Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 30, 1911 - First Indianapolis 500

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 30, 1911 - First Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway featured a number of different kinds of racing besides automobiles when first constructed in 1909. These included balloon races, airplane races and motorcycle racing. The first race of any kind was a balloon race on June 9, 1909. A motorcycle race followed on August 14. The first automobile race took place on August 19, 1909. This was a shorter race, only about five miles. Four men teamed together to build the track on 328 miles of farmland in Northwest Marion County. These men, Carl Fisher with partners James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler built the track as a test facility for automobiles. Their theory was that people would watch the race, then go out and buy the automobiles they saw racing.
The First Auto Race
The first race took place on August 19, 1909. The builders paved the track originally with crushed rock and tar. With speeds in excess of fifty miles an hour, the surface proved a disaster. Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer won that first race with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The racing cars broke up the rock surface, causing accidents. Six people, two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators died because of the race. In December, track operators replaced the crushed rock with brick, earning the motorway the nickname, Brickyard. It took over three million bricks to pave the 2.5 mile track. In 1961, track owners covered the final section of brick, leaving only a three-foot section at the star/finish line. An estimated 12,000 spectators watched that first race.
The First 500-Mile Race
Interest sagged after the first few races. Race organizers decided that instead of several small races each year they would focus on one big race, a grueling 500 mile race to be held on May 30 each year. This concept proved an instant hit. The national press covered it and approximately 80,000 spectators paid one dollar per ticket to watch Ray Haroun win a 14,250 purse with an average speed of 74.59 miles per hour.
The National Register of Historic Places listed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on March 7,
1975.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway maintains a museum at the Speedway. The musuem is a treasure trove of race cars and other racing memorabilia. Visitors may also ride in a lap around the track, take a guided tour and experience the rich history of the Speedway. To visit, contact:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Hall of Fame Museum
4790 W. 16th Street
Speedway, IN, 46224
Main Gate (Gate 2)
(317) 492-6784.
This article excerpted from the author’s book:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - Central Edition


Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 26, 1824 - Congress Authorizes Funds For Indiana to Survey Canal

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 26, 1824 - Congress Authorizes Funds For Indiana to Survey Canal
Congress approved funds to the State of Indiana to survey a route for a canal. This eventually became the Wabash and Erie Canal. It would span 468 miles across Indiana and Ohio, connecting it the Erie Canal via the Great Lakes with Evansville on the Ohio River. The Wabash and Erie actually consisted of four main canals, the Miami and Erie Canal, the Wabash and Erie Canal, the Cross Cut Canal and the Central Canal.
The survey would reserve a route that included a ninety-foot strip of land along each side of the proposed canal.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Whitewater Canal 
Constructed as part of the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 signed by Governor Noah Noble on January 27, 1836, the Whitewater Canal was to form an integral part of southeastern and eastern Indiana's transportation system. The ambitious act, in concert with the Panic of 1837, bankrupted the state and brought a major political party to its knees.
Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 
The Internal Improvement Act was a too ambitious program of internal improvements that provided for the construction of canals and turnpikes. The ambitiousness of the program bankrupted the State of Indiana and caused the eventual demise and collapse of the Whig party, which favored the bill. The state assembly passed the bill that added ten million dollars to the state's budget at a time when its income was only about $65,000 annually.
Panic of 1837
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South East Edition
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites,
Markers & Museums - South East Edition
This complex event created an economic depression that lasted from about 1837 until 1842. The multiple causes were questionable lending practices in the Western United States, restrictive lending policies enacted by Great Britain and falling agricultural prices. The period before 1837 had been a period of intense economic growth. During this time the prices of cotton and other commodities rose. Land prices also increased. The Bank of England noticed a decline in cash on hand in 1836. They raised interest rates in an attempt to attract more cash. When the Bank of England raised its interest, it forced banks in the United States and other nations to raise their rates. This, along with other events, caused land and cotton prices to fall. The chain of events this set off triggered a depression that caused profits, prices, and wages to fall and increased the unemployment rates. It was not until 1843 that the economies of the major countries rebounded.
Decline of the Whigs
The Whig party had pushed for the law and consequently bore the brunt of the blame. During the following years, the Whig Party collapsed, leaving the Democratic Party in control for many years.
Whitewater Canal 
The Whitewater Canal's construction lasted from 1836 to 1847. During this time, there were many starts, pauses as the State of Indiana ran out of money, and the various private companies charged with completing also ran into financial difficulties. After completion, it connected Hagerstown, Indiana with Cincinnati, Ohio seventy-six miles to the south. The canal provided a quick, convenient way for farmers to transport their goods to market in the cities. Before the canal a farmer would need several days travel over deeply rutted roads to take his goods to Cincinnati. The canal proved a difficult construction project. It dropped 491 feet over the distance and needed fifty-six locks and seven dams. Several aqueducts to carry the canal over waterways also needed construction. Portions of the canal operated until 1862. The Whitewater Valley Railroad runs a part of the canal as a tourist attraction between Connersville and Metamora Indiana. The train runs alongside the canal and at Metamora visitors can ride a canal boat. The town of Metamora has many small shops and museums. The Indiana State Museum maintains an operating gristmill in the town as part of its network of Indiana State Historic Sites.
The Gristmill
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site - Gristmill
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site - Gristmill

