President Madison signs the Enabling Act of 1816
The act authorizes the people of the Indiana Territory to form a constitution and state government.
The act authorizes the people of the Indiana Territory to form a constitution and state government.
In St. Mary’s, Ohio, the Miami, Delaware, Wea, and Potawatomi tribes ceded their land in the middle of Indiana (dubbed the New Purchase) to the U.S. in exchange for cash, salt, sawmills, and other goods. It continued the process of Indian removals begun by the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.
Perkins builds the first cabin in the area along a small creek near present-day Michigan Road, now known as Pogue’s Run, but moves to Rush County. George Pogue takes over Perkins’ cabin when he comes to the area in March 1820.
John McCormick and family leave Connersville on February 18th, searching for a new homestead. After eight days, McCormick chooses the west bank of the White River as his new home.
George Pogue and family are the second group to settle in the future city of Indianapolis. Pogue, a blacksmith from Connersville, settles near the creek that now bears his name, Pogue’s Run.
The capital selection committee convenes at John McCormick’s cabin and chooses the site at the confluence of White River and Fall Creek for Indiana’s new state capital.
Reverend William Cravens organizes the first church after a Methodist gathering at Isaac Wilson’s log cabin during the summer of 1821.
In the spring of 1821, Joseph C. Reed becomes the first teacher after he established a school in the small community cabin at Kentucky and Washington streets.
The Indiana General Assembly approves the location suggested by the selection committee as the state’s permanent capital. The new capital is named Indianapolis, a term coined by Judge Jeremiah Sullivan. It means “City of Indiana.”
Christopher Harrison, the commissioner overseeing the layout of Indianapolis, selects Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham to survey the four-square-mile tract of land that makes up the new capital.
Heavy rainfall creates conditions for the spread of malaria, claiming the lives of 72 residents, or 1 of 8 people living in Indianapolis.
Major Thomas Carter serves as auctioneer in Matthias Nowland’s cabin. The sale lasts for seven days and results in the sale of 314 lots for $35,596 total.
The General Assembly passes an act passed to create Marion County. In addition, it provides $8,000 to build a courthouse. The next day, Governor Jennings appoints Hervey Bates as sheriff.
Nathaniel Bolton publishes the Gazette, making it the first newspaper in Indianapolis. The newspaper is issued at irregular intervals at first and is politically neutral.
Samuel Henderson, one of the first settlers in Indianapolis, becomes postmaster of the town’s first post office.
The newly elected county officers meet for the first time and divide the county into 13 townships for administrative purposes.
Thousands of gray squirrels move across Central Indiana and Indianapolis. These migrations are common at this time and are of concern because they destroy cornfields.
Having first met in a log schoolhouse in August 1822, the First Baptist Church officially organizes.
Nicholas McCarty opens the first general store in Fall 1823. Located on the southwest comer of Washington and Pennsylvania streets, it become known as “McCarty’s Corner.”
Harvey Gregg and Douglass Maguire begin the town’s second newspaper, The Western Censor and Emigrant’s Guide, publishing it out of Gregg’s house.
The First Presbyterian congregation completes its formal constitution after having gathered in a schoolhouse for multiple months.
A traveling theatrical group presents the first theatrical production on New Year’s Eve, “The Doctor’s Courtship” and “Jealous Lover”. The performances take place in the dining room of Thomas Carter’s tavern, the Rosebush Tavern.
John Baker and James Paxton complete construction on the courthouse in Fall 1824. It serves as both the courthouse and the first State House in Indianapolis.
The General Assembly makes Indianapolis the seat of the state government. The law will not become effective until January 1, 1825.
Seventy-one Indianapolis citizens sign a charter to designate the area on the west side of Kentucky Avenue near the White River as the town’s official cemetery. It had served as a burial ground from 1821.
The Indiana General Assembly has its first session in Indianapolis after officially moving from Corydon on January 1, 1825.
John Douglass and Douglass Maguire publish the first issue of the Indiana Journal with a focus on political issues.
The state library opens with the secretary of state acting as librarian. The General Assembly establishes it to provide library service to the legislature, state government officials, and other governmental personnel.
A volunteer fire department organizes several months after the first recorded fire. The department uses a church bell for alarms and has only ladders and buckets to fight fires.
Three years after the first “union sunday school” takes place, Indiana Sabbath School Union, established at Charlestown, forms three branches, one of which is in Indianapolis.
Although designated as the governor’s house, no governor takes up residence there. It serves several other functions before being demolished in 1857. Governor’s Circle later become known as Monument Circle.
First used in 1822 to celebrate the city’s first Independence Day, Congress donates the land that is current day Military Park to Indiana for militia training.
Indianapolis residents gather at the Methodist meetinghouse and organize the Temperance Society of Marion County. Members of the new society pledge to discontinue alcohol use unless needed medicinally.
Marion County circuit court judge Bethuel F. Morris rules that an enslaved woman and her three children passing through Indiana with their owner are free because slavery is prohibited by the state constitution. The case is one of the first such decisions in the nation, and it is highly controversial in Indiana.
Population in 1830 totals 1900 residents
African American: 64
On the same day, both the Indianapolis Female School and Miss Hooker’s Female School open, becoming the town’s first schools for young women. Both are short-lived.
