Home Country 90 Interesting Indiana Facts You Should Know

90 Interesting Indiana Facts You Should Know

by Sudhansu M Nayak
62 views
indiana facts

Home to Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, Indiana boasts of inventions and inventors.  The enterprising people of Indiana have been always instrumental in creating history.

With abundance of natural flora and fauna, Indiana is blessed with natural resources.

Interesting Illinois Facts here offers a sneak peek into the core of this lovely state and its enterprising people. 

Indiana Facts: Quick Info | 1-9

Indiana Facts: The Paleo-Indians and the Natives

1. Paleo-Indians are said to be the first inhabitants of Indiana. By the end of Ice Age, when the glaciers melted, they arrived around 8000 BCE. They were nomads and could hunt large creatures like mastodons.

2. The historic Native American tribes spoke Shawnee, Miami, and Illini. These were languages of Algonquian family.

Indiana Facts: The European Contact

3. In 1679, first Europeans René-Robert Cavelier and Sieur de La Salle crossed into Indiana.

4. In 1702, near Vincennes, Sieur Juchereau started the first trading post. In 1732, at Vincennes, Sieur de Vincennes started a second fur trading post.

5. For control of the lucrative fur trade, the French and British started warring through the 1750s.

Indiana Facts: The Wars

6. In the Seven Years’ War, in 1763, British won. The French ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi and north and west of the colonies to the British.

7. In 1775, the colonists wanted independence from the British. The American Revolutionary War began. Most of the fighting took place near the East Coast.

8. Patriot military officer, George Rogers Clark’s army won the main battles. On February 25, 1779, the Patriots took over Vincennes and Fort Sackville. This changed the outcome of the American Revolutionary War.

9. By the Treaty of Paris, the British ceded all lands south of the Great Lakes to the United States.

Indiana Facts: 19th Century | 10-13

10. In 1800, William Henry Harrison became the governor of the Indiana territory. Vincennes was his capital.

11. In 1810, the Shawnee tribal chief Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa along with indigenous tribes revolted. Mr. Harrison launched a pre-emptive strike against Tecumseh’s Confederacy.

Here is something you may like: The Curse of Tippecanoe Facts

12. On November 7, 1811, the US won at the Battle of Tippecanoe. In 1813, in the Battle of Thames, Tecumseh was killed. With his death, the armed resistance ended in Indiana.

13. In May 1813, Corydon became the second capital of Indiana. In 1825, the state capital moved from Corydon to Indianapolis. Indianapolis still continues to be the state capital.

Indiana Facts: 19th Century | 14-17

14. In 1836, the state’s founders started the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act. It enabled the construction of roads, canals, railroads and state-funded public schools. Indiana went bankrupt but, value of land and its produce increased more than fourfold.

15. Mining, food processing, farm machinery, and hardware were primary post-war industries.

16. In the 1880s, the discovery of natural gas in northern Indiana catalyzed an economic boom. Cheap fuel attracted heavy industries and created jobs.

17. Jobs attracted settlers from all over USA and Europe. South Bend, Gary, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne in Indiana expanded swiftly.

Indiana Facts: 20th Century | 18- 21

indiana facts
By New-York Tribune – New-York tribune.

18. Until 1925, Haynes-Apperson, the USA’s first commercially successful auto major, operated in Kokomo, Indiana. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the peripheral auto-ancillary industries boosted the auto industry.

19. On May 30, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first long-distance auto race in the U. S. was hosted. The 200 laps Indianapolis 500 is held every Memorial Day weekend at Indiana.

20. McNutt ended Prohibition in Indiana. He also enacted Indiana’s first income tax regime.

21. On 8 December 1964, during a training drill, a B-58 jet bomber caught fire. Five nuclear weapons on board caught fire and caused radioactive contamination of the crash area at Indiana.

Indiana Facts: Geography and demography | 22-31

22. Indiana’s total area is 94,320 square kilometers. Indiana is the 38th largest state in size in the USA.

indiana facts
By TUBS – Own work | CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15948517

23. Located in the Midwestern United States, Indiana is one of eight states that make up the Great Lakes Region.

24. Michigan in north, Ohio in east, Illinois in west border Indiana. On the northwest, Lake Michigan limits Indiana. In the south, the Ohio River splits Indiana from Kentucky.

25. Hoosier Hill in Wayne County is the highest point in Indiana. It is at 383 meters above sea level. Posey County, where the Wabash River meets the Ohio River, is the lowest point. It is at 98 meters above sea level.

26. Whitewater, White, Blue, Wabash, St. Joseph, and Maumee are the major rivers.

27. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, there were 65 rivers, streams, and creeks. This is a fraction of an estimated 24,000 river miles within Indiana.

28. The Wabash River is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi River. It is the official river of Indiana.

29. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources lists about 900 lakes.

