City Of Indianapolis
Indianapolis (pronounced /ˌɪndi.əˈnæpəlɪs/), is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. It is in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. With an estimated population of 855,164 in 2016, Indianapolis is the second most populous city in the Midwest and 15th most populous in the U.S. The city is the economic and cultural center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, home to 2 million people, the 34th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Its combined statistical area ranks 27th, with 2.38 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 368 square miles (950 km2), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Indianapolis was founded in 1821 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 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. Completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad later solidified the city’s position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Indianapolis is within a single-day drive of 70 percent of the nation’s population, lending to one of its nicknames as the “Crossroads of America”.
Anchoring the 25th largest economic region in the U.S., the city’s economy is based primarily on finance and insurance, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, government, and wholesale trade. Indianapolis has developed niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.
Led by the Lilly Endowment, the city’s philanthropic community has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, such as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Museum of Art. The city is notable as headquarters for the American Legion and home to a significant collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead, the most in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration has operated under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor. Indianapolis is considered a “high sufficiency” world city.
The name Indianapolis is derived from the state’s name, Indiana (meaning “Land of the Indians”, or simply “Indian Land” ), and polis, the Greek word for city. Jeremiah Sullivan, justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, is credited with coining the name. Other names considered were Concord, Suwarrow, and Tecumseh.
In 1816, the year Indiana gained statehood, the U.S. Congress donated four sections of federal land to establish a permanent seat of state government. Two years later, under the Treaty of St. Mary’s (1818), the Delaware relinquished title to their tribal lands in central Indiana, agreeing to leave the area by 1821. This tract of land, which was called the New Purchase, included the site selected for the new state capital in 1820.
The availability of new federal lands for purchase in central Indiana attracted settlers, many of them descendants of families from northwestern Europe. Although many of these first European and American setters were Protestants, a large proportion of the early Irish and German immigrants were Catholics. Few African Americans lived in central Indiana before 1840. The first European Americans to permanently settle in the area that became Indianapolis were either the McCormick or Pogue families. The McCormicks are generally considered to be the first permanent settlers; however, some historians believe George Pogue and family may have arrived first, on March 2, 1819, and settled in a log cabin along the creek that was later called Pogue’s Run. Other historians have argued as early as 1822 that John Wesley McCormick, his family, and employees became the first European American settlers in the area, settling near the White River in February 1820.
On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital. The state legislature approved the site, adopting the name Indianapolis on January 6, 1821. In April, Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham were appointed to survey and design a town plan for the new settlement. Indianapolis became a seat of county government on December 31, 1821, when Marion County, was established. A combined county and town government continued until 1832 when Indianapolis incorporated as a town. Indianapolis became an incorporated city effective March 30, 1847. Samuel Henderson, the city’s first mayor, led the new city government, which included a seven-member city council. In 1853, voters approved a new city charter that provided for an elected mayor and a fourteen-member city council. The city charter continued to be revised as Indianapolis expanded. Effective January 1, 1825, the seat of state government relocated to Indianapolis from Corydon, Indiana. In addition to state government offices, a U.S. district court was established at Indianapolis in 1825.
Growth occurred with the opening of the National Road through the town in 1827, the first major federally funded highway in the United States. A small segment of the ultimately failed Indiana Central Canal was opened in 1839. The first railroad to serve Indianapolis, the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, began operation in 1847, and subsequent railroad connections fostered growth. Indianapolis Union Station was the first of its kind in the world when it opened in 1853.
Confederate POWs at Camp Morton in 1864.
Child laborers in an Indianapolis furniture factory, 1908.
During the American Civil War, Indianapolis was loyal to the Union cause. Governor Oliver P. Morton, a major supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, quickly made Indianapolis a rallying place for Union army troops. On February 11, 1861, president-elect Lincoln arrived in the city, en route to Washington, D.C. for his presidential inauguration, marking the first visit from a president-elect in the city’s history. On April 16, 1861, the first orders were issued to form Indiana’s first regiments and establish Indianapolis as a headquarters the state’s volunteer soldiers. Within a week, more than 12,000 recruits signed up to fight for the Union.