The steamboat reputedly is the only one ever to ascend the White River to Indianapolis. The vessel runs aground on its return trip, dashing hopes about the navigability of the waterway.
The Town of Indianapolis incorporates, and the local government is placed under the direction of five trustees to be elected on September 29.
John O’Kane, a Virginia evangelist and “Campbellite,” establishes the Church of Christ (Central Christian Church). Early leaders include Butler Smith, John Sanders, and Zerelda Wallace (wife of Governor David Wallace).
The formation of a local Whig organization comes as the state begins to split along national divisions. Though Indiana leaned Democrat, Whigs become the leading party in Indianapolis.
The Marion County Seminary building officially opens under the leadership of Ebenezer Dumont. The seminary, a public academy, becomes known as one of the leading schools in central Indiana.
The firm of Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis finish construction on the new State House. The Greek Revival-style building is completed at a cost of approximately $60,000.
Rev. Claude Francis of Logansport offers the first Catholic Mass in Indianapolis at Powers Tavern on West Washington Street.
After forming in June, the Marion County Agriculture Society plans the first Marion County fair, which is held on October 30–31 at the Courthouse Square.
The organization declares that its mission is “to give temporary aid to meet the needs of individuals and families on a community-wide basis without regard to race or creed.”
Construction begins on the first few miles of the canal, which promises to improve transportation through Indiana. The canal project is funded through the Mammoth Internal Improvements Bill of 1836.
A group of Black Methodists in Indianapolis forms Bethel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. A founder of the denomination, William Paul Quinn serves Indianapolis and other AME stations as pastor. A church building is constructed on Georgia Street, between Senate Avenue and the Central Canal in 1841.
Father Vincent Bacquelin organizes the town’s first Catholic parish, Holy Cross. In November, the Diocese of Vincennes purchases land south of Military Park to build a church, which is built in 1840.
In April of 1837, Jacob Coil plats Broad Ripple north of the canal. In June, James and Adam Nelson establish a competing community, Wellington, on the south bank.
Thirty people sign an agreement to organize the parish, which later becomes known as Christ Church Cathedral. The congregation occupies its first building on the Circle on November 18, 1838.
The legislature passes a reincorporation act with a new charter that provides a town council with taxing, licensing, and legislative powers. It also increases the number of wards to six.
Fifteen members who depart the “Old School” First Presbyterian Church establish the new congregation. Henry Ward Beecher becomes its first pastor.
Because of financial difficulties caused by the Panic of 1837, the state’s creditors take over the Central Canal. Construction stops by the end of the year but not before a completed section opens for traffic.
Black/African American: 122
German immigrants found the church, which does not offer services in English until 1928.
The newspaper is called the Indiana Democrat (1830) when the Chapmans purchase it. They rename it, and the Sentinel becomes the leading newspaper of the Indiana Democratic Party.
Eighteen members meet in the home of Anton Friederich Bade to found the congregation. The first church building, considered the “mother church” by the town’s German Lutherans, is located at Alabama Street.
William Willard leads the opening of the Indiana School for the Deaf in October 1843. The school is the sixth school for deaf students founded in the United States and is the first to provide free tuition.
The Marion County Library forms as a subscription library under the provisions of the 1816 Indiana constitution. It is housed in the basement of the county courthouse.
African American Baptists form a congregation of their own, the Second Baptist Church. Its structure on Missouri Street between New York and Ohio streets becomes a target for arson when racially charged violence erupts during the 1851 Indiana Constitutional Convention. The congregation rebuilds at the same location in 1853.
The city experiences intense flooding at the end of the year, as it had earlier at the beginning of the year. In both instances, the flooding damages landscape and property, sweeping away whole structures.
Voters endorse a new charter by an overwhelming majority of 449 to 19, making Indianapolis an incorporated city.
Samuel Henderson, the first postmaster and president of the Town Council, wins election as the first mayor. Residents also vote for a special tax levy to fund free schools.
With the arrival of smallpox on June 12, the city common council appoints a board of health and a committee to identify land suitable for a hospital. Although property is purchased, the idea of a hospital is abandoned when the disease subsides.
Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, the first steam railroad completed in Indiana, begins operations in 1847. The railroad arrives at Indianapolis in October.
The school for the blind officially opens in a private residence on the southwest corner of Illinois and Maryland streets while its building is constructed.
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.
The hospital admits its first five patients. It expands to admit 300 patients within ten years. It becomes Central Indiana Hospital in 1889, then Central State Hospital in 1929.
Polish-born merchant Alexander Franco and English-born clerk Moses Woolf are the first Jewish people to arrive and settle in Indianapolis.
Indiana Central Medical College, the first proprietary medical school, opens in November 1849 and is located on East Washington Street. It closes in 1852, and another medical school does not appear in Indiana until 1869.
Newcomb wins the election of 1849. At the age of 27, he is the youngest mayor in the city’s history.
African American: 405
36 African American residents are listed as property owners.
Local, skilled artisans form the Mechanics Mutual Protection, a union precursor, and call for increased wages, improved educational opportunities, and better health care.
Voters statewide overwhelmingly approve the measure. Marion County votes 2,509 to 308 in favor. The measure subsequently becomes Article 13 of the 1851 state constitution.
