July 10, 2012

Indiana – “the Hoosier State”



Indiana map


Just the Facts…


bird – cardinal
flower – peony
tree – yellow poplar
capital – Indianapolis
union – 19th on December 11, 1816
population – about 6 1/2 million





The Basics 

The name “Indiana” means “The Land of the Indians.”  It was first used by Congress when the Indiana Territory was separated from the rest of the Northwest Territory in 1800.

Indiana is part of the Great Lakes region of America – it borders the very southern tip of Lake Michigan.  Indiana is quite flat with occasional rolling hills (most of the state is in plateau regions or lowlands).


Its Claim to Fame

The Indy 500!  One of the oldest and biggest car races in the country takes place in Indianapolis over Memorial Day each year.  The Indy 500 gets its name from the race itself, which is 500 miles long!  The Indy 500 had its beginnings when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was first built in 1909.   Cars and drivers have been coming from around the world to compete ever since!  Only a special kind of car can race in the Indy 500, and it is very different from the cars you see on the highway.  It has room for only one person.  And, that person has to climb in from the top – there are no doors and there is no roof over the driver!

Indiana limestone is some of the best stone in America.  There is a little bit of Indiana all over the country -  its limestone has been used to build and decorate buildings for many, many years!  For example, Indiana limestone was used in the Empire State Building, The Biltmore Estate (remember, in North Carolina?), Rockefeller Center, and the Washington National Cathedral.  Much of Chicago was rebuilt using Indiana limestone after its Great Fire in 1871.  More recently, it was used in the United States Holocaust Museum and the remodeled New York Yankee Stadium.  Many colleges and state capitols around the country have Indiana limestone decorating their buildings.  In fact, 35 out of 50 state capitols use at least some Indiana limestone.  Where do you live?  Chances are, your state capital has some Indiana limestone in it!


What Makes it Tick

Indiana became a large manufacturing center around the time of the Civil War, which continues today.  Indiana was a big steel producer and made a lot of equipment and parts for the auto industry.  It is also home to Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceuticals company that was founded in 1876 in Indianapolis.

Agriculture has always been an important part of Indiana’s economy – it is part of both America’s corn belt and grain belt.  The glaciers left behind rich topsoil in most of Indiana, making it productive farmland.  Much of the grain and corn that is grown in Indiana is used to feed cattle, pigs and poultry.  Indiana farmers also grow a wide variety of other items, such as soybeans, melons, grapes and tomatoes.  Indiana produces much of the country’s popcorn!  Did you have popcorn the last time you went to the movies? Chances are, that popcorn was grown in Indiana.

Many goods traveling across the country spend spend some time on Indiana roads.  Indianapolis was one of the first cities to develop in the 19th century that wasn’t on a major waterway.  It developed roads to facilitate shipping and transportation.  Now, some of the busiest national expressways travel through Indianapolis.


If You Visited

If you visited Indiana, you might go to the shore of Lake Michigan playing in the big sand dunes.  The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has 15 miles of protected beach on the shores of Lake Michigan.  The sand dunes are right next to the beach and some are as big as 200 feet tall!   The dunes were made during the glacier times.  The glaciers pushed sediment, sand and dirt in front of them as they moved over the land.  They stopped just short of the southern tip of Lake Michigan and then slowly melted.  The big pile of earth and sand were all that was left, which became the Indiana dunes.

You might go to the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Johnny Appleseed is an American legend.   As the folktale goes, he spread appleseeds all over the countryside.  There really was a Johnny Appleseed, but his real name was John Chapman.  He traveled through the frontier in the early 1800’s (mostly in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) planting apple orchards.  He would create an apple orchard from seed and then ask a neighbor to take care of it.  He would return every few years to check up on his orchards.  His generosity made him very popular.   Some people think he lived in Fort Wayne and is buried there.


Want to Know More? 

Check our Indiana state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in Indiana? Or, maybe you have visited Indiana?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Indiana?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Indiana to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Indiana.  Visit these websites to learn more: