History of Indianapolis
The history of Indianapolis spans three centuries. Founded in 1820, the area where the city now stands was originally home to the Lenape (Delaware Nation). In 1821 a small settlement on the west fork of the White River at the mouth of Fall Creek became the county seat of Marion County in 1821, and the state capitol of Indiana, effective January 1, 1825. Initially the availability of federal lands for purchase in central Indiana made it attractive to new settlement; the first European Americans to permanently settle in the area arrived around 1819 or early 1820. In its early years most of the new arrivals to Indianapolis were Europeans and Americans with European ancestry, but later the city attracted other ethnic groups. The city’s growth was encouraged by its geographic location, 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of the state’s geographic center. In addition to its designation as a seat of government, Indianapolis’s flat, fertile soil, and central location within Indiana and Midwest, helped it become an early agricultural center. Its proximity to the White River, which provided power for the town’s early mills in the 1820s and 1830s, and the arrival of the railroads, beginning in 1847, established Indianapolis as a manufacturing hub and a transportation center for freight and passenger service. An expanding network of roads, beginning with the early National Road and the Michigan Road, among other routes, connected Indianapolis to other major cities.
Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham surveyed and designed the original grid pattern for the new town of Indianapolis, which was platted in 1821. Ralston’s plan extended outward from Governor's Circle, now called Monument Circle, a large circular commons at the center of town. The early grid is still evident at the center of downtown Indianapolis, although the city has expanded well beyond its original boundaries. When White River proved too shallow for steamboats and the Indiana Central Canal was never fully completed, railroads helped transform the city into a business, industrial, and manufacturing center. The city remains the seat of state government and a regional center for banking and insurance, which were established early in the town’s history. As early as the 1820s and 1830s, the city’s residents established numerous religious, cultural, and charitable organizations to address social concerns and to preserve the state’s history and culture.
- 1 Early settlement (prior to 1820)
- 2 Site selection and town plan
- 3 Early development (1820–1860)
- 4 Civil War
- 5 Industrial era
- 6 Economic and political development
- 7 Racial history
- 8 Unigov
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Early settlement (prior to 1820)
Indianapolis was founded as the site for the new state capital in 1820 by an act of the Indiana General Assembly; however, the area where the city of Indianapolis now stands was once home to the Lenape (Delaware Nation), a native tribe who lived along the White River. The flat, heavily-wooded area supplied them with ample food and wild game, although part of the area was swampy and poorly drained. The White River and Fall Creek also offered water access and good fishing, but the Native Americans established no permanent settlement in the immediate area; however, they did set up temporary camps, especially along the waterways.
Under the Northwest Ordinance (1787), the Northwest Territory was created from land within the boundaries of the United States lying west of the Appalachian Mountains and northwest of the Ohio River. This area included present-day Indiana and Indianapolis. In 1800 a large portion of land extending west from the Ohio border to the Mississippi River and north to the United States border with Canada was established as the Indiana Territory. As Indiana slowly progressed toward statehood, its territorial boundaries were reduced to establish the Michigan Territory (1805) and the Illinois Territory (1809). In 1816, the year Indiana became a state, 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 and agreed 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 town's first permanent settlers; however, some historians believe George Pogue, his wife, and their five children 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 and his family, along with his brothers, James and Samuel, and their employees became the first European American settlers when he built a cabin along the White River in February 1820.
Site selection and town plan
On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee of ten commissioners to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital. The state legislature appointed Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham to survey and design a town plan for Indianapolis, which was platted in 1821. Ralston had been a surveyor for the French architect Pierre L'Enfant, and assisted him in laying out the plan for Washington, D.C. Ralston's original plan for Indianapolis called for a town of 1-square-mile (2.6 km2). Nicknamed the Mile Square, the town was bounded by North, East, South, and West Streets, although they were not named at that time, with Governor's Circle, a large circular commons, at the center of town. Governor's Circle later became known as Monument Circle, after the impressive 284-foot-tall (86.5-meter-tall) neoclassical limestone and bronze Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz, was completed on the site in 1901.
Under Ralston's plan, Governor's Circle was reserved as the future site of the governor's residence. Although a brick governor's mansion was erected in the site in 1827, its prominent and conspicuous location lacked privacy and no governor ever lived there. In 1839 the state legislature appropriated funds to purchase another home in Indianapolis to serve as the official governor’s residence. The mansion on Governor's Circle was used as office space for the Indiana Supreme Court and a state bank, temporary housing for the Indiana State Library, lodging for state government officials, and a site for community gatherings before it was sold and finally demolished in 1857.
Ralston's grid pattern with wide roads and public squares extended outward from the four blocks adjacent to the Circle, and also included four diagonal streets, later renamed as avenues. Public squares were reserved for government and community use, but not all of these squares were used for this intended purpose. Ralston altered the grid pattern in the southeast quadrant to accommodate the flow of Pogue's Run, but a plat created in 1831 changed his original design and established a standard grid there as well.
Ralston's basic street plan is still evident at the center of Indianapolis, although the city has expanded well beyond its original boundaries. Streets in the original plat were named after states that were part of the United States when Indianapolis was initially planned, in addition to Michigan, which was a U.S. territory at that time. (Tennessee and Mississippi Streets were renamed Capitol and Senate Avenues in 1895, after several state government buildings, including the Indiana Statehouse, were built west of the Circle.) There are a few other exceptions to the early street names. The National Road, which eventually crossed Indiana into Illinois, passes through Indianapolis along Washington Street, a 120-foot-wide, east-west street one block south of the Circle. Meridian and Market Streets intersect the Circle. Few street improvements were made in the 1820s and 1830s; sidewalks did not appear until 1839 or 1840.
Once the initial town plat was finalized, the land was divided into lots, with the first ones offered for sale on October 8, 1821. A portion of the funds from the lot sales was set aside to create a public building fund that was used to construct a statehouse, a courthouse, the state clerk's office, and residences and offices for the governor and the state treasurer. Initially, there were no plans to plat the area outside the Mile Square, but later, additional tracts of land were divided into irregular-sized blocks and lots.
