465, between S. Keystone Ave(until I-65)S. Sherman Dr. and RR tracks/465)
Broad Ripple (White River to Kessler Blvd, between Meridian St. and Evanston Ave.)
Brookside (10th St. to Brookside Pkwy S Dr., between Rural St. and Sherman Dr.)
Butler-Tarkington (Central Canal to 38th St. and Meridian St.)
Chatham-Arch (I-65 to E. Michigan St., between N. East St. and N. College Ave.)
Community Heights (10th Street to 21st Street, between Emerson and Arlington)
Cottage Home (E. 10th St. to E. Michigan St., between RR and Oriental St.)
Crooked Creek
Crown Hill (38th St. to W. 30th St., between Martin Luther King Jr. St. and Meridian St.)
Cumberland (Welland St. to Warehouse Rd., between Meijer Store and Carroll Rd.)
East 10th Street
Emerson Heights(Tenth St. to Michigan St., between Linwood Ave. and Emerson Ave.)
Fall Creek Place (23rd St. to Fall Creek Pkwy S. Dr., from Pennsylvania to College)
Fayette Street
Fletcher Place (Louisiana St. to I-65, between East St. and I-70/I-65)
Forest Hills (Northview Ave to Kessler Blvd E. Dr., from the Monon Trail to College Ave.)
Fountain Square (English Ave to Raymond St., between I-70 and S. Keystone Ave.)
Garfield Park (E. Southern Ave. to E. Troy Ave., between Madison Ave. and Shelby St.)
Grace-Tuxedo Park (10th St. to Washington St., between Sherman Dr. and Linwood Ave.)
Haughville (16th St. to Michigan St., between Tibbs Ave. to the White River)
Hawthorne (W. Michigan St. to RR tracks, between N. Tibbs Ave and N. Belmont Ave.)
Herron-Morton Place (16th St. to 22nd St., between Pennsylvania St. and Central Ave.)
Irvington (10th St. to Brookville Rd., between Emerson Ave. and Edmondson Ave.)
Holy Cross (Michigan St. to Washington St., between I-65 and State St to Oriental St.)
Irish Hill (Washington St. to RR tracks near 250 Shelby St., between College Ave. and State St.)
Little Flower (16th St. to 10th St., between Emerson Ave. and Sherman Dr.)
Lockerbie Square (Michigan St. to New York St., between East St. and Davidson St.)
Martindale-Brightwood (30th St. to I-65, from the Monon Trail to Sherman Dr.)
Mass Ave
Meridian Park (30th St. to 34th St., east side of Meridian St. to the west side of New Jersey Street)
Meridian Street (40th St. to Westfield Blvd., from the west side of Pennsylvania St. to the east side of Illinois St.)
Meridian-Highland (White River to W. 16th St., between I-65 and N. Meridian St.)
Meridian-Kessler (38th St. to Kessler Blvd., from the east side of Meridian to the Monon Trail)
New Augusta (W. 71st St. to W. 7rd St., between Georgetown Rd. and Purdy St.)
North Kessler Manor (E. 56th St. to Kessler Blvd. E. Dr, from Keystone Ave. to Rural St.)
North Square (Fletcher Ave. to Virginia and Woodlawn Ave., between Calvary St. and Shelby St.)
Northwest Kessler (W. 48th St. to W. 56th St., from Northland Ave/Melbourne to Kessler Blvd. N. Dr.)
Norwood Place (Southeastern Ave. to Terrace Ave., between RR west of Vandeman Ave. and Sherman Dr.)
Old Mill Park
Old Northside (16th St. to I-65, between Pennsylvania St. and Bellefontaine)
Old Southside
Old Speedway (16th St to 10th St., between Main St. and Winton Ave.)
Oliver Johnson’s Woods (44th St. to 46th St., east side of Central Ave. to west side of College Ave.)
Ransom Place (W. St. Clair to W. 10th St., between Paca St. and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.)
Rocky Ripple (W. 51st St. to W. 54th St., between Riverview Dr. and Canal Blvd)
Southeast (Washington St. to Raymond St., between Madison St. and Keystone, Pleasant Run and Sherman Dr.)
Southport (S. Madison and Southport Rd.)
Springdale (Brookside Pkwy S Dr to 10th St., between N. Jefferson Ave and N. Rural St.)
St. Clair Place (10th St. to E. Michigan St.)
St. Joseph (I-65 to Ft. Wayne Ave., between Pennsylvania St. and Central Ave.)
Stringtown (W. Michigan St. to W. Washington St., between N. Belmont Ave. to N. White River Pkwy.)
Warfleigh (Between the Canal and White River from Riverview Drive to College Ave.)
Watson Park (Fairfield Ave. to 38th St., between Central Ave. and Woodland Ave.)
Wholesale District (Market St. to South St., between Capitol Ave. to Pennsylvania St.)
Williams Creek
Willard Park (East Washington St. to RR tracks, around S. State Ave.)
Windsor Place (East Brookside Ave. to E. 10th St., between Massachusetts Ave. and N. Jefferson Ave.)
Woodruff Place (E. Michigan St. to E. 10th St, east of Arsenal Technical HS)

