All Tours: 45

Indianapolis had a history of engagement with professional and amateur sports long before hosting the 2012 Super Bowl. This tour will introduce you to some well-known stories and highlight some less well-remembered ones. This tour is primarily…

What is a sacred space? For the following stories, “sacred” refers to places that have been (and continue to be) regarded with reverence by the people of Indianapolis. This includes traditional religious spaces such as churches, synagogues, and…

Since Indianapolis became the Indiana state capital in 1825, issues of illness and health have had an impact on the city and its citizens, in part because of rapid population growth and density. Like a human body, a metropolis may grow and…

Long hidden behind closed doors, LGBT+ people and their histories in Indianapolis have become increasingly visible in recent decades. The history of this community is the story of the struggle for civil rights and full inclusion in the fabric of our…

Soon after its founding in 1813, New Albany became a leading center of trade and manufacturing. From the mid-1820s through the Civil War era, shipbuilding fueled the local economy. New Albany builders produced more than 200 steamboats for operation…

African Americans, enslaved and free, had a presence in Floyd County from the beginnings of European settlement in the area. The 1830 census listed 265 black residents. The population grew dramatically in later decades. By 1860 New Albany had the…

What do you think of when you think of art? Who is an artist? Over the course of Indiana’s 200-year statehood, individuals have created artistic works in many different forms. Fashion, sculpture, paintings, literature, architecture, and…

History books are full of stories of the wealthy, the powerful, and the influential—the insiders. History has also taught us influence easily captured can be easily lost. Insiders can become outsiders and outsiders can be absorbed into the ranks of…

The Ohio River has been a constant in the history of New Albany and southern Indiana for centuries. Long before Europeans arrived, native peoples relied on the river for drinking water, for transportation, and for irrigating crops. When Joel,…

Religious institutions have thrived in New Albany for nearly 200 years. This tour highlights several important congregations and other aspects of religious history. The sites featured illustrate the role of religion in southern Indiana since the…

Every downtown had one. They were grand old opera houses and movie palaces, built in the bustle of the city center. In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, these venues served as the heart of entertainment in most communities. Such theaters were great…

The Indiana State Parks system’s origin began in 1916 under the guidance of Colonel Richard Lieber. It has since grown and developed under the influence of visionaries like Lieber and Lucy Pitchler, as well as groups like the Civilian Conservation…

The history of medicine is a popular branch of scientific history and that is very true in the State of Indiana. Across much of the 19th and 20th centuries, several prominent Hoosiers took part in significant movements and practices in the medical…

At the end of the nineteenth century, Hoosiers found themselves with more free time than ever before. Technological advances in industry allowed increased efficiency in manufacturing and farming while transportation innovations connected farmers and…

A government is shaped by its people, and Indiana is a prime example of that. Throughout the state’s over 200 year history, Hoosiers have made this state their own, influencing what this state is and what it can be. Across the state in various…

A place is nothing without its culture, and that holds true especially in Indiana. Hoosiers like Gene-Stratton Porter and James Whitcomb Riley have had huge influences on their respective fields. Indiana Avenue was a central hub for jazz in…

December 11, 1816: one of the most integral days in Indiana history. This is the day that Indiana gained statehood in the United States of America. However, that date alone is meaningless without further context of the events and individuals that…

The Civil War was a defining moment in our country’s history, and its ripple effects were undoubtedly felt in Indiana. Countless Hoosiers participated in the Underground Railroad. Numerous fought on battlefields throughout the country (one of which…

Moving into the 20th century, Indiana residents found themselves searching for ways to occupy their free time. Some were caught up in the chautauqua movement, others joined in on the growing wave of country clubs sweeping the nation, and some simply…

The first Indiana State Fair was held back in 1852 in downtown Indianapolis’ Military Park. It moved to its current fairgrounds site forty years later in 1892. Although it initially began as an attempt to build up agricultural participation and…

One of the key events of United States history in the 1800’s was the expansion of the railroad. It revolutionized transportation, the economy, population progression towards the West Coast, industry, and several other areas. Located firmly in the…

Archaeology’s status as a popular social science has played an important role in providing a window into the past. Here in Indiana, archaeologists have been able to do extensive projects that allow Hoosiers to engage with previous occupants of the…