Early development (1820–1860)
Indianapolis has been closely linked to politics since its selection as Indiana’s seat of government in the 1820s, but early in its history the city became a railroad transportation hub for the region and a center for civic and cultural affairs.
Indianapolis became a seat of county government on December 31, 1821, when Marion County, Indiana, was established. A combined county and town government continued until 1832, when Indianapolis was incorporated as a town and the local government was placed under the direction of five elected trustees. Indianapolis became an incorporated city effective March 30, 1847. Samuel Henderson, the city's first mayor, lead 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, and the Indiana General Assembly's first session in the new state capital began on January 10, 1825. In addition to state government offices, a U.S. district court was established at Indianapolis in 1825; two years later, the state legislature appropriated $500 for construction of a new building in Indianapolis to house the Indiana Supreme Court.
In its early years Indianapolis hosted numerous political gatherings and visiting dignitaries. In 1828 Indiana supporters of John Quincy Adams's candidacy for president of the United States held their state convention in Indianapolis; in 1833 William Henry Harrison, former governor of the Indiana Territory, attended a reception held in his honor; in 1840 the country's first Whig convention met at Indianapolis; and in 1842 former U.S. president Martin Van Buren and Kentucky politician Henry Clay visited the city. In 1851 the Indiana Constitutional Convention was held at the city's Grand Masonic Lodge, and in 1856 the Indiana Republican Party held its first state convention in Indianapolis. Abraham Lincoln made his first visit to the city in 1859.
Public health and safety
Military protection, law enforcement, fire safety, and public health were addressed early in the city's history. Some of these efforts were undertaken with federal assistance, while others were established locally, in some cases on a volunteer basis.
In 1822 a federal militia was organized for central Indiana, and in 1826 Indianapolis's first rifle and artillery companies were formed. Its first cavalry company was organized two years later. Several more militia companies were established in the 1850s. Enforcement of town ordinances and fire protection were also early concerns for residents. Indianapolis's first two justices of the peace were appointed in 1821 and its first jail was built in 1822. The city council established Indianapolis’s first police department in 1854. The Indianapolis Fire Company, organized in 1826, was the town's first volunteer fire department. Indianapolis's first firehouse was built in 1836. The volunteer fire companies disbanded in 1859, when Indianapolis's first regular, paid fire department was established.
Because of Indianapolis’s location near the White River and Fall Creek, its low-lying areas were subject to flooding. Twenty-five fatalities were reported after heavy rains fell during the summer months in 1821, a series of severe spring storms flooded the town’s waterways in 1824, and record flooding occurred again in 1828. Heavy rains caused record flooding in 1847. Spring rains once again flooded Pogue's Run and the White River in 1857, although high-water marks did not reach the 1847 level. In 1860 a tornado passed through Indianapolis, but the most significant destruction occurred east and west of the city.
Poor drainage and sanitation in Indianapolis's early days contributed to the spread of illness and disease. Mosquitoes infected settlers with malaria and the town's first cases of influenza, cholera, and smallpox arrived in the 1820s and early 1830s. To combat these illnesses the Indiana Central Medical Society formed in 1823 to license physicians, town officials appointed its first board of health in 1831, and in 1848 the Indiana Central Medical College organized. Indianapolis became home to the Indiana Hospital for the Insane in 1847, when its main building was completed. City Hospital’s first building was completed in 1859, but it did not have sufficient funds to purchase equipment and remained vacant until 1861, when it served as a military hospital during the American Civil War. Indianapolis's first cemetery was established near the White River in 1821, the adjacent Union Cemetery in 1834, and Greenlawn Cemetery was added west of Union Cemetery in 1860. A Hebrew cemetery was established 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the city's center in 1856, and land for a Catholic cemetery was acquired south of the city in 1860.
Indianapolis was founded on the White River under an incorrect assumption that it would serve as a major transportation artery, but the river was difficult to navigate and too shallow during much of the year, especially for steamboats. After the steamboat Robert Hanna ran aground along the White River in 1831, no steamboat successfully returned to the capital city. Flatboats continued to transport goods along a portion of the river until new dams impeded their ability to navigate its waters. A horse-drawn barge canal was used to bypass the river to bring goods into the city through the mid-19th century.
The state's Mammoth Improvement Act (1936) brought the promise of canal transportation to Indianapolis, but it was never fully completed. The Indiana General Assembly began with the goal of connecting the Wabash and Erie Canal to the Ohio River. For the central Indiana segment of the canal system, the state legislature appropriated $3.5 million to construct the Indiana Central Canal, one of eight major infrastructure projects authorized under the Internal Improvement Act. The Central Canal was intended to run 296 miles (476 km), connecting the Wabash River from near Logansport, Indiana, to the White River, and pass through Indianapolis, before continuing south to Evansville, Indiana. Gangs of construction workers, mostly Irish, began digging the canal in 1836, but work halted after the state government went bankrupt in 1839. Central Canal was partially completed in Marion County, but it never connected to other canals. Only 7 miles (11 km) to 9 miles (14 km) of the canal that connected Indianapolis to the village of Broad Ripple to the north was opened for traffic. Later, a portion of Central Canal adjoining the White River was converted into White River State Park.
Road construction proved to be more successful than the state’s canal system. While the city lies on the The National Road, old east–west road from Cumberland, Maryland, that crossed Indiana and extended west to Illinois, reached Indianapolis in 1837. Beginning in 1838, stagecoach service connected Indianapolis to Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, Ohio. The first major roads connected Indianapolis to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1825; to Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1828; and to Lafayette, Indiana, in 1829. In 1828 the state legislature authorized construction of the Michigan Road, which passed through Indianapolis.
Although the state legislature appropriated $1.3 million to build rail lines from Madison, Indiana, to Lafayette, Indiana, as part of the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act in 1836, the Madison and Indianapolis, the first steam railroad in Indiana, did not arrive in Indianapolis until October 1, 1847. By 1850 eight rail lines reached the city, ending its isolation from the rest of the country and ushering in a new era of growth. In the 1850s Indianapolis became a transportation hub for the region, which helped improve the city’s commercial trade, increase property values, and encourage further development. Indianapolis's first Union railroad depot, the first of its kind in the United States to serve competing railroads, opened in 1853. Rail transportation spurred further improvements to city streets. In 1853 several blocks of Washington Street were the first in the city to be illuminated with gaslight street lamps; in 1859 a section between Illinois and Meridian Streets became the city’s first roadways to be paved with cobblestones.