Build by Jonathan Banes in 1845, the mill has used the current of the Whitewater Canal as a power source ever since.
Brief History by the Author
Jonathan Banes (February 12, 1817 - April 13, 1906)
The son of Jonathan and Anna (Gillingham) Banes, Jonathan was native to Buck's County, Pennsylvania. He apprenticed to a carpenter in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania after leaving home at age sixteen. After completing his apprenticeship, he worked in Philadelphia for a time, and then migrated to Brookville in 1837 when he heard the news of the construction of the Whitewater Canal. He gained employment doing construction on the canal project, becoming the supervisor of many of the structures on the canal. These projects included the Brookville dam, several of the locks and bridges on the canal. Banes Married Maria Mount, the daughter of Judge David Mount, on September 5, 1841. The couple would have two sons, William Mount and Mary. The state suspended work on the canal in the fall of 1839. Banes did not receive payment until spring, 1840. He took the funds, purchased some horses and drove them to Pennsylvania to sell. After completing the sale, he returned to Brookville. He moved to Metamora open the Metamora Cotton Factory in 1845. He built his home in Metamora the same year he built the mill. The house, the Banes Home, houses a gift shop and the "Banes Suite for Two," which visitors may rent during a stay in Metamora. Banes would convert the cotton mill to a gristmill in 1856. After selling the mill, Banes became a farmer and land investor. He is interred with his wife in Metamora Cemetery, Metamora.
Metamora Cotton Factory
Equipped with 1000 spindles to spin raw cotton into thread, the three-story mill opened in 1845. Bane had to import the cotton from the south because it is not grown in Indiana. The canal made it less expensive to import cotton cloth and ready-made clothing, thus the mill became unprofitable. Bane removed the cotton making machinery and installed equipment to grind grains into flour and meal. Several cotton mills operated in the state of Indiana during this period, using the power of water to spin raw cotton or wool into thread. Known variously as the Hoosier Mills and Crescent Mill, a fire destroyed the building in 1899. The mill was rebuilt, but fire destroyed that building in 1932. The current two-story building was built the same year.
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site
Whitewater Canal - Ben Franklin Canal Boat
Whitewater Canal - Ben Franklin Canal Boat
Open from April through November, the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site is free. Visitors may purchase mill products inside the gristmill, watch the mill wheel turn or ride the canal boat, Ben Franklin. Special rates are available for schoolchildren. Groups may rent the facility for special occasions.The Indiana State Museum currently operates the mill, grinding corn into meal that visitors may purchase as they watch the waterwheel use the canal's energy to turn the immense grist wheels. Visitors to the mill may also purchase tickets to ride the canal boat, the Ben Franklin. Check the web site or call the phone number listed below for events, hours, admission prices and other information.
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site
19083 Clayborne St.
Metamora, In 47030,
765-647-6512

Whitewater Valley Railroad
Whitewater Valley Railroad
Whitewater Valley Railroad

The demise of the Whitewater Canal planted the seeds for the Whitewater Valley Railroad in the mid 1850's when floods washed out large portions of the canals. Franklin County residents petitioned the State of Indiana, asking that the state sell the canal towpath route to use as a railroad. In 1863 the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad purchased the rights to the towpath and built a line from Brookville to Hagerstown, Indiana. Portions of the canal remained open and became useful as power sources for gristmills like the one at Metamora. The Whitewater Canal remained open in Metamora until 1953. Western Avenue now covers it.
The First Whitewater Valley Railroad
The first Whitewater Valley Railroad was a subsidiary of the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad. This subsidiary began construction of the rail line from Brookville, reaching Connersville in 1867. The line punched through to Hagerstown the next year. The Big Four, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis, Railroad purchased the  Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1890. This line became the New York Central in later years. These lines operated both freight and passenger trains. The line discontinued passenger service in 1933. Freight service ground to a halt in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
The Second Whitewater Valley Railroad
Formed as a non-profit organization in 1972, the Whitewater Valley Railroad operates as a operating railroad museum. The all volunteer staff runs both historic diesel and steam engines on the eighteen mile line between Connersville and Metamora. For more information about train schedules, the history and other information, contact:
Whitewater Valley Railroad
455 Market St,
Connersville, IN 47331
(765) 825-2054


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 24, 1919 Out Of Control Interurban UTC Car Roars Into Noblesville Town Square

