Fun things to do in Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors Memoria
    Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors...
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  • The mall stretches from the War Memorial to right
    The mall stretches from the War Memorial...
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  • Wintry view from atop Crown Hill
    Wintry view from atop Crown Hill
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Indianapolis

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    UNIVERSITY PARK

    by mtncorg Written May 5, 2015

    Originally the site for the state university, these grounds eventually became a park in 1876 long after the university developed elsewhere. Centrally located within the park is the Depew Fountain. Two statues stand on either side of the fountain. Pan is on the west side while the wood nymph Syrinx on the east side, sits with a head tilted to hear the music from Pan. Both statues have had to be replaced over the years due to theft. Other sculptures on the outside borders of the park include Benjamin Harrison – Indiana’s only President, Abraham Lincoln and Schulyer Colfax – a Vice President under Grant and who was an abolitionist Republican congressman from South Bend before that.

    Depew Fountain and the War Memorial to north Schuyler Colfax and the War Memorial Syrinx keeping an ear open for Pan's music
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    SCOTTISH RITE CATHEDRAL

    by mtncorg Written Apr 28, 2015

    Scottish Rite is an appendant body of freemasonry. Masonry has three levels which members progress through – the top level being that of Master Mason. Several other organizations use the top level as a starting point for further adventures. The Scottish Rite – The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry – has 33 levels. Other similar Masonic side voyages include the Shriners and the York Rite – which can lead to the Knights Templar.

    The Scottish Rite Cathedral is one of the most dramatic Scottish Rite building there is. Neo-Gothic in architecture, the main tower rises some 212 feet high and holds a 54 bell carillon. There is an auditorium seating 1,200; a floating ballroom – the Indianapolis chapter of the Scottish Rite, or Valley of Indianapolis, is the only chapter in the nation with an orchestra in residence; a huge pipe organ plus Masonic symbolism is all around. Besides the obvious Masonic symbols and Zodiac signs, rooms, pillars, panels, dimensions are all built with each figure being divisible by three – three levels of freemasonry – or thirty three – the levels within the Scottish Rite and the numbers of years in the life of Jesus Christ.

    The building cost at $2,500.000 dollars when it was built between 1927 and 1929 – a huge amount of money, especially at the beginning of the Great Depression. Membership was 8,000 in 1921 and growing. Today rentals go a ways in maintaining the building, with weddings always being popular.

    Scottish Rite Cathedral on west side of Mall Cathedral at night ... in a snowstorm Cathedral rising on west edge of the Mall
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    CROWN HILL - CONFEDERATE MOUND

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    Camp Morton was the initial training ground for Federal troops in Indiana. The grounds had been used before the war for the Indiana State Fair - as they would be used once more after the war. Today the area is filled with houses except for a granite boulder monument in Herron-Morton Historic Park.

    With the large influx of Confederate prisoners following the fall of Fort Donelson, the camp was converted into a military prison with the first prisoners arriving 22 February 1862 - the last prisoners paroled was 12 June 1865. The prison was one of eight Federal prisons that were established. The average population was 3,214 with a maximum of 4,999 reached in July 1864. The camp averaged about 50 deaths a month with the total of about 1,700 dying in all between 1862 and 1865 - one of the lower death rates. These men were buried in Greenlawn Cemetery as were the Federal soldiers who died in the area.

    The gravesites had been marked with wooden boards which were painted with the man's identification, but time wore away the paint and a fire destroyed the records in 1866. Some families exhumed their loved ones for reburial in the South, but 1,616 remained at Greenlawn. In 1870, enlargement of a neighboring train yard caused all the graves to be combined in one mass grave. With time, the location of the mass grave became unknown. The grave was relocated in 1906 and a monument erected over it in 1912 - the monument is relocated to Garfield Park today. The mass grave remains were removed here to Section 32 of Crown Hill in 1931. The names of the fallen were added on ten bronze plaques in 1993 - the result of the efforts of a couple of local police officers. Some of the dead listed were not soldiers but slaves who followed their masters into captivity as manservants.