Located on West Washington Street, the Indianapolis Turngemeinde promotes physical fitness, freethought, liberal politics, and German language and culture.
Created as a venue for exchanging ideas to improve agricultural productivity, the state’s first fair runs October 20-22. Around 30,000 people pay admission to see exhibits featuring agricultural products.
Thirty-six of the city’s leading businessmen and boosters form the first Indianapolis Board of Trade, the forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce.
Funded by tax revenues, 2 men and 12 women serve as teachers at the first free schools. Average attendance increases from 340 students in April to 700 in May.
The new charter establishes a common council of 14 members elected from 7 wards and a mayor elected citywide.
Reverend Pleasant Ellington wrongfully accuses John Freeman of being his runaway enslaved person. Leading citizens come to Freeman’s defense, but he spends nine weeks in jail before the suit is dismissed when Ellington’s evidence proves false.
Indianapolis High School, the city’s first public high school, is only open for five years. It closes in 1858 when the Indiana Supreme Court declares local taxation for schools unconstitutional.
Designed by architect Joseph Curzon, the country’s first union station–a central station that accommodates many independent rail lines–commences operation with five tracks.
The common council passes an ordinance establishing a new police department. The department consists of 14 officers, two from each of the city’s wards.
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.
A small group of evangelical Protestants organizes the Indianapolis Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a branch of the international organization. Early programming includes public lectures on Christian themes, interdenominational services, and charity work. It opens its own building at 33-37 North Illinois Street in 1871.
The Indianapolis Widows and Orphans Friends’ Society, (later the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis) incorporates and erects a children’s orphanage, which is later renamed the Indianapolis Orphans’ Asylum.
Silas Bowen, who is also head of the booksellers-publishers Bowen, Stewart & Co., becomes the first Indianapolis public school superintendent. He receives an annual salary of $400 for one-third time.
Chartered five years prior, the university finally opens its doors, becoming one of the first universities in the country to admit students regardless of race or gender.
The newly formed Republican Party holds its first state convention in Indianapolis. The event begins with a parade down Washington Street.
Prince Grand Hall of Indiana, an African American fraternal group, organizes in Indianapolis. Membership doubles between 1857 and 1865.
Fourteen 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.
Local attorney Ignatius Brown publishes a history of the city, which appears in the 1857 city directory. It was the first historical sketch of Indianapolis.
Indianapolis’s public schools do not allow African American children to attend. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church founds the city’s first formal school for Black children.
The Metropolitan opens as Indianapolis’ first purpose-built theater complete with gallery, vaulted ceilings, and frescoes. It is later renamed the Park.
Indiana Supreme Court overturns tax-supported free public education, deeming it unconstitutional. Indianapolis public schools struggle for funding and suspend operations.
The Sisters of Providence establish St. John Academy, the first Catholic school in Indianapolis, with 80 students. The school, located on the corner of W. Georgia Street and S. Capitol Avenue, remains in operation until 1959.
The Common Council votes to establish the city’s first paid fire department. The city’s volunteer fire companies are disbanded.
Having outgrown Military Park, the State Fair opens on approximately 30 acres purchased by the state in what is called Otis Grove (later Herron-Morton Place). The new facilities offer “increased attractions for all visitors.”
The city purchases and installs lamps along 8.5 miles of street—the first public street lighting. Property owners had paid to illuminate two city blocks seven years prior.
Black/African American: 498
Gilbert Van Camp opens a canning business in the Fruit House Grocery Building. The company obtains its first major contract when it sells pork and beans to the Union army.
Abraham Lincoln visits Indianapolis during his trip to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration. Speaking at the Bates House, he states that his primary duty is the preservation of the Union.
The State Fairgrounds become Camp Morton, a military rendezvous camp to manage volunteers. Two months later, Private John Hollenbeck becomes the city’s first casualty of the Civil War.
Irishman Samuel Kingan opens Kingan and Company at Maryland and Blackford streets along White River. The meatpacking plant, owned by a Belfast, Ireland company, employs many Irish workers, some of which are recruited from Ireland.
Gov. Morton responds to the need for prisoner of war accommodations by converting Camp Morton into a prison camp. Within a month, some 3,700 prisoners-of-war arrive.
An Indianapolis physician and real estate broker, Gatling becomes famous for his early rapid-firing weapon or machine gun (U.S. Patent No. 36,836).
Elected to office a record five times, the first three unopposed, Caven serves longer than any other mayor until William H. Hudnut III (1976-1991).
Shortridge reopens the city’s schools and urges the school board to hire female teachers to avoid paying as much for salaries.
As Democrats leave their state convention by train, armed soldiers overtake them and confiscate their weapons. The soldiers discard them into Pogue’s Run.
Indiana’s only Black Civil War regiment organizes and trains at Camp Frémont, near Fountain Square in December 1863, before official mustering. In 1864-1865, its troops engage in the Siege of Petersburg, necessary to take the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia.
Crown Hill Cemetery takes over as the new principal burial ground for the city, the previous being Greenlawn Cemetery. Lucy Ann Seaton becomes the first interment on June 2.
The 12-seat mule-drawn streetcars run along a one-mile line between Union Station and Military Park. Other lines open along Virginia, Massachusetts, and Fort Wayne avenues.