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 24, 1919 Out Of Control Interurban UTC Car Roars Into Noblesville Town Square
A terrible accident occurred in downtown Noblesville on May 24, 1919 when an out of control Union Traction of Indiana car overturns. The car crushed ten cars, killing one small boy and injuring twenty-three others.
The Interurban rail lines of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries provided the first mass transit system connecting the rural areas with the cities. In the era before the automobile and paved highways, the interurban lines provided fast, cheap transportation across not just Indiana, but the nation as well. The interurban railways rose in the late 1880's and reached their prominence by 1925. The rise of the automobile and paved highways started their demise.
Interurban
An interurban was a rail line that used electricity for power and operated between cities. The 1905 Census definition was "a street railway having more than half its track age outside municipal limits." this definition separated an interurban from suburban railroads. Indiana State Senator Charles L. Henry coined the term interurban at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 while watching a demonstration railway.
Union Traction Company
The Union Traction Company conducted a test between Anderson and Alexandria on December 23, 1897 and began operations on January 1, 1898. Many consider this the first interurban line in Indiana. The system grew to comprise 410 miles of interurban track and forty-four miles of streetcar tracks operating in Anderson, Elwood, Marion and Muncie. The company began a decline in the mid 1920's. It survived bankruptcy and was absorbed by the Indiana Railroad in 1930.
Portions of this article excerpted from the author's book:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South East Edition

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 23, 1609 - Second Virginia Charter Includes Region That Became Indiana

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 23, 1609 - Second Virginia Charter Includes Region That Became Indiana
The King had issued the First Virginia Charter on April 10, 1606 to the Virginia Company. The Second Virginia Charter changed a few of the administrative details of the first Charter. The major change was the expansion of territory included that the Virginia Company controlled.
Virginia Company of London (London Company)
The purpose of the Virginia Company, as stated by the King, was to propagate the Christian religion. The Charter stated the settlers were to engage "in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government."
The First Virginia Charter
The first charter to the Virginia Company by King James granted the company all lands "which are not now actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People", a sizeable chunk of property the lay between forty-five degrees latitude and thirty degrees latitude and extending one hundred miles inland from the coast. The stated purpose of the charter was in “propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government: DO, by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires."
The Charter extended all the rights of an Englishman to the settlers of these lands. It gave them the normal protections that a British citizen enjoyed. The king retained ownership of the land. The shareholders and the king would share the profits of any venture. The Charter provided a governing Council both in England with a member of it in the new colonies. There were two branches of the Company, a Virginia branch and a Plymouth branch. The Virginia branch received a charter to establish colonies in the Chesapeake Bay area.  The Plymouth branch obtained the New England area.
Second Virginia Charter
The Second Virginia Charter expanded the area of control. The old charter had limited the inland penetration to one hundred miles from the coastline. The Second Charter extended the region from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, an area that would include the latter Northwest Territory and the states of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The charter also included virtually all of what would later become the Continental United States. This was instrumental later when Virginia granted George Rogers Clark the area that would become Clark County in the State of Indiana in 1781. Virginia finally gave up this claim March 1, 1784 in order to satisfy Maryland's demand before it ratified the Articles of Confederation.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 22, 1846 - Governor James Whitcomb Calls for Mexican War Volunteers

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 22, 1846 - Governor James Whitcomb Calls for Mexican War Volunteers
Mexican War
In 1846, war between Mexico and the United States broke out following several incidents between the two nations. The United States pursued a doctrine called Manifest Destiny, which called for expansion and occupation of territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Mexico controlled a large portion of this territory. Mexico won its long, draining War of Independence from Spain in 1821. The war left Mexico politically divided and weak. Much of the territory it controlled it was unable to govern. Native tribes like the Comanche and Apaches raided deep into Mexico, stealing cattle and burning ranches. Texas won its independence in 1836.  Mexico threatened war with the United States if it annexed its former territory. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas after James Polk won the 1844 election. The United States offered to buy the huge territory that now consists of the states of California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Mexico refused, so Polk sent troops into a disputed territory between the two countries. When a Mexican unit attacked it and killed about a dozen United States soldiers, the United States declared war on May 13, 1846. This would be the first United States Military campaign fought exclusively on foreign soil. The war was quick, as Mexico was in no position to fight an emerging power. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo saw Mexico cede a huge territory to the United States in exchange for 15 million dollars and the assumption of Mexico's debt owed to United States citizens.
James Polk Issues Call for Troops
President Polk signed Congress' declaration of war the same day it passed. During his address, he called on the states to raise 50,000 troops that would serve for one year, or the duration of the war. On May 16, 1846, Secretary of War William Marcy pegged the Indiana allotment at three regiments, or 3000 men. Indiana Governor James Whitcomb issued a call for troops on May 22, 1846.
A State Wholly Unprepared War
At the time of the call for troops, Indiana had little in the manner of war preparations. A militia existed, but not much in the way of supplies or equipment. Before and during the War of 1812 the military preparedness of the Indiana Territory had been excellent, as the danger from natives was constant. However, after the war ended the Amerindian threat faded. By 1846, few natives lived in the state anymore. The State had to start virtually from scratch to assemble a military force.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 19, 1681 - La Salle Holds Peace Conference With Miami Tribe - South Bend