Indianapolis became a major logistics hub during the war, establishing the city as a crucial military base. Between 1860 and 1870, the city’s population more than doubled. An estimated 4,000 men from Indianapolis served in 39 regiments, and an estimated 700 died during the war. On May 20, 1863, Union soldiers attempted to disrupt a statewide Democratic convention at Indianapolis, forcing the proceedings to be adjourned, sarcastically referred to as the Battle of Pogue’s Run. Fear turned to panic in July 1863, during Morgan’s Raid into southern Indiana, but Confederate forces turned east toward Ohio, never reaching Indianapolis. On April 30, 1865, Lincoln’s funeral train made a stop at Indianapolis, where an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people passed the assassinated president’s bier at the Indiana Statehouse.
Following the Civil War—and in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution—Indianapolis experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. In 1880, Indianapolis was the world’s third largest pork packing city, after Chicago and Cincinnati, and the second largest railroad center in the United States by 1888. By 1890, the city’s population surpassed 100,000. Some of the city’s most notable businesses were founded during this period of growth and innovation, including L. S. Ayres (1872), Eli Lilly and Company (1876), Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company (1910), and Allison Transmission (1915). Once home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivaled Detroit as a center of automobile manufacturing. The city was an early focus of labor organization. The Indianapolis Street Car Strike of 1913 and subsequent police mutiny and riots led to the creation of the state’s earliest labor-protection laws, including a minimum wage, regular work weeks, and improved working conditions. The International Typographical Union and United Mine Workers of America were among several influential labor unions to be based in the city.
Some of the city’s most prominent architectural features and best known historical events date from the turn of the 20th century. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, dedicated on May 15, 1902, would later become the city’s unofficial symbol. Ray Harroun won the inaugural running of the Indianapolis 500, held May 30, 1911, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis was one of the hardest hit cities in the Great Flood of 1913, resulting in five known deaths and the displacement of 7,000 families.
As a stop on the Underground Railroad, Indianapolis had a higher black population than any other city in the Northern States, until the Great Migration. Led by D. C. Stephenson, the Indiana Klan became the most powerful political and social organization in Indianapolis from 1921 through 1928, controlling City Council and the Board of School Commissioners, among others. At its height, more than 40% of native-born white males in Indianapolis claimed membership in the Klan. While campaigning in the city in 1968, Robert F. Kennedy delivered one of the most lauded speeches in 20th century American history, following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. As in most U.S. cities during the Civil Rights Movement, the city experienced strained race relations. A 1971 federal court decision forcing Indianapolis Public Schools to implement desegregation busing proved controversial.
Under the mayoral administration of Richard Lugar, the city and county governments restructured, consolidating most public services into a new entity called Unigov. The plan removed bureaucratic redundancies, captured increasingly suburbanizing tax revenue, and created a Republican political machine that dominated Indianapolis politics until the 2000s decade. Unigov went into effect on January 1, 1970, increasing the city’s land area by 308.2 square miles (798 km2) and population by 268,366 people. It was the first major city-county consolidation to occur in the United States without a referendum since the creation of the City of Greater New York in 1898.
Amid the changes in government and growth, the city invested in an aggressive strategy to brand Indianapolis as a sport tourism destination. Under the administration of the city’s longest-serving mayor, William Hudnut (1976–1992), millions of dollars were poured into sport facilities. Throughout the 1980s, $122 million in public and private funding built the Indianapolis Tennis Center, Major Taylor Velodrome, Indiana University Natatorium, Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, and Hoosier Dome. The latter project secured the 1984 relocation of the NFL Baltimore Colts and the 1987 Pan American Games. The economic development strategy succeeded in revitalizing the central business district through the 1990s, with the openings of the Indianapolis Zoo (1988), Canal Walk (1989–2001), Circle Centre Mall (1995), Victory Field (1996), and Conseco Fieldhouse (1999).
During the 2000s, the city continued investing heavily in infrastructure projects, including two of the largest building projects in the city’s history: the $1.1 billion Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal and $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium, both opened in 2008. A $275 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center was completed in 2011. Construction began that year on DigIndy, a $1.9 billion project to correct the city’s combined sewer overflows (CSOs) by 2025.
