Our first stop and primary reason for visiting Indianapolis was the Indiana State Capitol.
The Indiana State Capitol, the Statehouse, has been the seat of Indiana’s government since 1887 and is perhaps the grandest 19th-century Neo-Classical Revival building in Indiana.
Prior to statehood, the capitol of the Indiana Territory was located in Vincennes.
When Indiana became a state in 1816, the capital was located in Croydon. The first capitol building was a humble, two-story limestone building constructed in 1813 to house the legislature. It measured forty-feet square with walls two-feet-thick and ten-foot ceilings. The building was made of limestone cut from a nearby quarry and, at the time of its completion, was one of the largest buildings in the state.
When the state government relocated to Indianapolis in December 1824, the government was housed in the Marion County Courthouse.
In 1831, the Indiana General Assembly approved construction of a new statehouse. The building looked very much like the Parthenon except for a large central dome. Town and Davis were awarded the contract to construct the building, and completed it ahead of schedule in 1835.
The statehouse was built of blue limestone, two stories high. The governor and the Supreme Court occupied the lower floor, and the legislature occupied the upper floor, with each house in its own wing. The building was the site of many great events in its history, including a bier for Abraham Lincoln. The building's limestone foundation began to fail, and many feared a general structural collapse of the building. In 1867 the ceiling in the chambers of the Indiana House of Representative collapsed. It was finally demolished in 1877.
With Indiana's rapid increase of population during the middle of the 19th century, the state's government increased in size, causing the previous capitol building to become crowded. After the third state capitol building had been razed, the new building was constructed on the same site. Two million dollars were appropriated for construction of the new building, and it was completed in 1888. Governor Williams, who was famed for his frugality, was able to complete the project for
The interior was modeled in the Italian Renaissance style.
Wherever possible, materials native to Indiana were used. Doors were made of Indiana oak.
The construction is limestone, marble, brick and mortar. The building's cornerstone is a ten-ton block of limestone quarried in Spencer, Indiana. Footings for the outer and inner walls of the basement are of Blue Limestone from St. Paul, Greensburg, and North Vernon, Indiana. The outer walls are of Oolitic Limestone from Monroe, Lawrence and Owen Counties.
Standing in the center, you are below the stained glass dome,
which is 72 feet in diameter and supported by eight granite columns. The dome begins ninety feet above the main floor, and rises to 105 feet above the floor of the rotunda.
Above this dome is another dome with yet a smaller one on top. The top of the copper exterior dome is 235 feet above the ground. The flagpole stands at the top. There are three spiral staircases in the upper areas of the building leading to the flagpole that weighs 1,200 pounds.
Eight marble statues, representing hallmarks of civilization, which encircle the rotunda at the third floor level.
Eight large columns of polished Jonesboro Granite from Maine support the dome. Columns and pilasters for the second, third and fourth stories are of Sutherland Falls Marble from the East (likely Vermont).
brackets and doorknobs are made of brass, and the interior finish was completed in Indiana oak, maple and walnut, with white oak used for the office finishes. As making the building as fire-proof as possible was a priority, the railings are either granite of expertly-painted iron with a simple wooden strip on top.
The building was also wired for electricity, even though Indianapolis did not yet have an electrical power grid. With the pinnacle of the building reaching 256 feet high, it was the second tallest building in the state at the time of its completion. The building is designed in the shape of a cross. A large central rotunda with a glass domed ceiling connects the four wings. The structure is four stories high.
The first floor houses the executive offices of the administration.
Door to the Governor’s Office (can you beleive the governor would not interrupt an in-progress meetign to let us see his inner office?)
Lieutenant Governor’s Office
Offices for the 100-member House of Representatives are on the second floor's east side,
while those for the 50-member State Senate are on the second floor's west side.
Unique among all of the state capitol buildings we’ve visited, the House and Senate chambers have glass doors and windows
through which people in the corridors can view the proceedings. It was also interesting to learn that the state’s part-time legislature are required to attend all sessions (unless ill) and are also required to vote “Yea” or “Nay” (they cannot abstain) on all bills (unless the member has a legitimate conflict of interest).
