1790
National

Naturalization Act of 1790

Congress establishes a federal policy for foreign-born citizens to become U.S. citizens. Citizenship is limited to “any alien, other than an alien enemy, being a free white person” of good character who has resided in the U.S. for at least two years. 


May 7, 1800
National
1801 Map of the Northwest Territory

Indiana Territory Created

When Congress separates Ohio from the Northwest Territory in 1800, the rest of the territory becomes the Indiana Territory. French traders have been active in the area for over a century. 

Pictured: 1801 Map of the Northwest Territory
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
May 1, 1801
State
Illustration of Moravian missionaries as they baptize Munsee-Delawares, n.d.

Moravian Missionaries arrive

Moravian missionaries arrive at one of the settlements of the Delaware, near the Adena culture mounds and what becomes Anderson. The Moravian mission is to convert Indigenous Peoples to a Protestant version of Christianity. The mission lasts until September 1806.   

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Pictured: Illustration of Moravian missionaries as they baptize Munsee-Delawares, n.d.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons View Source
Dec 11, 1816
State
Indiana State Map, 1819

Indiana statehood

Indiana is admitted into the union as the 19th state. French, German, and Irish immigrants are all living in the area. 

Pictured: Indiana State Map, 1819
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1826
Indianapolis
The Drunkard's Progress, ca. 1846

Marion County Temperance Union forms

Started by Protestant groups, the union seeks to address what it considers to be the excessive use of alcohol. Many of its members are anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic, because these groups are viewed as primary abusers of alcohol. 

Read More »
Pictured: The Drunkard's Progress, ca. 1846
Credit: Nathaniel Currier, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1829
Indianapolis
Map showing the route of the historic National Road — at its greatest completion in 1839.

Immigrant labor constructs National Road

Construction on the National Road (now U.S. 40/Washington Street in Indianapolis) begins with Irish and German immigrants who flee economic pressures and religious concerns in Europe.  

Read More »
Pictured: Map showing the route of the historic National Road — at its greatest completion in 1839.
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
May 28, 1830
National

Indian Removal Act

The law authorizes confiscation of land from Native Americans in Indiana and elsewhere and provides resources for their removal west of the Mississippi River. It forces most Native Americans in Central Indiana to leave their homelands, and white settlement increases rapidly. Many of these new white settlers are immigrants.

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1834
Indianapolis

German immigrant founds first brewery

German immigrant William Wernweg, a contractor for the National Road bridges, establishes the brewery on the southside of Maryland near West Street with partner John L. Young. Germans dominate the brewing industry until Prohibition. 

Read More »

1836
Indianapolis
Advertisement for laborers on the Indiana Central Canal, 1837

Construction of the Central Canal begins with immigrant labor

German and Irish immigrants, many of whom are Catholic, move to the city in sizeable numbers to work on the Central Canal. Their appearance raises concerns among residents who fear increased drinking and crime. 

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Pictured: Advertisement for laborers on the Indiana Central Canal, 1837
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1837
Indianapolis

Irish Catholics assemble for Mass

Irish Catholics first convene for Mass at a tavern on West Washington Street. Father Vincent Bacquelin, a French itinerant priest, leads the group to form the forerunner of St. John Catholic Church. The Irish help to construct the parish’s church building, which opens in 1840. 

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1840
Indianapolis
Chas. Mayer & Co. Advertising Card, ca. 1875

German merchant Charles Mayer settles in Indianapolis

Mayer establishes a store that becomes known as Charles Mayer and Company in 1866. It gains a national reputation as a purveyor of fine gifts. Department store L. S. Ayres & Company purchases its inventory in 1955. Descendants of Mayer revive the company in 1992. 

Read More »
Pictured: Chas. Mayer & Co. Advertising Card, ca. 1875
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Apr 18, 1841
Indianapolis
The current Zion United Church of Christ building dates from 1913.

Zion Evangelical Church established

A group of German immigrants organizes the Zion Evangelical Church. The building of the Evangelical Lutheran congregation, located at 32 West Ohio Street, is dedicated on May 18, 1845.

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Pictured: The current Zion United Church of Christ building dates from 1913.
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1845
International

Irish Potato Famine begins

A devastating fungus destroys Ireland’s potato crop, leading to starvation, poverty, and emigration. About 500,000 Irish immigrate to the U.S. during the 1840s. By 1850, the Irish comprise the second largest immigrant group in Marion County, making up 5.1 percent of the population. Foreign-born residents make up 15.6 percent of the county’s total population. 

Read More »
Pictured: "Emigrants leaving Ireland," 1868
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1848
Indianapolis

Indiana Volksblatt begins publication

In October 1848, Julius Boetticher begins the Indiana Volksblatt (Indiana Peoples Paper), the first German-language newspaper in the city. The weekly paper is a conservative publication. 

Read More »

1848
International

Failed German revolution

Failure to establish democracy causes thousands of Germans to immigrate to the U.S. Germans make up the largest immigrant group in Marion County by 1850, accounting for 9 percent of the population. Foreign-born residents make up 15.6 percent of the county’s total population. 

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1849
Indianapolis

First Jewish residents arrive

Polish-born merchant Alexander Franco and English-born clerk Moses Woolf are the first Jewish people to arrive and settle in Indianapolis.

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Jul 28, 1851
Indianapolis
South Side Turnverein Hall, 1908

First German turnverein

German immigrants establish the Indianapolis Turngemeinde, a German gymnastic society that promotes physical fitness, free thought, liberal politics, German language and culture, and social issues. By 1900, Indianapolis has three thriving Turnvereins: Socialer Turnverein, Independent Turnverein, and South Side Turnverein. 

Read More »
Pictured: South Side Turnverein Hall, 1908
Credit: W. H. Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1852
Indianapolis
Indianapolis Union Station blueprint, 1886

English immigrant Joseph Curzon designs Union Station

An immigrant from Derbyshire, England, Curzon designs the building, which is the first union station in the U.S. He also is architect for additions to Central State Hospital and Second Presbyterian Church at the corner of Pennsylvania and Vermont streets. 

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Pictured: Indianapolis Union Station blueprint, 1886
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Jan 11, 1852
Indianapolis
Clemens Vonnegut Sr., 1885

Clemens Vonnegut Sr. arrives

An immigrant from Münster, Westphalia, Germany, Vonnegut establishes the city’s major hardware store and plays an important role in the civic and intellectual activities of the German and wider Indianapolis community. 

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Pictured: Clemens Vonnegut Sr., 1885
Credit: Indianapolis photograph studio (c.1885), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1853
Indianapolis

The Freie Presse begins publication

Theodore Hielscher, a supporter of the 1848 German revolutions, founds the German-language newspaper as an uncompromising human rights voice that embraces free soil, abolition, and then the new Republican Party. The newspaper continues to be published until 1866. 

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1853
Indianapolis
D. A. Bohlen, ca. 1880s

German immigrant Diedrich August Bohlen begins architectural practice

Born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Bohlen establishes the firm that later includes several of his descendants after it becomes D. A. Bohlen and Son in 1884. The company evolves with different partners and remains in business until 1991. The National Register of Historic Places includes more than 20 Bohlen projects. 

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Pictured: D. A. Bohlen, ca. 1880s
Credit: University Library, IUPUI View Source
1854
Indianapolis
Indianapolis Music Festival at Park Theatre honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Maennerchor Society, 1880

Maennerchor singing society organizes

Seven young German American men who enjoy singing organize the Maennerchor. The group develops into an amateur music society of distinction, influencing the musical culture of Indianapolis. 

Read More »
Pictured: Indianapolis Music Festival at Park Theatre honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Maennerchor Society, 1880
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1854
Indianapolis
Interior View of the H. Lieber Art Emporium, ca. 1890

German immigrant Herman Lieber founds the H. Lieber Company

Although Lieber starts the business for stationery and bookbinding, he adds an art gallery for mounting exhibitions and plays a major role in the development of the visual arts in the city. 

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Pictured: Interior View of the H. Lieber Art Emporium, ca. 1890
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Jul 2, 1855
State

German and Irish saloons resist state prohibition law

German and Irish saloons resist state prohibition. When the Indiana General Assembly enacts a prohibition law, many German- and Irish-owned saloons organize and remain open in defiance of it. Saloonkeepers Roderick Beebe, a native of Vermont, and William Hermann, a German immigrant, are arrested. The incident culminates in the Beebe Temperance Case, in which the Indiana Supreme Court declares the prohibition law unconstitutional. 

Read More »

1856
Indianapolis
Old Saint Mary's Church, 1918

German Catholics establish St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

The city’s second Catholic parish is established as the spiritual home of German Catholics in the city. Sacred Heart, on the south side, follows as a second German-speaking parish in 1875. 

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Pictured: The old Saint Mary's Catholic Church building in Indianapolis, 1918
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1856
Indianapolis

German-language education approved but not implemented

The City Council adopts a resolution allowing German pupils in local public schools to have instruction in their own language. School trustees oppose the measure, and it is never implemented. 

Read More »

Nov 2, 1856
Indianapolis
Sketch of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation Temple (1899-1957), ca. 1930

Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation established

Fourteen German Jewish immigrants organize the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC) which adheres to Reform Judaism, the most liberal of American Jewish religious movements. IHC’s first home, the Market Temple, is built at 435 East Market Street between 1865 and 1868.

Read More »
Pictured: Sketch of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation Temple (1899-1957), ca. 1930
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1859
Indianapolis

German-English School Society founded

A group of German Americans in Indianapolis start the school to provide instruction in the German language and culture as well as in English.  

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1859
Indianapolis

Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society established

German Jewish women immigrants organize the group that functions as a women’s auxiliary to the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, as well as a charitable society. 

Read More »

1859
Indianapolis
C. F. Schmidt Brewery, n.d.

Christian Frederick Schmidt and Charles Jaeger establish brewery

German immigrants Schmidt and Jaeger create the city’s first successful brewery, which gains popularity with its lager.  