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 19, 1681 - La Salle Holds Peace Conference With Miami Tribe - South Bend
Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle made several trips into the area now known as Indiana and Illinois during the years from 1669 through 1683. During this time, the Iroquois tribes from the lower Great Lakes region invaded the Indiana and Illinois area frequently. The wars between the tribes created a great deal of instability in the region, making La Salle's explorations as he explored the Mississippi River basin. Seeking to create stability, La Salle held a peace conference in the heart of Miami territory. The Illinois tribes met with the Miami under a huge oak tree, called the Council Oak, and signed a treaty that united these tribes against the Iroquois. The resulting alliance allowed La Salle to explore the area in relative peace. La Salle managed to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1682. La Salle died in 1687 during an exploratory trip as he sought to find the mouth of the river from the Gulf of Mexico. The Council Oak stood until 1991 when a tornado felled it.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
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© Paul Wonning

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 18, 1834 - Stagecoach Schedule From Louisville to Vincennes

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 18, 1834 - Stagecoach Schedule From Louisville to Vincennes
Leave Louisville 12 noon, Saturday Vincennes 9 am tuesday 8 dollar fare
First Stage Coach
The first stagecoach between Vincennes and New Albany along the Vincennes Trace began service in 1820. Stagecoach travel was dusty, bumpy and uncomfortable. Most stagecoaches seated about nine people on three seats inside the coach. The spring-less coaches provided for a rough ride over the dirt roads of the time.
Travel in Stages
The stagecoach acquired its name because travelers completed their journey in "stages." Most stagecoach lines had several stops along the way. Minor stops, called "swing" stops, allowed a stop of about ten minutes. These were about twelve miles apart. The stage driver had a small brass horn he tooted before arriving at the stop to alert the attendant the stage was coming. Once at these stops, the horse team would be changed and the passengers allowed out for a few minutes of welcome relief. About ever fifty or sixty miles, the stagecoach stopped at a "home" station. These stations were bigger and usually had a cabin or house for the passengers to catch a few hours sleep and a meal before proceeding on. Sometimes there was a blacksmith on the site. A stagecoach could cover about 120 miles per day; the trip from Vincennes to New Albany would take somewhat less than three days to complete the 120-mile journey.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
Twitter
@MossyFeetBooks
© Paul Wonning

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 17, 1937 - James Whitcomb Riley Home Opened to Public

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 17, 1937 - James Whitcomb Riley Home Opened to Public
James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916)
The third of six children born to Reuben Andrew and Elizabeth Marine Riley, Riley received his name from Indiana Governor James Whitcomb, with whom his father was a good friend. A native of Greenfield, Indiana, James' education was spotty. He never learned mathematics, geography, or science well and had a rudimentary understanding of grammar. His teacher, impressed with his poetry, encouraged him to write poetry. With few toys to amuse them, the children of his area frequently held plays in the back of a grocery store using scripts he wrote. He never learned to read music, but learned to play both the guitar and the violin.
Early Years
To earn money, Riley began work as a sign painter. He composed much of his early poetry composing slogans for the signs he painted. By 1875, he began submitting poems and letters to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, hoping for an endorsement. He eventually got one, and used it to try to get work writing poetry. He also sent poetry to several newspapers and had many published in the Indianapolis Journal and others. He finally found work with the Indianapolis Journal in 1879. He supplemented this work with reading tours around Indiana. By 1882 had gained a following. In 1884, he published The Boss Girl, A Christmas Story and Other Sketches, which did well in Indiana but poorly elsewhere.
Success
After a bout with illness and a problem with alcohol addiction, Riley performed in New York's Chickering Hall in 1888. His performance proved a huge success and the resulting publicity finally awakened his career. Riley wrote several more books and published many poems. His poems were popular with children, earning him the sobriquet "Children's Poet," as well as the "Hoosier Poet," because of the Hoosier dialect he adopted for his poetry and performances. Riley died of a stroke. At his wake in the Indiana Capitol Building 35,000 people filed past his casket.
James Whitcomb Riley Home
The James Whitcomb Riley Home is the house that Poet James Whitcomb Riley spent the last 23 years of his life. The home is at the heart of Lockerbie Square and contains many of Riley’s most treasured possessions. His desk, cane and hat are included among the artifacts on display.
The Museum:
The home was built in 1872 and it is the only late Victorian home preserved in the United States. Many of the furnishings, carpets, wall coverings and d├ęcor date back over 125 years. It has been preserved exactly the way the final occupants left it when Mr. Riley died in 1916.
The home is now a museum, open for the public to visit and enjoy.
James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and Visitor Center
528 Lockerbie Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Exerpted from the author’s book:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums – East Central Edition

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
Twitter
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 16, 1874 - Emmett Forrest Branch Born - Indiana Governor