Supreme Court Chambers are on the north end of the second floor.
The seventy-thousand (plus) volume Supreme Court Law Library is located on third floor.
The fourth floor holds the Indiana Court of Appeals courtroom.
In front of the Statehouse stands a statue of Oliver Perry Morton, governor of Indiana during the Civil War,
another of George Washington
Leaving the State Capitol, we began a walk though some of the state’s history and visited many of its most notable monuments.
The Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument
is a 284½ foot neoclassical monument built on Monument Circle, a circular, brick-paved street that intersects Meridian and Market streets in the center of Indianapolis. In the years since its public dedication on May 15, 1902, the monument has become an iconic symbol of Indianapolis, the state capital of Indiana. It is also the largest outdoor memorial and the largest of its kind in Indiana.
The monument's original purpose was to honor Hoosiers who were veterans of the American Civil War; however, it is also a tribute to Indiana's soldiers who served during the American Revolutionary War, territorial conflicts that partially led to the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American War. The monument is the first in the United States to be dedicated to the common soldier.
Theobelisk-shaped monument is built of oolitic limestone from owen County, Indiana. It rests on a raised foundation surrounded by pools and fountains. Broad stone steps on its north and south sides lead to two terraces at its base. Stone tablets above the bronze entrance doors on the obelisk's north and south sides bear inscriptions commemorating Indiana's soldiers.
An inscription above the tablets reads: "To Indiana's Silent Victors."
The east and west facing sculptures depict War and Peace.
The obelisk and its crowning figure of "Victory" … found atop many monuments across America.
An observation deck is accessible by stairs or elevator from the interior. We rode the elevator!
The Indiana World War Memorial Plaza is an urban feature originally built to honor the veterans of World War I. The five-city-block plaza was conceived in 1919 as a location for the national headquarters of the American Legion and a memorial to the state's and nation's veterans. The centerpiece of the plaza is the Indiana World War Memorial, modeled after the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
This magnificent building has three main floors. On the upper level is the breathtaking Shrine Room. The Shrine Room, symbolizing peace and unity is made of materials from all over the world, symbolic of the world wide nature of the "Great War." Artifacts from the Revolution though the current wars in the Middle East are on display … with special tributes paid to service men and women from Indiana who served, died and, in some cases were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Just a fraction of the exhibits include:
The history and fate of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) is presented in detail.
The world's first operational atomic bomb was delivered by the Indianapolis, (CA-35) to the island of Tinian on 26 July 1945. She was directed to join the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42) at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan.
The Indianapolis, unescorted, departed Guam on a course of 262 degrees making about 17 knots. At 14 minutes past midnight, on 30 July 1945, midway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, she was hit by two torpedoes out of six fired by the I-58, a Japanese submarine.
The first blew away the bow, the second struck near midship on the starboard side adjacent to a fuel tank and a powder magazine. The resulting explosion split the ship to the keel, knocking out all electric power. Within minutes she went down rapidly by the bow, rolling to starboard.
Of the 1,196 aboard only some 900 made it into the water in the twelve minutes before she sank. Few life rafts were released. Most survivors wore the standard kapok life jacket. Shark attacks began with sunrise of the first day and continued until the men were physically removed from the water, almost five days later.
Shortly after 11:00 A.M. of the fourth day, the survivors were accidentally discovered by LT(jg) Wilbur C. Gwinn, piloting his PV-1 Ventura Bomber on routine antisubmarine patrol. Radioing his base at Peleiu, he alerted, "many men in the water". A PBY (seaplane) under the command of LT. R. Adrian Marks was dispatched to lend assistance and report. Enroute to the scene, Marks overflew the destroyer USS Cecil Doyle (DD-368), and alerted her captain, of the emergency. The captain of the Doyle, on his own authority, decided to divert to the scene.
Arriving hours ahead of the Doyle, Marks' crew began dropping rubber rafts and supplies. While so engaged, they observed men being attacked by sharks. Disregarding standing orders not to land at sea, Marks landed and began taxiing to pick up the stragglers and lone swimmers who were at greatest risk of shark attack. Learning the men were the crew of the Indianapolis, he radioed the news, requesting immediate assistance. The Doyle responded she was enroute.