Read More »
Pictured: C. F. Schmidt Brewery, n.d.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1861
State

Irish and Germans join Union army in the Civil War

Irish and Germans join the Union cause in large numbers. The Irish raise the 35th Regiment, using St. John’s parish school as a recruiting station. Governor Oliver P. Morton gives permission for prominent Germans to establish the 32nd (First German) Regiment. 

Read More »

1862
Indianapolis
Engraving of Kingan & Co. Packing House, ca. 1880

Kingan meatpacking recruits Irish workers

The Ireland-based pork packing company moves to Indianapolis and begins recruiting local Irish immigrants and imported Irish citizens. 

Read More »
Pictured: Engraving of Kingan & Co. Packing House, ca. 1880
Credit: The Indiana Album: Joan Hostetler Collection View Source
Aug 2, 1862
State

Frederick Knefler appointed colonel of the 79th Indiana Regiment

Knefler, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant, leads his regiment in battle at Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Atlanta, and Nashville. He musters out on June 7, 1865, as brevet brigadier general. He is one of the highest-ranking Civil War officers to come from Indiana. 

Read More »
Pictured: Frederick Knefler, ca. 1862
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1863
Indianapolis
John Caven, 1863

John Caven elected first mayor of Irish descent

Caven serves five terms, longer than any other mayor until William H. Hudnut III (1976-1991). 

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Pictured: John Caven, 1863
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1863
Indianapolis

German Jews begin first Jewish School

German Jewish immigrants organize the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC) school to provide secular and religious education. By 1867, most Jewish children attend public schools, and the IHC institution becomes an afternoon school that instructs children in Hebrew customs and religious ceremonies. 

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1864
Indianapolis

B’nai Brith, Abraham Lodge, No. 58 founded

German Jewish immigrants establish the first local B’nai Brith lodge to raise funds for and participate in the organization’s national projects. 

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1865
Indianapolis
Front Elevation Drawing for St. Patrick's Catholic Church, ca. 1929

St. Peter’s Catholic parish opens to serve southside Irish community

The Irish community that settles at the end of the Virginia Avenue streetcar line in Fountain Square establishes the church, which is renamed St. Patrick’s in 1870. Other Irish parishes include St. Joseph’s (1873), St. Bridget’s (1880), St. Francis de Sales (1881), and St. Anthony (1891). 

Read More »
Pictured: Front Elevation Drawing for St. Patrick's Catholic Church, ca. 1929
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1867
Indianapolis
German Protestant Orphans' Home, ca. 1910

General German Protestant Orphan Home opens

The German General Protestant Orphan Association (later Pleasant Run Children’s Home) is founded by the Germania Lodge Number 3 after visiting a similar home in Cincinnati, Ohio. The home cares for children orphaned by the Civil War.

Read More »
Pictured: German Protestant Orphans' Home, ca. 1910
Credit: The Indiana Album: Evan Finch Collection View Source
1867
International

Austria-Hungary dual empire forms

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 creates a dual multi-ethnic empire, including Jews, Romanians, Slovenians, Slovaks, and others. Some ethnic minorities fleeing persecution settle in Indianapolis, including Jewish Hungarians, Romanians, and Slovenians. 


1867
Indianapolis
Rabbi Mayer Messing, n.d.

Prussian-born Mayer Messing becomes leader of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC)

Born in Genivkowa in East Prussia, Messing serves as senior rabbi of IHC for 40 years. He is the first Jewish religious leader to participate actively in the civic life of the city.  

Read More »
Pictured: Rabbi Mayer Messing, n.d.
Credit: Indiana State Library View Source
Apr 17, 1868
Indianapolis
Trinity Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, 701 East McCarty Street, 1978

Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church is established

Forty-two Danish immigrants begin what may be the nation’s first Danish Lutheran congregation on the city’s south side, at 701 East McCarty Street. The congregation, later known as First Trinity Lutheran Church, moves to 5321 E. 42nd Street in 1952. The original building is now home to the Church of Christ Apostolic Faith. 

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Pictured: Trinity Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, 701 East McCarty Street, 1978
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
Jul 9, 1868
National

Fourteenth Amendment ratified

The amendment grants citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States,” including formerly enslaved people. 


Jul 28, 1868
International

Burlingame Treaty

Negotiated during the first U.S. mission to China, the treaty allows for mostly unrestricted Chinese immigration to the U.S. Early Chinese residents of Indianapolis include a laundry owner, Wah Lee, who settles here around 1873; and E. Lung, owner of a laundry on Massachusetts Avenue, who arrives in 1879. 

Read More »

1869
Indianapolis
Leon Kahn, n.d.

Leon Kahn is first Jewish resident on the Indianapolis Common Council

Kahn becomes the first Jewish resident to take a seat on the Common Council and serves for eight years, until 1881.

Read More »
Pictured: Leon Kahn, n.d.
Credit: Indiana State Library View Source
1869
State

Indiana General Assembly recognizes value of German in schools

The Indiana General Assembly authorizes German language instruction in schools if parents petition for it. 

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1870
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1870


1870
Indianapolis
Sharah Tefilla, 1929

Polish immigrants establish Sharah Tefilla

Jewish immigrants from Poland establish Chevro Bene Jacob (later Sharah Tefilla) on the south side of downtown Indianapolis as one of the earliest Jewish Orthodox synagogues in the city. The congregation merges with Bnai’ Torah in 1966. In 1992, Shaarey Tefilla, which traces its roots to the original congregation, forms.

Read More »
Pictured: Sharah Tefilla, 1929
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
Mar 17, 1870
Indianapolis

Ancient Order of Hibernians forms

The organization provides “mutual support in sickness and distress” and advances the principles of Irish nationality. 

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Jul 14, 1870
National

Naturalization Act of 1870

The act grants naturalization rights to “all aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent” but leaves the naturalization of other nonwhites uncertain.  


1871
Indianapolis
Peter Lawson, the founder of Nora, ca. 1880

Swedish Immigrant founds Nora

Peter Lawson, a Swedish immigrant, founds the north side suburb. His general store and post office stand near the town’s rail station, sawmill, blacksmith shop, and grocery. 

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Pictured: Peter Lawson, the founder of Nora, ca. 1880
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
Jan 18, 1871
International

German Unification spurs immigration

Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck unites the German states to form the German Empire under Protestant Prussian rule. Catholics from southern German states immigrate to the U.S. seeking religious freedom.  


Jul 4, 1872
Indianapolis
Indianapolis Liederkranz (dance band), 1947

Liederkranz forms

The merger of the male singing sections of two German secret fraternal organizations, the Druiden Lodge and the Rothmaenner (“Red Men”) creates the Indianapolis Liederkranz.

Read More »
Pictured: Indianapolis Liederkranz (dance band), 1947
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1873
Indianapolis
Charles Emmerich, ca. 1870s

German immigrant Charles Emil Emmerich joins the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS)

Emmerich, a native of Koblenz, Germany, joins the IPS faculty at Indianapolis High School at the invitation of Superintendent Abraham C. Shortridge. In 1895, he becomes the first principal of the Industrial Training School, one of the first of its kind in the U.S. The school is named Emmerich Manual High School in 1916. 

Read More »
Pictured: Charles Emmerich, ca. 1870s
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1874
Indianapolis

Martindale settled by immigrants

German, Irish, and British immigrants live in the area and are predominantly workers on the “Bee Line” railroad. The 1880 census reports that 40 percent of Martindale’s population is foreign-born or first-generation immigrant. 

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Mar 3, 1875
National

Immigration Act of 1875

This act, also known as the Page Act, establishes immigration as an exclusively federal responsibility. It prohibits the importation of Asian contract laborers, any Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own countries.  


1876
Indianapolis
William P. Jungclaus, ca. 1890

William P. Jungclaus Company incorporates

German immigrant William P. Jungclaus, who comes to Indianapolis in 1871, founds the building construction company, first known as Jungclaus & Schumacher, which is responsible for constructing many of the city’s historic buildings. Now known as Jungclaus-Campbell Company, it is the oldest building general contractor in Indianapolis and one of the oldest in the U.S. 

Read More »
Pictured: William P. Jungclaus, ca. 1890
Credit: Jungclaus-Campbell Co. via Indiana Historical Society View Source
May 3, 1876
Indianapolis

Civil unrest occurs between Irish and African Americans

Civil unrest breaks out between members of the Irish community, African Americans, and policemen over rumors that emerge about African Americans being turned away from the polls during a special election for city councilman.  

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1880
International

Mass Italian immigration

More than four million immigrants, primarily from southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, flee grinding poverty between 1880 and 1924. Italian immigrants to Indianapolis, mostly from Sicily, settle in what is now known as the Holy Rosary-Danish Church neighborhood, comprising 90 percent of the area’s population by 1910. 

Read More »

1880
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1880


1880
Indianapolis

First Hungarian Society

Jewish immigrants organize the first Hungarian association in the city, probably as a benevolent society and to establish public worship. The Hungarian Jüdische Bruder Verein, which sponsors social events and provides sick benefits to its members, follows in the mid-1880s. 


1881
International

Russian anti-Jewish decrees issued

The assassination of Czar Alexander II provokes new harsh anti-Jewish decrees and a wave of pogroms that lead to mass Jewish immigration to the U.S. Russian Jewish immigrants arrive in Indianapolis and settle on the south side. 

Read More »

1881
Indianapolis

Schützen Park founded

The German Schützen Verein/Indianapolis Target Shooting Association establishes the park along West 21st Street between Fall Creek and Sugar Grove Avenue. It reorganizes as German Park in 1893. 

Read More »

May 6, 1882
National
A political cartoon from 1882, showing a Chinese man being barred entry to the

Chinese Exclusion Act passes

Branded as racially inferior and as a threat to American society, Chinese immigrants are denied citizenship, and Chinese laborers are banned from entry in the United States for 10 years. This law also authorizes the deportation of unauthorized Chinese immigrants. The measure is renewed in 1892 (Geary Act) and in 1904 (Extension of the Chinese Exclusion Act). Although the law is repealed in 1943, strict national origins quotas remain in place. Few Chinese immigrants settle in Indianapolis until after 1965. 

