Historic Homes & Buildings, Indianapolis
From the front porch of this Italianate-style home Benjamin Harrison gave a number of speeches, leading to his election to the Presidency in 1888. One of the United States' least distinguished Presidents, Harrison is best remembered for signing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and being the grandson of the ninth President, William Henry Harrison.
Before serving in Washington DC, Harrison ran a successful law practice and served from 1881-87 as a United States Senator. He returned to Indianapolis following his defeat in the 1892 Presidential election.
The State House is a beautiful building that was constructed in 1888. Many of the government offices are now offsite, but the building is still an important symbol of the state of Indiana.
The original State House was built in the Greek Revival style in 1831 and demolished in 1877. The cornerstone for the current State House was laid on September 28, 1880 and was completed in 1888. It is made of Indiana limestone and as many materials from Indiana as possible.
The shape of the building is in a Greek cross, while the exterior is in the Corinthian style. The architect was Edwin May (who died before the project was finished) and the cost was just under $2 million. The State House underwent a major facelift in 1988 to restore its original look.
The building has been the important site for many historical events in Indiana, including funerals for dignitaries, and will continue to do so in the future.
Tours are available every weekday at the north entrance. Saturday and Sunday tours are available at 10:15, 11, 12, and 1. I only had time to walk the grounds but I will take the tour next time I am in Indianapolis.
See the following tips for some more specific info on the grounds.
Formerly known as Obelisk Square, the Veteran's Memorial Plaza sits between the Indiana World War Memorial and the American Legion Mall. In the center is the Obelisk Fountain and north of that is the 100 foot, black granite Obelisk, sculpted by Henry Henring in 1929. Four bronze tablets, representing law, science, religion and education, surround the structure.
Opened in 1888, Indianapolis' Union Station is, according to Indiana: A New Historical Guide, "one of the last remaining Victorian train stations in the Midwest."
In the 1980s Union Station was turned into a restaurant and shopping center. According to reports I read during one of my last visits to Indy that idea isn't fairing too well anymore. I guess folks got their fill of rock'n'roll T-shirt shops and Left-handed stores.
If you're looking for Amtrak service, head to the nearby Greyhound bus station at 350 S. Illinois Street.
Pay attention to the ornate details given to the exterior of the State House. Many of the artists, metalworkers, and plasterers were newly arrived immigrants to Indiana from Germany, Italy, and Slovenia.
The photo shows one of the columns at the east entrance along Capitol Ave. at Market St.
War Memorial Plaza
Most of the area immediately north of the circle in downtown Indy is a dedicated war memorial plaza. It starts just to the north of the main Post Office and features parks and monuments all the way to the library on St. Clair Street. In fact, even the monument in the center of the circle is a war memorial and houses the Eli Lilly Civil War Museum.
The Benjamin Harrison House is on Delaware Street just north of 12th street (a couple of blocks north of the interstate bridge). Also adjoined by a small park, the house is the former residence of Pres. Benjamin Harrison and is now a museum dedicated to his life. The museums web site is where you can find exhibit info, hours, and more detailed directions. While you're there, you may want to walk around the neighborhood a bit since you just happen to be in the St. Joseph's Historical District. Believe it or not, the St. Joes neighborhood association also has their own web site too! They have a lot of great background information and you can write in for a free brochure that includes a map for walking tours.
Located between Univeristy Park and Veteran's Memorial Plaza, the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza is an impressive tribute to Indiana soldiers killed in World War I. General John Pershing laid the cornerstone on July 4, 1927 but delays in funding prevented completion until 1965.
At its heart is the 210 foot memorial building, which contains a very interesting war museum, an auditorium and two meeting rooms. The museum is free and is open 9 am - 6 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.
As I said earlier, I got a personalized tour by my Great Uncle so I don't exactly know what an organized tour shows the visitor. But the 1880 Rennaissance Revival building is open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm weekdays and is free.
This is the second Harrison, to be President. Benjamin was president from 1889-1893. His Grandfather (William Henry) was old "Tippecanoe", the oldest man to be president and to have served the shortest term.
This Italianate home (1875) is just north of downtown on Delaware Street. Here, you can learn about Harrison and his time. He set aside millions of acres of the Great American Forest as Forest Preserves to insure that there would timber available to future Generations of Americans.
Vist by tour only. M-Sat (10-3:30), Sunday 12:30 - 3:30 in June & July
Indianapolis is full of historical architecture. Many of the cities iner-city neighborhoods are featured as historical places and are well worth visiting. Raditaing about 2 miles fgrom the circle, and some further, are various historical landmarks such as the historical woodruff place with some of the cities most historical residential houses. Indianapolis is a great place to visit if you are interested in old but excitimg places.
The war memorial was built using the pay from the soldiers from Indiana who served during World War I. The beautiful stone building depicts Indiana's involement in every American war. There is a walk in exhibit of what is like to be inside a fox hole. The greeters at the front desk can help anyone with Indiana relatives that served in a war to find the section where their name is listed. You must vist the top shrine room. All sides contain blue stain glass windows. It is wonderful room.
If you look up to the top of the south entrance to the State House along Washington St., you will see some figures above the entrance. These represent figures from Indiana history.