    Plaques remember those Confederates who died Names poke above the deep Indiana snow
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    CROWN HILL - NATIONAL CEMETERY

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    One of the main reasons for the establishment of Crown Hill was the Civil War. Many of the Federal soldiers who died either while stationed in and around Indianapolis or those dying in local hospitals were originally buried in Greenlawn Cemetery. This cemetery quickly filled and was not well maintained by late in the war, so the Federal government bought 1.4 acres inside Crown Hill in 1863. After the war, in 1866, the remains of 707 soldiers were taken from Greenlawn and reinterred here. Eventually marble headstones were issued and a commemorative monument marks the cemetery within a cemetery. The national cemetery section has filled with burials from other wars after the Civil War to total 2,135 graves here.

    Upturned cannon marks boundary of federal cemetery Cemetery within a cemetery Soldiers graves in the snow General Canby lies at edge of national cemetery
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    CROWN HILL - OTHERS

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    On the north side of the National Cemetery here at Crown Hill you can find the gravesite of Richard Gatling. An inventor and merchant from North Carolina, Gatling moved to St Louis when he was 36 years old. More inventions followed which helped galvanize agriculture - aids for planting both wheat and rice. After suffering an attack of smallpox, Gatling became interested enough in medicine to graduate from the Ohio Medical College, though he never saw patients. He eventually moved to Indianapolis and continued a long career of invention in a large gamut of fields.

    His best known invention was the Gatling gun. Developed during the Civil War when Gatling noted that more soldiers were dying of disease than gunshots, he thought if he could let one man with a gun do the work of a hundred then large armies would no longer be needed reducing the exposure of so many to battle and disease. Of course, it didn't quite work out that way. His gun wasn't purchased by the army until 1866 but would be an important tool for the next half century.

    Another elegant grave nearby is that of Second Lieutenant Ralph Miller. Miller enlisted in the 128th Indiana becoming a sergeant major during the Spanish-American War. With the war's conclusion, he enlisted in the regular army and served in the cavalry in the Philippines going up through the ranks to become a lieutenant. Shortly after returning from overseas, he died in an army hospital at the Presidio in San Francisco of a kidney disease - sad fact that more men died of disease than of actual battle.

    Grave of Richard Gatling at Crown Hill Grave of Lieutenant Miller
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    CROWN HILL - OLIVER MORTON

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    Oliver Perry Hazard Morton - he dropped the "Hazard" in later life - was the governor of Indiana during the Civil War and was a strong ally of Abraham Lincoln. A lawyer before the war and a Democrat in a solid Whig district, Morton's political chances brightened when the Kansas-Nebraska bill divided Democrats - Morton coming down on the free-soil side. In 1856, he became one of the founding members of the Republican Party serving as a delegate at the convention in Pittsburgh. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in that same year, but four years later he got in through the backdoor. He won the lieutenant governor spot and became governor when the governor-elect, Henry Lane, chose to go to the U.S. Senate instead.

    Serving six years as governor, Morton strongly supported the Union cause acting unconstitutionally at times. 1862 brought about a Democratic majority in the statehouse in Indiana not as amenable at working with Morton as the previous legislature. By keeping Republican legislators away from Indianapolis he prevented the formation of a quorum that the Democrats needed with which they could legally pass legislation. Morton bypassed the legislature in funding the State government and war effort, as well, by gaining federal and private loans to keep away from having to call the legislature together to debate appropriations. He used an intelligence agency to deal with anybody opposed to the Federal war effort arresting and suppressing those South-leaning Hoosiers.

    The Indiana constitution allowed for a governor to serve only for four years during an eight-year period, but Morton got around that in 1864 by saying since he had originally run as lieutenant governor, he was eligible to run as governor. Returning soldiers gave him a comfortable edge in the ensuing election.

    In 1865, Morton suffered a stroke and while he recovered somewhat, he was never able to walk again without assistance. He resigned the governor's chair when he was elected to the U.S. Senate by the legislature - now with a Republican majority. In the Senate, Morton supported the Radical Reconstruction programs and voted for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. He was also able to forestall a Democratic attempt to forestall the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment which gave the right to vote to all.

    Re-elected to a second term as senator in 1873, Morton became associated with the Grant administration and a leader of the Stalwarts who were most deeply committed to Republican Reconstruction. He was a major nominee for president at the GOP convention in 1876 along with another Stalwart leader, Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York. The Stalwarts were forced to compromise and support Rutherford Hayes in a last-ditch attempt to stop the nomination from going to James Blaine - the anti-Grant Republican leader.

    Morton was given a seat on the Electoral Commission that gave the election to Hayes after Hayes let it known he would end Reconstruction. Surprisingly, Morton backed Hayes and urged his fellow Republicans to show patience with Hayes' "New Departure" program.