22 Things You Should Know About Indianapolis

Any Hoosier will proudly tell you that there’s more than corn in Indiana. Its capital, Indianapolis, is home to everything from sliced bread to one of the largest sporting events in the world. Here are a few things you might not know about the Midwestern city.

1. An Indiana Supreme Court judge picked the name Indianapolis by sticking the state's name together with the Greek word for "city."

2. Indianapolis wasn’t the first state capital of Indiana. The original capital, Corydon, was given the boot in 1820, just four years after the state was formed.

Today, the city's nickname of "Naptown" is thought to be a dig at its sleepy reputation. But the term was actually coined by jazz musicians in the 1930s. One of the first recorded uses was by blues singer Leroy Carr in 1929, who crooned, “When you get to Naptown, the blues won’t last very long. Because they have their pleasure, and they sure do carry on.”

4. In 1911, the legendary Indianapolis 500 race as we know it was born. The prize offered to the winner among 40 qualifiers: $25,000. The ticket cost for each of the 80,200 spectators in the grandstands: $1.

5. Forget champagne: Indy 500 victors take a celebratory sip of milk, as part of a tradition that is said to have begun with three-time winner Louis Meyer in the 1930s. After a hot day on the track, Meyer would refresh himself with buttermilk. Today, the American Dairy Association Indiana announces which local dairy will provide the quaff, and even maintains a list of drivers' milk preferences.

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is home to the skull of the newly-discovered Dracorex hogwartsia dinosaur. Discovered in Iowa, its name means "Dragon King of Hogwarts.

7. An Indianapolis native is to thank for the traditional tune sung during every seventh-inning stretch. Albert Von Tilzer of Indianapolis penned “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

8. The great Kurt Vonnegut was born and raised in Indianapolis, where his father and grandfather, both architects, left their marks on the city in the form of historic buildings like the Athenaeum. Vonnegut himself once said that “All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis."

Indianapolis-based Taggart Baking Company launched Wonder Bread in 1921, becoming the first major company to distribute sliced bread.

10. Indianapolis’ Gilbert Van Camp created his own American classic: Van Camp’s Pork and Beans. Van Camp worked as a grocer in the area and found that customers liked his recipe so much, he decided to start selling them to the masses.

11. Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America, and Indianapolis backs that name up, with six interstate highways crossing through town.

12. Washington, D.C. is the only city in the country that has more memorials and monuments that Indianapolis. The Hoosier capital comes in second, with 33 such commemorations.

14. Construction on America's very first Union Station began in Indianapolis in 1849.

Indianapolis has seven bus shelters in its public transit system designed by architect Donna Sink, with a poem from a local artist adorning each one

16. The last concert The King ever gave was in Indianapolis—just three months before his death in 1977, Elvis Presley performed in Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena.

17. Indianapolis claims to be home to the world’s largest Christmas tree, a title the city has held since 1962. The tree sports 52 strands of garland and nearly 5,000 lights in the display known as the Circle of Lights.

The Indianapolis Zoo is a triple threat—it’s the only zoo in the country to be accredited by the relevant organizations as a zoo, an aquarium, and a botanical garden.

19. Iconic American magazine The Saturday Evening Post is headquartered in Indianapolis.

20. Indiana’s oldest bar, the Slippery Noodle Inn, is located in Indianapolis. During Prohibition, the bar was frequented by gangsters, and even today, a few bullets from their target practice remain lodged in one of the building’s walls.

21. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, which now has offices in 18 countries, can trace its roots to a building on Pearl Street in Indianapolis.

22. Notorious crime boss John Dillinger, whose gang was responsible for dozens of bank heists and a handful of police station robberies during the Depression era, hails from Indianapolis. He quit school to work in a machine shop in the state capital before moving on to a life of crime.