Early commerce and industry
In the town’s early years manufactured goods were brought overland by wagons or along the White River by keelboats and flatboats, but much of the local produce was not exported to markets outside Indianapolis until railroads began passing through in the city in the 1850s. Most of Indianapolis's early merchants set up businesses along Washington Street, the town's main street, but its first market house was built north of the courthouse in 1833. Subsequent structures on the site became known as the Indianapolis City Market. Agricultural production remained an important part of Indianapolis's early history. The Marion County Agricultural Society was organized in 1825, and the Marion County Board of Agriculture and the Indiana State Board of Agriculture were established in 1835. The first Marion County fair was held on October 30–31, 1835, and the first Indiana State Fair was held on the grounds of what became known as Military Park, west of downtown, in October 1852.
Until the arrival of the first railroads in 1847, few mills and manufacturing facilities were established in Indianapolis. One of the town's earliest gristmills, built in 1821, was a predecessor to the Acme-Evans Company. The Indianapolis Steam Mill Company, the town's first incorporated business, completed a new mill along the White River in 1831, but it closed in 1835. Other early industrial enterprises included a sawmill, flourmill, and a wool-carding factory. The Indianapolis Foundry, the town’s first, began operations in 1833; the Indianapolis Brewery, another first for the town, was established the following year. With improved rail transportation in the 1850s, factory-made goods became more readily available in Indianapolis, and new factories were built in addition to several beef- and pork-packing plants. Iron manufacturing also expanded in the city, and a new brass foundry and a coppersmith arrived in the mid-1850s. Indianapolis's first gasworks was completed in 1851, and the Indianapolis Gas Light and Coke Company began supplying city residents with natural gas for lighting in early 1852, but natural gas usage was slow to expand in the city.
Banking and insurance institutions formed early in the town's history, but the first ones did not last long. The State Bank of Indiana, chartered in 1834, established its main office and one of its first sixteen branch locations in Indianapolis, but its charter lapsed in 1858. The Bank of the State of Indiana, chartered in 1855, began operations in 1857. Several building and loan companies also organized in Indianapolis in the 1850s, but they were unsuccessful and closed. Indianapolis Insurance Company, the town's first insurance company, was chartered in 1836, but it suspended operations by 1860, and reorganized into a new company in 1865.
Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists established Indianapolis's first religious congregations in the 1820s, but other groups including the Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Lutherans, Catholics, Congregationalists, Society of Friends (Quakers), Universalists, Unitarians, and Jewish congregations were established in Indianapolis before the Civil War. Many of Indianapolis's early religious buildings have been demolished, but several of the congregations continue to exist, although some have been renamed or relocated to newer facilities.
Indianapolis’s first Baptist congregation, organized in 1822, built the First Baptist Church. Presbyterians formed four of its early congregations in the city prior to the Civil War: First Presbyterian Church (1823), Second Presbyterian Church (1838), Third Presbyterian Church (1851), and Fourth Presbyterian Church (1851). Methodists organized three early Indianapolis congregations: Wesley Chapel (1822), Roberts Chapel (1842), and Strange Chapel (1845). The city’s other early congregations included the first Disciples of Christ congregation, organized in 1833; Holy Cross Parish (1837), Indianapolis's oldest Catholic parish; Christ Church (1937); the First English Lutheran Church (1837); the United Brethren Church (1844); the first United Brethren in Christ congregation (1850); First Friends Church of Indianapolis (1854); the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (1856); and Plymouth Congregational Church (1857), among others. An early Universalist Church Society was established in 1844, but soon disbanded, and a subsequent congregation erected the city's First Universalist Church (1860). Indianapolis's liberal-mined Unitarians organized in 1860.
Indianapolis’s early African American and German communities established their own congregations. The town’s oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church congregation organized in 1836. Second Baptist Church (1846) became Indianapolis's first Baptist congregation for African Americans. Indianapolis's Germans established several German-speaking congregations: Zion Church (1841), the city's first German Evangelical congregation; Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church (1844); First German Methodist Episcopal Church (1849); First German Reformed Church of Indianapolis (1852); and Saint Marienkirche (1856), the city's first German-language Catholic parish.
Early schools and civic organizations
Beginning in the 1820s local residents and religious groups established Indianapolis's first private schools, but free public schools did not arrive until the 1840s. Indianapolis voters approved taxes to support free public schools in 1847, but operations were suspended after the Indiana Supreme Court declared the local taxes were unconstitutional in 1857; the city's public schools did not reopen until 1861.
Although local funding limited the expansion of free public schools prior to the Civil War, private and state-funded institutions continued to support educational opportunities in Indianpolis. In 1844 the state government took over responsibility for William Willard's private school for the deaf, established in 1843, and renamed it the Indiana State Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. The Indiana Institute for the Education of the Blind opened in Indianapolis in 1847. North Western Christian University, chartered in 1850 and renamed Butler University in 1877, opened for its first classes in 1855. Indianapolis's German-English School was founded in 1859, the same year the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods established Saint John's Academy for Girls, the city's first Catholic school.
Indianapolis residents also established several new philanthropic and cultural institutions. While the Marion County Temperance Society (1828), the Indianapolis Benevolent Society (1835), and the Indianapolis Widows and Orphans Friends' Society (1851), addressed the town’s early social concerns, the Indiana State Library (1825) and the Indiana Historical Society (1830) were formed to preserve state and local history. Early residents also had access to public lecture halls and the city's first libraries. By the early 1850s Indianapolis also had several new gathering places, including the Grand Lodge of the Free Masons, the city's first public hall; a new Odd Fellows Hall; the first Bates House hotel; and a Young Men's Christian Association. Local entertainment included musical concerts, theatrical performances, and art exhibitions. During the 1850s the city's German community established the first of several German clubs and cultural societies. The Indianapolis Turngemeinde (1851) or Turners, merged with other German clubs and became known as the Indianapolis Social Turnverein. The Indianapolis Maennerchor (1854) is the city's oldest German-language musical club.