A partisan military commission sentences Milligan and four other Democrats to be hanged. The U.S. Supreme Court overturns this verdict in a decision known as Ex parte Milligan.
A procession led by Governor Oliver P. Morton and Major General Joseph Hooker accompanies the president’s body to the State House where public viewing lasts from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
The Democratic newspaper begins publication as a weekly but becomes the city’s first daily German-language newspaper in 1866. It merges with the Tribüne to become the independent Telegraph and Tribüne in 1907.
With Gov. Morton’s encouragement, Indiana serves as the unofficial national headquarters of the GAR for several months. The organization holds its first annual meeting, called an “encampment,” in the city.
The congregation receives its first full-time minister in 1867 and later becomes known as Second Christian Church, the city’s first African American Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation. It changes its name to Light of the World Christian Church in 1984.
The City Hospital officially opens in 1859 as a Civil War military hospital. At the war’s end, the federal government gives the hospital to Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis and White River Steamboat Company launched the Governor Morton on July first. The steamboat made several trial trips up the White River but eventually sank at its moorings.
The City Common Council orders the Circle to be regraded, benches and sidewalks added, and renamed Circle Park.
Jane Chambers McKinney Graydon and Catharine Merrill incorporate the organization in February 1867 as a place to care for orphans, homeless women, and widows.
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.
Two amateur clubs from Indianapolis share a doubleheader on the Camp Burnside grounds with a team from Lafayette, as well as with the Washington Nationals.
The North American Saengerbund’s 15th National Saengerfest begins in Indianapolis. It lasts for four days and includes three concerts, a parade, a grand ball, and a picnic.
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.
Edson, the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, argues that a public library will provide culture and values for residents and commercial growth for the city. His sermon triggers a public library campaign.
Kahn becomes the first Jewish resident to take a seat on the Common Council and serves for eight years, until 1881.
Demonstrations of the high-wheel “Ordinary” take place on the Circle. The intent is to popularize cycling as a sport among men, despite the risks of flying headfirst over the handlebars.
Ovid Butler endows the chair in the English Department in memory of his daughter Demia, dictating the chair be given to a woman. The position is filled by Catharine Merrill. North Western Christian University is renamed Butler University in 1877.
Indiana adopts separate but equal public schools for African American children.
Reporter John Hampden Holliday establishes the Indianapolis News
The Indianapolis News grows to have the largest circulation of any other newspaper in the state and comes to be known as the “Great Hoosier Daily.”
Indianapolis has nine miles of paved streets, 18 miles of paved sidewalks, three miles of streets illuminated by gas lights, and a sewage system.
Black/African American: 2,931
American Indian/Alaska Native: 4
The local Orthodox Friends Meeting, the main branch of the Society of Friends (Quakers), founds the institution which is the only orphanage in the state and one of only a handful in the country to care for African American children.
People is a Sunday weekly dedicated to politics, literature, and society. It is the first Indianapolis newspaper to use woodcut illustrations and becomes known for sensationalized crime and scandal stories.
Swedish immigrant Peter Lawson founds the town of Nora, originally centered near current Westfield Boulevard and 86th Street.
Admitted to Indiana Medical College in 1869, Elbert receives his degree in 1871 and joins the Indianapolis Board of Health the following year.
The city installs the first weather instruments used to collect climate data at Blackford’s Block at the southeast corner of Washington and Meridian streets.
Chartered the previous year by the city council and predecessor of Indianapolis Water Company. Drawing from two large wells, the company reports 439 customers within a year.
The Indianapolis News announces that the name of the firm will change to N. R. Smith & Ayres and that its store, the Trade Palace, will resume business the next day. Ayres gains full control in 1874.
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.
Founded in 1869, the institution finally opens with the transfer of 17 women who are incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison in Jeffersonville. The facility is the first of its kind in the U.S.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd opens the House of the Good Shepherd on Raymond Street west of Meridian Street. The organization is a home for “erring” women and girls.
Located in one room of the high school building at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Michigan streets, the library begins with 12,790 volumes ready for 500 registered borrowers.
Known as the “King of Desks” following the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, such influential figures as Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Pulitzer, and John D. Rockefeller own Wooton desks. It remains in production until 1898.
North Western Christian University moves to the newly incorporated town of Irvington. Two years later its name changes to Butler University in honor of its longtime leader and benefactor Ovid Butler.
James O. Woodruff leads a successful petition to make Woodruff Place a town. Eventually, residents contract with Indianapolis for police and fire services.
The Indianapolis Blues forms in summer 1876. The team joins the organized International League the next season.
Lilly opens a pharmaceutical laboratory in a small two-story building just off Washington Street. His pills, elixirs, and syrups soon begin to sell well in the city and surrounding towns.
Six men establish the Indianapolis Literary Club . They model the club is after the Chicago and Cincinnati men’s literary clubs and the Indianapolis Woman’s Club.
The state’s first telephone company, Indiana District Telephone Company, organizes in Indianapolis. Wales & Company, a coal supply firm, becomes the first location to have telephones installed.
The Knights of Pythias lodge creates an insurance program, which becomes American United Life Insurance, to serve its current members and to attract new members.
The stockyards, located along Kentucky Avenue and the Belt Line Railroad just west of the White River, include 12 acres. Before its establishment, meatpackers and retail butchers traded livestock through private yards.
