Monument Circle, Indianapolis
Please click photo to see the details
The Soldiers & Sailors Monument is to Indianapolis as the Arch is to St. Louis.
It was erected in 1887-1901 of ashlar limestone and is dedicated to the 24,000 "Hoosiers" who gave their lives in the Civil War. It was designed by the German Architect, Bruno Schmitz There was an international design competition, and Schmitz won. He designed the monument as the city's focal point and as a gathering place. He succeeded!
The monument incorporates sculpture by 4 people, Rudolf Schwarz, Frederick William MacMonnies, George Thomas Brewster, & Nicolaus Geiger. It was fabricated by the Terre Haute Stone Company.
Private funds were collected, but most of the cost was paid for with public funds.
This structure is about 284 feet high, but with the statue called Victory standing atop it, that measurement increases. I discovered that most "Hoosiers" call Victory "Miss Indiana"!
My brother Dustin (who lives in Indianapolis) tells me that The Soldiers & Sailors Monument is decorated with thousands and thousands of small Christmas Tree Lights each Christmas season, and it is thus transformed into one of the world's largest Christmas trees!"
Jill and I rode the small elevator to the to step 290 and walked to the glass-enclosed observation deck. (the 330 stair walk was closed) Too bad the windows as filthy dirty so it's difficult to enjoy the panoramic view of downtown Indianapolis and impossible to take a photo.
It was impossible for me to take a photograph that encompassed the entire monument; I would have needed much more sophisticated equipment.
My two photos show details of the monument.
Our hotel room had a great view of Monument Circle. The monument, dedicted to those who gave their lives in past wars, particulary the Spanish-American and Civil Wars. There is an observation tower at the top. Pay no mind to anyone that tells you there's a fee to go to the top. If you're claustorphobic, the elevator may be uncomfortable for you (especially if its full to the teeth, like when we went). But, alas, there is no other way to get to the top. From there, the views of the city are wonderful.
During the day, horse and buggy rides takes tourists, lovers and newlyweds around the circle. At night, this is a happening spot for locals.
Monument Circle as become more and more the focal point of Indianapolis and its postcards. With recent renovations in the last few years, the area surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is being looked at as not only a meeting spot for romancers and teenagers, but businesses and companies vying to set up residence in Indianapolis.
During the Christmas and holiday seasons, the monument becomes the world's largest lighted Christmas "tree," and thousands flock to see the initial lighting. Other large events such as the Ferrari get together, Strawberry festival, and weekend cruising frequent this plaza.
If interested in the finer points of Indianapolis, the Monument Circle is a great place to start your search. It is also the centre point of retail in Indianapolis. The Circle Centre Mall is located within a block from the area, aptly named if you might notice, as are many independent retail shops, stores, cafes, eateries, restaurants and communication companies.
The Monument Circle is an unlined cobblestone that many point out replicates the small patch on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track. This cobblestone brings the history and tradition of Indianapolis to the new and modern buildings surrounding it. Many of the building here though have gone untouched and the architecture from times long ago, but there have also been many renovations that have put Indy in the front group of modern USA cities.
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is a 284-feet tall neoclassical oolitic limestone and bronze monument in the center of Indianapolis, Indiana (and Marion County, Indiana). It was erected to honor Hoosiers who were veterans of the American Revolution, territorial conflicts that partially led up to the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the US Civil War. It was designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz, and was completed in 1901. In addition to its external commemorative statuary and fountains, the basement of the monument is a museum of Indiana history during the American Civil War. (*thanks to Wikipedia for monument History)
This is a great place to have some coffee and just people watch. The area is really beautiful. I think that the South side of the circle is the nicest view, the north side is littered with banks and a kinkos. In my opinion, the cirlce should have more cute little cafes or stores, I saw that a au bon pain is being built, so that should be nice.
The musuem under the monument is nice, it is small, I would only go on the free day, because it isn't so exciting. The best part is that you can go into the monument and take the elevator to the top and see a really cool view. If you are clasophobic, then i would recommend that you don't go up. It is quite a tight experience.
Right now, during November they are getting the decorations for the circle ready, it is a big deal here. And it takes about the whole month of November to get it ready. but in the summer, the monument is very lovely. The fountains are huge, and it is a great place to listen to the water and relax.
The Bank One Tower is the tallest building in Indiana. The 48-story building is the most recognizable on the Indianapolis skyline. It holds over 905,000 sq. ft. of office space and is made of granite and glass. It was built in 1990.