    The following summer, Morton spent three weeks in Oregon while leading a committee investigating charges of bribery against La Fayette Grover, the Democratic senator from Oregon who was involved in electoral votes going amiss - Hayes won his election by only one electoral vote. Afterwards, Morton was resting in San Francisco when 6 August 1877 he suffered a second severe stroke paralyzing the left side of his body. He died back in Indianapolis four months later.

    Grave of the governor - Canby is beyond Statue of the Governor in front of Indiana Capitol
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    CROWN HILL - ELI LILLY

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    On the east side of Crown Hill, just below the top is the mausoleum of Eli Lilly and his family. Lily grew up in an abolitionist family whose beliefs took them from Kentucky to Indiana before the Civil War. Becoming a pharmacist, Eli opened a drugstore in Greencastle just before the war.

    With the advent of the Civil War, Lily recruited the 18th Battery Indiana Light Artillery - the Lily Battery - with 150 men and six two-pounder Parrot rifled cannon. Assigned to the Lightning Brigade commanded by Colonel John Wilder, the battery was heavily engaged in the campaigns of the Arm of the Cumberland during the summer of 1863, especially at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.

    His three years were up at the end of 1863 and he re-enlisted. Promoted to major, Lily was given command of the 9th Indiana Cavalry. Captured in December 1864, he was held in a prison camp in Mississippi until the end of the war gaining a brevet promotion to colonel, a title he went by for the rest of his life.

    After the war, Lilly bought a cotton plantation in Mississippi. Drought, a shady business partner and the death of his wife to malaria forced him to declare bankruptcy back in Indiana in 1868. A year later, he re-married and after being involved with a couple of drug stores, Lilly opened a laboratory to manufacture drugs in 1876. Starting with only three employees including his 14 year old son Josiah, Lilly built his company into one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country with focus on producing high-quality prescription drugs. In the course of events, he also produced a research staff as his business grew. Aware of the addictive nature of some of his drugs, he pioneered the concept of giving such drugs only to people whose physician felt needed such medicine. In 1890, Lilly turned over the day-to-day management of the company over to Josiah who continued to build the company into the giant it is today - one of the largest drug
    companies in the World, as well as the largest corporation and charitable benefactor in Indiana.

    After Lilly's partial retirement, he became very active in civic philanthropy. With the suggestion of former governor Oliver Morton, Lilly helped raise the funds for the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument which was completed after his death in 1901. Inside the monument, a museum was built in 1999 dealing with Indianans in the Civil War and it was named the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum in his honor. Lilly died in 1898.

    Mausoleum of Eli Lilly Eli Lilly's final resting spot on Crown Hill Crypt of Eli Lilly Grave of John Hawkins from the last tip
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    CROWN HILL - FEDERAL GENERALS

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 27, 2015

    Indiana did her fair share in the fight to preserve the Union with several Indianans rising to the rank of brigadier general or higher in the Federal forces. Some of the men are buried or remembered here at Crown Hill.

    For Oregonians, Edward Canby is significant. A local former agricultural town - now part of the outer suburbs of Portland - was renamed in Canby's honor after he met his end trying to mediate an end to an Indian war on the Oregon-California border. Canby was a 1839 graduate of West Point and served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican War gaining three brevet promotions for gallantry. Next, he served in various posts around the West being involved in an unsuccessful campaign against the Navajo while being assigned to New Mexico just before the onset of the Civil War.

    With the Civil War, Canby was promoted to colonel of the 19th U.S. Infantry. A subordinate officer of his, Henry Sibley, resigned to become a brigadier general in the Confederate army. They were both reacquainted in a campaign in which Sibley led an invading force into New Mexico from west Texas. After initial successes, Sibley was defeated at the Battle of Glorieta Pass and forced back into Texas. Promoted, himself, to brigadier general, Canby was reassigned to the East doing various jobs including working in the War Department as an assistant to the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. In May 1864, Canby went to Louisiana to relieve Nathaniel Banks of his command. The next spring, he was in charge of the Federal campaign which eventually captured Mobile, Alabama 12 April 1865. Then, in May, he accepted the final surrender of Confederate troops still serving in the West.

    After the war, Canby, considered a good administrator as well as a firm, honest and sincere man, served in various Reconstruction commands in the South: Louisiana, the Carolinas and the Chesapeake region. In 1872, Canby was sent out to the Pacific Northwest and soon faced Indian problems along the Oregon-California border.