Nine young women gather in a parlor to spend a musical afternoon together. They establish the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale, an organization for the study and performance of music.
Local women May Wright Sewall, Laura Donnan, and Zerelda Wallace form their own suffrage association. The society would later be extended into a statewide organization.
Begun in 1873, the 14-mile track completely encircles the city to prevent congestion at Union Station and promote local industrial development.
Roman Catholic Bishop Francis Chatard moves the historic seat of his diocese from Vincennes to Indianapolis. He sets up residence at St. John’s Church and begins the search for land for a cathedral. In 1961, a new parochial school, Chatard High School, is named for him.
Louis D. Hild establishes a Republican, German-language newspaper. The four-page weekly has a circulation of 800.
Forty prominent Indianapolis attorneys, including future U.S. President Benjamin Harrison and Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks create the organization. Napolean B. Taylor serves as its first president
E. T. and James Gilliland, local manufacturers of telephone equipment, establish Indiana’s first telephone exchange in Indianapolis in March 1879 under the Bell patents.
A committee of Indianapolis dentists sponsors the college. The same group of dentists also sponsors the Indiana Board of Dental Examiners.
In August, the Bagby brothers—Benjamin, James, and Robert—establish the Indianapolis Leader, a four-page weekly newspaper for the city’s Black citizens. It is the first African-American paper in Indianapolis.
Rev. Oscar C. McCulloch of Plymouth Church instigates the establishment of the Charity Organization Society. The organization is devoted to providing relief for the poor.
The city lists 45 miles paved with cobblestone and five miles covered with wood. The remainder is paved with boulders, gravel, or unimproved. Forty miles of streets are illuminated.
Black/African American: 6,504
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1
Asian/Pacific Islander: 13
James Sidney Hinton, a Republican, serves one term as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Hamlet is the theater’s premiere production. The first section of the hotel, constructed around the theater, follows in 1884 and a second section in 1896.
Bishop Francis Silas Chartard invites the religious order to Indianapolis to establish a hospital. Four sisters set up St. Vincent Infirmary in a three-story house next to St. Joseph Church.
The Indianapolis Brush Electric and Power Company, the forerunner to Indianapolis Power and Light Company, becomes the first company to bring electric service to the city.
Eliza A. Blaker, a crusader for early childhood education, organizes a free kindergarten in September 1882 to aid the community’s charitable efforts toward its underprivileged children. She becomes its first director.
May Wright Sewall opens the Classical School for Girls at the southeast corner of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph streets in September 1882. The preparatory school continues until 1907.
Known in Indianapolis for his public speaking on civil rights, James S. Hinton is the first Black man elected to represent Marion County in the State House of Representatives.
Edward E. Cooper and Edwin F. Horn launch the Democratic newspaper, which covers national and local news and reports on the conditions of African American people nationwide.
Flower Mission Training School for Nurses supplies nursing care for the Indianapolis City Hospital and provides nursing care for the community through a system of district nursing starting in June 1883.
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.
Shortly after the organization is incorporated in October, the association holds an exhibition of 453 works by 137 artists. It runs for three weeks at the English Opera House and establishes the Art Association on the city’s cultural scene.
Jewish Hungarian immigrants establish the Ohev Zedeck Congregation, as a conservative synagogue, which has a more flexible interpretation than Orthodox Judaism. Ohev Zedeck merges with the Beth-El congregation, to form Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in 1928.
Butler and DePauw play against each other in the state’s first football game between universities which is held at the 7th Street Baseball Grounds. Butler wins four goals to one.
An Indianapolis resident, Hendricks wins election as vice president on a ticket headed by Grover Cleveland, who becomes the nation’s 22nd president. The victory is the first by the Democrats since the Civil War. Nine months into his term, Hendricks dies at his home in Indianapolis.
German tradesmen form the society, dedicated to the labor reform movement. The society draws members together in private homes to sing songs of solidarity and justice for the working classes.
The market occupies the lot originally designated for this purpose in the 1821 plat of Indianapolis. On market day, vendors fill the building and street with their carts and stalls.
Henry Kahn 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.
Founded by Eliza Goff, a housekeeper and former enslaved person, the home cares for elderly and infirm African American women with no families or means of caring for themselves.
The Knights of Labor collaborate with independent trade unions to hold the city’s first Labor Day parade. An estimated 4,000 residents participate.
Following the municipal election, Democratic Party officials are accused of tampering with tally sheets to secure the election of the Democratic candidate for the criminal court judge. Several of the accused are convicted in 1888.
Pittsburgh architect and engineer Thomas Rodd designs the new Union Station to replace the outmoded old structure. The new building is constructed at 39 Jackson Place.
Designed by architects Edwin May and Adolph Scherrer, the new building consists of a central dome and rotunda, flanked by four-story wings within an enlarged State House grounds. Construction is completed by October 1888.
Laughner’s confectionery is later remodeled and renamed Laughner’s Dairy Lunch, becoming one of the first cafeteria-style restaurants in the Midwest.
Edward E. Cooper, formerly with the Indianapolis World, launches the Freeman, a Democratic-oriented publication, in July 1888. He claims it to be the only illustrated African American journal.