Early news reports
Beginning in the 1820s numerous newspapers were established in Indianapolis to report local, state, and national events. The town's earliest newspapers included the Indianapolis Gazette (1822); the Western Censor and Emigrant's Guide (1823), which became the Indianapolis Journal (1825); the Indiana Democrat (1830); the Daily Sentinel (1841), Indianapolis's first daily newspaper; the Indiana Freeman (1844), an antislavery newspaper; and The Locomotive (1845). Over the next few decades some of these publications merged, others discontinued operations, and new ones arrived on the scene. A few local newspapers served the city's German-speaking population, including Das Indiana Volksblatt (Indiana Volksblatt), which began publication in 1848, and the Freie Presse von Indiana, a weekly German-language newspaper that began publication in 1853.
In addition to newspaper reports, details of Indianapolis's early history are documented in the diary of Calvin Fletcher, a prominent early resident who was active in the town’s civic and business affairs. Fletcher's diary remains a key resource for the study of early Indiana and Indianapolis history. His diary entries, which date from 1817 to 1835, recorded daily events; Fletcher's perspectives on law, business, and agriculture; and details of early Indianapolis railroads, banks, schools, and the charitable institutions in which he was involved. Fletcher's original diaries are housed the Indiana Historical Society's William Henry Smith Memorial Library Collection. The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, published by the Indiana Historical Society in nine volumes, provides a detailed, first-hand account of life in Indianapolis during its first forty-five years.
During the American Civil War, Indianapolis was a major base of support for the Union. The governor of Indiana, Oliver Hazard Perry Morton, was a major supporter of President Abraham Lincoln and he quickly made Indianapolis a rallying point for Union Army forces as they prepared to enter Confederate lands.
The city was a major railroad hub and transportation center and therefore had military importance; it was also the site of a major prisoner-of-war camp, Camp Morton, and was at once threatened by attack from Confederate forces, although the nearest any Confederate came to the city was Seymour, Indiana, 60 miles (97 km) away. However, there was one incident sarcastically referred to as the Battle of Pogue's Run.
The population soared from just over 8,000 in 1850 to more than 169,000 by 1900.
The automobile, as in most American cities, caused a suburban explosion. With automobile companies as Duesenberg, Marmon, National, and Stutz, Indianapolis was a center of production rivaling Detroit, at least for a few years. The internationally renowned automobile races that take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every year are a notable residual from that booming industry at the beginning of the 20th century. With roads as the spokes of a wheel, Indianapolis was on its way to becoming a major hub of regional transport connecting to Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus and St. Louis, as is befitting the capital of a state whose motto is "The Crossroads of America." Today, four interstate roads intersect in Indianapolis: routes 65, 69, 70, and 74. The city is a major trucking center, and the extensive network of highways has allowed Indianapolis to enjoy a relatively low amount of traffic congestion for a city its size.
A strike by the street car workers in Indianapolis began in October 1913. The strike was called on the eve of the city elections and hindered many people from being able to vote, causing considerable public outrage. The union demanded the passage of a law to better protect what they believe to be their rights and wanted Governor Samuel Ralston to call a special session of the Indiana General Assembly to pass such a bill. The strike quickly began to grow and other unions and labor organizations joined. Business leaders demanded the governor call out the army and end the strike, but the unions threatened violence if that happened. On November 5 Ralston finally called out the entire Indiana National Guard and put the city under martial law. At noon on the 6th, the strikers and their sympathizers gathered around the Indiana Statehouse and began chanting a demand that the troops leave the city. Ralston exited the building and spoke to the crowd offering to withdraw the troops if the strikers would go back to work and negotiate peacefully. He offered concessions and promises that convinced the strikers of his good intentions, effectively ending the strike that day. The strike led to the creation of the states earliest labor protection laws including a minimum wage, regular work weeks, and improved working conditions.
Economic and political development
Indianapolis entered a period of great prosperity at the beginning of the 20th century, and during this time the city witnessed great economic, social, and cultural progress. Much of this was due to the discovery in 1886 of a huge natural gas deposit in east-central Indiana, the celebrated Trenton Gas Field. A few years later, the discovery of oil in the area would follow and cause an increase in the population. The Trenton Field formed the western portion of what was at the time the world's largest oil field and natural gas deposit, the Lima-Indiana Field (stretching from northwestern Ohio to east-central Indiana). The state government offered a free supply of natural gas to factories that were built there. This led to a sharp increase in industries such as glass and automobile manufacturing. However, the natural gas deposits were largely depleted by 1912 and completely gone by 1920, and the end of the Indiana Gas Boom along with the coinciding rapid decline of oil production (which continued on a greatly diminished scale until 1930) contributed to an abrupt end of the golden era. The 1920 census was the first to show that Indiana had more urban than rural inhabitants.
African Americans have played a vital role in the history of Indianapolis. The city served as one of the predominant stops on the Underground Railroad, and up to the time of the Great Migration in the early 20th century, Indianapolis had a higher black population (nearly 10%) than any other city in the Northern States. Today Indianapolis is the least segregated city in the northern United States, according to a University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee study, with 25% of the population living on a city block with both white and black residents.
The African-American population originally thrived in the vibrant Indiana Avenue neighborhood, which served as a hub of black culture for the entire Midwest. Though officially founded as a specific community in 1869, Indiana Avenue was home to a black Christian church by 1836 and had a majority of black-owned businesses by 1865. A strong black middle class called this neighborhood home, as did jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Coe, Noble Sissle, and Wes Montgomery.
Indianapolis printed the nation's first illustrated black newspaper in 1888. This newspaper, the Indianapolis Freeman, was circulated nationally and considered by many the leading black journal in America - dubbed the Harper's Weekly of the United States' black community.