Pictured: A political cartoon from 1882, showing a Chinese man being barred entry to the "Golden Gate of Liberty". The caption reads, "We must draw the line somewhere, you know."
Credit: Frank Leslie\'s illustrated newspaper, vol. 54 (1882 April 1), p. 96., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons View Source
Sep 26, 1883
Indianapolis
German Orphan's Home (later Lutheran Child and Family Services), ca. 1885

Lutheran Child and Family Services established

Members of the Bible society from St. Paul and Trinity Lutheran churches establish the Evangelische Lutherische Waisenhaus Gesellschaft, an asylum for orphans and aged people.

Read More »
Pictured: German Orphan's Home (later Lutheran Child and Family Services), ca. 1885
Credit: The Indiana Album: Joan Hostetler Collection View Source
1886
Indianapolis
From 1899 to about 1915, Kahn's Tailoring occupied the northwest corner of Washington and Meridian Streets.

Kahn Tailoring established

Henry Kahn, the son of Alsatian Jewish immigrants, opens a small tailor shop at 14 East Washington Street. Kahn Tailoring becomes a principal manufacturer of uniforms for the U.S. military during World Wars I and II.

Read More »
Pictured: From 1899 to about 1915, Kahn's Tailoring occupied the northwest corner of Washington and Meridian Streets.
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1889
Indianapolis
Entrance to the Jewish cemetery Congregation Knesses Israel & Etz Haim Sefarad Cemetery, 2005

Russian synagogue Knesses Israel established

Jewish immigrants from Russia establish the third Orthodox immigrant synagogue, Knesses Israel. The congregation first resides on Merrill Street near where Lucas Oil Stadium now stands and then at 1021 South Meridian Street. In 1966, the congregation merges with B’nai Torah at 6510 Hoover Road.

Read More »
Pictured: Entrance to the Jewish cemetery Congregation Knesses Israel & Etz Haim Sefarad Cemetery, 2005
Credit: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology View Source
1889
Indianapolis
Indianapolis Brewing Company Poster, ca. 1900

Indianapolis Brewing Company forms

Three companies started by German immigrants form the Indianapolis Brewing Company: Schmidt & Jaeger Brewery (1859), Lieber Brewery (1863), and Casper Maus & Company (1865). It becomes known nationally and wins international prizes for its Dusseldorfer beer. With national Prohibition (1920), the company closes until repeal. Richard Lieber tries to resuscitate the Indianapolis brewing industry in 1934, without success. 

Read More »
Pictured: Indianapolis Brewing Company Poster, ca. 1900
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1890
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1890


1890
Indianapolis
In 1890, the Montani Brothers formed an orchestra. Guy and Dominic were also instrumental in forming the Indianapolis Protective Musicians Union Local 3.

Indianapolis Protective Union organizes

Guy and Domenico Montani, local Italian musicians, help organize the city’s first musicians’ union and the third such union in the country.

Read More »
Pictured: In 1890, the Montani Brothers formed an orchestra. Guy and Dominic were also instrumental in forming the Indianapolis Protective Musicians Union Local 3.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1890
Indianapolis
Group of Workers at National Malleable Castings Company, ca. early 1900s

National Malleable Castings Company recruits Slovenian immigrants

George Lambert, a Slovenian-born agent, begins recruiting Eastern European immigrants, particularly Slovenes, for the National Malleable Castings Company. The foundry pays the immigrants’ passage in return for a set period of employment. 

Read More »
Pictured: Group of Workers at National Malleable Castings Company, ca. early 1900s
Credit: Tamie Todd, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1893
Indianapolis

Construction begins on Das Deutsche Haus

The German cultural and social center is constructed in two phases—the east wing in 1893-1894, the west wing in 1897-1898. It is renamed the Athenaeum because of anti-German sentiment during World War I.  

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1893
Indianapolis

National Council of Jewish Women, Indianapolis founded

The council advocates for human welfare through volunteerism and participation in education, service, and advocacy programs. Its members help the Jewish and immigrant community and the non-Jewish community. 

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Mar 10, 1895
Indianapolis
Thomas Taggart, n.d.

Thomas Taggart elected mayor

Taggart, an Irish immigrant, defeats Republicans Preston C. Trusler and becomes mayor of Indianapolis. He serves three terms in office (1895-1901) which are marked by public improvements and fiscal efficiency.

Read More »
Pictured: Thomas Taggart, n.d.
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1896
Indianapolis
William H. Block, n.d.

William Block, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant, establishes department store

William H. Block Company, initially a small department store at 9 East Washington Street, becomes a major retailer in Indianapolis. It continues under the Block name until the Lazarus department store chain of Cincinnati takes over the company in 1988. 

Read More »
Pictured: William H. Block, n.d.
Credit: IndyStar View Source
Oct 18, 1897
Indianapolis
Portrait of Moy Kee and his wife, ca. 1900

Moy Kee obtains citizenship during the Chinese Exclusion Era

The Superior Court of New York issues Moy Kee’s first papers in 1880. He moves to Indianapolis in 1897, and, soon after, the Marion County Court grants him his second papers, thus conferring to him U.S. citizenship. He is the first naturalized Chinese person to vote in local elections.  

Pictured: Portrait of Moy Kee and his wife, ca. 1900
Credit: The Indiana Album: Joan Hostetler Collection View Source
Mar 28, 1898
National
Wong Kim Ark, 1904

U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark

The Supreme Court case establishes the precedent that any person born in the U.S. is a citizen by birth regardless of race or parents’ status. 

Pictured: Wong Kim Ark, 1904
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
Jun 15, 1898
Indianapolis
National Turnfest at Das Deutsche Haus (Athenaeum) Indianapolis, 1905

Das Deutsche Haus opens

Herbert Lieber gives the dedication speech, lauding the structure as the “embodiment of the Americanizing process.” Designed by Bernard Vonnegut, the building becomes the center of German American culture. 

Read More »
Pictured: National Turnfest at Das Deutsche Haus (Athenaeum) Indianapolis, 1905
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1899
Indianapolis
Deaconess Hospital, 1907

Deaconess Hospital founded

The German Evangelical Church organizes the Deaconess Hospital and first operates out of a home near the corner of Senate and Ohio streets. A new hospital facility opens next door at 200 North Senate in 1899. Unable to withstand the economic hardships of the Great Depression, it closes in 1935.

Read More »
Pictured: Deaconess Hospital, 1907
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
Nov 13, 1899
Indianapolis

Federation of German Societies of Indianapolis organizes

Indianapolis is home to several German Support Societies that promote social connection and supply aid to German immigrants. The federation brings these societies together under their common goal of preserving German culture. 

Read More »

1900
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1900


1900
Indianapolis

Chinese Lodge of Masons created

By 1906, the chapter has over 40 members, and they work to provide aid to Chinese immigrants affected by the San Francisco earthquake. The Indianapolis News estimates that Indianapolis has 60 permanent Chinese residents by 1910. 

Read More »

1900
Indianapolis

Slovenians organize the St. Aloysius Lodge

The St. Aloysius Lodge is the first Slovenian society established in the city. St. Joseph Lodge and the socialist-oriented Franc Preseren Lodge follow in 1905. 

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1901
National

Jewish Industrial Removal Office forms

The office organizes in New York City to assist European Jews headed to the U.S. Indianapolis’ participation in its immigrant removal project leads to the formation of the Jewish Federation.  

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Jul 21, 1901
Indianapolis
Germania Park, 1911

Germania Park opens

The new private German park on the south side becomes a center for activities that celebrate German culture, replacing the west side German Park, which closes in 1908. 

Read More »
Pictured: Germania Park, 1911
Credit: The Indiana Album: Evan Finch Collection View Source
Jan 13, 1902
Indianapolis
Herron Art Institute Galleries, ca. early 1900s

John Herron Art Institute opens

John Herron, an English immigrant, bequeaths $225,000 to the Art Association of Indianapolis in 1895 to build a museum and art school bearing his name. 

Read More »
Pictured: Herron Art Institute Galleries, ca. early 1900s
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Jan 31, 1903
Indianapolis
Portrait of Moy Kee and his wife in Indianapolis, ca. 1900

First female Chinese immigrant

When Moy Kee’s wife joins him in Indianapolis, the Indianapolis News identifies her as the first-recorded female Chinese immigrant to the city. 

Read More »
Pictured: Portrait of Moy Kee and his wife in Indianapolis, ca. 1900
Credit: The Indiana Album: Joan Hostetler Collection View Source
1904
Indianapolis
Royal Prince Pu Lun, future emperor of China, guest of Indianapolis, Ind. Week of May 17th, 1904

Visit of Prince Pu Lun

The local Chinese community participates in the 10-day visit of the Chinese prince, rumored heir to the Manchu throne, along with local dignitaries. Pu Lun names Chinese immigrant Moy Kee “Chinese mayor of Indianapolis.”  

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Pictured: Royal Prince Pu Lun, future emperor of China, guest of Indianapolis, Ind. Week of May 17th, 1904
Credit: Library of Congress View Source
1905
International

Russian Anti-Jewish violence

Russian antisemitism escalates as the tsarist regime of Nicholas II deteriorates. A new series of pogroms erupts at the same time as the 1905 Revolution, a precursor to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. With the assistance of the local Industrial Removal Office, immigrants from Belarus, Lithuania, and east-central Poland flee persecution and settle in Indianapolis on the south side.  

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1905
Indianapolis
A brochure about the communal building of the Jewish Federation of Indianapolis, 1923

Jewish Federation of Indianapolis forms

Local Jewish leaders, primarily immigrants of German origin, establish the Jewish Federation to coordinate efforts to serve new Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe who were fleeing virulent anti-Semitism.

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Pictured: A brochure about the communal building of the Jewish Federation of Indianapolis, 1923
Credit: Indiana State Library View Source
1905
State
Dr. Helene Knabe, ca. 1890s

Helene Knabe, a German immigrant, becomes the first woman to serve as deputy state health officer

State Health Commissioner John N. Hurty appoints the East Prussian native to the role. In 1906, she is promoted to assistant state bacteriologist and becomes the first Indiana doctor to champion new treatments for rabies that greatly reduce mortality rates from the disease. 

