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A Thorough History of Indianapolis, IN

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This article is sponsored by the child molestation attorneys in Indianapolis. Learn about the history of the city and more.

Indianapolis: From Past to Present

Indianapolis, also known as Indy, is the most populous city and the state capital of Indiana. Also the county seat of Marion County, it is the third-most populous city in the Midwest and the 17th most in the U.S. The area that is now Indianapolis was once inhabited by Indigenous people as early as 10,000 B.C. When Indiana gained statehood in 1816, the U.S. Congress donated four sections of federal land to create a permanent seat for the state government.

In 1818, the Delaware, or Leape, people relinquished their tribal lands in central Indiana in the Treat of St. Mary's and agreed to leave the area by 1821. On January 6, 1821, a site for the new state capital of Indiana was approved and given the name Indianapolis – Indiana means "Land of the Indians," and polis comes from the Greek word for "city." Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham were tasked to survey and plat the town.

On December 31, 1821, it also became the county seat for Marion County. National Road, the first highway to be majorly federally funded in the U.S., brought growth to the town in 1827. In 1831, the Town of Indianapolis was incorporated. It was incorporated again in 1847 as the City of Indianapolis. That same year, the Jeffersonville Madison and Indianapolis Railroad began operating.

During the American Civil War, Indianapolis was a crucial military base and a major logistics hub. Mostly loyal to the Union cause, the city was a rallying place for Union army troops. On April 16, 1861, the first regiments in Indiana were formed, and Indianapolis was made the headquarters of the state's volunteer soldiers. After the Civil War, the city experienced a period of growth and prosperity. In 1880, it was the third-largest pork packing city in the world. By 1888, it was the second-largest railroad center in the U.S. With 60 automakers, Indianapolis was a major automobile manufacturing center and an early focus of labor organization. Influential labor unions that were based in the city were the United Mine Workers of America and the International Typographical Union.

On May 15, 1902, the Solders' and Sailors' Monument was dedicated. It would go on to become the unofficial symbol of the city. Other prominent architectures and historical events also occurred during this era. Because the city was a stop on the Underground Railroad, it was home to one of the largest African American populations in the Northern States. During the Civil Rights Movement, race relations were strained in Indianapolis. The Indiana Klan, which was led by D. C. Stephenson, was the most powerful political and social organization in the city. On January 1, 1970, Unigov – a new entity that restructured the city and county governments and consolidated most public services into one – was created by the mayoral administration of Richard Lugar and put into effect.

In the latter half of the 1900s, Indianapolis wanted to become a sports tourism destination. Under the aggressive strategy of the Indianapolis Project, millions of dollars were put into sports facilities and public relations campaigns. In another attempt to continue economic development in the city, cultural amenities were added and cultural districts were designated. Notable buildings and establishments of Indianapolis were:

  • White River State Park
  • The Canal Walk
  • Circle Centre Mall
  • Victory Field
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Indianapolis Internationa Airport Colonial H. Weir Cook Terminal
  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Indiana Convention Center

As of 2018, the city has a population of 876,862. It is home to the largest collections of monuments that were dedicated to war casualties and veterans outside of Washington D.C.

Read on about an Early History of Fort Wayne, IN.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis was founded by Mary Stewart Carey in 1925. Located on North Meridian Street, it is the largest children's museum in the world. The museum feature five floors of exhibit halls and include over 120,000 exhibit items and articles that are divided into the three domains of the Natural World Collection, the Cultural World Collection and the American Collection. Popular exhibits are a carousel, a simulated Cretaceous dinosaur habitat, the glass sculpture Fireworks of Glass Tower and Ceiling, and a steam locomotive.

Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500, or the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Held annually in the city on Memorial Day weekend, it is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The event is named The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and is part of the top level of American Championship Car racing known as the IndyCar Series.

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