In 1910, Madam C.J. Walker moved herself and her cosmetics manufacturing company to Indianapolis. Walker would become America’s first self-made woman millionaire and the richest African-American of her day. Her long and remarkably successful career as both a businesswoman and a philanthropist is memorialized by the Madame Walker Theatre Center which continues to provide entertainment on Indiana Avenue to this day.
While Indianapolis had some segregated elementary schools in the early 1900s, high schools were not segregated until 1927, when, with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, Crispus Attucks High School was established despite the opposition of the African-American community. However, even after 1948, when school segregation was outlawed in Indiana, many African-Americans took pride in Attucks, in part because all its teachers had at least master's degrees and many had PHD's. In 1955 Crispus Attucks, led by the legendary Oscar Robertson, became the first all-black high school in America to win an integrated state basketball championship. The team repeated its championship in 1956, becoming the first team in Indiana to have an undefeated season.
Currently, Indianapolis is home to the Indiana Black Expo. The Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration is the largest ethnic/cultural event in the United States. This ten-day event, held in the Indiana Convention Center as well as various places around Indianapolis, draws African-Americans to Indianapolis from both around the state and around the country. Organized in 1970, the Black Expo has provided networking, educational, career, and cultural opportunities for its guests. Participation at the 2006 Summer Celebration reached record highs, with over 350,000 in attendance.
Ku Klux Klan
A darker period of Indianapolis history began with the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan movement in the United States. The Indiana chapter of the Klan was founded in 1920 and quickly became the most powerful Klan organization in the United States. In 1922, D. C. Stephenson was appointed the Klan Grand Dragon of Indiana and 22 other states; he promptly moved the Indiana Klan's headquarters to Indianapolis, which was already coming under the Klan's influence. The Klan became the most powerful political and social organization in the city during the period from 1921 through 1928.
The Klan continued to solidify its stronghold on the state, taking over the Indiana Republican Party and using its new political might to establish a Klan-backed slate of candidates which swept state elections in 1924. The elections allowed the Klan to seize control of the Indiana General Assembly and place the corrupt Governor Edward L. Jackson in office. By then, more than 40% of the native-born white males in Indianapolis claimed membership in the Klan. Klan-backed candidates took over the City Council, the Board of School Commissioners, and the Board of County Commissioners. Through the Klan, Stephenson ruled over the State of Indiana, leading a powerful national movement set on gaining control of the United States Congress and the White House. However, the power of the Klan would quickly begin to crumble after Stephenson was convicted at the end of 1925 for the rape and murder of a young Indianapolis woman, Madge Oberholtzer.
With Stephenson's conviction, the Klan suffered a tremendous blow and quickly lost influence. When Governor Jackson refused to pardon him, Stephenson retaliated by going public with information of corruption which brought down several politicians throughout Indiana. The Mayor of Indianapolis and several local officials were convicted of bribery and jailed. Governor Jackson was indicted on charges of bribery, but he was acquitted in 1928 because the statute of limitations had run out; he completed his term in disgrace. The Klan continued to dwindle in popularity in Indiana and nationwide, and the national organization officially disbanded in 1944.
Robert F. Kennedy and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Years later, Indianapolis witnessed a historic moment in the Civil Rights Movement. On April 4, 1968, the day of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy delivered an impromptu speech on race reconciliation to a mostly African-American crowd in a poor inner-city Indianapolis neighborhood. Indianapolis was the only major American city spared the rioting that broke out across the country after the assassination.
As the result of a 1970 consolidation of city and county governments (known as "Unigov"), the city of Indianapolis merged most government services with those of the county. For the most part, this resulted in a unification of Indianapolis with its immediate suburbs. Four communities within Marion County (Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway) are partially outside of the Unigov arrangement. Also, 11 other communities (called "included towns") are legally included in the Consolidated City of Indianapolis under Unigov, per Indiana Code 36-3-1-4 sec. 4(a)(2), which states that the Consolidated City of Indianapolis includes the entire area of Marion County, except the four previously mentioned "excluded" communities. The 11 "included towns" (there were originally 14, but 3 later dissolved) elected to retain their "town status" under Unigov as defined according to the Indiana Constitution, but the Indiana Constitution does not define "town status". Additionally, Cumberland straddles Hancock and Marion Counties.
These "included towns" are fully subject to the laws and control of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis, but some still impose a separate property tax and provide police and other services under contract with township or county government or the City of Indianapolis. Additionally, throughout Marion County certain local services such as schools, fire and police remained unconsolidated under the Unigov legislation. However, the mayor of Indianapolis is also the mayor of all of Marion County, and the City-County Council sits as the legislative body for all of Marion County. Further consolidation of city and county services and functions would require passage of new legislation by the Indiana General Assembly.
A bill, dubbed Indianapolis Works, was proposed by then Mayor Bart Peterson, and introduced in the 2005 legislative session of the state General Assembly, which would have further consolidated local government in the City of Indianapolis and Marion County. The Assembly passed a less-comprehensive version of the original bill that consolidated budgetary functions of the City and County, permitted the City-County Council to vote to consolidate the Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff's Department, and also permitted consolidation of the Indianapolis Fire Department with individual township fire departments based upon approval of the affected parties. The Washington Township Fire Department was the first township to merge with the Indianapolis Fire Department, effective January 1, 2007.
Police consolidation was defeated by the City-County Council in November 2005, but the bill was revived and passed on December 19, 2005 after slight revision. As of January 1, 2007 Indianapolis has a combined metropolitan police force. However, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is not the sole police agency within Marion county or even pre-Unigov Indianapolis. The four "excluded cities" of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway still maintain separate police forces, as do many of the school districts and "included towns" within Marion County.
- M. Teresa Baer (2012). Indianapolis: A City of Immigrants (PDF). Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-87195-299-8.
- Ignatius Brown (1868). Logan's History of Indianapolis from 1818. Indianapolis: Logan and Company. p. 1. See also Centennial History of Indianapolis: An Outline History. Indianapolis, IN: Max R. Hyman. 1920. p. 12. and Logan Esarey, Kate Milner Rabb, and William Herschell, eds. (1924). History of Indiana From Its Exploration to 1922; Also An Account of Indianapolis and Marion County 3 (2nd ed.). Dayton, OH: Dayton Historical Publishing Company. pp. 21 and 25.