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Pictured: Dr. Helene Knabe, ca. 1890s
Credit: Library of Congress View Source
May 9, 1905
Indianapolis
Christamore House, 1947

Christamore House opens

Butler University alumnae and urban missionaries Anna C. Stover and Edith D. Surbey create the center for the education and recreation of the immigrant working class in the Atlas neighborhood. 

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Pictured: Christamore House, 1947
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1906
Indianapolis
Max Shapiro with customer Frania Kaplan, May 1950

Louis Shapiro, a Russian Jewish immigrant, opens kosher grocery store

Louis Shapiro, who flees violent attacks on the Jewish community in Odessa in early 1906, sells kosher meats and groceries to the Jewish community living on the Indianapolis south side. He moves from 1032 S. Illinois Street to 808 S. Meridian Street in 1912 and then establishes the location as a delicatessen-cafeteria in the 1930s. 

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Pictured: Max Shapiro with customer Frania Kaplan, May 1950
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1907
Indianapolis
Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Haughville, 2011

Holy Trinity established

The Slovene community, which previously worshipped at St. Patrick’s, opens the Holy Trinity Church in the Haughville neighborhood. 

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Pictured: Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Haughville, 2011
Credit: Nyttend, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1907
Indianapolis
Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union En Route to Summer Camp, 1922

The Normal College of the American Gymnastics Union moves to Indianapolis

Established by Turners, the city’s German community welcomes the school to the Das Deutsche Haus, later known as the Athenaeum. It becomes part of the Indiana University extension in 1941 and the IUPUI School of Physical Education in 1973. 

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Pictured: Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union En Route to Summer Camp, 1922
Credit: Bretzman Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1907
Indianapolis
Rabbi Morris M. Feuerlicht, 1931

Rabbi Morris Feuerlicht, a Hungarian immigrant, leads Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC)

Born in Tokay, Hungary, Feuerlicht follows Mayer Messing as rabbi of IHC. He is active in civic life and becomes the most important Jewish opponent of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s. 

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Pictured: Rabbi Morris M. Feuerlicht, 1931
Credit: The Bretzman Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
Oct 7, 1907
Indianapolis

Honorary Mexican Consulate in Indianapolis

Mexican President Porfirio Diaz appoints Russell B. Harrison as vice consul of Mexico, representing Mexican citizens in Indianapolis and surrounding area.  

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1908
Indianapolis

Workmen’s Circle organizes

East European Jewish immigrants establish an Indianapolis branch of the organization founded in New York City in 1892. Also known as the Arbeiter Ring, the club supports socialism, stresses the study of Yiddish culture and language, and assists members in the event of illness or death. It is an important institution for the city’s Jewish community into the early 1920s. 

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1909
Indianapolis
Holy Rosary Confirmation Parade, ca. 1925

Holy Rosary church established

Bishop Francis Silas Chatard authorizes the formation of a new Catholic congregation, Holy Rosary, for the city’s Italian community.

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Pictured: Holy Rosary Confirmation Parade, ca. 1925
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1909
Indianapolis

Altenheim opens

German immigrants associated with Zion Evangelical Church found the nonprofit German home for the aged of Indianapolis. 

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Oct 23, 1909
Indianapolis

Romanian Progressive Club established

The social club encourages loyalty to the United States through citizenship instruction and developing an understanding between cultures. About 1,000 Romanians live in Indianapolis at this time. 

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1910
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1910


1910
Indianapolis
Members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in front of the church's first permanent structure, 1915

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church incorporates

A small Greek community in Indianapolis forms the church, primarily young men from Tripoli and other central Peloponnesian villages.  

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Pictured: Members of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in front of the church's first permanent structure, 1915
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1910
Indianapolis
Rabbi Isaac Neustadt, n.d.

Bureau of Jewish Education established

Lithuanian immigrant Rabbi Isaac Neustadt cultivates support for the establishment of the city’s central agency for Jewish education. The Bureau, composed of members from the Orthodox congregations (Sharah Tafilla, Ohev Zedeck, Knesses Israel, and the United Hebrew Congregation), opens its first community-wide school in 1911.

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Pictured: Rabbi Isaac Neustadt, n.d.
Credit: Indiana Jewish Historical Society Collection of the Indiana Historical Society View Source
1911
Indianapolis

Dedication of Romanian Orthodox Church

Newly arrived Romanian immigrants form the SS. Constantine and Elena Orthodox Church. The congregation constructs its first building at 635 West Market Street.

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1911
Indianapolis
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, ca. 1950

First Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra forms

The orchestra, composed primarily of German musicians, produces seven seasons of concerts. It folds in November 1917 because of World War I, anti-German sentiment. 

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Pictured: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, ca. 1950
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1911
Indianapolis

Foreign House opens

The Immigrant’s Aid Association opens the settlement to serve simultaneously as a social service agency and an agency of Americanization and Protestant evangelism. 

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Oct 1, 1911
Indianapolis
Immigrant children standing in front of the

Civic leaders establish Immigrants’ Aid Association

The association opens a settlement house at 617 West Pearl to provide social services and Americanize the immigrants.

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Pictured: Immigrant children standing in front of the "Foreigners' House" of the Immigrant's Aid Association, ca. 1910s
Credit: Indianapolis Public Library View Source
Oct 11, 1911
Indianapolis
Moy Kee, n.d.

Moy Kee’s citizenship revoked

The Indianapolis News reports that the U.S. federal court has revoked Moy Kee’s citizenship, alleging it was granted erroneously after the Geary Act (the 1892 extension of the Chinese Exclusion Act) that explicitly forbids naturalization of Chinese individuals. 

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Pictured: Moy Kee, n.d.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1912
Indianapolis
Gustave A. Efroymson, n.d.

Gustave Efroymson becomes president of H. P. Wasson and Company

Efroymson, son of Polish Jewish immigrant and businessman Jacob Efroymson, serves as president of the major downtown retailer before purchasing Real Silk Hosiery Mills in 1932. He becomes an important leader in the Jewish community and makes significant contributions to Indianapolis philanthropy. 

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Pictured: Gustave A. Efroymson, n.d.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Oct 8, 1912
International

War breaks out in the Balkans

Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria declare war on the Ottoman Empire and defeat it. A second Balkan War breaks out on June 16, 1913. Ethnic cleansing marks the Balkan wars, leading to immigration from these countries to the U.S.  


1913
Indianapolis
Original Founders of Etz Chaim, ca. 1930's

Sephardic immigrants establish synagogue

Members of the Sephardic community organize their own synagogue, Congregation Sepharad of Monastir, which is renamed Etz Chaim Congregation in 1919. The congregation moves into a former church at the corner of 64th Street and Hoover Road in 1963 and dedicates a new building at 6339 Hoover Road in 2005.

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Pictured: Original Founders of Etz Chaim, ca. 1930's
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1914
Indianapolis
Sunday school class, Jewish Community Center, November 1937

Jewish Community Center opens

The Jewish Community Center is established as part of the Jewish Federation to provide social and educational programs for everyone of the faith but especially for newly arrived immigrants.

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Pictured: Sunday school class, Jewish Community Center, November 1937
Credit: Indiana Jewish Historical Society Collection of the Indiana Historical Society View Source
Jul 28, 1914
International

World War I begins

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, presumptive heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, triggers the war that substantially slows the number of immigrants coming into the United States from European countries. German residents of Indianapolis face growing anti-German sentiment. 


1915
Indianapolis

St. Stephen’s Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church opens

Macedonian and Bulgarian immigrants establish the St. Stephen Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which first resides on Blackford Street in downtown Indianapolis.


1916
State
Richard Lieber in military dress uniform during World War I.

German immigrant Richard Lieber outlines plans for the Indiana state park system

Lieber’s plan becomes the basis of the state Department of Conservation (now the Department of Natural Resources) and the state park system. He becomes the first director of the Department of Conservation in 1919 and continues in that position until 1933. 

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Pictured: Richard Lieber in military dress uniform during World War I.
Credit: The Bretzman Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1917
National

Immigration Act of 1917 (Barred Zone Act)

The law creates a “barred zone” that extends from the Middle East to Southeast Asia from which no persons are allowed to enter the U.S. It also introduces a literacy test intended to reduce European immigration. 


Apr 17, 1917
International

The U.S. enters World War I

With U.S. entry into the war, anti-German rhetoric is fierce among local leaders, and German cultural institutions become targets of vandals. In response, these organizations anglicize or change their German names. German religious congregations begin performing services in English, and Das Deutsche Haus becomes the Athenaeum.  

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Jan 29, 1918
Indianapolis

German language instruction banned in schools

World War I, anti-German sentiment leads the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners to ban German language study in local schools. In January 1919, the Indiana General Assembly bans German from all schools statewide. 

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May 26, 1918
Indianapolis
The Slovenian National Home, ca. 1940

Slovenian National Home opens

The National Home provides a social club and meeting place dedicated to preserving and passing along Slovenian traditions.  

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Pictured: The Slovenian National Home, ca. 1940
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Jun 1, 1918
Indianapolis

The Telegraph und Tribüne issues final edition

The newspaper, the successor of the Indiana Volksblatt, closes, the victim of World War I, anti-German sentiment. Its demise ends publication of German-language daily newspapers in the city. 

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Jun 12, 1918
National

Beginning of the Midwestern Mexican Diaspora

The U.S. Department of Labor and the Immigration and Naturalization Service authorize the importation of Mexican nationals as laborers in the name of war relief. This “guest worker program” brings Mexican workers all over Indiana.  


1919
Indianapolis
 Portrait of George Henry Alexander Clowes commissioned from Pietro Pezzati between 1953-1956.

British immigrant George H. A. Clowes joins Eli Lilly and Company

J. K. Lilly Sr. hires Clowes to oversee the pharmaceutical company’s research. He is instrumental in the discovery of insulin and its mass production, which revolutionizes the care of diabetes. 