Construction officially begins on the Civil War Memorial using the design submitted by German architect Bruno Schmitz and funds that the General Assembly appropriated for this purpose in 1887.
The Propylaeum’s Articles of Association provides that stock is acquired, purchased, and held only by women. The building is to be used for cultural and educational pursuits, particularly for women.
The Republican Party nominates Indianapolis attorney Benjamin Harrison, grandson of President William Henry Harrison, for president. Harrison defeats Grover Cleveland and serves as president from 1889 to 1893.
First established as the Harrison Marching Society to support Benjamin Harrison’s presidential candidacy in 1888, the society acquires a clubhouse and formally organizes as the Columbia Club.
Introduced to the state during the 1890s, Indianapolis’ first interurban is the Indianapolis, Greenwood and Franklin Railroad. This line’s inaugural trip from Greenwood arrived in downtown Indianapolis at 11:30 A.M.
Guy and Domenico Montani, local Italian musicians, help organize the city’s first musicians’ union and the third such union in the country.
Col. Eli Lilly, William Fortune, and other businessmen found the Indianapolis Commercial Club, later the Chamber of Commerce. Lilly serves as the first president.
The city now uses Meridian and Washington streets as the dividing lines. It also eliminates all duplicate street names and erects street name signs.
White: 96, 282
Black/African American: 9,133
American Indian/Alaska Native: 10
Asian/Pacific Islander: 11
Sullivan has lived all his life in the downtown area, with the exception of attending Racine College in Wisconsin. His term as mayor is focused on public improvements.
Electric streetcars eliminate the need for mules (and their wastes) and bring clean, quiet, and inexpensive locomotion to the city’s public transportation.
The company, later renamed Diamond Chain, produces blockchain to make drive chains for bicycles. It supplies about 60 percent of American-made bicycle chains by 1900.
A nine-member, public-private committee drafts a new city charter. It grants unprecedented powers of appointment to the mayor and provides for a board of public works.
Country clubs become popular social centers for the cultural elite. Indianapolis gets its own country club when the Indianapolis Country Club is established. Membership is restricted to white people only.
The Populist Party newspaper arranges the move to Indianapolis after the Indiana branch of the People’s Party is organized in July 1891.
Moving from Camp Morton, the new fairgrounds, built by J. F. Alexander and Son on 214 acres, contain 72 buildings, a 6,000-seat grandstand, and a mile race track.
Wallace names the building “Blacherne” after the palace in his novel, The Prince of India. The seven-story structure is located on the northwest corner of Meridian and Vermont streets.
Wheeler, a sales manager for Layman & Carey Hardware, opens a small mission on South Street. It is renamed Wheeler Mission Ministries in 1990.
Reverend Nicholas McKay, an associate of Dr. James Naismith, basketball’s inventor, introduces the game to the Crawfordsville YMCA in 1893. The Indianapolis YMCA adopts the game soon thereafter.
Sumner A. Furniss successfully competes for a City Hospital internship, becoming the first African American physician to work at the hospital. He starts his own practice the following year.
Printshop owner George P. Stewart and attorney William Porter launch the publication as a two-page church directory. In 1897, it is expanded to four pages and adopts the Recorder name.
The school opens as the state’s first public vocational high school. In 1910, it is named Emmerich Manual Training High School in honor of Charles Emmerich, the school’s first principal.
Herron bequeaths $250,000 to the Art Association of Indianapolis with the stipulation that the funds be used to build a museum and art school bearing his name.
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.
The Indianapolis YWCA is established to promote the “physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual advancement of young women.” It later affiliates with the national YWCA, which is founded in 1906 as a nonsectarian Christian organization.
William H. Block opens a small department store at 9 East Washington Street, which in 1907 is incorporated as William H. Block Company.
Taylor sets several unofficial records in August at Indianapolis’ Capital City bike track, which results in numerous death threats. Indianapolis bicycling tracks are subsequently restricted to whites only.
The city of Indianapolis annexes West Indianapolis, Brightwood, Haughville, Mount Jackson, Stringtown, and Eastside Terrace.
Frank William Flanner donates a cottage for the creation of the Flanner Guild (later Flanner House), the first settlement house for African Americans in the city.
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.
The Wheelmen hold its annual meet at the Newby Oval, built by future Indianapolis Speedway owner Arthur C. Newby and local architect Herbert Foltz. The new velodrome is considered one of the best in the nation at the time.
The publication, the first and longest-running student newspaper in the nation, begins its 72-year existence at Shortridge High School.
The author, Indianapolis native Booth Tarkington, becomes an instant success, propelling him into the national limelight. In Indianapolis, the book is less well received, with residents feeling mocked.
The hall, designed by Vonnegut & Bohn and completed in November 1900, contains a gym bordered by a proscenium stage and a bowling alley. The building serves the group of Turners that broke away from the Socialer Turnverein to form its own organization in 1893.
The first Hook’s Drug Store opens in October 1900 at 1101 S. East Street in Indianapolis’ German community. The firm eventually grows into the largest drugstore chain in the state.
Black/African American: 15,931
Asian/Pacific Islander: 32
The Social Democratic Party holds its first national convention in Indianapolis and nominates Eugene V. Debs for president and Job Harriman for vice president.