As complete darkness fell, Marks waited for help to arrive, all the while continuing to seek out and pull nearly dead men from the water. When the plane's fuselage was full, survivors were tied to the wing with parachute cord. Marks and his crew rescued 56 men that day. The Cecil Doyle was the first vessel on the scene. Homing on Marks' PBY in total darkness, the Doyle halted to avoid killing or further injuring survivors, and began taking Marks' survivors aboard.
Disregarding the safety of his own vessel, the Doyle's captain pointed his largest searchlight into the night sky to serve as a beacon for other rescue vessels. This beacon was the first indication to most survivors, that their prayers had been answered. Help had at last arrived. Of the 900 who made it into the water, only 317 remained alive. After almost five days of constant shark attacks, starvation, terrible thirst, suffering from exposure and their wounds, the men of the Indianapolis were at last rescued from the sea.
Veteran's Memorial Plaza, once known as Obelisk Square, was completed in 1930. Centrally located in the Plaza are the Obelisk and Fountain that honor all Indiana veterans.
The Obelisk is a 100-foot shaft of black Berwick granite, representing the hopes and aspirations of the nation. The bronze tablets at its base represents the four fundamentals upon which our nation's hopes are founded: law, science, religion and education. One hundred feet in diameter, the Fountain is made from pink Georgia marble and terrazzo. Fifty state flags and the American flag are displayed at the north end of the park.
The DePew Fountain is located University Park was
commissioned in memory of Dr. Richard J. Depew by his wife, Emma Ely, following Dr. Depew’s death in 1887. When Mrs. Depew died in 1913, she had bequeathed $50,000 from her estate to the city of Indianapolis for the erection of a fountain in memory of her husband “in some park or public place where all classes of people may enjoy it. The original design was created by Karl Bitter, who was killed in a traffic accident in 1915 before the work could be realized. There are five levels to the fountain. The different tiers are decorated with bronze fish, children playing, frogs and a woman draped in a toga.
Cenotaph Square is located between the two auxiliary buildings used by the American Legion. It is in a sunken garden with the rectangular black granite cenotaph centered in it resting upon a base of red and dark green granite. Four shafts of black granite, with gold eagles surmounted on them, mark the corners of the square.
The inscription on the north face of the cenotaph memorializes James Bethel Gresham, a Hoosier who was the first member of the American Expeditionary Force to be killed in action in World War I. The inscription on the south side says "A tribute by Indiana to the hallowed memory of the glorious dead who served in the World War.”
Along with State Capitol buildings we have tried to visit as many presidential libraries/museums and homesteads as possible in our travels across the United States.
Today, we were able to tour the home of Benjamin Harrison.
Harrison's paternal ancestors were the Virginia Harrisons. Their immigrant ancestor was Benjamin Harrison, who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1630. The future president Benjamin was born on August 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio, as the second of eight children to John Scott Harrison
and Elizabeth Ramsey (Irwin). Benjamin was a grandson of President William Henry Harrison
and the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V,
a Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Before completing his law studies, Harrison returned to Oxford to marry Caroline Scott
on October 20, 1853, Caroline's father, also a Presbyterian minister, performed the ceremony. The Harrisons had two children, Russel Benjamin Harrison (August 12, 1854 – December 13, 1936), and Mary "Mamie" Scot Harrison (April 3, 1858 – October 28, 1930).
A successful lawyer, Harrison had his Italianate mansion built in 1875. Not only has it been successfully restored, more than 85% of the some 10,000 artifacts it contains are original to the time he lived there.
Mrs. Harrison’s Square Grand piano
Harrison’s Home Office
A collector of walking sticks, he was presented with one carved with the heads of each of the 22 men who preceded him as president of the United States.