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Pictured: Portrait of George Henry Alexander Clowes commissioned from Pietro Pezzati between 1953-1956.
Credit: Newfields View Source
1920
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1920


1920
Indianapolis
Duesenberg model photographed in front of the Thomas Taggart Memorial at Riverside Park in Indianapolis, n.d.

Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc., opens

German immigrants Fred S. and August S. Duesenberg establish the company at Harding and Washington streets. At this location, they create one of the strongest automobile racing teams of the 1920s. A builder of high-end luxury cars, the automobile manufacturer does not survive the Great Depression, closing in 1937. 

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Pictured: Duesenberg model photographed in front of the Thomas Taggart Memorial at Riverside Park in Indianapolis, n.d.
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1921
State
Vincent A. Lapenta, n.d.

Vincent A. Lapenta appointed Indiana Italian consular agent

Born on an island in the Bay of Naples, Lapenta, a physician also known for his discovery of a serum to control hemorrhage, encourages the formation of Italian societies and lectures on Italian foreign and domestic policy. During World War II, he is detained as an “alien enemy” at Fort Benjamin Harrison. 

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Pictured: Vincent A. Lapenta, n.d.
Credit: Internet Archive View Source
1923
Indianapolis
Drawing and Art Appreciation class for children at the American Settlement, 1937

American Settlement created

The settlement forms through a consolidation of the Foreign House, established by the Immigrants’ Aid Association, and the Presbyterian Chapel, which works mainly with Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants.

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Pictured: Drawing and Art Appreciation class for children at the American Settlement, 1937
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1923
Indianapolis
Daisy Douglass Barr, 1923

Ku Klux Klan Imperial Empress Daisy Douglass Barr calls for boycott of Jewish businesses

Barr openly calls for the campaign against Jewish business owners in Indianapolis, particularly naming William H. Block and his son as active targets of attack. The expressed intent of the Klan boycott is to drive every Jewish-owned business out of Indianapolis and the rest of the state. The Klan’s antisemitic boycott peaks in 1923 and lasts until 1925.  

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Pictured: Daisy Douglass Barr, 1923
Credit: Indianapolis Times View Source
May 26, 1924
National

Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act)

The law establishes a highly discriminatory quota system based on national origin as the primary means of determining immigrants’ admissibility to the U.S. until 1965. 


Sep 9, 1925
Indianapolis

Macedonian Patriotic Organization incorporates

The organization, headquartered in Indianapolis, is founded to boost the movement toward Macedonian independence (a Balkan country divided between Serbia and Bulgaria following WWI). The organization’s newspaper, the Macedonian Tribune, edited by Christo N. Nizamoff, is published between 1927 and 1971. 

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Nov 17, 1926
Indianapolis
Queen Marie of Romania, n.d.

Visit of Queen Marie of Romania

Queen Marie and other members of the royal family are honored with a downtown parade and a banquet at the Columbia Club, with Mayor John L. Duvall, Governor Ed Jackson, and other local dignitaries. In her public remarks made on the front steps of Central Library, Queen Marie calls for world peace and the elimination of “old hatreds.”  

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Pictured: Queen Marie of Romania, n.d.
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
Dec 31, 1926
Indianapolis
Congregation at St. George Syrian Orthodox Church, 1934

Dedication of St. George Syrian Orthodox Church

The church, associated with the Antiochian branch of Orthodox Christianity, opens as the first Arabic-speaking religious congregation in the city. It provides a place of worship for Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox Christian immigrants.

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Pictured: Congregation at St. George Syrian Orthodox Church, 1934
Credit: The Indiana Album: Joan Hostetler Collection View Source
1927
Indianapolis

The Jewish Welfare Fund established

The Jewish Welfare Fund forms to raise funds for local, national, and international Jewish communities. The fund provides relief to individual families as well as to Jewish agencies. 

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1929
Indianapolis
Ko Kuei Chen, n.d.

Ko Kuei Chen joins Eli Lilly and Co.

While at Lilly, Chen, a Chinese immigrant, accumulates many awards for his research and becomes known for his discoveries of ephedrine and a cyanide poison antidote. 

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Pictured: Ko Kuei Chen, n.d.
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1930
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1930


1930
Indianapolis

First full-service Italian restaurant

Italian immigrant Santora “Fred” Iozzo founds the Naples Grill. It becomes Iozzo’s Garden of Italy when it moves to the corner of Illinois and Washington streets and closes in 1940. Members of the Iozzo family revive the restaurant at 946 S. Meridian Street in 2009. 


Nov 2, 1930
Indianapolis
Ferdinand Schaefer rehearses with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1934

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs first concert

Ferdinand Schaefer, a German immigrant, begins the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and serves as the orchestra’s conductor until the 1937–1938 season. The first concert takes place at Shortridge High School.

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Pictured: Ferdinand Schaefer rehearses with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 1934
Credit: IndyStar View Source
1931
Indianapolis

Serbian National Home established

Serbian immigrants organize the home to celebrate their culture and sponsor national observances. The home provides food and clothing to Serbian prisoners of war during World War II. 


Aug 15, 1934
Indianapolis

First Italian Street Festival

Members of Holy Rosary Catholic parish create the event to celebrate Italian heritage, to raise funds, and increase church membership. 

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1937
Indianapolis
Fabien Sevitsky, ca. 1937

Russian immigrant Fabien Sevitzky becomes Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) conductor

Born in Russia, Sevitzky reorganizes the orchestra, significantly increases its concert schedule, and raises it in national prominence. He also establishes the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. He leads ISO until 1955. 

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Pictured: Fabien Sevitsky, ca. 1937
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1938
International

Jewish refugees escape Nazism

European Jewish refugees escaping Hitler’s regime begin arriving in Indianapolis. By 1941, about 250 are city residents. 

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1939
Indianapolis
Louis Mazzini, n.d.

Peruvian immigrant Louis Y. Mazzini develops new test for syphilis

Mazzini creates the test that produces faster, cheaper, and more sensitive results for all stages of syphilis. Used by the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, Mazzini gives patent rights to the Indiana University Foundation. 

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Pictured: Louis Mazzini, n.d.
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
Sep 1, 1939
International

World War II begins

The war begins with the German invasion of Poland. Those escaping Nazi persecution must navigate the strict national origins quota system to immigrate to the U.S. 

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1940
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1940


1942
Indianapolis

Jewish Community Relations Council organizes

The public affairs agency for the greater Indianapolis Jewish community is established to alert the broader community to the perils of Nazism and the Holocaust. 

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Feb 19, 1942
National
A large sign reads

Executive Order 9066 authorizes incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans

Japanese/Japanese Americans are asked to self-report to processing centers and are sent out to several War Relocation Centers (concentration camps) in western states.  

Pictured: A large sign reads "I am an American" was placed in the window of a store on December 8, the day after Pearl Harbor.
Credit: Dorothea Lange, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C. View Source
Dec 7, 1943
National

Repeal of Chinese Exclusion

China’s importance to the U.S. government as its chief ally in the Pacific War against Japan leads U.S. Congress to repeal the Chinese Exclusion laws, placing China under the same restrictive immigration national quota system as European countries. 


Sep 2, 1945
International
Young men celebrate on the evening of the Japanese surrender ending WWII by jumping into the fountains on Monument Circle, 1945

World War II ends

With the surrender of Germany and then Japan, refugees from across Europe immigrate to the U.S. in large numbers. During the Cold War that follows, the Soviet Union and its satellites in the communist Eastern Bloc establish strict controls over emigration, making immigration to the U.S. from these countries difficult. 

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Pictured: Young men celebrate on the evening of the Japanese surrender ending WWII by jumping into the fountains on Monument Circle, 1945
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
Oct 15, 1945
Indianapolis

Disciples of Christ lead effort to move Japanese Americans to Indianapolis

As the Japanese-American internment camps close, the Disciples of Christ, with its national headquarters in the city, help move internees to Indianapolis. Other local organizations, like the International Teamsters, also headquartered in Indianapolis, oppose Japanese resettlement. 

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1947
Indianapolis

First Lutheran Church advocates to rescue refugees

The church’s leadership works to help World War II refugees and immigrants, leading to an influx of German, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian immigrants to the city. The congregation plants the First Latvian Church in 1947 and for a time holds services in Estonian. 

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1948
Indianapolis

Jewish Welfare Federation forms

The Jewish Federation and Jewish Welfare Fund merge to form the Jewish Welfare Federation of Indianapolis. The new organization conducts annual fundraising campaigns to support local and national Jewish organizations.

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Nov 11, 1949
Indianapolis
Sarkes Tarzian, founder of WTTV, n.d.

Armenian immigrant Sarkes Tarzian launches WTTV Channel 4

Armenian immigrant Sarkes Tarzian owns the station, which begins broadcasting from Bloomington but moves to the Indianapolis south side. He also for a time owns WATI-AM. 

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Pictured: Sarkes Tarzian, founder of WTTV, n.d.
Credit: IndyStar View Source
1950
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1950


Mar 12, 1950
Indianapolis

Serbian Orthodox Church established

The first services of the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church are held at the Yugoslav National Home at 3626 West 16th Street. 


Jun 25, 1950
International
South Korean refugees, 1950

Korean War begins

Koreans begin immigrating to the United States—particularly college students, orphans adopted by Americans, and wives of U.S. servicemen. 

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Pictured: South Korean refugees, 1950
Credit: U.S. Defense Department, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1952
Indianapolis

Chinese Club established

Chinese immigrants form a private social club at 134 E. New York Street. It remains in operation until 1958. A second Chinese Club is established at 314 Massachusetts Avenue in 1960. 

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1952
Indianapolis

Estonian Society of Indianapolis founded

The society supports anti-Soviet dissidents and organizes a variety of activities to foster understanding of Estonian culture. 


Jun 27, 1952
National

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

Although the act, also known as the McCarran-Walter Act, formally removes race as a reason for exclusion, it expands immigration enforcement and offensive national origins quotas. 


