History of Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is one of the largest inland cities in the United States not located on any navigable body of water. It is situated near the geographical center of the state of Indiana, of which it has been the capital since shortly after Indiana became a state.

When Indiana was admitted to the Union in 1816, Congress allocated four sections of public land for its capital. A commission determined that the best site would be at a location in the center of the state, near the cabin of John McCormick on the White River. They were not concerned that, at the time, the remote location had no means of communication with the rest of the state.

The town was platted in 1821; the original square mile being today bounded by North, East, South, and West streets. The seat of government was moved to Indianapolis in 1824, and the legislature met there for the first time in 1825, although the first capitol building was not erected until 1835. The city was incorporated in 1832 with a population of 1,000.

The National Road was the primary overland route from the Eastern Seaboard into what was then the wilderness. When the surveyors reached Indianapolis in 1826, they decided to follow Washington Street, already intended as the main street of the young city. Construction was completed within a few years and the road provided a boost to the fortunes of Indianapolis. A further advance came with the arrival of the railroad in 1847, the same year that Indianapolis received its city charter.

After 1850, the population of Indianapolis doubled with every one or two decennial censuses. The Indiana State Fair has been held annually in Indianapolis since 1852, and the 500-mile Memorial Day NASCAR race, the Indianapolis 500, was first held in 1911.

Indianapolis politics was heavily influenced by the Ku Klux Klan in the years following World War I, until their methods were exposed by the Indianapolis Times newspaper. The Klan's influence declined quickly thereafter.

- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

Eastside Indianapolis, a Brief History by Julie Young.
In its early days, Indianapolis was designed to be a city of only one square mile, but as settlers flocked to the Circle City, a steady beat of progre...
Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis by Dan Kurzman.
Shortly after midnight on July 30, 1945, the Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea. The ship had j...
In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton.
On July 26, 1945, the heavy cruiser Indianapolis steamed into port at the Pacific island of Tinian, carrying a cargo that would end World War II: the ...