Indianapolis - History

Shortly after Congress established the Hoosier State in 1816, the Indiana General Assembly saw the need to move the capital from southern Indiana to a more central location. Indianapolis was founded in 1821 to fill this need. The capital city grew well beyond expectations to become a major site for automotive breakthroughs, urban and suburban planning, sports, literature, the fine arts, and biotech innovations. The National Register of Historic Places recognizes historic places that represent nearly all the historically significant trends that have shaped this, the 13th largest city and second largest state capital in the United States.

Long before European Americans claimed the land, the marshy site at the confluence of the White River and Fall Creek was home to mound building cultures. The Delaware, Miami, and Wea tribes traded, hunted, and lived here. Following the War of 1812, the U.S. Government secured the Treaty of St. Marys in 1818, opening central Indiana to European American settlement. Legislator Jeremiah Sullivan proposed the name &ldquoIndianapolis&rdquo to the General Assembly during discussions of the new capital. Planners met at McCormick&rsquos Cabin Site on the banks of the White River to discuss the project.

The legislature wanted the capital to have good access to transportation hoping the White River would be navigable by the new flat-bottomed steamboats, but this proved impossible. Overland transportation would be via the proposed National Road, which played a significant role in early development. The National Road became Washington Street as it passed through town linking the capital to the outside world until railroads reached the city. Michigan Road became the main north-south land route of this early era, connecting Indianapolis to Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River and Michigan City on Lake Michigan.

Nickel Plate Locomotive No.587
Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology

The plat of Indianapolis would be like no other in the new &ldquowestern&rdquo lands. The General Assembly hired Alexander Ralston, who assisted Pierre L&rsquoEnfant in designing the nation's capital, to plan the new town. Ralston&rsquos 1821 plan, which was a mile square, reflects the heritage of L&rsquoEnfant&rsquos Washington, DC, with its central circle, radiating streets, and zoned usage of building sites for the Statehouse, a county courthouse, a city market, and other civic buildings.

The city grew gradually, as residents and merchants built more and more vernacular wood-framed houses and stores, but early transportation efforts continued to meet with frustration. As part of the Internal Improvement Act of 1836, the General Assembly planned a great canal to link to the Wabash & Erie Canal, but only a few segments were completed before bankruptcy ended the scheme. Indianapolis had fewer than 8,000 residents in 1847 when workers for the Indianapolis & Madison Railroad finished the line to town. Steel rails delivered the promised development that rivers and canals could not. Within five years, seven different lines met in Indianapolis. The rail firms combined resources to build a Union Station, the first of its kind in the nation. The existing Union Station is the late 19th-century descendant of that pioneering building.

The economy of Indianapolis at first revolved around agriculture, especially grain mills, pork-packing plants and wool mills. With railroad access to coal and the discovery of natural gas deposits in the 1880s, industrialists located foundries, machine shops and, railroad-related shops here. Street railways began in the mid-19th century and interurbans, light, electric, self-propelled rail cars that ran within and between cities, connected Indy&rsquos streets and surrounding farms as early as the 1890s.

With plenty of land on which to build, developers and owners favored single-family homes over the densely packed row houses of eastern cities. Lockerbie Square best illustrates pre-Civil War Indianapolis. Its closely-spaced frame cottages and brick houses reflect the age when most people walked and, if they could afford it, rode a horse or carriage. Streetcars fueled land speculation, especially after the Civil War. Areas like Woodruff Place, Irvington, and Herron&mdashMorton Place satisfied middle and upper class home owners, while satellite commercial areas like the Virginia Avenue Historic District and Massachusetts Avenue Historic District served dwellers on the edge of town.

On the eve of the 20th century, carriage makers began to experiment with the idea of adding internal combustion engines to their wooden contraptions. Hoosiers embraced the auto age with a passion. By 1909, Indy had 17 auto and auto parts makers in town. Thousands of workers cranked out luxury cars like Marmon, Cole, Stutz, and Duesenberg from the city&rsquos factories. The most visible reminders of the city&rsquos auto legacy are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the industrial suburb of Speedway. Speedway also became home to a national aerospace industry, Allison Division of General Motors, now merged with Rolls Royce.

Development of the automobile and changing attitudes toward recreation and civic spaces led Indianapolis residents to debate the creation of a parks and boulevards plan. Renowned German American landscape architect George Edward Kessler helped create the Indianapolis Parks and Boulevard System, one of the best preserved of its kind in the nation.