    The Modoc tribe originally lived in northern California, but were moved to a reservation in southern Oregon which they were forced to share with traditional enemies. After failing to get permission to move, they did so on their own, fortifying themselves into the lava beds just south of the Oregon border. Ensconced with the lava maze, they held off various attempts by the army to oust them. Canby was assigned to a peace commission in 1873. At a meeting with the Modoc leader Captain Jack, Canby was murdered along with one other peace commissioner and several others were wounded. Canby was the only general officer to be killed in the Indian wars - Custer was only a lieutenant colonel in his regular army rank.

    Canby's murder combined with the Great Sioux War gutted President Grant's peace policy towards the Indians and public policy shifted back towards inflicting full defeat upon them. Canby was buried here at Crown Hill 23 May 1873.

    Abel Streight was a publisher of books and maps in Indianapolis before the war. He became the colonel of the 51st Indiana and his men saw little action during the first two years of the war. Eager to get into the fray, Streight proposed to Brigadier General James Garfield, chief of staff of the Army of the Cumberland, that he lead a deep raid into the South to disrupt the rail line supplying the Confederates in middle Tennessee. He was given permission and with the 51st Indiana, the 73rd Indiana, the 80th Illinois and the 73rd Ohio - about 1,700 troops - he set out with his men mounted on mules in the spring of 1863. His force made it to Sand Mountain just west of Chattanooga before after a series of skirmishes, Streight's force was surrounded and captured.

    Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia was Streight's home for the next ten months before he led 107 others in a prison break through a tunnel. Making his way back to Federal territory, Streight was restored to brigade command participating at the battles of Franklin and Nashville. For his duty, he received a brevet promotion to brigadier general just before he resigned and returned to his businesses in Indianapolis. He served two terms in the Indiana Senate before dying in 1892.

    Jefferson C. Davis had one of the more interesting careers in the Federal army. He became an officer after enlisting in the 3rd Indiana Foot Volunteers during the Mexican War. Staying on in the regular army, Davis served in different forts - mostly in the South - as an artillery officer. He was stationed at Fort Sumter when that fort was fired upon to start the Civil War. Following the fall of the fort, Davis, now a captain, returned to Indiana and was tasked to raise a regiment.

    Becoming the colonel of the 22nd Indiana he led that force to Missouri in August of1861 to help defend Jefferson City. Raised to division command for the campaign culminating in the Battle of Pea Ridge, his men played a key role in the Federal victory there and Davis was brevetted to brigadier general.

    In August 1862, Davis found himself on sick leave as Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith launched an invasion of Kentucky. Offering his services, Davis ended up in Louisville where after a series of altercations with General William "Bull" Nelson - a boorish ex-naval commander originally from Kentucky - Davis ended up shooting and killing Nelson. Normally that would have been simple murder, but he dire need for experienced troop commanders, the unpopularity of Nelson - at least with Indianan troops - and the continued intrigues of Indiana governor Oliver Morton against both Nelson and the overall Federal commander Don Carlos Buell, whom Morton considered a traitor - all of this and Davis walked fee with no punishment.

    Davis went on to be a capable field commander in the Army of the Cumberland leading a division and later a corps. His division seemed to be on the hard end of the rope at both %L[]Stones River and Chickamauga and his murder of Nelson rankled many of his subordinates.

    After the war, Davis continued in the army as colonel of the 23rd Infantry becoming the first commander for the Department of Alaska in 1867. He came next to the Pacific Northwest after Canby was murdered and led troops in ending the Modoc War, capturing Captain Jack and other Modoc leaders. Davis died in 1879 at the age of 51.

    John Parker Hawkins is another Federal general with ties to Canby - he was Canby's brother-in-law. Like Canby, Hawkins was a graduate of West Point. Ranking 40 out of 43, he was an infantry lieutenant before the Civil War. He spent the first half of the war as the commissary general for Grant's Army of the Tennessee gaining the rank of brigadier general in the volunteers in April 1864. Next he led a brigade and then a division of U.S. Colored troops playing a role in the successful capture of Mobile, Alabama - a campaign led by Canby in 1865.
    With the end of the war, Hawkins was brevetted to major general though staying in the army he reverted back to his old regular rank of captain. Serving in the Subsistence Department, he slowly rose back up in the ranks over the years making it back to brigadier general in 1892, two years before he retired.