Indianapolis is located in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States, in central Indiana. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Indianapolis (balance) encompasses a total area of 368.2 square miles (954 km2), of which 361.5 square miles (936 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) is water. The consolidated city boundaries are coterminous with Marion County, with the exception of the autonomous municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway. Indianapolis is the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Indianapolis is situated within the Tipton Till Plain, a flat to gently sloping terrain underlain by glacial deposits known as till. The lowest point in the city is about 650 feet (198 m) above mean sea level, with the highest natural elevation at about 900 feet (274 m) above sea level. Few hills or short ridges, known as kames, rise about 100 feet (30 m) to 130 feet (40 m) above the surrounding terrain. The city lies just north of the Indiana Uplands, a region characterized by rolling hills and high limestone content. The city is also situated within the EPA’s Eastern Corn Belt Plains ecoregion, an area of the U.S. known for its fertile agricultural land.
Topographic relief slopes gently toward the White River and its two primary tributaries, Fall and Eagle creeks. In total, there are about 35 streams in the city, including Indian Creek and Pogue’s Run. Major bodies of water include Indian Lake, Geist Reservoir, and Eagle Creek Reservoir.
Indianapolis is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa) using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm, experiencing four distinct seasons. The city is in USDA hardiness zone 6a.
Typically, summers are hot, humid and wet. Winters are generally cold with moderate snowfall. The July daily average temperature is 75.4 °F (24.1 °C). High temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 18 days each year, and occasionally exceed 95 °F (35 °C). Spring and autumn are usually pleasant, if at times unpredictable; midday temperature drops exceeding 30 °F or 17 °C are common during March and April, and instances of very warm days (80 °F or 27 °C) followed within 36 hours by snowfall are not unusual during these months. Winters are cold, with an average January temperature of 28.1 °F (−2.2 °C). Temperatures dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below an average of 4.7 nights per year.
The rainiest months occur in the spring and summer, with slightly higher averages during May, June, and July. May is typically the wettest, with an average of 5.05 inches (12.8 cm) of precipitation. Most rain is derived from thunderstorm activity; there is no distinct dry season, although occasional droughts occur. Severe weather is not uncommon, particularly in the spring and summer months; the city experiences an average of 20 thunderstorm days annually.
The city’s average annual precipitation is 42.4 inches (108 cm), with snowfall averaging 25.9 inches (66 cm) per season. Official temperature extremes range from 106 °F (41 °C), set on July 14, 1936, to −27 °F (−33 °C), set on January 19, 1994.
The U.S. Census Bureau considers Indianapolis as two entities: the consolidated city and the city’s remainder, or balance. The consolidated city covers an area known as Unigov, coterminous with Marion County, except the independent municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway. The city’s balance excludes the populations of ten semi-autonomous municipalities that are included in totals for the consolidated city. These are Clermont, Crows Nest, Homecroft, Meridian Hills, North Crows Nest, Rocky Ripple, Spring Hill, Warren Park, Williams Creek, and Wynnedale. An eleventh town, Cumberland, is partially included. The city’s consolidated population for the year 2012 was 844,220. The city’s remainder, or balance, population was estimated at 834,852 for 2012, a 2% increase over the total population of 820,445 reported in the 2010 U.S. Census. As of 2010, the city’s population density was 2,270 people per square mile (880/km2). Indianapolis is the most populous city in Indiana, containing 12.8% of the state’s total population.
In 2015, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had a gross domestic product (GDP) of $134 billion. The top five industries were: finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing ($30.7B), manufacturing ($30.1B), professional and business services ($14.3B), educational services, health care, and social assistance ($10.8B), and wholesale trade ($8.1B). Government, if it had been a private industry, would have ranked fifth, generating $10.2 billion.
Compared to Indiana as a whole, the Indianapolis metropolitan area has a lower proportion of manufacturing jobs and a higher concentration of jobs in wholesale trade; administrative, support, and waste management; professional, scientific, and technical services; and transportation and warehousing. The city’s major exports include pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment and supplies, engine and power equipment, and aircraft products and parts. As of March 2017, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.
Parks and recreation
Indy Parks and Recreation maintains nearly 200 parks covering 11,246 acres (4,551 ha). Eagle Creek Park is the largest and most visited park in the city and ranks among the largest municipal parks in the U.S., covering 4,766 acres (1,929 ha). Fishing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming are popular activities at Eagle Creek Reservoir. Notable recreational trails include the Canal Walk, Pleasant Run Trail, and Monon Trail, accommodating 2.8 million users in 2012. There are 13 public golf courses in the city.