Mayor Thomas Taggart and the Board of Park Commissioners establishes Riverside, the city’s first municipal golf course and the fourth in the nation. It is a segregated course.
Founded in 1899 by the Kings Daughters Society, the organization converts a one-room center near Monument Circle for childcare, becoming the city’s first childcare center.
Led by Eugene Debs and leaders of the Social Democratic Party, over 100 men and women meet in the Indianapolis Masonic Hall to found the Socialist Party of America.
Nordyke and Marmon, manufacturer of flour-milling machinery, produces its first motor car. The Marmon Automobile, as the motor car is known, features improved lubricated crankshaft and rod bearings.
The Church of the United Brethren in Christ establishes Indiana Central University (later University of Indianapolis). The state of Indiana charters the same year.
Using a bequest left by John Herron, the Art Association of Indianapolis establishes the Institute to operate an art school and museum. The art school opens with 10 pupils and 5 teachers on Talbott Street at T. C. Steele’s former home.
At the gala event, Civil War general and author Lew Wallace serves as master of ceremonies, and Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley recites a poem that John Philip Sousa transformed into a march.
The Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company incorporates after seven interurban companies sign an agreement for use of the city street railway tracks and the construction of an interurban terminal.
Lillian Thomas Fox and other prominent African American women found the self-improvement club. It later becomes known for efforts to provide tuberculosis care for African Americans.
The Indianapolis Star debuts as a daily newspaper, the brainchild of Muncie industrialist George McCulloch. In the first two days, the Star distributes 50,000 free copies of the one-cent newspaper.
At its start, IHSAA denies Black public high schools from participating in basketball leagues and tournaments from 1903 until the 1942-1943 season.
Indianapolis businessmen create the organization to provide advice and assistance to companies involved in strikes or lockouts. The aim is to destroy union shops.
Partners Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, and P. C. Avery form Concentrated Acetylene Company to assemble and fill acetylene cylinders used in automobile headlights. The company later becomes Prest-O-Lite Company.
Black women’s organizations from Indianapolis, South Bend, Anderson, Marion, Muncie, and Terre Haute form the Indiana State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. The group focuses on the improvement of education, health, living standards, and interracial understanding.
Established in Lawrence Township, President Theodore Roosevelt and Lt. Col. Russell Harrison request that the military installation be named after President Benjamin Harrison.
One of four athletes affiliated with the Socialer Turnverein who participated in the St. Louis Summer Olympic Games, Emmerich wins his gold medal for his participation in the triathlon, consisting of the 100-yard dash, long jump, and shot put.
Indianapolis author Meredith Nicholson publishes the national bestseller and his most famous novel. The novel is set in Indiana.
Nine concerned citizens found the Humane Society of Indianapolis to prevent cruelty to women, children, animals, and other sentient beings.
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.
Anna C. Stover and Edith D. Surbey begin a settlement house at 1718 Arsenal Avenue. It attracts teachers and nurses into a community of women reformers.
The merger includes the Indiana Medical College, Central College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Fort Wayne College of Medicine. It begins a conflict between Purdue and Indiana universities over control of medical education that would last until 1908.
The city’s first movie theater—the Bijou, a converted vaudeville house—opens on East Washington Street. Bijou shows half-hour films viewed during the lunch hour.
The New York Central Railroad purchases 640 acres in Beech Grove to construct $5 million locomotive shop and equipment plant. It is touted as the “largest locomotive hospital in the world.”
On May 16, over 8,000 people attend opening activities at Wonderland Amusement Park on East Washington and Gray streets. White City Amusement Park, located in Broad Ripple, opens ten days later on May 26.
The Cathedral Church of SS. Peter & Paul is dedicated for the Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis. The campus will eventually include offices, a school, and a residence in addition to the cathedral.
Joseph Cole decides to continue automobile production and forms the Cole Motor Car Company in 1909.
The Indianapolis ragtime pianist-composer publishes “Dusty Rag” in May. She publishes 19 pieces between 1908 and 1912, several of which are financial successes.
A fire in the “Mystic Cave” attraction at White City Amusement Park in Broad Ripple spreads and destroys the entire park.
Acme-Evans Milling Company forms with the merger of the city’s oldest milling companies, Evans Milling Company, founded in the 1820s, and Acme Milling Company, established in 1840.
Landscape architect and urban planner George Edward Kessler creates the plan for the boulevards and parks system for Indianapolis. The plan provides a framework for the expansion of the city.
The authorization officially ends the controversy that began with establishment of a Purdue medical school in 1905. It allows IU to operate its school of medicine legally in Indianapolis for the first time.
The first race at the speedway is a balloon race with nine competitors. The event draws around 40,000 people to the still incomplete track.
African American physicians establish the organization after being barred from treating their Black patients in city hospitals. The hospital opens on December 15 and remains in operation until 1915.
Black/African American: 21,816
Asian/Pacific Islander: 54
Madame C. J. Walker moves her successful haircare and product business to Indianapolis. She purchases a home at 640 N. West Street and remodels a stable and warehouse on the property into a factory and office.
Forty cars participate in the race with Carl Fisher occupying the pole position. Ray Harroun, driving a locally built Marmon, wins the race in 6 hours and 42 minutes.
Harry Stutz founds the Ideal Motor Parts Company to produce automobiles after Stutz Auto Parts Company has success with the Bearcat. Later the companies merge to form Stutz Motor Car Company.