Auto sports mirrored the enthusiasm for other sports in Indy. Germans brought their unique attitudes to town, represented by their gymnastic clubs called Turnvereins. Das Deutsche Haus, now The Athenaeum, is a prime example. Basketball, another Indiana obsession, began in makeshift spaces, but more permanent facilities like Butler Fieldhouse were soon constructed. While the Pacers basketball franchise approaches 40, and the Colts football team has resided in Indianapolis for just over 20 years, the athletic traditions behind these teams date back a century or more.

Civic improvement was on the minds of state and local leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Examples from Washington, DC and the 1893 World&rsquos Columbian Exposition in Chicago sparked public support for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza Historic District. Indiana limestone was the building material of choice for these grand monuments.

Indianapolis has a rich, long history in the arts. Literary greats James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington, and Meredith Nicholson were nationally published along with other Indiana authors. Perhaps Indiana&rsquos interest in literature explains Indy&rsquos many excellent libraries, including Central Library, as well as the Indiana State Library. Indiana is unique in having a major American Impressionist art movement named for it. Indianapolis was the epicenter of the Hoosier School the John Herron Art Institute in the Herron&mdashMorton Historic District was the major college for fine art. Irvington was the address of choice for most Indianapolis artists of the early 20th century. African Americans distinguished Indianapolis in the performing arts. Indiana Avenue and the Walker Theatre offered venues for jazz greats like Wes Montgomery. The reputation of &ldquothe Avenue&rdquo drew performers well into the 1960s.

Attractions abound in present day Indy. Many are comparatively new, such as the world champion Indianapolis Colts, the new Indiana State Museum, or Circle Centre Mall but have roots in the past. The biotech industry in Indianapolis also has deep historical roots. Located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the National Historic Landmark Oldfields, was the home of J.K. Lilly, Jr., leader of Eli Lilly and Company in the early to mid 1900s. J.K.&rsquos father, Eli, began his pharmaceutical company in the 19th century. Today, Lilly and Company is a worldwide enterprise and remains one of the city&rsquos major employers.

Eli Lilly&rsquos interests in art and culture also have continued to have an impact on Indianapolis. Lilly established Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, a private non profit group that fosters historic preservation. In the 1960s and early 70s, redevelopment threatened many landmarks. Citizen concern led to creation of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. The commission administers community plans and reviews alterations in many historic neighborhoods and districts, including most of the districts in this itinerary. The 60s and 70s also saw the rise of grassroots preservation groups, such as the Woodruff Place Civic League. The Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology has worked with all these groups to obtain National Register of Historic Places designations in the city and other preservation incentives. Today, preservation advocates have a voice in city and state business in Indianapolis. The city continues to support a revitalized downtown and has dozens of historic neighborhoods. Indianapolis is working to preserve its heritage for residents and visitors alike to enjoy while attracting new sports events, conventions, and business ventures to the capital at the crossroads.

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

Welcome to the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites—a statewide museum network with 12 locations across Indiana. Here, we use our collection of artifacts (everything from mastodon bones to T.C. Steele paintings) and our state’s most culturally significant sites to tell larger stories around bigger themes. Whether you’re interested in art, architecture, history or science, we’ve got you covered. Come out and enjoy wide open spaces at our historic sites, explore three floors of fun at our downtown Indianapolis museum, and discover engaging online activities.

Indianapolis - History

Construction began in March 1909, with ambitious
plans to start racing by the Fourth of July. Then reality
set in. Fisher's vision of a three-mile oval surrounding
a two-mile road course became two 2.5-mile circuits
in order to leave room for grandstands. The final
Speedway consisted of four quarter-mile-long turns
linked by two five-eighths-mile straights and two
eighth-mile short chutes with the corners banked at
9.2 degrees. (Although the road course was dropped
from the century-ago plans, construction of an inner
circuit commenced in 1998 in preparation for Indy's
first Formula 1 race.)

The Dry Run creek running across a corner of the
property also posed problems. Construction
superintendent P. T. Andrews feared that the sixty
days allotted for grading might not be enough, so the
summer 1909 schedule was revised to hold a balloon
event in June and inaugural races in August.

