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Indiana (In): State Guide and Fun Facts


When did Indiana become a state?
December 11, 1816

Who were the first explorers in Indiana?
Rene Robert Cavalier sierur de la Salle

First Native American settlers:
Illini, Miami, Shawnee tribes

Square Miles:
36,420

US Rank:
38th

State Flower:
Peony

State Bird:
Cardinal

State Motto:
“The Crossroads of America”

Capital City

Indianapolis
Indiana became the state capital of Indiana in 1820. The site was selected because of its location on the White River and because traders believed the river would be beneficial for transporting goods. The economy and population of the city grew during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, it is the largest city in Indiana, with an estimated population of just over 800,000 in 2009. The economy is centered around government, manufacturing, education, healthcare and finance.

What is Indiana famous for?

1. Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500 is an annual 500 mile race that takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race began almost 100 years ago, in 1911, when the raceway was paved with bricks. 80,000 were in attendance that day, solidifying the popularity of the event in history.
The speedway today is able to hold hundreds of thousands of spectators for the once yearly event. There are 257,000 seats in the stands, and an additional 150,000 infield seats, making for one of the largest attended sporting events in the country.

2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish are a football team from Notre Dam, a college in Notre Dame, Indiana. The team is one of the best NCAA football teams in the league.
The Fighting Irish was formed in 1887. Since their humble beginnings as a small team with no reputation and a losing record, they have risen in the ranks to become a respected and formidable team.
The team has won 11 national championships in its history. Seven of its players have been awarded the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in collegiate football.

3. Indiana Dunes
The Indiana Dunes is a National Park that was opened in the mid 20th century. It is a popular vacation destination for many Midwesterners in the summertime. The park is location on the shores of Lake Michigan and hosts dozens of dunes, bogs and marshes, swamps, rivers and wooded areas. Vacationers can camp, fish, swim, hike and take part in unlimited other outdoor opportunities year round. Although the Indiana Dunes are unbearably cold in the winter season, their beauty remains unsurpassed year round, an ocean-like oasis in the middle of the flat and dry Midwest.

What is Indiana’s economy?

1. Agriculture – The most popular crops grown in Indiana are corn and soybeans. The state also grows a vast amount of wheat, hay, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, snap beans and corn. The primary livestock raised in Indiana are beef cattle, milk, eggs, turkeys and sheep.

2. Manufacturing – The most important manufacturers in Indiana produce items such as transportation equipment, automobile parts, trucks, buses, trailers and RVs. Secondary industries include the manufacture of various metals, including steel and aluminum.

3. Services – The services industry in Indiana is dominated by wholesale trade, which includes groceries, metals, transportation equipment (manufactured in the state) and farm equipment. Other contributors include hospitals, hotels, law firms, financial firms, insurance companies and real estate agencies.

Indiana Historical Landmarks

1. First Christian Church
Located in Columbus, Indiana, the First Christian Church was designed and built in 1942 by architect Eliel Saarinen. Saarinen was a Finnish architect who became known for his art nouveau buildings. The building is characterized by a large glass façade, unusual for the era in which it was built. The design of the church became a family affair. Eliel’s wife was responsible for some of the tapestries that were hung inside the church during different liturgical seasons. Saarinen’s son, who rose to architectural fame even larger than that of his father, was responsible for designing some of the lights and furniture that adorned the interior sacred space. The First Christian Church was designated a National Historic Landmark on January 3, 2001.

2. Levi Coffin House
The Levi Coffin House was built in Fountain City Indiana in 1839. The owner of the house, Levi Coffin, was responsible for helping thousands of slaves escape to Canada and other free states in the United States during the mid to late 19th century. The house, while it appears simple and unadorned on the outside, contains almost a dozen secret areas and passages in which slaves could hide when authorities came to search the house.

The house was purchased by the state of Indiana in 1967 and opened to the public in 1970 for tours. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark on June 23, 1965.

3. Cannelton Cotton Mill
The Cannelton Cotton Mill was designed and built by architects Thomas Teft and Alexander McGregor in 1849. The building was enormous, formidable and most importantly to the cotton processors, efficient and productive. In its first years, the mill produced 200,000 pounds of cotton and four million yards of cotton fabric. Production continued for over 100 years, when the mill was finally shut down in 1954. The Cannelton Cotton Mill was designated as a National Historic Landmark on July17, 1991. Ten years later, planning begun to convert the complex into apartment housing units. The conversion was completed in 2003.