The association opens a settlement house at 617 West Pearl to provide social services and Americanize the immigrants.
Mary Cable organizes the branch and becomes its first president. The organization helps Black citizens access rights guaranteed under U.S. Constitution. Within three years, the branch has 200 members.
A Hoosier Chronicle, a novel written by Indianapolis author Meredith Nicholson, explores politics and society in central Indiana, particularly Indianapolis, in the early 20th century.
Senate Avenue YMCA construction begins in October 1912. It offers young African American men a variety of cultural, recreational, religious, and physical exercise programs. It also provides educational classes and dormitory facilities.
Luella Frances Smith McWhirter, along with 10 other women, organizes the club to stimulate spiritual, ethical, artistic, and educational growth among Indianapolis women. The club emphasizes study and community work.
The Indianapolis Church Federation is founded and led by First Baptist’s minister, Reverend Frederick E. Taylor. Many of the leading Protestant churches in the city join to coordinate their various reform efforts. It also creates a committee that seeks to regulate the location of Protestant congregations to lessen competition.
The Commercial Club joins with other commercial organizations to form the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber persuades new industries to come to the city and influences legislation.
Following the practice begun by New York City, Indianapolis erects its first municipal Christmas tree in University Park.
The 17-story Chicago-school building designed by Daniel H. Burnham maintains its status as the city’s tallest building for the next 50 years.
James A. Allison, founding partner of Prest-O-Lite Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, establishes the machine shop, which later is renamed Allison Engineering Company.
A storm buffets the city with 60-mph winds and six inches of rain over a 24-hour period, causing levees to break. The peak flood stage is estimated at 31.5 feet.
Eight hundred streetcar operators stop work in the city for eight days to gain union recognition, higher wages, and improved working conditions. Mob activity destroys property and leads to three deaths.
The opening of the hospital marks the beginning of the Indiana University School of Medicine campus along West Michigan Street. The hospital trains physicians, nurses, dietitians, and other medical professionals.
The Indianapolis council organizes and charters a Boy Scout troop with a membership of 100 boys. F. O. Belzer is the first scout executive leader.
Fletcher Savings and Trust Company, Indiana Trust Company, and Union Trust Company adopt a joint resolution of trust to form the Indianapolis Foundation.
Former cartoonist John Barton Gruelle patents his Raggedy Ann doll. Three years later, he publishes Raggedy Ann Stories, followed by a Raggedy Andy volume.
John Holliday, founder of the Indianapolis News, and his wife Evaline deed their 80-acre estate to the city for use as a public park. The city names the property Holliday Park in their honor.
Following a four-year litigation between the school board and former owners of Winona Institute, the school officially becomes the city’s third high school. It had served as a technical training school since 1912.
Led by A. L. Block and Robert Lieber, investors contribute over $500,000 to build a new theater. Circle Theatre opens as Indianapolis’ first building constructed specifically for feature-length motion pictures.
The Church Federation’s “Indianapolis Plan of Evangelism” enlists all congregations to hold their annual evangelistic campaigns at the same time and to join in a citywide publicity blitz. The campaign ends on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1917.
Furniss, a member of the Marion County Republican executive committee, becomes the second African American to serve on the City Council.
After Carl Fisher and James Allison sell Prest-O-Lite, the unit continues distributing automotive batteries until 1927 when Electric Auto-Lite Company purchases Union Carbide’s battery interest and the Prest-O-Lite name.
Ridge organizes the first local troop in Irvington after corresponding with Juliette Low, national founder of Girl Scouts. There are nine troops in Indianapolis by 1919.
The Indianapolis War Chest Committee places a giant chest on Monument Circle as part of a fundraising plan. Residents monitor progress by watching the chest filled with cash and coins.
The first cases in the city are reported on September 19 and spread quickly, leading to the lockdown. With closures and mask mandates, cases decline. The city reopens December 2.
Shields, a former MIT professor, develops the first brushless shaving cream, which he names Barbasol. Workers fill and package the product entirely by hand in Indianapolis.
Red Ball Transit becomes the nation’s first long distance moving service. Initially serving only Indianapolis and the immediate vicinity, the first branch office opens in Columbus, Ohio, in March 1921.
Chartered on September 16, 1919, delegates from around the country select Indianapolis as the Legion’s national headquarters during its first national convention.
A group of Indianapolis businessmen incorporates the club to “promote clean sports, amusement, and sociability” among members. Its building at Meridian and Vermont streets is completed in January 1924.
Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc., establishes a factory on West Washington Street at Harding Street to build passenger cars. Its automobiles gain a reputation for being luxurious and well-engineered.
Black/African American: 34,678
American Indian/Alaska Native: 8
Asian/Pacific Islander: 97
The precursor to the United Way of Central Indiana, the Community Chest forms to unite fundraising efforts. It also coordinates activities of 40 different community service organizations.
After the 19th Amendment ensures women’s right to vote, the Indianapolis Branch of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana disbands and establishes a League of Women Voters of Indianapolis in its place.
The Negro National League incorporates with teams in six midwestern cities. Indiana’s team is the Indianapolis ABCs, managed by C. I. Taylor, a famed early Black baseball manager.