    Note that the picture of Hawkins grave is included in the next tip*

    George F. McGinnis had served in the Mexican War with the 2nd Ohio Foot Volunteers returning to Ohio to make hats. Having moved to Indiana before the Civil war, he signed on with the 11th Indiana three month regiment raised by Colonel Lew Wallace, quickly leaping in rank from private to lieutenant colonel. The regiment was re-mustered at the end of three months as a three-year regiment at the end of August 1861 and was known s "Wallace's Zouaves". When Wallace was promoted to brigade command, Hawkins became the colonel of the regiment taking part in actions at both Fort Henry and Fort Donelson as part of Wallace's division. Shiloh and Corinth were next and afterward, McGinnis was promoted to brigadier general and the command of a brigade in John McClernand's division. They were in the midst of the fight at Champion Hill and the brigade is remembered with a plaque of McGinnis near where they served in the siege lines at Vicksburg.

    After Vicksburg, McGinnis served in inconsequential posts probably because of his association with both Wallace and McClernand, both unpopular men with Grant. Following the war, he returned to Indianapolis to run a fiduciary business and he occupied different low level political posts before dying in 1910.

    Lew Wallace is one of Indiana's most famous Civil War generals. He raised and led the 11th Indiana at the war's outset, becoming a division commander early in the war under Grant. After Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Wallace's division got mixed up the first day of Shiloh and while they did participate in the second day's fighting, Wallace would find himself on the outs with Grant thereafter. Later in the war - 1864- he helped delay the force of Jubal Early who was making a raid out of the Shenandoah Valley towards Washington and Baltimore. Defeated at Monocacy, Wallace still delayed the Confederates enough for the Federal command to scramble enough troops to repulse the threat. Wallace is best known as the author of the postwar novel "Ben Hur". Wallace is buried in nearby Greenwood, Indiana where his home is a museum you can visit. He is remembered her at Crown Hill on this cenotaph.

    Monument to Jefferson C. Davis Grave of Edward Canby and his wife Cenotaph for Lew Wallace Abel Streight's monument at Crown Hill Grave of McGinnis Family
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    CROWN HILL - UNSUCCESSFUL VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDID

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    Not every Indiana candidate for vice president was a winner. William Hayden English was tabbed to be Winfield Scott Hancock's running mate in 1880, but the duo were beaten out narrowly by James Garfield and Chester Arthur.

    Hayden was admitted to the Indiana bar at the young age of 18. Working with the Democratic Party in Indiana, he was rewarded with a job in Washington D.C. from 1845 until 1850. Returning to Indiana, he was elected to the State House of Representatives and at only 29 years of age, he was elected as Speaker of the House. In 1852, English became a U.S. congressman, being re-elected four consecutive terms, serving until 1860. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed into law and English was one of the 42 free-state representatives who voted for the act - the act opened both territories to slavery - despite having reservations. English being conservative and from a southern Indiana district was one of only three of the 42 re-elected. He later worked with Georgia senator Alexander Stephens to offer Kansas admission as a slave State, but only if the people of Kansas endorsed that choice in a referendum. Congress passed the English Bill and Kansans
    rejected their own pro-Slavery LeCompton Constitution.

    During the Civil War, English considered himself a War Democrat. He occupied his time with several businesses, staying in touch with local politics, but not running for office. He attended the Democratic National Convention in 1880 as a member of the Indiana delegation favoring Thomas Bayard of Delaware. Winfield Scott Hancock won the presidential nomination on the second ballot with the Indianan votes swinging his way at a critical point. As a reward, English was given the second spot on the ticket.

    The Democrats were assured of a Solid South with the end of Reconstruction, but they needed a few Midwestern States to win the election with. In the end, they failed to carry any of their targeted States and while losing narrowly in the popular election, their electoral defeat - 214:155 - was much sounder. English returned to his business concerns and helped to finance the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. He died in 1896 reposing in one of the finer tombs here at Crown Hill.

    Another unsuccessful vice presidential candidate is John Kern. He ran on the Democratic ticket in 1908 as running mate to William Jennings Bryan, who was running for a third time. Kern had been serving positions in the Indiana Senate and with the city of Indianapolis before their run against Republican William Taft. He had also run unsuccessfully for governor three times, as well. After the 1908 defeat, Kern was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1910. A progressive leader, he became the Senate majority leader and was instrumental in guiding President Wilson's progressive agenda through congressional waters. One of those was the 17th amendment which allowed for direct popular votes for Senators as opposed to their election by State legislatures. In his re-election campaign in 1916, he was narrowly defeated. Already in poor health, Kern died five months after leaving office 17 August 1917. He was re-interred her at Crown Hill twelve years later.