30. Lake Michigan is the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.

31. Tippecanoe Lake is the deepest lake in Indiana.

Indiana Facts: Geography and demography | 32-41

32. Lake Wawasee is the largest natural fresh water lake in Kosciusko County, Indiana.

33. Lake Monroe is a reservoir located about 10 miles southeast of Bloomington, Indiana.

34. With cold winters and hot and wet summers, Indiana has humid continental climate.

35. As per National Weather Service data from 1950 to 2011, Indiana is ranked eighth most tornado-prone state in the USA.

36. South Bend is on the St. Joseph River in Indiana. It is the 15th top tornado-prone cities in the US.

37. Indiana limestone is called Bedford limestone or Salem limestone. It is quarried in south central Indiana, United States. Bedford Limestone is the highest quality quarried limestone in the USA.

38. Indiana Limestone is used in the exteriors of The National Cathedral, Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and The Crescent.

39. After the terrorist attack of 11 September, 2001, Indiana limestone was used to rebuild the Pentagon.

40. After the Great Chicago Fire, Indiana limestone was used in rebuilding Chicago.

41. In the interiors, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church uses Indiana limestone.

Indiana Facts: Geography and demography | 42-51

42. The Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Merrillville, Indiana was awarded a Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Masonry Design. On its exterior facade, it uses Indiana limestone.

43. On its exterior facade, the new Yankee Stadium uses Indiana limestone paneling.  The project took around 15,000 cubic feet of stone and was rededicated exactly one year after the attack.

44. Limestone is aptly the Indiana State Stone.

45. Indiana has 92 counties, 16 metropolitan, 25 micropolitan, 117 incorporated cities, 450 towns, and several smaller areas.

46. Marion County and Indianapolis have consolidated city-county government.

47. Indianapolis is the largest city of Indiana. Fort Wayne, Evansville, and South Bend are the other large metropolitan areas.

48. In Indiana, White Americans are the majority population.

49. German is the largest ancestry in Indiana.

50. Catholics are the largest single religious denomination in Indiana.

51. After English, Spanish is the second-most-spoken language.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 52- 90

52. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division is the third largest naval installation in the world. It is around 108 square miles of the state.

53. The Terre Haute Regional Airport has no airlines operating out of the facility but is used for private flying.

54. As a seven-year-old, Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana. With his parents, Thomas and Nancy, he spent his younger days in Spencer County, Indiana.

55. Hard Rain is a 1998 action-thriller disaster film produced by Mark Gordon. Graham Yost wrote it and Mikael Salomon directed it. It was shot in Huntingburg, Indiana.

indiana facts
By US Air Force – http://www.af.mil/photos/index.asp?galleryID=161&page=6

56. In WWII, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was one of the main United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters. It was manufactured in Evansville, Indiana. In 2015, it was named the state aircraft of Indiana.

57. American writer Johnny Gruelle from Indiana created the character Raggedy Ann. With red yarn for hair and a triangle nose, Raggedy Ann is a rag doll. Gruelle patented the Raggedy Ann on September 7, 1915.

58. On May 4, 1871, the Fort Wayne Kekiongas won the first professional Baseball league game. Chief Little Turtle’s Miami Indian settlement is called Kekionga. As per Miami tribe’s language, kekionga means Blackberry Patch.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 52- 65

59. James Byron Dean was born on February 8, 1941, in Marion, Grant County, Indiana. He is an American actor and a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. “Rebel Without a Cause” is his most acclaimed movie.

60. David Michael Letterman was born on April 12, 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a famous American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He hosts “Late Show with David Letterman”.

61. Santa Claus, in Spencer County, Indiana, is world’s only post office with that name.

62. Santa Claus Museum & Village has Santa Claus Church, Santa Claus Post Office and a tall Santa Claus statue. From all over the world, it receives thousands of letters and requests at Christmas time.

indiana facts

63. In 19th century, for some prisons in the Midwestern United States, a rotary jail was an architectural design. William H. Brown designed the rotary jail and the Haugh, Ketcham & Co. iron foundry in Indianapolis built it. Crawfordsville is the last operating rotary jail in the United States.

64. Indiana has more than 100 native tree species. The Red Maple, with its colorful fall foliage display, is a beautiful and popular tree native to Indiana.

65. Eastern Arborvitae, Eastern Red Cedar, White Cedar, Hemlock, White Pine, Jack Pine, and Virginia Pine are evergreen Indiana native trees.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 66-72

66. Indiana has more than twenty native shrubs and more than ninety six native deciduous trees.

67. Tulip Poplar is the Indiana State tree.

68. Of all Old Order groups among Mennonites, the Old Order Mennonites in Indiana were the first. Many Mennonite and Amish live on the farmland of North-eastern Indiana.

Indiana Facts
By Hari Krishnan

69. Northern Cardinal is the Indiana State Bird. Male cardinals are brilliant red all over, have a reddish bill, and a black face immediately around the bill. Females have black face and red-orange bill and are pale brown overall with reddish tinges in wings, tail, and crest.

70. Peony is the Indiana State Flower. There are three types of peonies called herbaceous, tree and Itoh. Peony flowers bloom in late spring.