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 16, 1874 - Emmett Forrest Branch Born - Indiana Governor
Emmett Forrest Branch (May 16, 1874 – February 23, 1932)
The son of Elliot and Alice Parks Branch, Emmett was native to Martinsville, Indiana. He attended Indiana University, graduating in 1896. He was a member of IU's championship baseball team while he attended the college.
Spanish American War
When the Spanish American War broke out, Branch enlisted in the United State Army, joining the 157th Volunteer Indiana Infantry. The Regiment mustered in on May 10, 1898. Branch's regiment was deployed to Port Tampa City, Florida first, then Fernandina, Florida. The 157th mustered out on November 1, 1898. He rose to the rank of First Lieutenant during the war.
Politics
After his return from the war, he studied law with his uncle and gained admittance to the Indiana bar in 1899. He opened a law practice in his hometown, Martinsville. . Voters from his district elected him to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1902, a seat he would hold until 1909.
World War I
After the outbreak of World War I, he re-enlisted in the Army as part of the distinguished Indiana 151st Infantry. The Army attached the regiment to the 38th Division and deployed it to Europe. The regiment was broken up to serve as replacements for casualties in other regiments.
Lieutenant Governor
The Republicans nominated Branch as Lieutenant Governor in 1920, with Warren T. McCray as governor. The ticket won handily. Branch served as Lieutenant Governor until 1924, when McCray was forced to resign.
Governor
McCray had been in a fight with the powerful Ku Klux Klan, when the Klan retaliated by exposing evidence linking McCray to mail fraud. The scandal forced McCray to resign, vaulting Branch into the governor's chair. He served the remainder of McCray's term, mostly carrying out his predecessor's agenda. He became the first graduate of Indiana University to serve as governor.
Later Life
Branch did not run for reelection, choosing instead to retire from politics and return to his Martinsville law practice. Governor Harry G. Leslie appointed him to manage the state's Armory, a post he held until his death in 1932.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
Twitter
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 15, 1902 - Soldiers and Sailors Monument Dedicated

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 15, 1902 - Soldiers and Sailors Monument Dedicated
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is the centerpiece of Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Retail stores, office buildings, radio station and televisions studios surround the Monument. The monument was built in 1902 from a design commissioned to Bruno Schmidz of Berlin, Prussia. The monument stands 284 feet, six inches tall and is made of Oolitic limestone from Owen County in southern Indiana.
Design and Construction
Numerous sculptures surround the monument. German designer Bruno Schmitz designed the monument, expanding on a design commenced by Alexander Ralston's 1821 plan. Governor Oliver Morton proposed the idea for the Monument. The Indiana General Assembly created a commission to build it in 1888. The Commission staged an international competition to pick artists to construct the monument.  Renowned artists and architects Bruno Schmitz, George Brewster, Nicholas Geiger and Rudolf Schwarz designed various aspects of the cascading fountains, sculptures of sailors and soldiers, and other features of the magnificent monument. The memorial became a symbol of not only Indianapolis, but the State of Indiana as well. The monument houses the Eli Lily Civil War Museum in the lower level. The museum features numerous exhibits relating Indiana's role in the Civil War and the stories of some of these soldiers.
Visiting the Monument
After visiting the museum, you will find excellent views of downtown Indianapolis from observation decks just above street level. From here you can see the impressive tall buildings surrounding the circle and obtain great scenes down north and south Meridian Street, East Market Street towards City Market and West Market as it looks directly at the Indiana State Capitol Building. You may then either climb the 330 stairs, or take the elevator for a stunning vista of the city from the top of the monument.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is located at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets in downtown Indianapolis.
To find more information about the monument and current operation hours, visit:
Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
Twitter
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 12, 1825 - Marquis de Lafayette Visits Jeffersonville

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 12, 1825 - Marquis de Lafayette Visits Jeffersonville
Congress invited the Revolutionary war hero, and only surviving general from the American Revolution, to visit the United States so a still grateful nation could thank him for his service to the American cause.
Invitation by Congress
After Congress passed a resolution inviting the Marquis to the nation, President James Madison extended the formal invitation in January 1824. The Marquis agreed to the visit and departed France in July 1824 accompanied by his son, Georges Washington de La Fayette. He arrived at Staten Island, New York in August. During the fall and winter he toured New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC. In the spring he extended his tour to include the southern portion of the country.
The Tour of America
Lafayette departed from Washington on February 23, 1825. His route included stops in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana. After a stopover at New Orleans, Lafayette proceeded up the Mississippi River, stopping at various points along the way. At every stop throngs of people gathered to greet and cheer the aging Marquis. His route turned to Illinois, Tennessee and finally to Kentucky.
Shipwrecked
On May 9 the boat, carrying him sinks on its way to Louisville on the Ohio River. At a place now called Lafayette Springs a thunderstorm blew up. The steamboat struck a rock formation, now called Rock Island that jutted out from the surface of the water.  All passengers and crew escape. Lafayette loses all his belongings and money in the catastrophe, including $8000 in cash and his papers. Lafayette fell into the river, nearly drowning in the process. Quick thinking deck hands hauled the beloved, elderly general out of the water. The party spent the night by the springs drying their clothing out by bonfires. Neighboring pioneers, hearing of Lafayette's presence flocked to see him. The next day the steamboat, Paragon, was flagged down. The Paragon had been traveling downriver, but agreed to take Lafayette's party to Louisville.
The Visit to Jeffersonville
On May 12, the Marquis de Lafayette, upon prior invitation by the Indiana General Assembly, crosses the Ohio to visit Jeffersonville, Indiana. He spends the greater part of the day there, visited by large, admiring crowds. By evening he returned to Louisville and continued his tour on May 14.
Lafayette's Tour
His visit was the subject of much press coverage during his visit. He covered over 6,000 miles using nearly every mode of transportation available at the time. He concluded his visit at Washington DC, after a stop at Mount Vernon to honor his friend, George Washington, who had died twenty-five years earlier. On September 7, 1825 Lafayette departed Washington on the USS Brandywine.
Author Note: There are conflicting reports on the date this occurred. Some sources say May 11, 1825, others give the date as May 12, 1825. The author has chosen May 12.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Indiana History Story a Day