1953
Indianapolis
Sarah Wolf Goodman, 1963

Austrian immigrant Sarah Wolf Goodman becomes president of the Indianapolis Jewish Welfare Federation

Born in Vienna, Austria, Goodman is the only woman to be the president of the Indianapolis Jewish Welfare Federation and the first woman to hold such a position in the U.S. She serves in the position until 1956. 

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Pictured: Sarah Wolf Goodman, 1963
Credit: IndyStar View Source
Aug 7, 1953
National

Immigration Refugee Relief Act

This relief act increases the allotment of special visas for individuals who come from communist countries in Eastern Europe but also from China and other countries in the Far East.  


1958
Indianapolis

Mexican Social Club founded

The club becomes the first formal Hispanic organization in the city. 


Dec 9, 1958
Indianapolis

John Birch Society founded

Members of the society believe that “both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians.” They oppose the United Nations and any cultural exchange with communist countries. Its headquarters move to Appleton, Wisconsin in the 1990s. 

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Feb 16, 1959
International

Fidel Castro officially comes to power in Cuba

Following the fall of Fugencio Batista, Castro is named prime minister of Cuba. The U.S. recognizes his government, but relations break down quickly as Castro implements a communist regime and forges close ties with the Soviet Union. The United States cuts diplomatic ties with Cuba on January 3, 1961. By the end of 1962, 58,000 Cuban refugees enter the U.S. About 300 of them settle in Indianapolis. 


1960
Indianapolis
Barangay Club of Indiana Dancers, 2019

Barangay Club founded

A group of the city’s Filipino immigrants establish the club to present programs and exhibit arts and crafts of the Philippines. Filipinos were not allowed to immigrate to the U.S. until 1946. They make up about 4 percent of the Indianapolis immigrant population in the last decades of the 20th century. 

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Pictured: Barangay Club of Indiana Dancers, 2019
Credit: Barangay Club of Indiana View Source
1960
Indianapolis
Joe Rangel of Acapulco Joe's, 1982

Acapulco Joe’s opens as first major Mexican restaurant

Mexican immigrant Jose Guadalupe Robles Rangel opens the first major downtown Mexican restaurant at 342 N. Illinois Street. It moves to 365 N. Illinois Street in 1983 and closes in 2019. 

Read More »
Pictured: Joe Rangel of Acapulco Joe's, 1982
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1963
Indianapolis

Cuban Association established

The Free Cuban Association highlights the country’s culture and assists approximately 300 refugees who come to the city fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime during the early 1960s. 


1965
Indianapolis
Benito Lopez, Carmen Velasquez, and staff from AMOS (Associated Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc.) and supporters of migrant farm workers rights organize a march from Marion, Indiana to the Governor's Mansion in Indianapolis, 1971

Associated Migrant Opportunities Services, Inc. (AMOS)

AMOS, located in Indianapolis, formalizes and unifies outreach and services for Indiana’s farmworker community. This is made possible through a federal grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity, through President Johnson’s War on Poverty initiative. 

Pictured: Benito Lopez, Carmen Velasquez, and staff from AMOS (Associated Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc.) and supporters of migrant farm workers rights organize a march from Marion, Indiana to the Governor's Mansion in Indianapolis, 1971
Credit: Velasquez Family, Indiana Historical Society View Source
Dec 1, 1965
National

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

This act, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, significantly overhauls immigration policies by ending the restrictive policies based on ethnicity. The law also marks a turning point in Indianapolis, as its population becomes increasingly diverse following its passage. 


1967
Indianapolis

St. Mary’s Catholic offers Sunday mass in Spanish

As the Hispanic population in Indianapolis grows, St. Mary’s offers Sunday mass in Spanish. The parish becomes the center of the Archdiocesan Hispanic Apostolate, serving the needs of Spanish-speaking Catholics in the city.

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1968
Indianapolis
Norbert Neuss, n.d.

Polish immigrant Norbert Neuss founds the Fine Art Society

Neuss, an immigrant from Krakow, Poland, organizes the society, later known as Classical Music Indy, with a group of Eli Lilly researchers interested in providing a radio outlet for classical music. He becomes well-known as an arts supporter and as a voice on Fine Arts Society broadcasts.  

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Pictured: Norbert Neuss, n.d.
Credit: Indianapolis Public Library View Source
1968
Indianapolis
India Association of Indianapolis Holi celebration, 2013

India Association of Indianapolis organizes

Established by the first 15 Indian families that come to the city, the India Association of Indianapolis promotes the cultural activities of India, fosters cultural exchange, and carries out educational and charitable activities. During the last decades of the 20th century, the Indian community grows to make up 6 percent of the Indianapolis immigrant population. 

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Pictured: India Association of Indianapolis Holi celebration, 2013
Credit: Matt Kryger, IndyStar View Source
1969
Indianapolis

Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis established

The congregation is the first Sikh place of worship, or gurdwara, in Central Indiana. As other gurdwaras open across the city, it becomes the leader in Sikh community outreach efforts and commitment.

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1971
Indianapolis

El Centro Hispano/The Hispanic Center opens

The Hispano-American Association, responding to the needs of the city’s Hispanic population, opens El Centro Hispano/The Hispanic Center with funding and support from the government and several churches.

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1971
Indianapolis

Korean Society forms

Primarily a social organization, the society provides services to newly arrived immigrants. Koreans make up 5 percent of the immigrant population of Indianapolis in 1980. 


1972
Indianapolis
Food and culture meet during one of the programs at the International Center of Indianapolis, 1974

International Center of Indianapolis established

The need for interpreters and translators for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Conference of Mayors in 1973 sparks the formation of the International Center. It later grows to provide services to local ethnic groups.

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Pictured: Food and culture meet during one of the programs at the International Center of Indianapolis.
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1972
Indianapolis
K.P. Singh and Bart Peterson at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis for Rangeela Punjab, a celebration of Punjabi culture, 2002

K. P. Singh Designs created

Well-known as a community leader, Indian immigrant K. P. Singh establishes his business to market his hand-drawn drawings and prints of Indianapolis landmarks and of other buildings across the world. His artwork is featured in many public and private collections. 

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Pictured: K.P. Singh and Bart Peterson at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis for Rangeela Punjab, a celebration of Punjabi culture, 2002
Credit: K.P. Singh, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1973
Indianapolis
The congregation built the the Masjid Al-Fajr Mosque in the 1990s.

A Sunni Muslim congregation forms

The first traditional Muslim congregation in Indianapolis, the group eventually builds Al-Fajr (Morning) mosque on Cold Spring Road.

Read More »
Pictured: The congregation built the the Masjid Al-Fajr Mosque in the 1990s.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1973
Indianapolis
Festival-goers watch a live performance at the annual Greek Fest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 2018

First Indy GreekFest

Holy Trinity parish begins hosting Indy GreekFest, a festival aimed at celebrating and sharing Hellenic heritage and the Orthodox Christian faith. 

Read More »
Pictured: Festival-goers watch a live performance at the annual Greek Fest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 2018
Credit: Jenna Watson, IndyStar View Source
Nov 1, 1973
Indianapolis

Chinese Community Church of Indianapolis established

The congregation, which began as a Bible study in 1968, worships at Meridian Street Methodist Church before moving to 56th and Broadway in 1982 and then to Carmel in 1999.

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1974
Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Association of Chinese Americans organizes

The association provides a sense of community to the Chinese in the city. It offers opportunities to showcase Chinese culture and heritage and to integrate with American society.

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1974
Indianapolis
Steven Beering, 1979

Steven C. Beering, a German refugee, becomes dean of the IU School of Medicine

Beering, a German Jew who escapes the Nazi regime to come to the U.S. in 1948, becomes the youngest dean of the medical school. He serves as president of Purdue University from 1983 to 2000. 

Read More »
Pictured: Steven Beering, 1979
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1974
Indianapolis
Christel DeHaan with RCI sign, ca. 1990s

German immigrant Christel DeHaan founds Resort Condominiums International

Born in Germany during World War II, DeHaan establishes the Indianapolis-based company that grows into an international enterprise with offices in 38 countries. She sells the company in 1996 to focus on her philanthropic endeavors, which include Christel House International and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation. 

Read More »
Pictured: Christel DeHaan with RCI sign, ca. 1990s
Credit: Christel House View Source
1975
Indianapolis

Latvian immigrant founds Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Viktor Ziedonis, an immigrant from Daugavpils, Latvia, organizes the ensemble that becomes the orchestra in residence at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in 2011. 

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May 23, 1975
National
South Vietnamese refugees walk across a U.S. Navy vessel, 1975

End of Vietnam War: Indochina Migration and Refugee Act

Signed one month after the fall of Saigon (April 30, 1975), the act grants refugees from communist regimes in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia special status to enter the country and establishes a domestic resettlement program. The Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis establishes Catholic Charities Indianapolis Refugee and Immigrant Services to resettle Vietnamese immigrants in 1975, and the Jewish Federation also settles Vietnamese refugees in the Indianapolis area in 1975-1976. 

Read More »
Pictured: South Vietnamese refugees walk across a U.S. Navy vessel, 1975
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1976
Indianapolis
Children participate in the 1982 International Festival for the International Center.

International Festival begins

Under the management of the International Center, the festival begins as part of the nation’s bicentennial. It provides a platform for various ethnic groups to showcase their contributions to the culture, history, and economy of Indiana.

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Pictured: Children participate in the 1982 International Festival for the International Center.
Credit: Jill Kramer, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1976
National

Emigration of Jews out of the Soviet Union

When the Soviet Union’s policy regarding the emigration of Jews loosens from 1976 to 1979, the pace of emigration increases. The Jewish Federation of Indianapolis begins resettling Jewish Soviet immigrants in the mid-1970s. 


1976
State

Polish Cultural Society of Indiana founded

The Polish Cultural Society of Indiana organizes to heighten awareness of the contributions of residents of Polish descent to Indianapolis and the state. 


1976
Indianapolis
The Indianapolis Minyo Dancers performing at the 1997 International Festival.

The Japanese-American Citizen League and the Minyo Club of Dancers form

Japanese immigrants form these clubs to combat racial discrimination and to introduce Japanese culture to Indianapolis and the rest of the state. 

