Indiana DescriptionTalk of statehood was in the air, and on April 19, 1816, the passing of the "Enabling Act" allowed inhabitants of the Indiana Territory to form a state, subject to the final approval of the U.S. Congress. Subsequently, a constitution was drafted, borders were determined, and on Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to join the union of the United States, with its first capital in Corydon
Early statehood was a financial struggle in Indiana, however cities along the Ohio River blossomed rather quickly as they provided easy access to the Mississippi River and the port city of New Orleans. To help with growth, the state received financial grants from the federal government to build new roads and canals.
By the 1850's, productive farms covered the rural areas, milling industries in the south were booming, new cities were springing up and the population was now approaching one million residents.
During America's Civil War (1861-1865), the slave-free State of Indiana remained a member of the Union, and over 200,000 of its men marched off to war. Though the state saw little action, Indiana regiments participated in all major battles of the war, and nearly 25,000 of its bravest were killed in action.
After the war, Ohio River ports suffered as the federal government put a rigid embargo in place, one that prevented goods from the north being shipped to the south. As a result, southern Indiana cratered, as much of the state's population and industries moved north toward the Great Lakes.
Between 1889 and 1910, Standard Oil Company, U.S. Steel Corporation, and others, built huge facilities along Lake Michigan's shoreline, creating industrial towns (almost overnight). Although it remained a mostly rural state, that corporate expansion transformed northern Indiana into a steel and oil refining mecca.
Co-founded by Carl Graham Fisher of Indiana (an automotive parts and highway entrepreneur) the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in Indianapolis in 1909. Subsequently the city rivaled Detroit in auto manufacturing for a few decades, and the Indy 500 became the most famous and financially successful race in all of motorsports.
The tragic events of World War I (1914-1918) were an economic boost for Indiana businesses, as they produced profitable supplies for the war effort; automobile, iron and steel production led the way.
The growth in Indiana's industrial base ended almost overnight during the Great Depression (1929-1939); banks closed; transportation companies went bankrupt, and the residual effects lasted for years.
World War II (1939-1945) was the catalyst for a much-needed comeback as Indiana participated aggressively in the war effort; airplanes, munitions and steel manufacturing provided thousands of new jobs, and a much needed tax base. Later in the century high-tech and service industries rose to prominence, and Indiana tourism opened the eyes of travelers.
Modern Indiana is renowned for many things including the Indy 500, the Universities of Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue, and for being (arguably) the epicenter of high school and college basketball. But perhaps its most endearing charms are found in the small towns that dot the welcoming landscape of the Hoosier State.
Note: Indiana writer Meredith Nicholson, when asked about the origin of the word "Hoosier," quipped: "The origin of the term 'Hoosier' is not known with certainty. But certain it is that ... Hoosiers bear their nickname proudly."
CITY ATTRACTIONS & MAPS:
Eastern Redbud Tree
Monument Square, Indianapolis
Indiana Cities, Counties & Area Codes
|La Porte||La Porte||219|
|South Bend||St Joseph||574|
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