An Indiana History Story a Day – May
An Indiana History Story a Day – May

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. An Indiana History Story a Day –May like the Indiana Bicentennial History Series that preceded it, presents Indiana history in an easy to read “this day in history format” The thirty-one stories in the May edition include:

May 3, 1989 - Indiana General Assembly Passes the Lottery Act
May 10, 1876 - Colonel Eli Lilly Opened A Laboratory On Pearl Street In Indianapolis
May 14, 1828 - Probable Date Lincoln and Gentry Arrive in New Orleans
May 17, 1820 - John Tipton Departs Corydon to Chose Site for Indianapolis
May 31, 1917 - The Indiana Legislature Adopted the Indiana State Flag


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© Paul R. Wonning 2017


Hoosier Dusty Files - May 11, 1863 - First Meeting of the LaPorte Library and Natural History Association

May 11, 1863 - First Meeting of the LaPorte Library and Natural History Association
La Porte established an informal library early in its existence. The first settlers came into the embryonic village in 1833. By the next year, the residents began collecting books and funds for a library. The collection grew as the citizens purchased more books with their accumulated funds and soon reached 300 volumes. The citizens housed their collection in the office of attorney John Niles. During the long years of the Civil War La Porte residents began a more organized approach to their library. Calling it the LaPorte Reading Room and Library Association, they acquired books that the Working Men's Institute of New Harmony had provided the town, brining their collection to over 700 volumes. On March 11, 1863 the directors of the Reading Room met and submitted a report to the city about their activities. Encouraged, in 1864 they renamed their library the  LaPorte Library and Natural History Association. Using the resources of the Association they collected books, newspaper, Amerindian artifact and other periodicals. In addition to this the Association sponsored lectures, hosting well-known intellectuals from the time. For more information, contact:
Laporte Public Library 
904 Indiana Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350
219-362-6156

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 10, 1800 - Harrison Land Act of 1800

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 10, 1800 - Harrison Land Act of 1800
Congress passed the Land of 1796 in hopes of encouraging settlement of the Northwest Territory. In 1800, Congress, at the urging of William Henry Harrison, passed the Harrison Land Act of 1800 to remedy the faults of the Land Act of 1796.
Harrison Land Act of 1800
The Land Act of 1796 did not achieve its intended purpose. Congress set the minimum purchase of land too high and had stringent credit requirements. Congress found that the requirements of the Act allowed only land speculators to purchase land, as the amount required to buy the land was too high for the average settler to afford. Squatters began occupying portions of land to which they had no title. The Harrison Land Act reduced the minimum land purchase from 640 acres to 320 acres and allowed the buyer to pay twenty-five percent at the time of purchase, with the remainder due in installments spread over four years. It set the price of the land at two dollars an acre, an amount unchanged from the 1796 law. This revision of the 1796 law allowed many more people to buy land and migrate into the Northwest Territory.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 09, 1842 - Randolph Seminary Established

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 09, 1842 - Randolph Seminary Established
Before the Randolph Seminary opened in 1842, the schools of Randolph County consisted of schools run by the Society of Friends or Subscription Schools.
Subscription Schools
During this era, parents that wanted their children to attend these schools paid a subscription for their children to attend. A typical price for the school was seventy-five cents per quarter. The schoolmaster might take his pay in wheat, corn or other commodity.
The Randolph County Seminary became one of the best schools of its type in the state.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 8, 1823 - Fort Wayne Land Office Established