    Grave of John Kern taken from Find-a-Grave.com
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    CROWN HILL – VICE PRESIDENTS

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    There are three vice presidents buried here at Crown Hill. These men occupied the second highest position in the country. A position so esteemed, Thomas Marshall – one of the three – declared, “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to the sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.”

    Thomas Hendricks was a long-time Democratic politician in Indiana serving in the U.S. Congress in both the House and the Senate before becoming governor in 1872. Popular in the national Democratic Party, Hendricks was nominated for the vice president position on the Democratic ticket in 1876 as running mate for Samuel Tilden. Unsuccessful, he still accepted another try in 1884 on the ticket with Grover Cleveland. Success came his way this time, but with poor health, Hendricks last only eight months into his term before dying, which might have been a good thing for Cleveland. Neither of them got along well together differing on the notion of government intervention into the nation’s economic life – Cleveland was against all government intervention – as well – here more importantly for Cleveland’s future – coming from different stances on patronage. Hendricks and many other Democrats said it was about time they had a shot at the wheel. They had been out of office since Buchanan – though Johnson had proven adept at patronage in his short time in office. Cleveland dismissed patronage as a tool which threatened a revolt from within the party ranks. Six months into office, Cleveland buckled and put in Adlai Stevenson into the position of Postmaster General where after some 40,000 Federal jobs changed hands. The home where Hendricks lived is open for tours.

    Charles Fairbanks went from political reporter to lawyer, serving as counsel to railroad millionaire Jay Gould en route to garnering his own fortune. He became involved in politics in 1888 when he was asked to help the former Postmaster General, ex-colonel of the 53rd Indiana, former Secretary of the Treasury and Judge Walter Gresham – the town next to where I lived is named for him – in a second run at the GOP presidential nomination. Unsuccessful, Fairbanks was hooked on the political game and he won a seat in the U.S. Senate on a second try of his own in 1896. Serving for eight years in the senate, he became a very close adviser to President McKinley whom he had campaigned hard for at first at the Republican National Convention – 1896 – and then in the general election.

    McKinley’s vice president, Garrett Hobart died just before the 1900 re-election campaign got underway and there was some attempt to draft Fairbanks for that slot in a try to derail Theodore Roosevelt, but Fairbanks thought the senate was a better position from which he could set his sights on the higher number one position.

    However, McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt became president in 1901. Roosevelt deftly maneuvered through 1902 and 1903 to secure his re-nomination in 1904. As a sop to the conservative wing of the Republican Party, Fairbanks was chosen for the second spot even though Roosevelt was lukewarm to the idea at best. They offset each other geographically, ideologically and personally – “The Hot Tamale and the Indiana Icicle”.

    A landslide victory led to a job with little substance for Fairbanks, for while Roosevelt may have had to include him on the ticket for political reasons, he didn’t have to give Fairbanks any meaningful tasks – similar to the way McKinley had shunted Roosevelt aside when they were elected in 1900. During the latter part of their term, Roosevelt faced opposition from within his own party in the Senate. Fairbanks’ sympathies could be seen to be lying alongside his colleagues in the Senate which further alienated the two.

    When Roosevelt stepped aside from the Presidency in 1908, Fairbanks tried to gain support for a run. His cold demeanor made it difficult. Roosevelt informed a columnist that he was thinking of riding in a submarine. The columnist replied, “You really shouldn’t do it … unless you take Fairbanks with you!” In any event, Roosevelt tabbed Secretary of War William Taft as his successor and Fairbanks never had a chance.

    Returning to Indiana, Fairbanks kept himself low to the ground though he did support Taft’s re-election bid in 1912. Then, in 1916, when Charles Evans Hughes won the GOP nomination, Fairbanks name was put in for the vice president slot despite his wishes. He was running against the third member of our Crown Hill group – Thomas Marshall – who seemed to ignite the electorate almost as much as Fairbanks. “Mr Marshall is an argument for the election of Mr Hughes. Mr Fairbanks is an argument for the re-election of Mr Wilson.” Hughes and Fairbanks were narrowly defeated and Fairbanks retired again to Indiana dying in 1918.