Five hundred laborers, 300 mules, and a fleet of
steam-powered machinery reshaped the landscape.
The track surface consisted of graded and packed
soil covered by two inches of gravel, two inches of
limestone covered with taroid (a solution of tar and
oil), one to two inches of crushed stone chips that
were also drenched with taroid, and a final topping
of crushed stone. Steamrollers compressed each

Another army of workers constructed dozens of
buildings, several bridges, grandstands with 12,000
seats, and an eight-foot perimeter fence. A
white-with-green-trim paint scheme was used
throughout the property.

On the evening of June 5, 1909, nine gas-filled
balloons lifted off at Indy, "racing" for adulation and
silver trophies. University City, the winner of the
Speedway's first competitive event, landed 382
miles away in Alabama after spending more than a
day aloft.

Thirty-five thousand spectators showed up for Indy's
third day of speed trials and races in spite of hot,
humid weather. Oldfield wowed the fans by boosting
the world kilometer record to 85 mph in his Benz. The
cigar-chomping celebrity also won the day's fourth
event with ease.

Nineteen racers took the flag in the grand finale,
a 300-mile run for the $10,000 Wheeler-Schebler
trophy. During the first 100 miles of dusty
competition, six cars dropped out. At 175 miles, the
right front tire blew on Charlie Merz's car. His
out-of-control National mowed down five south-end
fence posts, toppled spectators like bowling pins,
and achieved a reported 50-foot altitude. The lucky
Merz sustained only minor injuries, but two spectators
and his mechanic, Claude Kellum, perished.

Ten laps later, a Marmon driven by Bruce Keen spun
into a bridge support after hitting a pothole. Flagman
Wagner promptly halted the race with 94 of the
planned 120 laps completed. Since the event ended
early, the remaining cars received engraved
certificates instead of trophies.

The following day, newspapers railed against the
carnage. A Detroit News editorial deemed racing
"more brutal than bull fighting, gladiatorial combats,
or prize fighting." The AAA moved to boycott future
Indianapolis events unless Speedway management
addressed safety shortcomings.

Fisher and his partners agreed that motorsports
wouldn't thrive without major track improvements.
Construction engineer Andrews suggested paving
the entire racing surface with either bricks or
concrete. Bricks were twice as expensive, but they'd
last longer and provide superior traction, in his

Since the first mile of paved public road was also
under construction in 1909, Speedway owners had
no experience on which to base their decision.
Traction tests were conducted, proving the brick
approach to be clearly superior. Funds were
authorized to begin the repaving project less than a
month after the pioneering racers left the track.

Five Indiana manufacturers supplied 3.2 million ten-
pound bricks, which were each hand laid over a
two-inch sand cushion. After the surface was leveled
with a steamroller, gaps were filled with mortar. To
safeguard spectators, a 33-inch-high concrete wall
was also constructed in front of the main grandstand
and around all four turns.

Although it was too late in the season to resume
racing, eleven drivers and a few motorcycles returned
in December for speed trials. Hardy spectators
braved winds and 10-degree temperatures to witness
Walter Christie top 100 mph in his purpose-built,
front-wheel-drive racer and his nephew, Lewis Strang,
achieve 112 mph in a Fiat. Race starter Wagner
issued two proclamations: that the Speedway was
now "a wonderful track and will allow for the speed
that any car today has stored away in it" and that
"100 mph is as fast as the American public will care

Give the man half credit. During the next seven years,
no drivers and only one riding mechanic died racing at
the Brickyard. However, Wagner underestimated the
typical fan's zest for speed. No tears were shed in
1919 when René Thomas was the first pole-winner to
qualify over 100 mph or when Tom Sneva cracked the
200-mph barrier in 1978.

Troubled by poor eyesight and a short attention span,
Carl Fisher dropped out of school at age twelve.
After racing, repairing, and selling bicycles, he
became one of America's first car dealers, in
affiliation with racer Barney Oldfield. In 1904, Fisher
and fellow bike racer James Allison each invested a
reported $2500 to manufacture Prest-O-Lite
automobile headlamps Union Carbide bought
control years later for $9 million. At a dinner party for
auto manufacturers in 1912, the intrepid Fisher
proposed building America's first transcontinental
road, which became the Lincoln Highway. The Dixie
Highway, a road system connecting Michigan's
Upper Peninsula with Miami, was his next bold
stroke. Fisher's hot streak continued with real-estate
developments in Miami Beach and Montauk Point,
New York. A devastating hurricane and the 1929
stock-market crash wiped out Fisher's fortune, but
his legacy, as described by Will Rogers, was having
achieved "more unique things . . . than any man I
ever met."