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 8, 1823 - Fort Wayne Land Office Established
Sales of federal lands were an important source of revenue for the young United States. Under the original Articles of Confederation, the national government had limited powers of taxation. One important aspect of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was that it allowed the Federal Government to sell Federal lands to the public. The revenue raised by sales of public land was an important source of revenue for the government.
The Process
Land in the Northwest Territory belonged to the Amerindian tribes collectively in the beginning of the Territory. As the natives ceded land to the United States via the various treaties it became the property of the Federal Government. As this land changed hands, it entered the public domain. Once in possession of the United States by treaty, it could then sell the land. The Land Ordinance of 1785 set up a standardized system of surveying the land for the region west of the Appalachian Mountains. To sell the land, Congress set up United States Land Offices.
United States Land Offices
The first land office that sold Federal land to the public in the current state of Indiana was the Land Office at Cincinnati, now in Ohio, in 1801. This Land Office sold land in what are now Dearborn, Fayette, and Franklin, Jay, Ohio, Randolph, Switzerland, Union and Wayne counties. The next Land Office opened in Vincennes in 1807. The Jeffersonville Land Office opened in 1808. Governor Harrison signed thirteen treaties that brought more than 60,000,000 acres of land from native Indian control to the United States. As the native tribes were forced from the state, land sales migrated northward. Central Indiana land sales opened at Brookville in 1825. A land office in Terre Haute handled sales in the west/central portion of the state. Fort Wayne's Land Office was established on May 8, 1823.  It sold land in northern Indiana.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 05, 1817 - First United States District Court Opens

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 05, 1817 - First United States District Court Opens
The United States Federal District was established on March 3, 1817. The first judge appointed to the Federal bench in Indiana was Benjamin Parke. The court opened its first session on May 5, 1817 in the State Capitol at Corydon.
Benjamin Parke (September 2, 1777 – July 12, 1835)
A native of New Jersey, Parke migrated to Lexington, Kentucky and studied law under the tutelage of James Brown. He gained admittance to the bar in 1799. Upon moving to Vincennes, he opened a practice in 1799. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison appointed him as Attorney General in 1804. He gained election to the Territorial Legislature in 1805, serving until selected to represent the Indiana Territory in the United States House of Representatives from 1805 until 1808. Governor Harrison selected Parke to serve as his a judge in the Indiana Territory. During Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812, he commanded troops during both conflicts. After the wars, he served in Indiana's Constitutional Convention in 1816 and is one of its signers. President James Monroe appointed him to the United States District Court for the District of Indiana. He held that position until his death in 1835.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
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© Paul Wonning

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 04, 1871 - First Professional Baseball League - National Association - First Game Fort Wayne

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 04, 1871 - First Professional Baseball League - National Association - First Game Fort Wayne
What many sports historians consider the first professional baseball league held its first game in Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 4, 1871.
National Association of Professional Base Ball Players
The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players had organized in New York on March 17, 1871. The new league featured nine teams: Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, Cleveland Forest Cities, Fort Wayne Kekiongas (Indiana), New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics, Rockford Forest Cities (Illinois), Troy Unions (New York) and Washington Olympics. Though there had been professional baseball teams, the Cincinnati Red Stockings as the first, before, the National Association was the first organized league of professional teams.
Organized Mayhem
The league actually functioned as a loose confederation of teams. The league did not have central leadership structure. Teams could make their own schedules and play against teams of their own choosing. The only organizational structure was an annual meeting of the teams. The teams could belong to the league as long as they paid the dues and played a minimum number of games against other teams in the league. The loose structure created situations for teams to exploit. The league, though, saw some financial success. However, the loose structure led to problems that many teams felt could not be solved. The problems led some of the teams to withdraw and form their own league with stricter rules. This league, the National League, included six teams from the old National Association: Boston Red Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics, Hartford Dark Blues, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, and New York Mutuals. The Cincinnati Red Stockings and Louisville Grays completed the roster of new National League teams that made its debut in 1876.
The First Game
The first game at Fort Wayne featured the Fort Wayne Kekiongas against the Cleveland Forest Cities. The Kekiongas beat Cleveland 2-1.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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Twitter
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© Paul Wonning

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 03, 1912 - Henderson Motor Company Incorporated

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 03, 1912 - Henderson Motor Company Incorporated
Brothers Ransom P. Henderson and Charles Pemberton Henderson founded the Henderson Motor Company at the intersection of North Capitol Avenue and West Vermont Street in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 3, 1912. Formerly associated with the Cole Carriage Company of Indianapolis, the brothers operated the Henderson Motor Company from 1912 through 1915.
Charles Pemberton Henderson (October 21, 1869 - May 24, 1949)
A native of Poplar Flat, Kentucky, Henderson married Etta Rogers in 1898. After living in Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia C. P. Henderson ended up in Indianapolis with his brother Ransom to help run the Cole Carriage Company. During the Cole Carriage Company's reorganization into the Cole Motor Car Company, the brothers founded the company that bore their name.
Henderson Motor Company
The brothers introduced their car during the second Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The car was the first to feature wire spoke wheels as a standard feature and utilized a new invention by race driver Ray Harroun. The invention was a carburetor that could use either gasoline or kerosene with a simple adjustment. The carmaker offered four different styles, a touring car, a coup, roadster and a five-passenger car. Charles Henderson's two sons, William and Tom Henderson founded the Henderson Motorcycle Company in 1912

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 2, 1823 - First Steamboat Reaches Vincennes