Silver Wine Carafe and stemware
Caroline Harrison was a talented painter and decorated many pieces of china
She also adopted the base-pattern of the Lincoln’s china (right) and modified it, adding sheaves of grain and corn on the outer rim to signify Indiana and added 44 stars as Indiana was the 44th state to enter the union
Mrs. Harrison’s Bedroom
Mrs. Harrison’s Study … Painting is of his second wife (see more below)
Childhood Bedroom of his daughter Elizabeth (with his second wife) … note her painting as a 1920s “flapper”
Benjamin with Elizabeth (circa age 4)
Benjamin Harrison’s Bedroom
The bed in which he died in December 1901. The comforter was a gift and depicts both George Washington (inaugurated in 1789) and Harrison (inaugurated one hundred years later in 1889)
The third floor was originally a ballroom and has since become converted into a museum to display many aspects of Harrison’s life. Interesting among those on display are several campaign posters,
including one from his grandfather’s 1840 campaign.
A Republican, Harrison was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland. Hallmarks of his administration included unprecedented economic legislation, including the McKinely Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the SHerman ANti-Truust Act; Harrison facilitated the creation of the National orests through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891. Six states entered teh Unio nduring his turm; North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, WYomming and Wahsingtin. He also substantially strengthened and modernized the Navy, and conducted an active foreign policy. He proposed, in vain, federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans during his administration.
Harrison's wife Caroline began a critical struggle with tuberculosis earlier in 1892 and two weeks before the election, on October 25, it took her life. Their daughter Mary Harrison McKee assumed the role of FIrst Lady after her mother's death. Mrs. Harrison's terminal illness and the fact that both candidates had served in the White House called for a low key campaign, and resulted in neither of the candidates actively campaigning personally after her passing.
Mary Dimmick, a niece of Caroline Harrison and four years younger than her daughter, had moved into the White House 1889 to serve as assistant to the First Lady. Sometime after Mrs. Harrison's death in 1892, the now former president and Mary fell in love and late in 1895 announced their engagement.
At age 37, she married the former president, aged 62, on April 6, 1896. Harrison's grown children from his first marriage, horrified at the news, did not attend the wedding or ever speak to either of them again.
The second Mrs. Harrison
survived the former president by nearly half a century. Arden Davis Melick reveals that "Mary Dimmick Harrison established The Benjamin Harrison Memorial Homen Indianapolis, Indiana."
Benjamin Harrison and both of his wives are buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.
As we were in Indianapolis, we felt we couldn’t leave town without visiting the
However, when we arrived, two things happened. First, it was going to cost us $25 each to get in to see the track and take some pictures … so we took a pass and settled for a drive-by!
Second, we discovered why we’d been seeing so many Corvettes the past few days
Other things of interest we saw during our wanderings around Indianapolis:
With up to 200 stations planned in Indy, people can find an electric car wherever they need one. From downtown to the city limits, north to south and east to west, BlueIndy lets people follow their whims, whatever road they may take.
Instructive pedestrian and bicycle crosswalks
The ubiquitous teal-colored fire hydrants.
An eye-catching marque sign for the Weber Grill Restaurant.
In celebration of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 commissioned a sculpture by nationally-acclaimed American artist Chakala Booker … who was known for her innovative uses of tires as sculpture material … cutting, shaping, folding and weaving them into highly textured works of art.
Several public outdoor clocks.
The Scottish Rite Cathedral is owned by the Valley of Indianapolis Scottish Rite, an affiliated body of Freemasonry. It was built between 1927 and 1929 at the cost of $2.5 million. It was built with every dimension (in feet) being evenly divisible by three, reflecting the three degrees in Freemasonry. The Cathedral is one of the largest Masonic buildings, and has been described as one of the finest examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the United States. The main tower features a 54-bell carillon and rises to a height of 212 feet. Other features are patterned ceilings, ornate carved woodwork, and stained-glass windows. The auditorium has 1200 seats, and has been commended for the craftsmanship with which its fittings and decorations were made. Unfortunately tours are available only on the third Thursday of the month.
Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal church, consecrated in 1837, about the same time the city was being planned and the surrounding area was muddy and rutted and a fence was necessary to keep the pigs out of the churchyard.
Christ Church’s Nave
A camp Counselor with hair colored not all that different from the city’s fire hydrants.
Reflections of the State Capitol Building and War Memorial in the glass windows of adjacent buildings.
This lone petunia showing that, despite man’s best efforts, nature finds a way!