Allison, Fisher's longtime ally, brought stability to their
ventures. Coincidentally, he also left school at age
twelve. Allison, Fisher, and a third Speedway founder,
Arthur Newby, met at the Zig-Zag Cycling Club. It was
allegedly Allison's idea to shift the Speedway's focus
from several short events to one spectacular
endurance race per year, beginning in 1911. His
precision machine shop located near the track
manufactured tanks, trucks, and Liberty V-12 aircraft
engines during World War I. Following Allison's death
in 1928, General Motors acquired Allison
Engineering, which built aircraft V-12s for World War
II and jet engines thereafter. More recently, Allison
engineers also conceived GM's two-mode hybrid

The Newby Oval, a quarter-mile, steeply banked
velodrome, was the magnet that drew together three
of Indy's founders. Under Newby's leadership, the
National Motor Vehicle Company in Indianapolis
progressed from building electric runabouts to
gasoline-powered cars.

The fourth founder was Frank Wheeler, who claimed
to have lost two fortunes before arriving in
Indianapolis in 1904 and joining with George
Schebler to manufacture carburetors. Their firm
sponsored Indy's first trophy, a towering Tiffany cup.
Wheeler tried to spread Indy magic to a grandiose
Minnesota track after that venture failed, he sold his
Speedway interests to Allison in 1917.

Louis Schwitzer, who had no hand in the
Speedway's creation, deserves honorable mention
for winning Indy's first race in a Stoddard-Dayton.
Competing against four other stock-chassis cars in
a five-mile sprint, Schwitzer averaged 57 mph, led
both laps, and won by a 150-foot margin. Schwitzer
had earlier emigrated from Austria with two
engineering degrees and $18 in his pocket.
Following stints at Pierce-Arrow and a Canadian car
company, he helped design the engine that powered
Ray Harroun's Marmon to victory at the first Indy 500
race in 1911. Schwitzer headed the Speedway's
technical committee from 1912 through 1940. Also,
an Indianapolis company he established
manufactured superchargers and turbochargers. In
1952, a Kurtis Kraft roadster powered by a
Schwitzer-turbocharged Cummins diesel qualified
on the pole at Indy.

Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program

Hoosier State Chronicles is operated by the Indiana State Library and funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. We seek to provide free, online access to high quality digital images of Indiana's historic newspapers by digitizing our collection, and assisting other organizations in making their collections digitally available. Follow our blog to learn more about Hoosier State Chronicles, and read posts about yesteryear's news.

This online resource originated with grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities that enabled us, in partnership with the Indiana Historical Society, to digitize Indiana newspapers for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). The Indiana titles digitized through NDNP are also available at the Library of Congress's Chronicling America, along with over 8 million newspaper pages from around the United States. You can find additional digitized Indiana newspapers in Indiana Memory and also listed on our blog.

The Indiana State Library Newspaper Division has the largest collection of Indiana newspapers either in print, microfilm or digital format. For an overview of the available resources for Indiana newspaper research visit their website.


1883 - May Wright Sewall, principal of the Girls&rsquo Classical School of Indianapolis, and 17 other residents of the city signed articles of incorporation to found the Art Association of Indianapolis. As the Art Association&rsquos membership increased over several decades, so did its diverse collection.

  • Sewall, in an account of these formative years, wrote, &ldquoNothing is so cosmopolitan in its tendency as art where it flourishes, the provincial spirit declines sect and party lines become faint as it becomes dominant. The art spirit is by no means dominant in Indianapolis, but it is felt as a vital force.&rdquo &ndashnote about mission to improve lives

1895 - The Association learned it would receive $225,000 from the estate of Indianapolis real estate investor John Herron to build a permanent art gallery and school.

1902 - The John Herron Art Institute opened in temporary quarters in a home at 16 th and Pennsylvania Streets, the site on which the Association intended to build. The art school was established.

  • &ldquoMr. Herron seems to have been impressed with the fact that it was necessary for humanity to get away from the absorbing business of life, to yield for a little while to the influences of art and nature.&rdquo&mdashIndianapolis Art Association member commemorating John Herron, 1905 note about mission of art and nature

1906 - The John Herron Art Institute formally opened in its permanent home, a building designed by Arthur Bohn of the Indianapolis firm Vonnegut & Bohn, on November 20.

1908 - A new art school building, also designed by Vonnegut & Bohn, opened directly north of what was henceforth known as the Museum building.