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 2, 1823 - First Steamboat Reaches Vincennes
Steamboats were an important part of the Nineteenth Century economy until the rise of the railroads in mid-century. Thus, the arrival of the first steam-powered riverboat in 1823 was an important event. On May 2, 1823, the Florence reached Vincennes on its voyage to Terra Haute, where it arrived on May 7.
The Wabash River
From its beginnings near a farm near Ft. Recovery, Ohio, the Wabash wends its way for 487 miles to join with the Ohio River. It is the Ohio River's largest tributary that enters its northern shore. The name Wabash derives from the French name, Ouabache, which in turn originated from the Miami Indian name, Wah-Bah-Shik-Ka. That name means "water over white stones," in reference to the white limestone riverbed visible through its clear water in the upper reaches of the river. The Wabash forms the boundary between Illinois and Indiana near Terre Haute, the largest city on the Wabash. Steamboats could ply the waters of the Wabash as far north as Logansport. It was navigable by steamboat for about nine months of the year. At other times, usually during the summer, the water levels dropped too low for them to navigate.
Important Waterway
The Wabash had served as an important highway for navigation before the arrival of the steamboats. The French had located the city of Vincennes on its banks during their settlement period. Flatboats carried the produce of the growing state of Indiana to the Port of New Orleans to sell. River port towns like Terre Haute prospered during the steamboat era, as they became centers of transportation. Many connected also with the Wabash and Erie Canal, which connected Indiana towns to both New York and New Orleans. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, riverboats had declined in importance, supplanted by the railroads.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - May 01, 1813 - Corydon Becomes Capital of Indiana Territory

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

May 01, 1813 - Corydon Becomes Capital of Indiana Territory
The Indiana General Assembly passed the State Capital Act on March 11, 1813 that would move the Indiana Territorial Capital from Vincennes to Corydon. The law became effective on May 1, 1813.
When the United States Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, they placed the Territorial Capital at Vincennes, then the approximate center of population in the huge expanse of land. By 1813 proponents for statehood, anticipating that Indiana would soon become a state passed an ordinance that moved the Territorial Capital to Corydon, which was closer to the population center of the proposed state of Indiana.
Corydon
Early in the Nineteenth Century, a man named Edward Smith migrated into the Corydon area at a spot in a valley and a spring near the current fairgrounds. Territorial Governor William Harrison traveled through the area and stopped at the Smith's cabin to rest. Harrison purchased a plot of ground at the junction of Big and Little Indian Creeks. Local lore says he planned to establish a town there and asked Smith's daughter to name it. She suggested a name from Harrison's favorite hymn, Pastoral Elegy.
The first stanza of the hymn goes like this:
"What sorrowful sounds do I hear,
Move slowly along in the gale,
How solemn they fall on my ear,
As softly they pass through the vale.
Sweet Corydon's notes are all o'er,
Now lonely he sleeps in the clay,
His cheeks bloom with roses no more,
Since death called his spirit away."
He used the name. He later sold this property to Harvey Heth, who was a surveyor. Heth platted Corydon in 1808
Harvey Heth (1770–1816)
Heth was a native of Virginia who moved to the Indiana Territory in the late 1700's. He served a short time in the Territorial Legislature and surveyed most of Harrison County. While in the legislature, he served on the commission that picked the new capital at Corydon. He donated some of his land for the town's use. He also designed his friend, Squire Boone's tomb
Move from Vincennes
Dennis Pennington, Speaker of the Territorial Legislature, started building the building that would eventually house the Territorial and State capitol building in 1811 or 1812. The legislature also considered Madison and Jeffersonville for the capital, however they eventually settled on Corydon because of its central location. On November 3, 1813, the Indiana Territorial Legislature passed a bill that authorized the move to Corydon. It served that role until 1816, when Indiana became a state. It then served as the state's capital until the legislature moved it to the more centrally located Indianapolis in 1825.
The Indiana Territory Legislature contracted with Dennis Pennington to build the new Territorial capitol at Corydon. Pennington was a builder and prominent citizen of Corydon and served as Speaker of the House. He began construction of the building in either 1811 or 1812. The building would serve as the Harrison County Court House at first, then as the territorial capitol when it moved to Corydon. When the legislature did move in 1813, they met in the building.
The Capitol
Pennington used limestone quarried nearby to construct the building, which was two stories tall and forty feet square. The two and a half foot thick stone foundation delved three feet into the earth and supported the two-foot thick stone walls. The lower room had fifteen-foot ceilings, the upper floor ten feet. One large fireplace on each floor provided heat. The cost to build the capitol was $1500.
The First Legislature
The first General Assembly consisted of 29 representatives, 10 senators and the lieutenant governor met in the building in November 1816. Indiana received Statehood on December 16, 1816. Corydon remained the State Capital until 1825, when it moved to the new city of Indianapolis on the White River in the center of the state. After the capital move to Indianapolis, the building became the Harrison County Courthouse. Harrison County renovated the building in 1873, covering the stone floors with wood and closing the fireplaces. In 1917, the State of Indiana purchased the building with the intent of preserving it. Harrison County built the current courthouse in 1929 and the State took over the building. The State renovated the building to its original condition.
This article exerpted from the author’s book:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - South Central Edition


Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
Twitter
@MossyFeetBooks
© Paul Wonning