    Thomas Marshall is remembered best for his pithy comments “What this country needs is a good five cent cigar!” especially regarding the position of vice president which he held for eight years under Woodrow Wilson. “I do not blame parents for wishing that their sons might be President of the U.S. but if I sought a blessing for a boy I would not pray that he become Vice President.”

    Marshall sought out a career in law after spending free time as a youth in courtrooms listening to Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Hendricks. Coming from a Democratic family, he spoke up for candidates often, but an early election defeat in 1880 kept him from running for office until 1908 when he succeeded in gaining the Indiana governor’s office. In 1912 at the Democratic National Convention, Wilson won the 46th ballot with the help of Indiana’s 29 votes for Marshall as a favorite son – Marshall had thrown them Wilson’s way since the 28th ballot. Alabama congressman Oscar Underwood turned down Wilson to be his running mate and Marshall was given the nod.

    Wilson didn’t think much of Marshall – sensing a trend here? – and rarely gave his vice president anything substantial to do nor consulted with him. Invited to attend cabinet meetings, Marshall stopped going after one session saying he realized “… he would not be listened to and hence unable to make any contribution.” Marshall did loyally support Wilson admiring the president’s imagination and determination while not wholeheartedly embracing Wilson’s programs.

    Marshall did have the art of wit, but some thought it made him more Wilson’s jester than a statesman. Colonel Edward House noted, “An unfriendly fairy godmother presented him with a keen sense of humor. Nothing is more fatal in politics.” His wit did make him popular, however, and with the Republican Party reunited for the 1916 election campaign – after the 1912 Bull Moose disaster – Wilson declined to drop Marshall from the ticket. With their narrow victory, Marshall became the first vice president to be re-elected since John Calhoun – 1825-1832.

    During their second term, Wilson spent large amounts of his time in Europe at the conclusion of World War I. Marshall presided over a few cabinet meetings in Wilson’s absence but soon withdrew feeling he couldn’t maintain a confidential relationship with both legislative and executive branches at the same time. Some thought he suffered from intellectual insecurity which may have been the reason he failed to pick up the slack when Wilson suffered his major stroke in October 1919. Secretary of State Robert Lansing took over the rudderless State of affairs for which Wilson fired him when he had regained some of his strength.

    The Democrats lost the 1920 election handily to Warren Harding and Marshall retired to Indiana. “I don’t want to work, but I wouldn’t mind being Vice President again.” He died in 1925.

    Charles Fairbanks' final repose at Crown Hill Obelisk for Thomas Hendricks at Crown Hill Mausoleum of Thomas Marshall at Crown Hill Fairbanks grave and the Crown Hill Gothic Chapel
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    CROWN HILL – BENJAMIN HARRISON

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    At the southeast base of Crown Hill is the grave of the only President from Indiana, Benjamin Harrison. Technically born and raised in Ohio, Benjamin lived his adult life here in Indianapolis. Like most presidents of the Gilded Age – from after Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt – Harrison is little remembered today. It was during his administration that much of what would become the progressive movement was set out. Political factors and the death of his first wife, Caroline – who lies next to him here, two weeks before the election, led him to being a one term president. Leaving office in 1892, he returned to a very lucrative law office here in Indianapolis. For more on the President see my tip regarding his house which is open to tours here in town.

    Caroline Harrison was Benjamin’s first wife. They were married in 1853, both having just graduated from college studies – Caroline in music. They set up their household here in Indianapolis – both were from around Cincinnati – and raised their family. As First Lady, Caroline instituted the practice of having a Christmas tree inside the White House. She oversaw extensive renovations within the White House, too, including the installation of electricity, though she was very wary of the switches after watching her husband get a shock when he turned a switch. Suffering from tuberculosis, she died 25 October 1892.

    Four years late, Benjamin married again, this time to Caroline’s niece and former secretary, Mary Scott Dimmick. She was 37 years old and he was 62, an age difference that did not sit well with Harrison’s adult children who declined their wedding invites. Mary outlived Benjamin by almost fifty years before joining him here at Crown Hill in 1948. They had one daughter.

