The Fascinating History of Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to 10,000 BC. Indigenous peoples inhabited the area until 1818 when the Lenape relinquished their tribal lands in the Treaty of St. Mary's. In 1821, Indianapolis was founded as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana's state government.

The city was placed by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1 square mile (2.6 km) grid next to the White River. The completion of the Michigan and National Highways and the arrival of the railroad later consolidated the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation center. This led to two of Indianapolis's nicknames: Crossroads of America and Railroad City. In 1970, local government administration was unified under Unigov, an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor.

From humble beginnings as a settlement and commercial center for Native Americans, Indianapolis has grown over the past 200 years to become a vibrant metropolis known for its cultural environment, thriving center and growing high-tech industries. Immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland and Denmark, as well as newly liberated African-Americans, began to move to Indianapolis in the 19th century. These groups became the heart of the city's labor community. The completion of Union Station in 1888 further boosted Indianapolis's economy, population and reputation.

With numerous trains entering and leaving the city every day, Indianapolis was soon dubbed the “Crossroads of the United States”. As one of the most important cities in the Midwest, Indianapolis routinely attracts national and international attention with its world-class events such as the Indianapolis 500, popular Indianapolis Colts team, its growing food and restaurant scene, its world-famous Children's Museum and The country's first Black Expo. Indianapolis is also home to two great institutions that celebrate Hoosier culture: The Indiana State Museum and The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). The Indiana State Museum features unique exhibits and hands-on experiences that showcase the stories, events and characters that have helped shape Indiana's history.

The IMPD is responsible for law enforcement in Indianapolis. In 1919, Mary Rigg moved to Indianapolis to help juvenile offenders in the Federation of Churches and earned her master's degree from the Indiana University School of Social Work at the same time. The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) is a quasi-governmental agency that organizes regional car and van groups and operates three public workforce connectors from Indianapolis to employment centers in Plainfield and Whitestown. The most prominent weeklies include NUVO, an alternative weekly; The Indianapolis Recorder, a weekly newspaper that serves the local African-American community; The Indianapolis Business Journal which reports on local real estate news; and The Southside Times. In 1921, Stephenson's Indiana Klan became one of the most powerful political and social organizations in Indianapolis until 1928 when it controlled City Council and Board of School Commissioners among others.

Rickie Koning
Rickie Koning

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