Read More »
Pictured: The Indianapolis Minyo Dancers performing at the 1997 International Festival.
Credit: Japanese American Citizens League View Source
1977
Indianapolis
Rabbi Dr. Dennis Sasso at the Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, 2020

Dennis Sasso becomes leader of Beth-El Zedeck

The Panamanian immigrant becomes the senior rabbi at the synagogue. He and his wife Sandy are the first married rabbinical couple in world history and become important civic leaders in the city. 

Read More »
Pictured: Rabbi Dr. Dennis Sasso at the Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, 2020
Credit: Grace Hollars, IndyStar View Source
1978
Indianapolis
Gus Watanabe Lecturing, ca. 1990s

Gus Watanabe named professor of internal medicine at the IU School of Medicine

At age 37, the Japanese American is the youngest physician ever to reach this rank in the history of the medical school. He goes on to chair the department in 1983 and then works for Eli Lilly and Company, where he is executive vice president of science and technology. 

Read More »
Pictured: Gus Watanabe Lecturing, ca. 1990s
Credit: Margaret R. Watanabe, Indiana Historical Society View Source
1979
Indianapolis
Javier Amezcua, owner of El Sol de Tala, 2015

El Sol De Tala opens

Mexican immigrant Javier Amezcua reopens the restaurant originally known as El Sol, marketing it as “the most authentic Mexican restaurant in town.” It closes in 2015. 

Read More »
Pictured: Javier Amezcua, owner of El Sol de Tala, 2015
Credit: Robert Scheer, IndyStar View Source
1979
Indianapolis

Greater Indianapolis Telugu Association established

Immigrants from Andhra Pradesh, India, whose language and culture differ from the broader group of Hindi- and Gujarati-speaking Indians, organize the association to provide cultural education about Telugu drama, dance, and fashion. 

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Feb 11, 1979
International
Protests in Iran, 1978

Iranian Revolution

In an Islamic revolution that erupts in 1978, the last remnants of Shah Mohammad Reza’s government collapses, leading to the rise of the country’s Islamic Republic. The revolution results in roughly 330,000 Iranians immigrating to the United States as asylum seekers and political refugees. 

Pictured: Protests in Iran, 1978
Credit: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons View Source
1980
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1980


Apr 20, 1980
International

Mariel Boatlift begins

Fidel Castro announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. may travel by boat from Mariel Harbor. The boatlift spans a six-month period, ending in October, and includes about 1,700 boats that deliver 125,000 Cuban refugees to American shores. Volunteers from several Indianapolis churches band together to resettle the Cuban refugees who arrive in the city. 


1981
Indianapolis

Korean Presbyterian Church is established

The Korean Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis is organized. The church not only conducts services in Korean but also establishes a Korean school.

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1981
Indianapolis

Exodus Refugee organizes

The nonprofit organization is established to serve the legal needs of Cuban refugees who arrive in Central Indiana following the 1980 Mariel boatlift. It becomes the largest resettlement agency in the state for refugees and displaced persons fleeing persecution. 

Read More »

1981
Indianapolis

Indianapolis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce founded

Established as a nonprofit, the organization works to promote Hispanic businesses. 

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Sep 1, 1981
Indianapolis
Anderson Ballet Folklorico at Fiesta Indianapolis, 2008

First FIESTA Indianapolis Festival

The first annual festival to celebrate the Latino community is a day-long event that takes place at Indiana World War Memorial Plaza. It becomes part of La Plaza, Inc. in 2004. 

Read More »
Pictured: Anderson Ballet Folklorico at Fiesta Indianapolis, 2008
Credit: Jammy Straub, IndyStar View Source
1982
State

Islamic Society of North America organizes in Plainfield

The society houses the five department offices of its General Secretariat and several specialized organizations, with a focus on developing Muslim identity and supporting Muslim communities in North America. 

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1983
Indianapolis
Patrick M. Conneally, n.d.

Irish immigrant Patrick Michael Conneally discovers genetic marker for Huntington’s Disease

Born in Ireland, Conneally, a member of the IU School of Medicine faculty, goes on to be one of the researchers who map the actual Huntington’s Disease gene in 1993—the first human gene to be mapped using DNA techniques. He is recognized as a leader in human genetics. 

Read More »
Pictured: Patrick M. Conneally, n.d.
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
1984
Indianapolis
Italian Festival, 2015

Holy Rosary revives Italian Street Festival

Holy Rosary Catholic Church revives the annual festival, first held in 1934, to celebrate the Italian heritage of its surrounding neighborhood. 

Read More »
Pictured: Italian Festival, 2015
Credit: Liz Biro, IndyStar View Source
1985
Indianapolis

India Community Center opens

With a rising Asian Indian population in Indianapolis, the center provides a place for organized social and cultural celebrations. The Indian community makes up 6 percent of the immigrant population of Indianapolis in 1990. 

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1986
Indianapolis
Front view of the Chùa An Lḁc Vietnamese Buddhist Temple, ca. 2010s

An Lḁc Buddhist Temple founded

A group of Vietnamese Americans establishes the Chùa An Lḁc, or the An Lḁc temple, in two adjacent homes to have a space to practice its form of Buddhism. 

Read More »
Pictured: Front view of the Chùa An Lḁc Vietnamese Buddhist Temple, ca. 2010s
Credit: Chad Bauman
Nov 6, 1986
National

Immigration Reform and Control Act

U.S. Congress addresses the problem of unauthorized immigration by implementing a multi-pronged system that provides amnesty for established residents, increases border enforcement, enhances requirements of employers, and expands guestworker visa programs. 


Aug 7, 1987
National
The Pan Am Plaza is located at 201 S. Capitol Ave. and was created for the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.

Tenth Pan American Games begin

Indianapolis hosts the international sporting event for athletes from nations of the Americas which takes place between August 7-23. 

Read More »
Pictured: The Pan Am Plaza is located at 201 S. Capitol Ave. and was created for the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source
1988
State

Japan-America Society of Indiana forms

The organization explores issues in the Japan-U.S. relationship and presents a wide range of cultural events, networking receptions, and public affairs presentations. 

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1989
Indianapolis

Soviet Jewish resettlement expands

Through the activism of the Jewish Federation, over 200 Soviet Jews settle in the city between 1989 and 1991. 

Read More »

1990
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 1990


Nov 29, 1990
National

Immigration Act of 1990

The act revises the Immigration Act of 1965 by increasing the immigration allotment for the 1992-1994 fiscal years and adds visa categorizations: family-based immigration visa, employment-based visas, a diversity visa program, and the creation of a lottery for immigrants from “low admittance” countries or countries whose citizenry is underrepresented in the U.S.  


Aug 9, 1992
Indianapolis

First Balkan Fest

The St. Stephens Bulgarian and SS. Constantine and Elena Romanian Orthodox churches partner with the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church to hold the festival that highlights the culture of these Balkan countries. St. Nicholas later sponsors the annual Serb Fest. 


1994
State
International School of Indiana, n.d.

The International School of Indiana opens

The school employs native speakers of French, Spanish, and Mandarin to establish its full language immersion programs. Fifty nationalities typically represent the International School’s student population. 

Read More »
Pictured: International School of Indiana, n.d.
Credit: International School of Indiana View Source
1995
Indianapolis

Race and Cultural Relations Network convened

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee organizes the network that serves as a mechanism to foster positive relationships among the city’s diverse populations. 

Read More »

1995
State

Philippine American Medical Technologists, Indiana Chapter established

The organization unites Filipino Medical Technologists who reside in the state and works for the advancement of their common interests. The establishment of the Philippine Nurses Association of Indiana follows in 1999. 

Read More »

Oct 23, 1995
Indianapolis
Dragon head of Chinese Dragon Group, at the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center's annual Chinese School/community center picnic, May 19, 2019.

Indianapolis Chinese Community Center incorporates

The community center organizes to provide Chinese families in Indianapolis a place for children to learn Chinese language and culture. Its mission includes teaching Chinese to non-Chinese-speaking families and to promote Chinese culture and heritage.

Read More »
Pictured: Dragon head of Chinese Dragon Group, at the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center's annual Chinese School/community center picnic, May 19, 2019.
Credit: Kelly Wilkinson, IndyStar View Source
1996
Indianapolis
Members of the St. Patricks Day Rogues Pipes & Drums perform during the 23rd annual Indy Irish Fest at Military Park in Indianapolis, 2018

First Indy Irish Fest

The festival showcases Irish culture as well as the contributions the country’s immigrants have made to Indianapolis. 

Read More »
Pictured: Members of the St. Patricks Day Rogues Pipes & Drums perform during the 23rd annual Indy Irish Fest at Military Park in Indianapolis, 2018
Credit: Michelle Pemberton, IndyStar View Source
1999
Indianapolis

Asian American Alliance established

The organization enhances relationships between the Asian American community and the Central Indiana community at large. 


2000
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 2000


2000
Indianapolis
This 2003 edition of La Voz features an article about the Indianapolis Colts.

La Voz begins publication

Liliana Hamnik, born and raised in Columbia, establishes the newspaper to educate and inform the city and state’s growing Latino community with her Spanish-language newspaper. 

Read More »
Pictured: This 2003 edition of La Voz features an article about the Indianapolis Colts.
Credit: Indianapolis Public Library View Source
2001
State
Speaker for Indiana Latino Institute, 2019

Indiana Latino Institute established

The Institute provides aid to organizations that serve the Latino community statewide. It first focuses on health-related programming but grows to address many important issues facing the Latino population, including education. 

Read More »
Pictured: Speaker for Indiana Latino Institute, 2019
Credit: Marlene Dotson, Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. View Source
Sep 11, 2001
Indianapolis

Muslim Alliance of Indiana founded

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, leaders of the Muslim community create the Muslim Alliance to counter misinformation about members of the Muslim community, encourage civic engagement, establish interfaith alliances, and connect with intra-faith communities.

