Marion County is located in the United States of America, and is home to the state capital, Indianapolis. It is the central county of the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area in central Indiana. The White River flows southwest through the county, and is joined by Eagle Creek and Fall Creek, which have dams that form the Eagle Creek Reservoir and the Geist Reservoir respectively. Marion County has two Indiana state parks, Fort Harrison State Park and White River State Park, as well as many municipal parks.
The county was created on April 1, 1822 from part of the land of the New Purchase that had been obtained from its inhabitants, the Lenape, through the Treaty of St. Mary's. It is named after Francis Marion, a brigadier general from South Carolina in the American War of Independence. Marion County has a consolidated government between cities and counties, known as Unigov, in which only four municipalities retain full government autonomy.
The other municipalities in the county are included cities and exercise very limited authority. The Indianapolis City-County Council is the combined legislative body of Indianapolis and Marion County. The consolidated government, known as Unigov, was formally established in 1970 following the merger of the city government with the county government. The council approves city and county ordinances, and makes appointments to certain boards and commissions.
The Auditor, Assessor and Treasurer form the County Board of Commissioners. Indianapolis is located on the White River at its confluence with Fall Creek near the center of the state. It is a planned municipality with a design resembling that of Washington D. C.
The climate is typical of the Midwest with warm to hot summers and cold winters; rainfall is moderate and distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Beginning in the 1880s, meat packaging and metallurgy emerged as important industries which led to the development of automotive manufacturing as a central element of the city's economy. The six municipalities in the north and center lean more towards Democrats, especially Center which contains downtown Indianapolis, and Pike in the northwest corner with an African-American majority. By contrast, Decatur, Perry and Franklin in the south with a larger Caucasian population lean more towards Republicans.
Indianapolis has become an important commercial, financial and industrial center with pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery, plastics, wood and paper products, electrical equipment and transportation equipment being major products. It is also a regional center for distribution, retail and health care; tourism has grown in importance too. Beginning in the 1970s Indianapolis worked to become an international amateur sports center which produced significant economic growth. Facilities for fans include Lucas Oil Stadium (home to Colts professional American football team) and Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home to Pacers professional basketball team).
The Indiana State Fairgrounds are a hub for business and social activities with events such as Indiana Black Expo summer celebration (July) and Indy Jazz Fest (June). President Benjamin Harrison (187) and poet James Whitcomb Riley (187) have been preserved as museums. Indiana University — Purdue University in Indianapolis (196) includes the Herron School of Art (190).