1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, the capital and largest city of Indiana, U.S.A., situated on the W. fork of the White river, in Marion county, of which it is the county-seat, and at almost the exact geographical centre of the state. It is 824 m. W. of New York by rail, and 183 m. S.E. of Chicago, and is about 710 ft. above sea-level, and about 138 ft. above Lake Erie. Its area is 30.77 sq. m., of which 29.95 sq. m. is land. Pop. (1880) 75,074; (1890) 105,436; (1900) 169,164, of whom 17,122 were foreign-born (8362 being by birth German, 3765 Irish, and 1154 English) and 15,931 were negroes; (1910 census) 233,650. Indianapolis is near the centre of population of the United States. From 1847, when the first railway entered the city, Indianapolis has steadily grown in importance as a railway centre. It is served by the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis (New York Central System), the Lake Erie & Western (New York Central System), the Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis (Pennsylvania System) and the Vandalia (Pennsylvania System) railways. At the Union Station more than 150 trains enter and depart daily, carrying more than 30,000 passengers. Outside the city there is a “belt line,” 15½ m. long, connecting the several railways and carrying more than 1,000,000 freight cars annually; and an extensive electric street railway system, with more than 150 m. of track and with interurban connexions, serves every part of the city and its suburbs. The city has a large traction terminal station, and is the principal centre for the interurban electric lines of Indiana, which handle freight as well as passengers; in 1908 twenty-five interurban electric lines entered the city and operated about 400 cars every 24 hours.
Physically Indianapolis is one of the most attractive inland cities in America. It is built on a level plain surrounded by low, gently sloping and beautifully wooded hills. Four principal avenues radiate from points near a central circle to the four corners of the city. The other streets run at right angles to one another. Streets and avenues are 90 ft. wide, except Washington Street, which has a width of 120 ft. An excellent system of parks—8 within the city with an aggregate area of 1311 acres, and 3 with an aggregate area of 310 acres just outside the city limits—adds to the beauty of the city, among the most attractive being the Riverside, the St Clair, the University, the Military, the Fair View, the Garfield and the Brookside. The city is lighted by gas and electricity,—it was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt electric lighting,—and has a good water-supply system, owned by a private corporation, with a 4½ acre filter plant of 18,000,000 gallons per diem capacity and an additional supply of water pumped from deep wells outside the city. The public buildings and business blocks are built mostly of Indiana building stone. The state capitol stands in a square 8 acres in extent, and has a central tower and dome 240 ft. high. It covers 2 acres of ground and cost $2,000,000. The Marion county court-house cost $1,750,000. Other noteworthy buildings are the Federal building (containing post-office, custom-house and Federal court-rooms; erected at a cost of $3,000,000); Tomlinson Hall, capable of seating 3000 persons, given to the city by Daniel Tomlinson; the Propylaeum, a club-house for women; the Commercial club; Das Deutsche Haus, belonging to a German social club; the Maennerchor club-house; the Union railway station; the traction terminal building; the city hall, and the public library. Near the city is the important United States army post, Fort Benjamin Harrison, named in honour of President Benjamin Harrison, whose home was in Indianapolis. In or near the city are the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Indiana Institution for the Education of the Blind, the Indiana Institution for the Education of the Deaf, the Indiana Girls’ School (included with the Women’s prison until 1899, and under the same management as the prison from 1899 to 1903, when it became a separate institution,—it was removed to Clermont, 10 m. from Indianapolis, in 1907), and a Women’s prison (opened in 1873, the first in the United States), which is under female management. The public library, founded in 1871, contains more than 100,000 volumes. There are ten other libraries, the most important of which are the state law library (about 40,000 volumes) and the state library (about 46,000 volumes).