- James H. Madison (2014). Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press and the Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-253-01308-8.
- A. C. Howard (1857). A. C. Howard's Directory for the City of Indianapolis: Containing a Correct List of Citizens' Names, Their Residence and Place of Business, with a Historical Sketch of Indianapolis from its Earliest History to the Present Day. Indianapolis: A. C. Howard. p. 3. See also Hester Ann Hale (1987). Indianapolis, The First Century. Indianapolis: Marion County Historical Society. p. 9.
- Brown, p. 1; Centennial History of Indianapolis, p. 26; and Howard, p. 2.
- Baer, p. 10 and 58.
- Brown, p. 2; Centennial History of Indianapolis, p. 6; and Hale, p. 8.
- Hale, p. 9.
- Hyman, p. 10, and William A. Browne Jr. (Summer 2013). "The Ralston Plan: Naming the Streets of Indianapolis". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society) 25 (3): 8–9.
- Brown, p. 3.
- Browne, pp. 8–9, and Hale, p. 10.
- Berry R. Sulgrove (1884). History of Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana.
- Hale, pp. 14–15.
- Hyman, p. 19.
- Sulgrove, History of Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana, p. 26.
- Massachusetts Street points diagonally to the northeast, Virginia Street to the southeast, Kentucky Street to the southwest, and Indiana Street to the northwest, beyond the Circle. See Browne, p. 11 and 16.
- A revised town plat from 1831 indicated public squares were set aside for a state university (square 25) and a state hospital (square 22). See Hale, p. 10, and Hyman, p. 10.
- Hale, p. 79.
- Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time: A Self-Guided Tour of Historic Sites in the Mile Square Area. Indianapolis: Marion County-Indianapolis Historical Society. 1996. p. 3.
- Brown, p. 25, and Browne, pp. 9–10, and 17.
- The highest price paid for a lot at that time was $560 for one at the northwest corner of Delaware and Washington streets, southeast of the Circle, when other lots in this area sold for $100 to $300. See Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 31–32; Hale, p. 12; and Hyman, p. 12.
- Hale, pp. 12–13.
- Brown, pp. 8, 46 and 49; Centennial History of Indianapolis, p. 30; Esarey, v. 3, pp. 42–43 and 201–2; and David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, eds. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 1479–80. ISBN 0-253-31222-1.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 967; Hale, p. 13; Howard, p. 26; and W. R. Holloway (1870). Indianapolis: A Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, A Chronicle of its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress with Full Statistical Tables. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Journal. p. 263.
- Brown, p. 17, and Hyman, p. 28.
- Esarey, v. 1, p. 342, and v. 3, pp. 44 and 60–61.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, p. 1481, and Brown, pp. 51 and 78.
- Brown, pp. 13, 16, and 20, and Holloway, p. 20.
- Militia groups formed in the 1850s include: City Guards (1852), Mechanic Rifles (1853), Indianapolis National Guards (1856), City Grays (1857), City Grays Artillery (1859), the Independent Zouaves and Zouave Guards (1860). See Jacob Piatt Dunn (1910), Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, v. I, p. 219, and Berry R. Sulgrove (1884), History of Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana, Philadelphia: L. H. Everts and Company, pp. 303–4.
- Brown, pp. 4, 31, 33, and 68–69; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 175; and Centennial History of Indianapolis: An Outline History. Indianapolis: Max R. Hyman. 1920. pp. 39–40 and 80.
- Brown, pp. 19, 46 and 74; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 13; Holloway, p. 113; and Sulgrove, p. 30.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 1480; Brown, pp. 16 and 23; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 545; Howard, pp. 5, 9, and 16–17; and Sulgrove, pp. 53 and 279.
- Centennial History of Indianapolis, p. 37.
- Brown, pp. 45 and 70; Holloway, p. 261; and Sulgrove, p. 385.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 393; Holloway, p. 262; and "The Temple Centennial: Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 1856–1956". Indianapolis: Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. 1956. p. 2.
- Baer, p. 11, and Hyman, p. 34.
- Brown, p. 20, and Edward A. Leary (1971). Indianapolis: The Story of a City. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. p. 35.
- Indiana’s canals were supposed to complete a link between Lake Erie, in norther Ohio, and the Ohio River along the Indiana’s southern border, and increase trade and commerce along its length. See Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 13.
- Hale, p. 21, and Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 13.
- Esarey, v. 3, p. 54.
- Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 78; Hale, p. 21; and Hyman, p. 10.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, p. 1480; Brown, pp. 34 and 52–53; Hale, p. 21; and Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 13.
- The old depot remained the city’s transportation hub for passenger service until 1887, when it was demolished and replaced with Indianapolis Union Station on the same site southwest of the Circle. See Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 817; Brown, p. 49 and 53; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 153 and 263; and Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 4.
- Brown, p. 23; Hale, pp. 14 and 19; and Sulgrove, p. 110.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 1481; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 96; and Esarey, p. 234.
- Brown, pp. 56–57.
- Archer Daniels Midland acquired Acme-Evans in 1988 and changed its name to the Acme-Evans/ADM Milling Company. Its downtown buildings were demolished in 1994, after the company moved to Indianapolis's south side. See Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 230, and George W. Geib (1981). Indianapolis: Hoosiers’ Circle City. American Portrait Series. Tulsa, OK: Continental Heritage Press. p. 180. ISBN 9780932986191.
- Brown, pp. 17, 27 and 31, and Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 48.
- Brown, pp. 58 and 61; Esarey, v. 3, p. 209; and Holloway, p. 93.
- Brown, pp. 37 and 70; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 360; and Esarey, v. 3, pp. 185 and 187.
- Hale, p. 14.
- Alvah C. Waggoner (1947). "One Hundred Twenty-Five Years: Issued on the Occasion of the Celebration of the One Hundred Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the Organization of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis". Indianapolis: First Baptist Church. pp. 8–10. See also Harold R. Hoffman (1966). A Light in the Forest: A History of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis, Indiana, 1822–2003. Carmel, IN: UN Communications. pp. 17–20 and 79–80.