Read More »

2002
Indianapolis
The Al Huda Foundation opened its mosque in 2021.

Al Huda Foundation organizes in Fishers

Al Huda Foundation is incorporated to serve Muslims in Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, and northern portions of Indianapolis. It grows to become the largest congregation of Muslims in Indiana.

Read More »
Pictured: The Al Huda Foundation opened its mosque in 2021.
Credit: WFYI View Source
Nov 22, 2002
National
The Fletcher Place neighborhood location is one of the many different locations the Mexican Consulate has called since it first opened.

Mexican Consulate opens

The consulate serves 80,000 Marion County residents of Mexican heritage. It focuses on aiding local residents in obtaining ID cards, passports, and visas among other services. 

Read More »
Pictured: The Fletcher Place neighborhood location is one of the many different locations the Mexican Consulate has called since it first opened.
Credit: Robert Scheer via Imagn Content Services, LLC View Source
2004
Indianapolis
La Plaza, 2021

La Plaza forms

FIESTA Indianapolis, El Centro Hispano, and the Hispanic Education Center merge to become La Plaza, Inc. 

Read More »
Pictured: La Plaza, 2021
Credit: Robert Scheer, IndyStar View Source
Oct 13, 2004
Indianapolis

Latino Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence founded

The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Latino and immigrant families impacted by domestic and sexual violence. 

Read More »

2005
Indianapolis
Mary Clark, executive director of the International Marketplace Coalition, 2018

International Marketplace Coalition forms

The community development corporation in the district, formerly known as the Lafayette Square neighborhood, organizes to highlight and encourage the growing and diverse number of Hispanic/Latino, African, Asian, and European businesses in the area. 

Read More »
Pictured: Mary Clark, executive director of the International Marketplace Coalition, 2018
Credit: Tim Swarens, IndyStar View Source
2006
Indianapolis
Volunteers at St. Mary Catholic Church prepare for march calling for workplace reforms and  better pathways for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, 2006

St. Mary’s priest organizes Indiana Justice for Immigrants Coalition

St. Mary’s Church becomes a focal point of support for Latino civil rights when Father Thomas Fox creates the coalition over concerns that lawmakers are moving to keep illegal immigrants from receiving public assistance and medical treatment.

Read More »
Pictured: Volunteers at St. Mary Catholic Church prepare for march calling for workplace reforms and better pathways for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, 2006
Credit: Kelly Wilkinson, IndyStar View Source
2006
Indianapolis
Immigrant Welcome Center staff at Shalom Health Fair, 2019

Immigrant Welcome Center established

The center, founded by volunteers, assists immigrants and refugees in getting the services and resources they need to settle in Indianapolis.

Read More »
Pictured: Immigrant Welcome Center staff at Shalom Health Fair, 2019
Credit: Immigrant Welcome Center View Source
2006
Indianapolis

Thousands rally for immigration reform

Approximately 15,000 people march in downtown Indianapolis to rally for immigration reform. Several national marches take place in various U.S. cities in the spring. 


Feb 5, 2006
Indianapolis
Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, n.d.

Hindu Temple of Central Indiana opens to worshipers

Created to serve the growing Hindu population, the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana is the first traditional Hindu temple in Indiana. 

Read More »
Pictured: Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, n.d.
Credit: Chad M. Bauman
2007
Indianapolis

Latino Youth Collective organizes

The organization provides resources and opportunities for Latino youth to engage in personal and community development, using critical thinking, grassroots organizing, and collective action. 


2007
Indianapolis
Gigi Thomas, of south side Indianapolis, performs with a conical, an Asian sun hat, during the eighth annual Asian Festival, 2015

First Asian Fest

Hosted by the Asian American Alliance, Inc., Asian Fest celebrates the diverse Asian cultures of central Indiana. 

Read More »
Pictured: Gigi Thomas, of south side Indianapolis, performs with a conical, an Asian sun hat, during the eighth annual Asian Festival, 2015
Credit: Jenna Watson, IndyStar View Source
2008
Indianapolis
Wiener dogs race during German Fest at the historic Athenaeum building, 2019

First GermanFest

The festival, held at the Athenaeum, highlights the strong German heritage in Indianapolis and raises funds for the maintenance and care of the Athenaeum building. 

Read More »
Pictured: Wiener dogs race during German Fest at the historic Athenaeum building, 2019
Credit: Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar, Indianapolis Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC View Source
2010
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 2010


2011
State

Burmese American Community Institute founded

The institute supports Burmese newcomers to Indiana, who make up the largest number of immigrants from the region in the U.S. The highest concentration of the Burmese settle on the north and south sides of Indianapolis. Burmese immigrants make up 10 percent of the immigrant population of Indianapolis in 2020. 

Read More »

May 10, 2011
State

Protest spurs creation of the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance

A protest to oppose House Bill 1402, which would deny undocumented students the lower tuition fees offered to in-state university students, takes place outside Governor Mitch Daniels’ office in the statehouse. The protests prompt formation of the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance, a youth-led organization that empowers undocumented youth to reach high levels of education and works to influence public policy and improve the quality of life of the undocumented in Indianapolis and Indiana. 


2012
Indianapolis

Center for Interfaith Cooperation established

The organization seeks to inspire cooperation among all religious and cultural groups to strengthen civil society. 

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2012
Indianapolis

NOPAL Cultural organizes

The grassroots multicultural volunteer-operated organization is established with the goal of enhancing Latin-American art in the city. 

Read More »

Jun 15, 2012
National
Alicia Cardoza-Regalado, DACA recipient and neighborhood advocate for the Indianapolis Mayor's Office, 2022

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA provides temporary (renewable) legal protection to those who were brought to the United States as children. It also offers them work permits. This act does not provide a pathway to citizenship. The program is extended in 2014. The Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance responds by establishing a scholarship fund for students with DACA status in addition to providing other financial and legal resources. 

Pictured: Alicia Cardoza-Regalado, DACA recipient and neighborhood advocate for the Indianapolis Mayor's Office, 2022
Credit: Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK View Source
Nov 2, 2013
Indianapolis
Young performers with the Anderson Ballet Folklorico perform during the Día de Muertos event at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 2019

First Day of the Dead celebration

NOPAL Cultural launches its first Dia de Muertos event at Studio B Gallery on Massachusetts Avenue. The organization begins its partnership with the Eiteljorg Museum for the event in 2014. 

Read More »
Pictured: Young performers with the Anderson Ballet Folklorico perform during the Día de Muertos event at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 2019
Credit: Doug McSchooler, IndyStar View Source
Nov 17, 2015
Indianapolis
Nasser Paydar, 2014

Iranian immigrant Nasser Paydar appointed chancellor of IUPUI

Paydar, an immigrant from Iran, becomes the fifth chancellor of IUPUI, as well as an executive vice president for Indiana University

Read More »
Pictured: Nasser Paydar, 2014
Credit: Indiana University Indianapolis View Source
Dec 8, 2015
State
Joseph W. Tobin, 2017

Catholic Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin welcomes Syrian refugees in opposition to Gov. Mike Pence

Although Gov. Pence halts state funding for resettlement of Syrian refugees, Tobin uses money available through Catholic Charities and resettles a Syrian refugee family in Indianapolis. 

Read More »
Pictured: Joseph W. Tobin, 2017
Credit: Adsderrick via Wikimedia Commons View Source
2016
Indianapolis

IUPUI students establish Dreamers Alliance: United as One

When the future of DACA becomes uncertain with the election of President Donald Trump, IUPUI students organize the group that provides support to undocumented students and directs them to academic, financial, and legal resources. It raises awareness about the issues facing the undocumented and creates a support system for them within the IUPUI and Indianapolis community. 

Read More »

Nov 16, 2018
Indianapolis
People gather for photos with Vice President Mike Pence after the Infosys announcement event on April 26, 2018.

Infosys breaks ground on its U.S. Education Center

Infosys, an India-based global leader in technology services, begins construction of a new $245 million education center and residential facility on the site of the former Indianapolis International Airport terminal.

Read More »
Pictured: People gather for photos with Vice President Mike Pence after the Infosys announcement event on April 26, 2018.
Credit: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar View Source
2020
State

Arte Mexicano en Indiana established

Arte Mexicano en Indiana organizes as a nonprofit that encourages and promotes Mexican art, music, and culture throughout the state. 


2020
Indianapolis

Marion County Census, 2020


Nov 9, 2020
State
Sen. Fady Qaddoura, 2022

First Arab Muslim elected to Indiana Senate

Indianapolis resident Fady Qaddoura is elected to represent the 30th district in the Indiana Senate, making him the first Arab Muslim lawmaker in the state’s history.

Read More »
Pictured: Sen. Fady Qaddoura, 2022
Credit: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK View Source
2021
State
Cristina Miranda, right, works the Philippines Cultural Community Center booth during the Filipino Bazaar, 2021

Philippines Cultural Community Center opens

The center supports new Filipino immigrants to Indiana and works to educate people about Filipino culture. In 2020, Filipinos make up 2 percent of the immigrant population in Indianapolis. 

Read More »
Pictured: Cristina Miranda, right, works the Philippines Cultural Community Center booth during the Filipino Bazaar, 2021
Credit: Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC View Source
2021
State

Afghan refugees housed at Camp Atterbury

Following U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, 7,200 evacuees resettle at Camp Atterbury under a National Resettlement Act in 2014. About half stay to become Indiana residents. 

Read More »

Jun 16, 2022
Indianapolis

Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History premieres

Public TV station WFYI Channel 20 debuts the documentary film, by IUPUI professor Edward Curtis IV, which reveals the history and contributions of people of Arab descent who have settled in Indianapolis since the 1890s. 

Read More »

Oct 29, 2022
Indianapolis
People gather at a ground breaking ceremony for the Islamic Life Center, 2022

Islamic Life Center breaks ground on new facility in Carmel

The Islamic Life Center, near West 141st Street and Shelborne Road, is the city’s first mosque. The Al Salam Foundation began the process to build the center in 2018. They were met with opposition from Carmel residents despite having the support of the city and religious leaders.

Read More »
Pictured: People gather at a ground breaking ceremony for the Islamic Life Center, 2022
Credit: Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK View Source