(Dec. 31, 1879-Aug. 18, 1973). Born in Morgan County on a farm near Bloomington, Indiana, Arcada Stark’s family moved to Colorado and Kansas before settling in Indianapolis. She attended Manual High School and Indianapolis Normal College. She later taught history, literature, and art in the Indianapolis junior high schools. In 1905, she married Frederick G. Balz, owner of the Star Millinery Company. They had no children.

Balz served as president of the 7th  district of the Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1932-1935; president, 1935-1937, of the Indiana Federation of Women’s Clubs; and director of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1937-1939 (see Women’s Clubs). Club activities included purchasing radium for a free cancer clinic at Indianapolis City Hospital (see Lois And Sydney Eskenazi Hospital) and developing orchestras in the city’s schools.

Balz became politically active when she suggested the establishment of the New Harmony Memorial and served as president of the state commission, 1939-1947. She also had been a member of the Indiana Women’s Legislative Council, the Governor’s Committee on Public Safety, and the advisory committee for the Northwest Territory Celebration, which was created in 1949 to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the establishment of Indiana Territory.

As a Republican representing parts of Marion and Johnson counties, Balz became the first woman elected to the Indiana Senate in 1942 and was reelected in 1944. Several women previously had been elected to the Indiana House but not to the Senate (see Women in Politics). She served as chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee and on the Benevolent and Penal Institutions Committee. Her particular legislative interests included licensing nursing homes, developing school attendance requirements, improving the merit system for state employees, and regulating women’s working hours and wages.

She moved to Orlando, Florida, in 1971 and died there.

Revised February 2021

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