World Facts

What is Indiana Known For?

Indiana is known as "the Hoosier State", though nobody really knows why exactly. Learn about some of the other things Indiana is known for, including basketball.

Indiana is an American state situated in the Great Lakes and Midwestern areas of North America. It is the seventeenth most populous (6,666,818) and thirty-eighth biggest U.S. state by land area. Indiana was the nineteenth state to gain statehood on December 11, 1816. Indiana is surrounded by Illinois to its western side, Kentucky to the southeast and south, Ohio to the eastern side and Michigan to the northern side. Lake Michigan forms part of the northwestern border of Indiana. Indianapolis is the largest (by area and population) and the capital city of Indiana. The U.S. Congress passed legislation to split the Northwest Territory into two territories, and the western region was named Indiana territory on May 7, 1800, while the other part became Ohio. The name ‘’Indiana’’ means the ‘’Indian Land’’. Indiana occupies an area of about 36,418 sq miles.

Indiana was occupied by varying cultures of historic Native Americans and indigenous people for thousands of years before becoming a territory. Since it became a territory, the settlement patterns of the state resembled the cultural segmentation in Eastern parts of the United States. Central Indiana was occupied by migrants from Ohio and Mid-Atlantic states, while the northernmost part of Indiana was settled by individuals from New York and New England. Settlers from Tennessee and Kentucky occupied Southern Indiana. The state is home to numerous professional teams like the Indiana Pacers (National Basketball Association) and the NFL’S Indianapolis Colts (National Football League). The state has hosted various athletic events including the Brickyard-400 and the Indianapolis-500 motorsports races.

The Hoosier State

Indiana is known as the "Hoosier State". The origin of this term is still being debated in the state, but it was in general use during the 1840s, and everyone born in Indiana during that era was a Hoosier. The name ‘’Hoosier’’ was popularized by Finley’s poem of 1833 titled ‘’The Hoosier’s Nest’’. The state adopted the name ‘’the Hoosier state’’ over 150 years ago. The phrase ‘’The Hoosier Nest’’ also featured in the ‘’Indianapolis Journal’’ of January 1, 1833. The exact origin of the name Hoosier is unknown although there are numerous slangs and theories attached to the term. One of the theory traces the source of the word of a necessary warning call when approaching a house on the frontier. The Indiana pioneers used the phrase ‘’Who’sh’ere?’’ as a warning when they heard someone in the bushes or as a form of greeting. Jacob Dunn believed that the word ‘’Hoosier’’ originated from a Cumbrian word ‘’Hoozer’’ which means something unusually big. Hoosier is the name of various organizations and businesses in Indiana. It is also the name of one disbanded and seven active athletic conferences of the Indiana high-school athletic association and the athletic team of Indiana University. The federal government changed the nickname of the residents of Indiana from ‘’Indianans’’ to ‘’Hoosiers’’ on January 12, 2017. Indiana is the first American state that does not have a version of its name as its nickname.

Limestone

The Bedford limestone, also known as Indiana limestone, is the most common regional name for Salem Limestone in the South-central parts of Indiana between Bedford and Bloomington. Bedford has the best quality quarried limestone in the country. Bedford limestone is a rock which is made up of calcium carbonate. It was first deposited in the region millions of years ago. Limestone was first discovered in Indiana by Native Americans.

The first quarry in the state was opened in 1827. By 1929, the quarries was producing over 12,000,000 cubic feet of exploitable stone. The expansion of railway systems increased the demand for Salem limestone for building tunnels and bridges. The Bedford limestone is currently used on the exterior parts of commercial buildings and homes. Most of the buildings in the state, including the Indiana government center and State Capitol building, are some of the structures in Indiana built using limestone. Bedford limestone has also been used in numerous famous U.S. structures like Washington National Cathedral, Yankee stadium, the Pentagon, and the Empire State Building.

Basketball

Indiana has produced more NBA (National Basketball Association) players per capita than all the other states in the country. The city of Muncie has produced more players than any other American city. Indiana has a rich basketball history that stretches back to the formative years of the sport with one of their team playing in the NBA. The Indiana Pacers has been playing their home game at the Banker-Life Fieldhouse for years now. Indiana Pacers started playing in the ABA (American Basketball Association) in 1967. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the leagues merged.

Indiana has produced the highest number of high school students who participated in the McDonald’s All-American games. Forty four out of the eight hundred and eighty eight students to play in the McDonald All-American games since 1977 are from Indiana. Even though Naismith James developed the sport in 1891 in Springfield Massachusetts, high school basketball originated from Indiana. Naismith wrote that high school basketball originated from Indiana after visiting the Indiana basketball state final games in 1925. The ‘’Hoosier’’ movie of 1986 was inspired by the Milan High School basketball team that won the Indian state championship in 1954. Larry Bird, one of the best professional basketball players, grew up in French Lick. He led Bolton Celtics to the NBA championship thrice in 1981, 1986, and 1984. Larry grew up in West Baden Springs town, Indiana. Bird used basketball to escape from the family trouble, and he played for the Springs-Valley High School where he averaged four assists, twenty-one rebounds, and thirty-one points. He was the all-time scoring leader of the school.

Ice Cream

Even though Indiana is not the biggest producer of ice cream in the United States, the state still produces a huge percentage of ice cream. According to research conducted in 2011, the state produced over 87 million gallons of ice cream over the year in their nineteen factories. The state manufactures an average of 4.6 million gallons per factory. Indiana outshines California’s 800,000 gallon per plant and Texas’s 104 million gallons of ice cream per plant.

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