- First Presbyterian Church merged with Meridian Highlands Presbyterian Church and became First-Meridian Highland Church in 1970. Third Presbyterian Church was renamed Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in 1883. See Brown, p. 42; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 584–85; Esarey, v. 3, p. 155; 125th Anniversary Celebration 1851-1976. Indianapolis: Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. 1976.; and Rev. James Greene (1878). "Manual of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, together with a history of the same, from its organization in July, 1823, to November 12, 1876". Indianapolis: John G. Doughty. p. 5. See also Centennial Memorial, First Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana: A Record of the Anniversary Services, June Tenth to Seventeenth, 1923, Celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the First Presbyterian Church, Together with Historical Materials, Session Records, Sermons, Addresses and Correspondence Relating to its Life and Work during the Century. Greenfield, IN: William Mitchell Printing Co. 1925. p. 179.; Historical Sketches of Eight-Eight Churches. Indianapolis: The History Committee, Whitewater Valley Presbytery. 1976. pp. 82–83.; and George W. Geib (1987). Lives Touched by Faith: Second Presbyterian Church, 150 Years. Indianapolis: Mallory Lithography, Inc. pp. 135, 140, and 143. ISBN 0961935103.
- Wesley Chapel was renamed Meridian Street United Methodist Church in 1871; Roberts Chapel was renamed Roberts Park Methodist Episcopal Church; and Strange Chapel was renamed Saint John's Methodist Episcopal Church in 1871. See Brown, pp. 14, and 45–61; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 86, 593–97; Sulgrove, pp. 52, 399, and 402–3; and Daniel F. Evans (1996). At Home in Indiana for One Hundred and Seventy-Five Years: The History of Meridian Street United Methodist Church, 1821–1996. Indianapolis: Guild Press of Indiana. pp. 29–31, 38–39, and 63. ISBN 1878208799. See also "The History of Nine Urban Churches". Indianapolis: The Riley-Lockerbie Ministerial Association of Downtown Indianapolis.
- The present-day Christ Church Cathedral on the Circle was completed in 1859, on the same site as the original church. The first Disciples of Christ church was renamed Central Christian Church in 1879; First English Lutheran Church was also known as Mount Pisgah Evangelical Lutheran Church; Holy Cross parish was renamed Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in 1850. See Brown, p. 40; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 130, 604, 611, 622, 627 and 631–32; Esarey, v. 3, p. 161; Hale, p. 96; Holloway, pp. 225, 243 and 246; Sulgrove, pp. 122 and 389, and The History of Nine Urban Churches. See also L. C. Rudolph (1995). Hoosier Faiths: A History of Indiana's Churches and Religious Groups. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-253-32882-9. and William F. Stineman and Jack W. Porter (1986). Saint John the Evangelist Church: A Photographic Essay of the Oldest Catholic Church in Indianapolis and Marion County. Indianapolis: Saint John the Evangelist Church. p. 33. ISBN 0961613408.
- The Unitarian congregation later established All Souls Unitarian Church. See Esarey, v. 3, p. 158.
- The African American congregation adopted its present name of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1869. See Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 1480; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 603; and Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 13.
- Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 597, 614, and 616–17; The History of Nine Urban Churches; Rudolph, p. 590; and Robert M. Taylor, Jr. (1989). Indiana: A New Historical Guide. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 407. ISBN 0-87195-048-0.
- Indianapolis's first permanent school was established in 1822; the Marion County Seminary for boys, chartered in 1832, opened its new building on University Square in 1834; and several private schools for women were established in the 1830s, but most of them closed by the 1860s. See Brown, pp. 7, 12, 40, 45, 61–65, and 76; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 90–91, 121, 128–30, and 132–33; and Holloway, pp. 98, 110–11, and 180.
- Brown, p. 50; Holloway, p. 166; Sulgrove, pp. 20, 142, 303, and 423; and Laura Sheerin Gaus (1985). Shortridge High School, 1864–1981, in Retrospect. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 9. ISBN 9780871950031.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., pp. 1480–81; Brown, pp. 43–44; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 110 –11 and 131–32; and Holloway, p. 179.
- The German-English School closed in 1882, but Saint John's Academy remained in operation until 1959. See Bodenhamer and Barrows, p. 1481; Brown, p. 98; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, pp. 209 and 214; and Stineman and Porter, pp. 35 and 38.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 739; Hale, pp. 16 and 41; and Maire Gurevitz (December 2009). "Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis Records, 1855–1997 Collection Guide" (pdf). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- The Indianapolis Lyceum (1831) provided public lectures and discussions, while its successor, the Young Men's Literary Society (1835), incorporated as the Union Literary Society in 1847, offered public lectures and amassed a private library. In 1852 Indianapolis’s Center Township Library opened in the township's trustee's office. See Bodenhamer and Barrows, eds., p. 921; Brown, pp. 23 and 34; Sulgrove, p. 106; and S. L. Berry (2011). Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Marion County Public Library Foundation. p. 10. ISBN 9780615445021.
- The Metropolitan Theater, which opened in 1858, was the first in the city to be built for that purpose. The Indianapolis (YMCA) organized in 1854. See Brown, pp. 66, 68, 71–73; Hale, p. 43; Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time, p. 4; and Sulgrove, pp. 142 and 271.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, p. 1481; Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 202; and George T. Probst and Eberhard Reichmann (1989). The Germans in Indianapolis 1840–1918. Indianapolis: German-American Center and Indiana German Heritage Society. pp. 22 and 70.
- In 1854 the Indiana Democrat was sold and renamed the Indiana Sentinel; it became the Democratic organ in the state. The Indianapolis Journal was renamed the Indianapolis Daily Journal in 1854, and switched its support from the Whigs to the Republicans after assisting in organizing the state's Republican Party. See Brown, pp. 8, 11, and 21; Esarey, v. 3, pp. 130–31; Howard, p. 15; and "About Indianapolis Gazette (Indianapolis, Ind.) 1822-1829". Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-07-07. See also John W. Miller (1982). Indiana Newspaper Bibliography: Historical Accounts of All Indiana Newspapers Published from 1804 to 1980 and Locational Information for All Available Copies, Both Original and Microfilm. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 273.
