travelgrove Travel Guides

Indianapolis History, Indiana

Indianapolis History – Indianapolis During its First Century of Existence

The capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, Indianapolis, is associated by most tourists with the automobile industry and car races. But Indianapolis, the city located at the crossroads of America’s major routes (I-69 coming from Fort Wayne, I-70 from Dayton or I-65 from Chicago), is deeply rooted into the history and tradition of the East Coast. Indianapolis history goes back to the early 19th century, immediately after Indiana was granted statehood. Back then, Indiana officials were planning to change the location of the capital from Corydon to a more central position.

Right in the heart of Indiana was the cabin of John McCormick. That site was finally chosen as the location of the new capital and architect Alexander Ralston was assigned the urban planning. A judge of the Supreme Court came up with a name ‘Indianapolis’ (‘Indiana’+’polis’, which is Greek for ‘town’). The fact that White River proved to be too shallow to allow navigation probably represents the key element in Indianapolis’ future development.

To compensate the absence of water routes, several major railroads and highways were crossing Indianapolis in the 19th century. When the Civil War began, more than 18,000 souls were living in Indianapolis, which played an important role in the war due to the local ammunition plant. The war was followed by the greatest economic boom in Indianapolis history: many historic landmarks, administrative buildings, as well as Victorian style houses were build in those years. Electricity was used to illuminate the streets and the first automobile factories were constructed.

Indianapolis History – 20th Century Indianapolis

Indianapolis became famous across the next century not only as a major car manufacturer but also as an innovation center (the six-cylinder engine or the four-wheel brakes were designed by Indianapolis engineers). Indianapolis history took another turn when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was brought into being in 1911. As the population grew rapidly in the first half of the 20th century, so did Indianapolis’ reputation as a sports center. Modern sports facilities, as the city convention centre were built during this period, generating new nicknames for the city, as “The Racing Capital of the World” or “The Amateur Sports Capital of the World”. This fame was amplified when Indianapolis came to host events like the “Indianapolis 500” car race, or the Super Bowl, and became the headquarters of the national gymnastics, diving or track & field teams. For the new millennia, Indianapolis has established a new set of objectives: improving inter-racial relationships and the quality of life, striving for sustainable development and paving the way for a better educational system.

Things about Indianapolis you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Indianapolis

  • mohds2On vacation in Indianapolis
    review by mohds2 posted more then 30 days ago
    Indianapolis is a capital that provides an extensive range of entertainment to guests. It’s the bureaucrat recreational games capital of the United States. Indianapolis is an energetic town in the center of American’s heartland. From spirited games to outside leisure tricks, from...
view all

Read our members' travel tips about Indianapolis

  • welt-raiserIndiana Medical History Museum
    travel tip by welt-raiser posted more then 30 days ago
    One of the most oldest pathology centers in the US, the Indiana Medical History Museum is a hidden gem of science and medicine. What makes this museum such an interesting a little bit creepy place is that everything looks the same as it...
  • tomtumEiteljorg Museum
    travel tip by tomtum posted more then 30 days ago
    There is something to this museum that just makes you want to stay hours and hours there. We felt we could have spent the whole day in the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. They have a wide variety of collections of...
  • eratoIndianapolis Children's Museum
    travel tip by erato posted more then 30 days ago
    I don't think there is a museum in the whole world that would be so large, so much fun and so much to teach children about history, science, discrimination and courage. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a real treasure...
view all


Members Who Have Been to Indianapolis

the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$93Frontier Airlines flightFrontier Airlines
    Denver, CO (DEN)  Indianapolis, IN (IND)
    08/05/2024 06:40 am
    Indianapolis, IN (IND)  Denver, CO (DEN)
    08/18/2024 11:21 am
  •$106Spirit Airlines flightSpirit Airlines
    Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)  Indianapolis, IN (IND)
    08/01/2024 07:00 am
    Indianapolis, IN (IND)  Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
    08/10/2024 06:46 am
  •$120Spirit Airlines flightSpirit Airlines
    Orlando, FL (MCO)  Indianapolis, IN (IND)
    07/15/2024 08:45 pm
    Indianapolis, IN (IND)  Orlando, FL (MCO)
    07/22/2024 06:00 am

Indianapolis City Ratings

  • Ratingunrated
    City Rankunrated
  • History & Culture: not rated
  • Night Life & Entertainment: not rated
  • Family & Fun: not rated
  • Outdoors Activities: not rated
  • Food: not rated
  • Sightseeing: not rated
  • Shopping: not rated
  • Public Transportation: not rated
  • Must visit this place: not rated
   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it