Military Park was established as the city’s first public park in 1852. By the 20th century, the city enlisted landscape architect George Kessler to conceive a framework for Indianapolis’ modern parks system. Kessler’s 1909 Indianapolis Park and Boulevard Plan linked notable parks, such as Brookside, Ellenberger, and Garfield, with a system of parkways following the city’s waterways. In 2003, the system’s 3,474 acres (1,406 ha) were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Two state parks are located in Marion County: Fort Harrison in Lawrence and White River downtown. Encompassing 250 acres (100 ha), White River is the city’s major urban park, home to the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens. Indianapolis lies about 50 miles (80 km) north of two state forests, Morgan–Monroe and Yellowwood, and one national forest, Hoosier. Crown Hill Cemetery, the third largest private cemetery in the U.S., covers 555 acres (225 ha) on the city’s north side and is home to more than 250 species of trees and shrubs comprising one of the largest old-growth forests in the Midwest.
According to the Trust for Public Land’s 2017 ParkScore Index, Indianapolis tied for last with respect to public park accessibility in the 100 largest U.S. cities evaluated. Currently, some 68% of residents are under served. The city’s large land area and low public funding contributed to the ranking.
Colleges and universities
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was founded in 1969 after merging the branch campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University. IUPUI’s current enrollment is 30,105, the third largest in the state. IUPUI has two colleges and 18 schools, including the Herron School of Art and Design, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, School of Dentistry, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The city is home to the largest campus for Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, a state-funded community college serving nearly 100,000 students statewide.
Five private universities are based in Indianapolis. Established in 1855, Butler University is the oldest higher education institution in the city, with an undergraduate enrollment of about 4,000. Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Marian University was founded in 1936 when St. Francis Normal and Immaculate Conception Junior College merged, moving to Indianapolis in 1937. Marian has an enrollment of about 2,137 students. Founded in 1902, the University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school’s current enrollment is 4,169 students. Martin University was founded in 1977 and is the state’s only predominately black university. Crossroads Bible College and Indiana Bible College are small Christian colleges located in the city.
Satellite campuses located in the city include Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, Grace College, Indiana Institute of Technology, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Vincennes University.
Schools and libraries
Nine public school districts serve residents of Indianapolis: Franklin Township Community School Corporation, MSD Decatur Township, MSD Lawrence Township, MSD Perry Township, MSD Pike Township, MSD Warren Township, MSD Washington Township, MSD Wayne Township, and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). As of 2016, IPS was the second largest public school district in Indiana, serving nearly 30,000 students.
A number of private primary and secondary schools are operated through the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, charters, or other independent organizations. Founded in 1873, the Indianapolis Public Library includes the Central Library and 23 branches throughout Marion County. The Indianapolis Public Library served 4.2 million patrons in 2014, with a circulation of 15.9 million materials.
Indianapolis is served by various print media. Founded in 1903, The Indianapolis Star is the city’s daily morning newspaper. The Star is owned by Gannett Company, with a daily circulation of 127,064. The Indianapolis News was the city’s daily evening newspaper and oldest print media, published from 1869 to 1999. Notable weeklies include NUVO, an alternative weekly newspaper, the Indianapolis Recorder, a weekly newspaper serving the local African American community, the Indianapolis Business Journal, reporting on local real estate, and the Southside Times. Indianapolis Monthly is the city’s monthly lifestyle publication.
Broadcast television network affiliates include WTTV (CBS), WRTV (ABC), WISH-TV (The CW), WTHR-TV (NBC), WXIN-TV (Fox), WFYI-TV (PBS), WNDY-TV (MyNetworkTV), WDNI-CD (Telemundo), WHMB-TV (LeSEA), WCLJ-TV (TBN) and WIPX-TV (Ion). The majority of commercial radio stations in the city are owned by Cumulus Media, Emmis Communications, iHeartMedia, and Radio One. Popular nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show has been based at Indianapolis radio station WFBQ since 1983. As of 2016, the Indianapolis metropolitan area was the 27th largest television market and 39th largest radio market in the U.S.
Indianapolis natives Jane Pauley and David Letterman launched their notable broadcasting careers in local media, Pauley with WISH-TV and Letterman with WTHR-TV, respectively. Motion pictures at least partially filmed in the city include Speedway, To Please a Lady, Winning, Hoosiers, Going All the Way, Eight Men Out, and Eagle Eye. Television series set in Indianapolis have included One Day at a Time; Good Morning, Miss Bliss; Men Behaving Badly; Cops; Close to Home; the second season of anthology drama American Crime, and HGTV’s Good Bones.