History of Indianapolis
The original inhabitants of the Indianapolis area were Lenape and Miami Native American tribes, who were displaced from the area by the 1820s. The state of Indiana was founded in 1816 and initially the capital was in Corydon, before moving to Indianapolis in 1820. The city was founded for that purpose, located in the geographic center of the state. It was believed that its location on the White River would make the city an important transportation center, but the river later proved to be too sandy and not favorable for trade and transportation.
Alexander Ralston was commissioned to design the city and initially the plan was for it to have only one square mile, centered on the governor’s mansion. The city was then built in the east-west direction along the National Road. The first railroad was built in 1847 and new connections followed soon, providing a basis for the city’s rapid growth and expansion. The first Union Station in the USA was built in Indianapolis. Transportation and traffic infrastructure were crucial for the development of Indianapolis. The city provided connections to Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit and St. Louis, which is how it got its nickname of the “Crossroads of America.” By the beginning of the 20th century, Indianapolis also became one of the leading car industry centers, along with Detroit, which later became much more important in that sector.
In the first decades of the 20th century, the city experienced an unprecedented population boom and the first wave of suburbanization. However, the process led to racial tensions, which, at times, were quite severe. Still, Indianapolis was the only major US city in which riots did not take place the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. According to some, it was Robert F. Kennedy, who was in Indianapolis delivering a speech that day, who helped alleviate the tensions and avoid the rioting.
In 1970, the majority group in Indianapolis were Whites. However, in the 1970s and 1980s the city suffered from urban decay and large waves of white residents moving away from the city center towards predominantly white suburbs. In the following decades, city administrators tried to prevent further decline of Indianapolis through reconstruction and new developments. The central business district was revived through the Circle Centre project and in 1987 Indianapolis hosted the Pan American Games, which proved very useful for the city. Other significant projects in the city included the expansion of the Convention Center, a new terminal at the Indianapolis International Airport and the new Colts’ stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis Geography and Climate
Indianapolis is located in the Central Till Plains region. It is fairly flat or gently sloping and the highest hill is the Mann Hill. The major bodies of water within the city limits are White River, Fall Creek, Eagle Creek Reservoir and Geist Reservoir.
The climate in Indianapolis humid continental, with four distinct seasons, which is typical for most Midwestern cities. Springs and autumns are mild and pleasant, but the summers can be very hot and humid and the winters are usually very cold.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the racial makeup in Indianapolis in 2010 was 58% White, 27.2% Black or African American, 10% Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% Asian, 0.2% Native American and 2.2% of two or more races. Indianapolis is believed to be one of the least segregated cities relative to the racial makeup within single blocks or neighborhoods.
In 2010, the median household income in Indianapolis was $40,154 and the medial per capita income for the city was $21,789.
In addition to state government, the largest employers in Indianapolis are from the sectors of health care, manufacturing, social services and retail. Most of the Indiana’s largest companies have their headquarters in Indianapolis: Brightpoint, Eli Lilly and Company, Wellpoint, Finish Line Inc., Marsh Supermarkets and Republic Airways Holdings. The city also hosts distribution centers for companies such as FedEx, Target, CVS Pharmacy and Amazon.com.
Culture and Education
Indianapolis has a rich cultural heritage, with six official cultural districts and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail scheduled for completion by the early 2013. One of the city symbols is the Monument Circle in the center of the city, with the famous Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Another important symbol is the Indiana World War Memorial drum 1951. Other attractions include Crown Hill Cemetery, Morris-Butler House, Scottish Rite Cathedral, Indianapolis City Market, James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and many more.
Indianapolis is the home of the Bands of America organization, headquarter of Drum Corps International and home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Since 2003, the city hosts the annual Gen Con, the largest role-playing game convention in America.
The city has several institutions of higher education, such as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis shared campus, Ball State University, University of Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and Martin University.
Sports in Indianapolis
Sport is a very important element in Indianapolis and a great source of revenue for the city. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts three major races - the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
In 2012, Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl XLVI, the first Super Bowl in Indiana. The city is home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
Indiana International Airport is the largest in the area and also home to the second largest FedEx operation in the world. The airport is served by ten major American and international airlines.
Interstate highways in the city include I-65, I-69, I-70, I-74, I-465 and I-865. All US and Indiana state routes are rerouted along I-465 instead of going directly through the city.
Public transportation in Indianapolis is provided IndyGo. Intercity transportation is provided by Greyhound Buses and Amtrak (Cardinal and Hoosier State lines).