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History, Landmarks & Legends

Indianapolis is a city rich in history. Trace its historical timeline and visit landmarks that commemorate important milestones in the city’s development. And don’t forget about the legends that still haunt many Indy residents today.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is by far the most famous monument in Indianapolis. The city gets its nickname from it and it has a rich and unique history all its own.

Walking Tour Through the Carmel Arts and Design District
Walking Tour Through the Carmel Arts and Design District

Walking Tour of Historic Lockerbie Square
Lockerbie Square, just half a mile from Monument Circle downtown, is said to be the oldest surviving residential neighborhood in Indianapolis. Take this walking tour through the neighborhood for a glimpse of what urban life in Indy looked like in the 1800s.

The Journey of Acapulco Joe’s Joe Rangel: From Small-Town Mexico to ...
The story of Joe Rangel, founder of Indianapolis' Acapulco Joe's Mexican Restaurant, is one of a Mexican immigrant who had the courage to achieve the American dream. After unsuccessfully crossing the Rio Grande seven times and ultimately landing in a U.S. prison, Rangel "mistakenly" found himself in Indianapolis, where he founded what remains one of Indy's most popular Mexican dining establishments.

Find Your Roots and Trace Your Genealogy
If you’ve ever wanted to trace your family roots, create a family tree or find out more about your ancestors, the following genealogy resources in Indianapolis and nearby Fort Wayne are great places to start. These Indiana resources can aid your research efforts by providing print records and/or free online access to the best genealogy data bases for tracing your family history.

A Quiz on Victorian Mourning Customs of Nineteenth-Century America
Explore the mourning customs and rules of propriety that governed the lives of middle- to upper-class Americans who lost a loved one during the Victorian era. Take this quiz to see whether you'd have made a good mourner. Based on the Indianapolis Morris-Butler House museum exhibit, "Dearly Departed: The Art of Victorian Mourning."

The History of the Irish in Indianapolis
The history of the Irish people in Indianapolis is a colorful one. Irish immigrants played a major role in the development of Indianapolis during the 1800s, and their population continues to represent a significant percentage of Indy residents today.

The Legend of White Lick Creek Bridge
Legend has it that White Lick Creek Bridge in Danville, Indiana, just west of Indianapolis on Highway 36, is haunted by the ghost of an Irishman. "Dad" Jones was one of many Irish immigrants hired in the 1850s to build a bridge across White Lick Creek. He died tragically in the process, and his spirit is said to linger there to this day.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis, honors Indiana's fallen Civil War heroes. Visitors can view the city from the top of the 285-foot-tall monument, or visit the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum inside. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed-Sun; phone (317) 232-7615.

The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District
The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District consists of 24 acres of parks, museums, monuments, statues, sculptures, and fountains in downtown Indianapolis, making Indy second only to Washington D.C. in acreage and number of monuments dedicated to veterans. The plaza is also the national headquarters of the American Legion.

Indiana State Library
The Indiana State Library was established in 1825 to accommodate the research needs of Indiana's legislators, and has since grown to meet the needs of all Indiana citizens today. The library is responsible for collecting and preserving all types of information and data about the state of Indiana, including genealogical information for those interested in tracing their family's history.

Indy's Christmas Cherub
Since 1947, a bronze sculpture of a cherub has appeared atop the clock outside the former L.S. Ayres department store on Indianapolis's Monument Circle during the holiday season. The Christmas cherub remains part of Indianapolis's rich tradition to this day.

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