Education in Indiana extends well beyond big-name universities like Purdue, IU, Notre Dame, Butler, Ball State, and Indiana State. From the collegiate level down to the elementary level, Indiana has a rich history in education. Across the state,…

The history of Indiana’s gas boom is one of entrepreneurs, inventions, and squandered natural wealth. It is the story of the turning point that made Howard County, Kokomo, and many other communities in east-central Indiana what they are today.…

In 2019, the city of South Bend garnered national attention due to a presidential bid by its mayor, Pete Buttigieg. The campaign brought attention to the city including its struggles with race relations and economic inequality. These conditions in…

The “roaring twenties” were a decade of dramatic change and growth. World War I (1914-1918) had ended and the economy was booming as a result of all money paid to industry by the US government. Prohibition had made the manufacture and sale, but not…

The Jackson County History Center (JCHC) is located in Brownstown, Indiana, the county seat. Located across the street from the county courthouse, the expansive JCHC campus includes three museums, a genealogy library, Pioneer Village, Circus Wagon,…

The "Golden Age of American Illustration," a term coined by art lovers to refer to the period from the 1890s to the 1920s, was driven by improvements in printing technology that allowed for accurate and inexpensive reproduction of art in books,…

Vanderburgh County, located on the Ohio River at the southern tip of Indiana, is both one of the smallest counties in Indiana by land area and one of the largest by population. At the heart of every community in Vanderburgh County, including…

Vincennes and the surrounding community are fortunate to have well-known historical sites and attractions including the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park; Grouseland, the Indiana Territorial Capital; Fort Knox II; the Indiana Military…

From rolling hills to flat stretches, Wayne County is home to a diverse topography. It contains Indiana’s highest point above sea level at the northern edge of the county which sits 1,257 feet above sea level. It also offers, just thirty miles south…

The flow of history is preserved in this quaint river town. Via boats and barges along the Ohio River, migrants from Virginia, Kentucky, Germany, and Ireland arrived in Madison, Indiana—a narrow, gentle bend of the river that provided access to…

The discovery of natural gas in 1887 on present-day Meridian Street in Anderson, Indiana, became the catalyst for the development of the automobile industry. Industrial innovation spawned economic growth, which created personal wealth for capitalists…

While visitors may see Kokomo as an industrial town with its gas extraction facilities and glass factories, locals highlight its innovation. It was the place where the first commercially successful, gasoline-powered U.S. automobile, stainless steel…

Johnson County, established in 1823, has never had a war fought on its soil. Yet, the residents who have called this central Indiana county home throughout the generations, have been instrumental in keeping America safe in all major wars and…

The Underground Railroad, a network of people, routes and safe houses that enslaved people used to escape to freedom, is a difficult history to document. This network did not look for recognition and rarely recorded their experiences of aiding…

In the late nineteenth century, canned goods became a major part of the American food supply chain. As Anna Zeide writes in Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry, canned goods profoundly changed Americans’…

Overlooking the Ohio River, the lands that became Clark County, Indiana were home to wetlands and forests that Natives of the Cahokia, Michigamea, Kaskaskia, and Peoria peoples used to support their communities prior to European colonization. Because…

The town once called “Little Detroit” is full of reminders of its classic car past if you know where to look. Auburn, Indiana— Home of the Classics— was once a bustling center of manufacturing. Early automotive luminaries E.L. Cord and Gordon Beuhrig…

Goshen, Indiana, the county seat of Elkhart County, was platted in 1831. The area was home to Indigenous Miami and then Potawatomi band people before they were driven out of the region by expansionist policies of the United States government. White…

Originally farmland known as Mule Crossing, Seymour, Indiana would not be a central crossroads for trains traveling north, south, east, and west without the efforts of Captain Meedy Shields. Elected to the state legislature, Shields forced trains to…

The United States Steel Corporation acquired land at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan in 1905 for the purposes of building a steel mill. The area that would become Gary was historically occupied by the Miami and Potawatomi peoples, who had long…

What better place could there be to embrace life’s joy and sorrow than right here in the Crossroads of America? In the space between sunlight and shadows live the stories of this little, big town. A seemingly typical midwestern city, Terre Haute is…

Have you heard of the idea of “Midwestern Nice”? It is the idea that Midwesterners are uniquely polite and gracious: greeting strangers on the street, overly apologizing for minor inconveniences, avoiding conflict. “Hoosier Hospitality” is a similar…