1910 - The John Herron Art Institute presented a memorial exhibition of the works of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, known for his public commissions honoring Civil War heroes of the North. Attendance totaled 56,574.

1927 - Sixteen civic leaders founded the Gamboliers. For the next few years they gambled on "promising artists," adding works by Modigliani, Pendergast, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others to the collection &ndash 167 works in all, for a little more than $2,000.

1929 - A new and larger school building, designed by renowned architect Paul Phillipe Cret, opened, funded anonymously by board member Caroline Marmon Fesler.

1937 - Author Booth Tarkington, Muncie industrialist Frank Ball, and Eli Lilly & Company research director Dr. George J. A. Clowes were among the lenders to an exhibition of paintings and prints by Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt, Hals, Ruisdael, Steen, and Vermeer. Attendance for this exhibition exceeded 34,000.

1943 - Art Association president Caroline Marmon Fesler made the first in a remarkable series of gifts to the collection. Over the years, Fesler gave paintings by Hobbema, Cuyp, Corneille de Lyon, Seurat, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Picasso.

1947 - Eli Lilly made the first of his gifts of Chinese art. Between 1947 and 1961, he purchased about 200 bronzes, ceramics, jades and paintings for the Museum&rsquos collection.

  • 1947 six women completed training toserve as volunteer guides for visiting school groups and the museum&rsquos well-respected docent program was born. The docent program grew through a partnership with the Junior League of Indianapolis that lasted over 30 years. Now the program has grown 120+ docents
  • 1958 Alliance of the IMA founded
  • 1962 Contemporary Art Society founded
  • 1967 22 local leaders form Penrod&mdashnow attracts 20,000 guests annually.

1962 - An addition to the School building opened, designed by Evans Woollen III and funded through the bequest of Caroline Marmon Fesler.

1964 - Out of space in the Museum and with no land upon which to build, the board hired development consultants G. A. Brakeley & Company to advise on fundraising and also on a new site for the museum and possibly also the school. News that some sites outside downtown were being considered prompted a firestorm of public criticism. When the Brakeley Report was received, the board was advised to build downtown unless they were given land elsewhere "free and clear."

1966 - Early in the year, the board learned that the Herron School of Art had lost its accreditation. Negotiations began with Indiana University to transfer the school to IUPUI, and board chairman Herman Krannert explored moving the Museum to the IUPUI campus. But in October, Ruth Lilly and Josiah K. Lilly donated their parents&rsquo estate, Oldfields, to the Art Association, to be used as a site for a new museum. The donation also included the Newfield house, originally a house for the Lilly children, it is now a Scholar&rsquos Residence on campus.

1967 - The Herron School of Art became part of Indiana University, IUPUI campus, on July 1. The home of the Josiah K. Lilly Jr. family opened to the public as the Lilly Pavilion of Decorative Arts.

1969 - The Art Association changed its name to Indianapolis Museum of Art.

1970 - Krannert Pavilion, the first in a series of pavilions planned for the new Indianapolis Museum of Art, opened October 25 on the new Michigan Road campus. Krannert Pavilion, and later the Clowes and Showalter Pavilions, were designed by Ambrose Richardson, with landscape design by Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay & Associates.

  • 1970 Design Arts Society formed LOVE arrives at the IMA
  • 1971 First celebration of Christmas at the Museum
  • 1972 Horticultural Society as special interest group for gardens and offers members opportunities to share gardening experience and expertise
  • 1972 Madeleine F. Elder and newly formed Horticultural Society rescue the Greenhouse from demolition. 96 acres of White River floodplain were given to the Museum by the firm Huber, Hunt and Nichols, which had operated the quarry there.

1972 - Clowes Pavilion opened as a memorial to Edith Whitehill Clowes. A bequest of approximately $1 million from Mrs. Grace Showalter was received to build Showalter Pavilion, a theater that would be the home of the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. The Sutphin Fountain was dedicated.

1975 - Following the dedication of the new galleries, membership triples to 12,000. During a decade of rampant inflation, the IMA began to build an operating endowment.

1979 - The Museum received W. J. Holliday&rsquos collection of Neo-Impressionist paintings, now the largest public collection of Neo-Impressionist paintings in the U.S. The largest collection of works by J. M. W. Turner outside Great Britain, amassed over many years by Indianapolis attorney Kurt F. Pantzer, became a permanent part of the collection.

  • 1983 Second Century Society founded and helps transform the financial picture of the organization.

