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About Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is the twelfth-largest city in the United States. Located on land set aside for a state capital in the early nineteenth century, it was modeled after Washington D.C., with streets radiating outward from the seat of government. Although it is not located on a navigable body of water, the city's central location—in relation to the state and to much of the country—has made it an important transport and distribution center since the nineteenth century. Since the 1970s Indianapolis has established a reputation as a sports center by constructing major athletic and visitor facilities and energetically promoting itself as a venue for a wide variety of amateur sporting events. However, its most famous athletic event remains the Indianapolis 500 motor race, held annually at the Indianapolis Speedway.
A city known for fast cars and blockbuster events has also gained acclaim for a flourishing culinary and brewing scene, thriving cultural institutions, cool neighborhoods, and so much more. Indianapolis is the 13th largest city and the second largest state capitol in the United States.
To make navigating the city easy there are twelve hotels conveniently linked by skywalk to Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and Circle Centre mall. Step outside and discover an easy walk to White River State Park with 250 acres of greenspace, the scenic Central Canal, and a collection of Indy’s top attractions. Meet orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo, journey westward at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art or see a show under the stars at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park.
Urban explorers can also stroll to a collection of monuments and memorials rivaled only by Washington DC. Be sure to get a photo at Monument Circle, the physical and spiritual heart of the city. Eager for a cultural encounter? Take a short drive to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, where the lush grounds are the perfect complement to the expansive galleries. If you have kids, a trip to Indy isn’t complete without a visit to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest children’s museum in the world.
The History of Indianapolis, IN
Shortly after Congress established the Hoosier State in 1816, the Indiana General Assembly saw the need to move the capital from Corydon, in southern Indiana, to a more central location. Indianapolis was founded in 1821 to fill this need. The capital city grew beyond expectations to become a major site for automotive breakthroughs, urban and suburban planning, sports, literature, the fine arts and biotech innovations.
Long before European Americans claimed the land, the marshy site (now Indianapolis) was home to the Delaware, Miami and Wea tribes. The name “Indianapolis” is derived from the state's name, Indiana (meaning "Land of the Indians", or simply "Indian Land"), and polis, the Greek word for city.
It took a while until the city grew significantly, at least partly because it was not situated near a navigable body of water—the nearby White River was too shallow for navigation. However, with the construction of the National Road (today I-40) through the city in 1830 and the completion of the Central Canal in 1839, industrial activity increased, and the arrival of the first rail lines in 1847 provided access to the Ohio River, eventually turning Indianapolis into a commercial center. By mid-century, immigration, especially by Germans, increased the city's population to 18,611 by the beginning of the Civil War.
During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the city underwent significant development that included the construction of Union Station and a new statehouse, as well as the introduction of paved streets and, in 1881, electric streetlights (among the first in any American city). In the 1890s an enduring link between Indianapolis and the automobile was forged with the development by Charles H. Black of the first gasoline-powered auto. By 1911 the first car race was held at the Indianapolis Speedway. By 1920 Indianapolis had become an important industrial city, with a population of 300,000. However, the 1920s were marred by the rise to prominence of the Ku Klux Klan in the city's political and social life, but the Klan's power had declined by the 1930s. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Public Works Administration oversaw the construction of Lockfield Gardens, one of the nation's first public housing developments.
Indianapolis's central location and extensive transportation network made it a center for troop transport during World War II (1939–45), as well as a hub of wartime manufacturing. In the 1950s and 1960s, however, rail traffic declined and the city stagnated. A major revitalization effort was begun in 1970 with the administrative reorganization that merged some functions of the municipal government with those of the Marion County government to create a unique governmental entity known as UniGov, which has furthered the growth of the city and enhanced its national reputation. Soon afterwards, the city adopted a strategy of achieving growth by promoting itself as a center for sporting events, beginning with the construction of the Market Square Arena home of the Indiana Pacers since 1974.
The focus on sports continued during the 16-year tenure (1976–82) of Mayor William H. Hudnut, under whose leadership Indianapolis spent more than $126 million on construction athletic facilities, aided by the Lilly Endowment and other private donors. A highlight of this effort was the creation of a new 61,000-seat football stadium. The city's development efforts, which continued into the 1990s, have also included the ambitious Circle Centre project, a $300 million urban mall with over 100 retail outlets.
Things To Do
Monument Circle - It’s fitting that Monument Circle lies in the center of Indianapolis, as all activity seemingly revolves around it. During the spring and summer, traffic is routinely blocked off and any number of festivals and events take place on the brick streets. Explore some history in the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum on the lower level, then make your way up to the observation deck 275 feet above, where you’ll be greeted by a gorgeous, 360-degree view of the downtown skyline. During the holiday season, the Monument is decorated with lights, becoming the state’s largest Christmas tree.
Indianapolis Zoo - Home to one of the largest groups of orangutans in North America, the International Orangutan Center gives zoo visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the primates… except when they’re climbing on ropes more than 70 feet off the ground! You can also interact with these intelligent apes via interactive touch screens located around the exhibit. Afterward, visit the Dolphin Pavilion in the Oceans building, where you can watch the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins frolic above you thanks to a unique underwater viewing dome.
Indianapolis Cultural Trail - The Cultural Trail traverses through downtown Indianapolis and into the city’s hippest neighborhoods and arts districts such as Mass Ave and Fountain Square. More than $4 million in murals, sculptures and public art are scattered along the trail. Be sure to stop at the Glick Peace Walk to relax at one of the dozen sculptural gardens with luminaries representing men and women like Susan B. Anthony, Jonas Salk and Booker T. Washington who made peaceful contributions to humanity. If your legs get tired, rent an Indiana Pacers bike-share bicycle at one of 29 stations strategically placed throughout the trail.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Indianapolis is synonymous with the famed 2.5-mile track that holds the world’s largest sporting event every Memorial Day weekend. Visit and see winning cars from not only the Indy 500, but also the Brickyard 400 and other races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. A tour of the speedway culminates in your own “kiss the bricks” moment usually reserved for winners of the race. Looking for a thrill that’s the next best thing to actually being in the race? Hop in a two-seater IndyCar and take a few laps around the track at 200 mph.
Circle Center Mall – Located in the heart of Indianapolis just south of Monument Circle, the center features over 100 retailers. The center is also home to Regal Theaters and 15 sit down restaurants. The proximity to the city’s arts and culture make it a downtown destination for Indianapolis visitors and residents.
Lilly House and Gardens - This graceful National Historic landmark sits within the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art but worth a mention of its own. It lies within 26 acres of elegantly manicured gardens and includes Lilly House, the former home of late Indianapolis philanthropist and collector, J. K. Lilly Jr., the property now serving as a museum. There is plenty for the family to see and enjoy, including the authentic furnishings that offers insight into Indianapolis history. There are also lovely trails within the grounds to walk through which are especially nice in spring and summer, when the entire lovingly cultivated flora bursts into life!
The Children’s Museum – Visit the largest Children’s Museum in the world! Located just minutes from downtown, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis features five floors of fun and interactive learning that have the power to transform the lives of children and families across the arts, world cultures, sciences, and humanities.
Check out the many things that Indy has to offer:
Why Work With Porter Realty Group?
Because we offer unparalleled, local experience. With helping hundreds of families buy and sell their homes, our team offers the resources to help you sell your Indianapolis, IN house fast. We know the area and the local market better than anyone else.
If you are ready to buy, we will bring you the best deals as soon as they become available. We can also help find properties that are off-market and unadvertised. If you are looking for Indianapolis, IN homes for sale, we will help you find the best properties available.
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