Established in 2002, the Consulate of Mexico in Indianapolis represents the government of Mexico to local, state, and federal authorities. This location serves Mexican nationals living in all counties of Indiana except those north of Warren, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Howard, Grant, Blackford, and Jay; all counties in Ohio except those north of Mercer, Auglaize, Hardin, Marion, Knox, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Carroll, and Jefferson; and all counties of Kentucky. It is the only consulate of any foreign government in Indiana.  

The relationship between the governments of Mexico and Indiana predates the current consulate by more than 100 years. A consular office was formed in Indianapolis in 1907 when Mexican President, General Porfirio Diaz, appointed Colonel Russell B. Harrison as honorary vice-consul of Mexico. Russell was the son of the 23rd U.S. president, Benjamin Harrison, and great-grandson of former Indiana Territory governor and 9th U.S. president, William Henry Harrison.

Portrait of Profirio Diaz in military regalia
Porfirio Díaz, n.d.
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The vice-consul of Mexico’s role was to maintain foreign commercial interests and the protection of citizens of both countries, which included the roughly 44 foreign-born Mexicans living in Indiana. By 1916, 100 Mexicans were living in Indianapolis. Most owned a business or engaged in other lines of work. Some attended the state’s colleges and universities as well.  

J. de P. Soros, consul of Portugal at Chicago formally appointed Harrison the vice-consul to Portugal at Indianapolis in 1917. Harrison maintained his role as vice-consul of Mexico. He continued to serve dual vice-consular roles until 1927. Although Harrison continued to serve as honorary vice-consul of Mexico from 1927 to 1931, the consular position at Indianapolis would not be filled again until the 21st century.

In 1990, the Hispanic population in Indianapolis was at 7,681 (1.1 percent of the total population) with 4,113 claiming Mexican ancestry. Consulate services for this community were obtained by a consulate field representative from Chicago, hosted out of a mobile office at El Centro Hispano  (The Hispanic Center) located at 617 E. North Street.

Between 1990 and 2000, however, the city experienced a 294 percent growth in the Hispanic population, counting 30,636 people or 3.9 percent of the total population, with 21,053 claiming Mexican origins. Where one mobile office visit used to serve about 500 individuals, it now attracts well over 2,000 individuals. 

With a clear need for increased services, Governor Frank O’Bannon, Mayor Bart Peterson, and federal authorities, as well as local Mexican leaders, supported the establishment of the Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis. In early 2002, the city of Indianapolis allotted 2,357 square feet of rent-free office space in Union Station as the new consulate’s temporary location. In May 2002, Sergio Aguilera became the consul and leader of Indiana’s first foreign consulate. This location served Mexican nationals living in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Mexican Consulate building exterior
Mexican Consulate building, ca. 2010s
Credit: Mexican Consulate of Indianapolis

In October 2010, the consulate purchased a 12,000-square-foot building in Fletcher Place at 331 S. East Street for $790,000. The purchase of this larger building was symbolic of the long-term commitment to Indianapolis and the aspiration to expand its services. With the continued growth of the Mexican population in Indianapolis, this decision proved visionary. By 2020, the population had expanded to 129,286, an increase of 94 percent since 1990.

Revised March 2024
 

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