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 evolve, but it can also sicken from troubles within its boundaries. In its history, Indianapolis has experienced its own chronic and acute medical and social maladies, stemming from industrialization, urban expansion, human disease, and social injustice. In response, innumerable groups, like components of an immune system, have worked to alleviate the problems' symptoms, if not the disorders themselves. A rich array of medical innovations and institutions has also arisen to meet the healthcare needs of the Circle City and beyond: from pharmaceuticals and nursing to philanthropic groups and healthcare facilities.
This tour highlights some of the city’s ills, past and present, as well as frontline efforts to treat those problems: a city’s waterways defiled; a vaccine that spared the lives of thousands; a female bacteriologist found murdered in her home; a neighborhood revitalized through acts of cooperation and self-help. These and the other stories featured in the tour explore the myriad facets of Indianapolis's history of sickness and wellbeing from the level of the city itself to its communities, from institutions to individuals.
The tour covers a distance of approximately 15 miles but many of the downtown stops are within walking distance of one another.