    Benjamin’s son Russell is also buried here in the Crown Hill plot. He had ventured out to Montana while his father was a U.S. senator in 1878. In Montana, he met and married his wife Mary, the daughter of Governor Alvin Saunders. He purchased the Helena Daily Journal, as well. Estranged from his father with the re-marriage in 1896, Russell still inherited a large part of the former president’s estate when he died in 1901. A late bloomer, Russell became a lawyer just before the Spanish-American War. He served in that conflict in the force that occupied Puerto Rico. Discharged as a Lieutenant colonel, he returned to Indianapolis to set up his law office. Entering politics at the end of World War I, Russell served for twelve years in the Indiana House and Senate, dying in 1936.

    Flag flying at the base of Crown Hill Benjamin Harrison lying with his wives and son Sun low in wintry sky at graves of the Harrisons Cleared walkway and to the flag of the President
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    CROWN HILL – JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    In a cemetery full of politicians, generals, race car drivers and industrialists, the front and center position atop Crown Hill is occupied by James Whitcomb Riley, also known as the “Hoosier Poet” and the “Children’s Poet”. He was a very popular poet at the turn of the 19th century, the nation’s best-read poet by the 1880’s – a phenomenon helped out by his showmanship on the road. He wrote many of his poems in dialect allowing readers – and listeners – to recall simpler times, an important escape amidst the rapid changes going on in the U.S. during the Gilded Age. His most famous poems probably were “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie” – made even more famous in inspiring the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and the long-running comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. Riley is not known for serious poetry, but he was a very good marketer for his time. Always touring, his shows were always sold out and later in life he was quite well off. Dying in 1916, Riley lay in state at the Indiana Capitol – the only other person ever given that honor being Abraham Lincoln. Some 35,000 people filed past his casket in the ten hours he was on display and thousands were turned away at the end of the day. The following day he was laid to rest up here atop the Hill.

    Tomb of James Whitcomb Riley atop Crown Hill View from Riley's tomb back to downtown Indy Headstone for James Whitcomb Riley Wintry view from atop Crown Hill Tablet describes the life of Riley
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    CROWN HILL

    by mtncorg Written Apr 27, 2015

    Cemeteries bring you face-to-face with history and Crown Hill does not disappoint. The cemetery is the 3rd largest in the U.S.. Its 555 acres include over 200,000 burials – about 1,500 each year presently – and some 25 miles of roads take you through the necropolis. Crown Hill dates to 1864 when a new cemetery was deemed necessary since the main old one – Greenlawn – had filled up with graves because of the Civil War. Many of the graves from that older cemetery would be moved here, especially since Greenlawn was officially closed in 1890 and the grounds are covered by industry today. Crown Hill was centered on Strawberry Hill, a high point overlooking the city about 2.8 miles northwest of downtown. The hill was renamed and opened for business. One president, three vice presidents, nine U.S. senators, eleven Indiana governors, one governor from Vermont and Kentucky, as well as at least ten Union generals and a host of people involved with the auto industry and the Indianapolis 500 race are among the thousands reposing here at Crown Hill.

    View from top of Crown Hill to downtown Indy Walkway is cleared to grave of President Harrison U.S. National Cemetery at Crown Hill The Confederate Mound at Crown Hill
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    Learning from Brains

    by staindesign Written Feb 27, 2015

    This is very much off the beaten path, so much so, living here for 10 years I had never heard of the Indiana Medical History Museum. This place is for nerds (like me), medical professionals, psychology enthusiasts, and/or weirdos. This is the original building where doctors did medical research on patients in the psychiatric hospital next door. Today the entire state mental hospital has been torn down, but this building remains with almost nothing around. $10 adults $5 for students gets you an hour tour of the the museum. The brain room is quite interesting, so it's not to be missed. All patients were voluntarily donated to research after their deaths.

    Auditorium Autopsy table Microscope Chemicals Nursing Year Book
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  • Hotel is a Rundown shack

    by merbear2014 Written Feb 4, 2015

    We drove 2 hours to take the kids to the indoor waterpark/hotel. The waterpark was decent. The kids had a good time. They had just as much fun playing in the pool at the hotel to be honest though. The waterpark is a great buy for the price! The hotel, not so much. It was at best a Super 8 quality. The window curtains had holes in them. Our balcony room was a obstructed view into the atrium. The balcony area was covered in chips and crud from the previous room tenants. The toilets were so slow draining and refilling. The staff was not helpful. They had no idea what time the restaurants served or if they were open. Many are closed permanently. It is obvious this use to be a great happening location that has dwindled down to a local hot spot with minimal need for the hotel attached.

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