1987 - In connection with the Pan American Games, the Museum organized Art of the Fantastic: Latin America 1920&ndash1987, the first large-scale presentation of twentieth-century Latin American art in the United States in over 20 years

1990 - The Mary Fendrich Hulman Pavilion opened, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Eiteljorg donated their collections of African and South Pacific Art, numbering more than 1,500 works, to the Museum.

  • 1992 horticulture staff and volunteers launch the Garden Guides program.
  • 1993 Formal gardens restored through a gift from the friends and colleagues of Richard D. Wood to honor him upon his retirement from Eli Lilly and Company.
  • 1993 Garden for Everyone opens: lead gift In 1988, Irving Moxley Springer design by Horticultural Society&rsquos Claire Bennett.

1997 - Through a combination of gift and purchase, the Museum acquired 101 works by Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven from the collection of Samuel Josefowitz.

1999 - The Clowes Collection, including 100 works Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Cranach, Jan Breugal, Constable, Claude, and other European masters, was committed to the Museum by the Clowes Fund. IMA announced new campus master plan including plan to create an Art & Nature park on 100 acres of property west of the main campus.

  • 1999 Ravine Garden restored to the original Percival Gallagher design lead gift from garden-lovers Dr. George F. and Peggy Rapp, in whose honor the garden was named.
  • 1999 the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects presented the Indianapolis Museum of Art with the Centennial Medallion for re-creating one of the state&rsquos most outstanding works of landscape architecture.

2000 - The Museum acquired 75 hanging scrolls and folding screens representing major artists and styles of Japan&rsquos Edo period.

2002 - The IMA unveiled the newly restored mansion. A National Historic Landmark, Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens is notable as one of the Midwest&rsquos outstanding examples of an intact American country place estate. Ground was also broken for a $74 million Museum expansion project designed to improve guest services and increase access to the collections. Architect for the project was Jonathan Hess of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf.

2004 - Concluding a two-year national search, landscape architect Edward Blake of The Landscape Studio, Hattiesburg, Miss., and architect Marlon Blackwell of Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Ark., are selected to design and oversee the creation of the The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres.

2005 - The New IMA opened to the public May 5 and featured the new Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion, Wood Gallery Pavilion and Deer Zink Special Events Pavilion.

2006 - On July 1, the IMA announced receipt of an $11 million challenge grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation for development of The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. The European galleries reopened December 3, marking the official completion of the Museum&rsquos expansion and renovation project.

2007 - The IMA announced nine artists and collectives selected to create works for the The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, including artists Kendall Buster, Los Carpinteros, Jeppe Hein, Alfredo Jaar, Sam Easterson, Tea Mäkipää, Type A, Atelier Van Lieshout, and Andrea Zittel.

  • 2008 Nonie&rsquos Garden opens as the focal point for the new main entrance: plaque marking the tribute to art and nature lover Nonie (Eleanor) Krauss reads: "Here marks the passage between art and nature, nature and art, for in reality, they are one."
  • 2009 Orchard restored by Gene and Rosemary Tanner.
  • 2009 formation of IMA Lab ensures Newfields&mdashand the industry--keep up with the pace.

2009 - The Miller family donates Miller House and Garden, located in Columbus, Ind., to the IMA. Doors to this modern engineering marvel officially opened to the public in May 2011.

  • 2011 Four Seasons Garden restored through the generosity of Richard and Helen Dickinson
  • 2011 New galleries for design
  • 2014 Roy Lichtenstein&rsquos Five Brushstrokes acquired and installed
  • 2015 first US preschool in a general art museum partnership with St. Mary&rsquos Child Center

2017 - The IMA announces it will unify the entire campus under one name&mdashNewfields, A Place for Nature and the Arts. Newfields becomes the home for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Fairbanks Park, The Garden, Lilly House, and the Elder Greenhouse. Newfields&rsquo Miller House and Garden extends the Newfields brand into southern Indiana.

Final Thoughts on the History of Indianapolis

Whether you call Indianapolis Indy, Naptown, Railroad City, or the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis sure has its fair share of claims to fame! As the birthplace of Wonder Bread and the home to the Indy 500, Indianapolis really is quite a city.

One last fun fact is that the song, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” was written by an Indianapolis native! Sorry, if we have now cemented that song in your head for the rest of the night. It sure is a catchy tune. Alright folks, we’re off to make ourselves a sandwich, a Wonder Bread sandwich…

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Watch the video: Haunted Places in Indiana