Every year the Friday night after thanksgiving the city of Indianapolis presents The Circle of Lights. It's best to arrive early around 6pm. The show begins around 7pm, which is local talent singing Christmas songs. Then around 8/8.30pm Santa arrives on an old time fire truck. Santa is the presenter that lights up the lights that surround the monument. The crowd is very large and it tends to be very cold. Fortunately, there are places to buy coffee and hot chocolate on the circle. I'd recommend the hot chocolate from the Indiana chocolate company, The South Bend Chocolate Factory. It beats Starbucks on the opposite corner!
Located at the very heart of Indianapolis, you cannot miss the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
Dedicated on May 15, 1902 to the common soliders and sailors of the Civil War, the only monument in the country to do so, is a beautiful tribute. Designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz at the cost of $600,000 it now stands as a tribute to all of Indiana's military service personnel in all wars previous to World War I.
At top is 'Miss Victory,' standing at 30 feet, only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. Inside is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum and an observation deck at the base of the statue. Both are open at the same hours as the Indiana World War Memorial.
Pick up a brochure at any of the tourist sites for a detailed explanation of the monument.
Monument Circle is in the center of downtown Indianapolis. It is one of the most recognizable parts of the city and is a great place to use literally as a hub of your visit to Indianapolis.
The Circle was once known as Governor's Circle and held the Governor's House, although no governor ever actually lived there. The mansion was demolished in 1857. The plaza in the center of the circle is 342 feet in diameter.
Monument Circle is named after the huge monument in the center and is surrounded by commercial property. See the following tips for more info.
The monument at Monument Circle is called the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. This is one of the most impressive monuments in the US. It was commissioned in 1887 and finally dedicated on May 15, 1902. The architect was Bruno Schmitz of Germany.
The monument was built to commemorate all those who served in wars before WWI. It is made of Indiana Oolitic limestone and stands 284 ft. 6 in. (15 ft. shorter than the Statue of Liberty). 330 steps lead to an observation deck (or the convenience an elevator if you choose).
Every December since 1962, the monument is decorated as the "world's largest Christmas tree." The lower level of the monument holds the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum.
See the following tips for more specific info.
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is surrounded by 4 candelabra that stand 40 ft. tall. There are also 4 smaller candelabra around the base, each with 3 bison head that spit water into a basin. They are made of bronze and were cast in Berlin, Germany by Bruno Schmitz.
In this detail photo, you can see a bear holding up the base of one of the candelabra with another one in the background (you can see other candelabra in some of my other pictures of the monument).
The top of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument has a large bronze statue representing Victory. It stands 38 ft. tall and is also known as Miss Indiana. The designer was George W. Brewster.
The eagle atop her head stands for freedom, while the torch in her left hand is the "light of civilization". The sword in her right hand resting upon a globe represents victory that is due to the army. She faces south, supposedly overlooking the defeated battlefields of the South.
In the picture, you can also see part of the glass observation deck.
Each side of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument represents something different. The sculptor for all 4 sides was Rudolf Schwarz of Germany.
The south side represents the Infantry (left) and Cavalry (right) and has a plaque commemorating the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.
The plaque reads:
To Indiana's Silent Victors
War for the Union 1861-1865
126 Regiments Infantry 175772
13 Regiments Cavalry 21605
1 Regiment Artillery 3839
28 Companies Artillery 7151
Killed and Died - Land Forces 24416
Indiana in the War with Spain
5 Regiments Infantry 6693
2 Colored Companies Infantry 219
2 Batteries Light Artillery 356
Engineer Corps 98
Signal Corps 55
Died in Service 73
The east side of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is titled "War" and has the sculpture "The Dying Soldier" below it.
It shows the Goddess of War urging a charge by cavalry, infantry, and artillery forces. The photo is a detail of one of the soldiers in the sculpture.
The north side of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument represents the Artillery (left) and Navy (right), and has a plaque commemorating the wars before the Civil War and other service.
The plaque reads:
To Indiana's Silent Victors
War with Mexico 1846 1847 1848
Indiana Regiments No's. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Indian and British War 1811-1812
Battle of Tippecanoe
Indians Defeated Nov. 7, 1811
War of the Revolution
Capture of Vincennes from the British
February 25, 1779
Mexican Border Service
3 Infantry Regiments
1 B'N. Field Artillery
2 Field Hospitals
2 Ambulance Co's.
1 Signal Co.
1 Sanitary Co.
Total Troops 3123
The west side of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument has a sculpture titled "Peace" with a smaller sculpture "The Return Home".
"Peace" has Liberty holding a flag while a freed slave holds a broken chain. The Angel of Peace holds a wreath representing victory and an olive branch representing peace. There are also soldiers returning home victorious after battle.
"The Return Home" represents the happiness of a soldier returning home to his family.