The city is an educational centre of considerable importance. The university of Indianapolis (1896) is a loose association of three really independent institutions—the Indiana Law School (1894), the Indiana Dental College (1879), and Butler University (chartered in 1849 and opened in 1855 as the North-western Christian University, and named Butler University in 1877 in honour of Ovid Butler, a benefactor). Other educational institutions are the Indianapolis College of Law (1897), the Indiana Medical College (the School of Medicine of Purdue University, formed in 1905 by the consolidation of the Medical College of Indiana, the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Fort Wayne College of Medicine), the State College of Physicians and Surgeons (the medical school of Indiana University), the Indiana Veterinary College (1892), the Indianapolis Normal School, the Indiana Kindergarten and Primary Normal Training School (private), and the Winona Technical Institute. The last named was opened in 1904, and is controlled by the Winona Lake corporation, having official connexion with several national trade unions. It has departments of pharmacy, chemistry, electrical wiring, lithography, house-painting, printing, carpentry, moulding, tile-setting, bricklaying, machinery and applied science. The art association of Indianapolis was founded in 1883; and under its auspices is conducted an art school (1902) in accordance with the bequest of John Herron (1817-1895), the school and museum of the association being housed in the John Herron Art Institute, dedicated in 1906.
The city has several fine monuments, among which are statues of Oliver P. Morton, George Rogers Clark, William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas A. Hendricks and Major-General Henry W. Lawton. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, erected by the state, stands in the circle in the centre of the city, rises to a height of 284.5 ft. above the street level, and is surmounted by a statue of Victory 38 ft. high. On the east and west faces of the base are two great stone groups of Peace and War respectively. The monument was erected after designs by Bruno Schmidt of Berlin, with fountains at the base said to be among the largest in the world, their capacity being 20,000 gallons per minute.
The city’s central geographical position, its extensive railway connexions, and its proximity to important coal-fields have combined to make it one of the principal industrial centres of the Middle West. The value of its “factory” products was 17.6% of the state’s total in 1900 and 20.9% of the total in 1905. The increase in the value of the “factory” product between 1900 and 1905 was from $59,322,234 to $82,227,950, or 38.6%. Indianapolis is the principal live stock centre of the Ohio Valley, and has extensive stock-yards covering more than 100 acres. Slaughtering and meat-packing is the most important industry, the value of the product amounting to $24,458,810 in 1905; this industry dates from about 1835. Among other important manufactures are foundry and machine shop products ($6,944,392 in 1905); flour and grist-mill products ($4,428,664); cars and shop construction and repairs by steam railways ($2,502,789); saws; waggons and carriages ($2,049,207); printing and publishing (book and job, $1,572,688; and newspapers and periodicals, $2,715,666); starch; cotton and woollen goods; furniture ($2,528,238); canned goods ($1,693,818); lumber and timber ($1,556,466); structural iron work ($1,541,732); beer ($1,300,764); and planing-mill products, sash, doors and blinds ($1,111,264).
Indianapolis is governed under a form of government adopted originally in a special charter of 1891 and in 1905 incorporated in the new state municipal code, which was based upon it, It provides for a mayor elected every four years, a single legislative chamber, a common council, and various administrative departments—of public safety, public health, &c. The guiding principle of the charter, which is generally accepted as a model of its kind, is that of the complete separation of powers and the absolute placing of responsibility.
On the admission of Indiana as a state, Congress gave to it four sections of public land as a site on which to establish a state capital. This was located in 1820 in almost the exact geographical centre of the state, where a small settlement had recently been made, and the town of Indianapolis was laid out in the following year. It was then in the midst of dense forests and was wholly unconnected by roads with other parts of the state. Upon its final acceptance as the capital, there was some activity in land speculation, but Indianapolis had only 600 inhabitants and a single street when the seat of government was removed thither in 1824. The legislature met here for the first time in 1825. Some impetus was given to the city’s growth by the completion of the National Road, and later by the opening of railways, but until after the Civil War its advancement was slow. It was incorporated as a town in 1832, its population then being 1000. The first state capitol was completed in 1836. Indianapolis suffered severely from the business panic of 1837, and ten years later, when it received its first city charter, it had only about 6000 inhabitants; in the same year a free public school system was inaugurated.
Authorities.—B. R. Sulgrove, History of Indianapolis and Marion County (Philadelphia, 1884); M. R. Hyman, Handbook of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 1907); Nathaniel Bolton, “Early History of Indianapolis and Central Indiana” (Indiana Historical Society’s Publications, No. 5, 1897); W. R. Holloway, Indianapolis, a Historical and Statistical Sketch (Indianapolis, 1870); the Indianapolis Board of Trade’s Report on the Industries of Indianapolis (1889); Civic Studies of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 1907 seq.), edited by Arthur W. Dunne; and P. S. Heath’s sketch of Indianapolis in L. P. Powell’s Historic Towns of the Western States (New York, 1901).