- Bodenhamer and Barrows, p. 1480, Dunn, Greater Indianapolis, p. 395; Hale, p. 108; and Miller, p. 268.
- Robert L. Jones (June 1984). "The Diary of Calvin Fletcher: A Review Essay". Indiana Magazine of History (Bloomington: Indiana University) 80 (2): 167, 166–172. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
- Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1919). Indiana and Indianans. Volume III. Chicago & New York: American Historical Society. p. 1230.
- Caldwell, Howard; Jones, Darryl (1990). Goodall, Kenneth, ed. Indianapolis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32998-1. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
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- Baer, M. Teresa (2012). Indianapolis: A City of Immigrants (PDF). Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-87195-299-8.
- Berry, S. L. (2011). Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Marion County Public Library Foundation. ISBN 9780615445021.
- Bodenhamer, David J., and Robert G. Barrows, eds. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-31222-1.
- Brown, Ignatius (1868). Logan’s History of Indianapolis from 1818. Indianapolis: Logan and Company.
- Browne Jr., William A. (Summer 2013). "The Ralston Plan: Naming the Streets of Indianapolis". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society) 25 (3): 4–17.
- Centennial History of Indianapolis: An Outline History. Indianapolis: Max R. Hyman. 1920.
- Centennial Memorial, First Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana: A Record of the Anniversary Services, June Tenth to Seventeenth, 1923, Celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the First Presbyterian Church, Together with Historical Materials, Session Records, Sermons, Addresses and Correspondence Relating to its Life and Work during the Century. Greenfield, IN: William Mitchell Printing Co. 1925.* Dunn, Jacob Piatt (1910). Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes I. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company.
- Esarey, Logan, Kate Milner Rabb, and William Herschell, eds. (1924). History of Indiana From Its Exploration to 1922; Also An Account of Indianapolis and Marion County 1–4 (2nd ed.). Dayton, OH: Dayton Historical Publishing Company.
- Evans, Daniel F. (1996). At Home in Indiana for One Hundred and Seventy-Five Years: The History of Meridian Street United Methodist Church, 1821-1996. Indianapolis: Guild Press of Indiana. ISBN 1878208799.
- Fletcher, Calvin; Sarah Hill Fletcher; and Gayle Thornbrough, Dorothy L. Riker, and Paula Corpuz, eds. (1972–1983). The Diary of Calvin Fletcher 1–9. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society.
- Geib, George W. (1981). Indianapolis: Hoosiers’ Circle City. American Portrait Series. Tulsa, OK: Continental Heritage Press. ISBN 9780932986191.
- Geib, George W. (1987). Lives Touched by Faith: Second Presbyterian Church, 150 Years. Indianapolis: Mallory Lithography, Inc. ISBN 0961935103.
- Greene, Rev. James (1878). "Manual of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, together with a history of the same, from its organization in July, 1823, to November 12, 1876". Indianapolis: John G. Doughty.
- Hale, Hester Ann (1987). Indianapolis, The First Century. Indianapolis: Marion County Historical Society.
- Historical Sketches of Eight-Eight Churches. Indianapolis: The History Committee, Whitewater Valley Presbytery. 1976.
- "The History of Nine Urban Churches". Indianapolis: The Riley-Lockerbie Ministerial Association of Downtown Indianapolis.
- Hoffman, Harold R. (1966). A Light in the Forest: A History of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis, Indiana, 1822–2003. Carmel, IN: UN Communications.
- Holloway, W. R. (1870). Indianapolis: A Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, A Chronicle of its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress with Full Statistical Tables. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Journal.
- Howard, A. C. (1857). A. C. Howard’s Directory for the City of Indianapolis: Containing a Correct List of Citizens’ Names, Their Residence and Place of Business, with a Historical Sketch of Indianapolis from its Earliest History to the Present Day. Indianapolis: A. C. Howard.
- Hyman, Max R., ed. (1902). The Journal Handbook of Indianapolis: An Outline History. Indianapolis: The Indianapolis Journal Newspaper Company.
- Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, Historical Committee (1920). Centennial History of Indianapolis: An Outline History. Indianapolis: Max R. Hyman.
- The Indiana State Capitol Building: A Centennial Restoration, 1888–1988. Indianapolis: State of Indiana. 1988.
- Indianapolis, A Walk Through Time: A Self-Guided Tour of Historic Sites in the Mile Square Area. Indianapolis: Marion County-Indianapolis Historical Society. 1996.
- Jones, Robert L. (June 1984). "The Diary of Calvin Fletcher: A Review Essay". Indiana Magazine of History (Bloomington: Indiana University) 80 (2): 167, 166–172. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
- Kennedy, Sister Francis Assisi (2009). The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 1834–2009: Like a Mustard Seed Growing. Strasbourg, France: Editions du Signe. ISBN 978-2-7468-1911-5.
- Leary, Edward A. (1971). Indianapolis: The Story of a City. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
- Madison, James H. (2014). Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press and the Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-253-01308-8.
- Miller, John W. (1982). Indiana Newspaper Bibliography: Historical Accounts of All Indiana Newspapers Published from 1804 to 1980 and Locational Information for All Available Copies, Both Original and Microfilm. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society.
- Rudolph, L. C. (1995). Hoosier Faiths: A History of Indiana’s Churches and Religious Groups. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32882-9.
- Stineman, William F., and Jack W. Porter (1986). Saint John the Evangelist Church: A Photographic Essay of the Oldest Catholic Church in Indianapolis and Marion County. Indianapolis: Saint John the Evangelist Church. ISBN 0961613408.
- Sulgrove, Berry R. (1884). History of Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts and Company.
- Vanderstel, David G., Robert Cole, and Michelle Hale (1998). Faith and Community: A Historic Walking Tour. Indianapolis: The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
- Waggoner, Alvah C. (1947). "One Hundred Twenty-Five Years: Issued on the Occasion of the Celebration of the One Hundred Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the Organization of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis". Indianapolis: First Baptist Church.
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- Hudnut, William H. The Hudnut Years in Indianapolis, 1976-1991 (Indiana University Press, 1995)
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