71. Say’s Firefly is the Indiana State Insect. On March 23, 2018, Governor Eric Holcomb signed the legislation. Say’s Firefly is native to North America, Indiana, and the USA.  

72. On September 5, 1885, Sylvanus Freelove Bowser sold his newly invented kerosene pump to the owner of a grocery store in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 73-79

73. Originally designed to safely dispense kerosene, early S.F. Bowser pumps held up to 42 gallons. Bowser’s invention evolved into the metered gasoline pump.

Indiana facts
Engraving of Gilbert C. Van Camp with facsimile of signature., Public Domain

74. Gilbert C. Van Camp, an Indianapolis businessman, founded the Van Camp canning company. Van Camp’s Pork and Beans became an American staple.

75. Flag of Indiana is the Indiana State Flag. Paul Hadley of Mooresville, Indiana, a respected Hoosier artist designed it. The torch in the center stands for liberty and enlightenment. The rays represent their far-reaching influence.

76. Sagamore of the Wabash is the Indiana State Award. Ralph Gates, during his tenure as Governor from 1945 to 1949, created The Sagamore of the Wabash award.

77. “Sagamore” means a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice.

78. English & American Sign Language are the Indiana State Languages.

79. Indiana State Motto is Crossroads of America.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 80-86

80. Indiana residents are called Hoosiers. Therefore, Indiana is called the “The Hoosier State”.

81. Grouseland Rifle is the Indiana State Rifle. Colonel John Small of Vincennes designed and crafted The Grouseland rifle.  In Vincennes, at the Grouseland mansion, it is now on display.

82. Indiana State River is the Wabash River. Indiana State Song is, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away.”

83. Since 1960, Peru, Indiana has been home to the Peru Amateur Circus. It is known as the Circus Capital of the World. The circus has been invited by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to perform at the National Mall.

indiana facts

84. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Richard Jordan Gatling was living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was a physician and founder of the Gatling Gun Company. In 1861, he invented the rapid-fire Gatling gun.

85. Vincennes, Indiana is the birth place of Richard Bernard Skelton, also known as Red Skelton. For his work in radio and television, he has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

86. Albert Jeremiah Beveridge was an American historian and US senator from Indiana. He was the biographer of Chief Justice John Marshall and President Abraham Lincoln. For writing “The Life of John Marshall,” in 1920, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.

Indiana Facts: Fun points | 87-90

indiana facts
Image Credit: Nobel Foundation

87. Born in Walkerton, Indiana, Harold Clayton Urey won the Nobel Prize in 1934 in chemistry for his discovery of deuterium. He was an American physical chemist. The Planets: Their Origin and Development and The Planets Their Origin and Development are two of his famous books.

88. Born in Dana, Indiana, Ernest Taylor Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence in 1944. He is best known for his stories about ordinary American soldiers during World War II.

89. Born in Gary, Indiana, Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist. In 1970, he was the first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Economic historian Randall E. Parker has called him the “Father of Modern Economics”.

90. In 2013, the U.S. News & World Report ranked The University of Notre Dame, Indiana in top 20. Indiana University, Bloomington and Purdue University rank in the top 100.

Offline Sources:

1. William Vincent D’Antonio; Robert L. Beck. “Indiana – Settlement patterns and demographic trends”. eb.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012

2. Stewart, George R. (1967) [1945]. Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (Sentry edition (3rd) ed.). Houghton Mifflin. p. 191

3. Graf, Jeffery. “The Word Hoosier”. Indiana University Bloomington. Retrieved February 27, 2012

4. Marimen, Mark; et al. (2008). Weird Indiana: Your Travel Guide to Indiana’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-4027-5452-4

5. Stephen Scott: An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups, page 72

Online Sources:

https://statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/indiana
https://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/Fo-NativeTreesofIndiana0606.pdf
https://www.indianawildlife.org/wildlife/native-plants/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Hope
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Limestone
https://www.in.gov/dnr/
https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/
https://web.archive.org/web/20110707202858/http://www.b-levi.com/research/arch/whbrown/rotary/history.php
https://web.archive.org/web/20070814111407/
http://www.thehistoricalsociety.org/jail.htm
https://visitindiana.com/trip-ideas
https://www.in.gov/isda/2336.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_P-47_Thunderbolt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raggedy_Ann
https://www.indystar.com/story/news/history/retroindy/2016/10/24/indianas-rich-baseball-history/92671236/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Wayne_Kekiongas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dean
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion,_Indiana
https://www.netflix.com/title/80209096
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus,_Indiana
https://www.gardendesign.com/peony/
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id
https://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/9718.htm
https://aoghs.org/transportation/first-gas-pump-and-service-stations/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Van_Camp
https://www.in.gov/gov/2376.htm
https://www.in.gov/portal/files/Sagamore.pdf
https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/indiana/military-firearms/grouseland-rifle
https://time.com/4452906/indiana-circus-peru/
https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/gatling-gun
https://www.jstor.org/stable/27791893
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_J._Beveridge
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernie_Pyle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Samuelson

Hey Wait! There's More...

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More