Indiana is called the Hoosier State and its people are known as Hoosiers. This famous nickname may have come from the Indiana pioneers' traditional greeting to visitors: "Who's here?" Or Hoosier may have come from husher - a slang word for a fighting man who could "hush" others with his fists.








The Crossroads of America



"On The Banks of The Wabash"

  Click here to see complete words and additional information about our song.



Capital: Indianapolis

Area: 36,291 square miles including 194 sq. mi. of inland water but excluding 228 sq. mi. of Lake Michigan; 38th in size among the states. Greatest Distances: north to south equals 280 miles; east to west equals 160 miles. Shoreline - 45 miles on Lake Michigan.

Elevation: Indiana’s altitude averages 700 feet above sea level. Highest - 1,257 ft in Wayne County. Lowest - 320 feet in Posey County.

Statehood: Congress coined the name “Indiana” in 1800, when the Indiana Territory was carved out of the Northwest Territory. The name, which means “the land of the Indians,” was retained when Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th state on December 11, 1816.

An average of 400 funnel clouds are sighted each year in Indiana. The largest tornado to hit anywhere in the world to date - hit and completely destroyed Olabelle and John Gouldman's (Indiana Club members) home town of Griffin in 1925 - it faded out in Petersburg and did lots of damage from Missouri, especially thru Illinois and thru Griffin. It is no wonder their basketball team was named the Tornadoes. That school was consolidated so Griffin has no school now.

Tomato juice was first served at a French Lick Hotel in 1925.

The world’s largest orchid species collection is found at Ball State University in Muncie.

The first regulated speed limit on Indiana roads was initiated in 1921 . . . 20-25 mph!!

The city of Gary was built on fill brought from the bottom of Lake Michigan through suction pipes.

There are only two Adams fireplaces in the United States. One is in the White House and the other in the Diner Home in Indiana.

Josie Orr, wife of former Indiana Governor Robert Orr, flew bombers and cargo planes during World War II.

The Indianapolis Methodist Hospital is the largest Hospital in the Midwest

One of the first complete bathrooms in Indianapolis was in the home of Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley.

The career of Dorothy Lamour (famous for the Crosby-Hope Road Movies was launched in Indianapolis.

Aviatrix Amelia Earhart was once a professor at Purdue University.

Crown Hill Cemetery (Indianapolis) is the largest cemetery in the United States.

The library in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, houses one of the largest genealogy libraries in America.

Wabash, Indiana was the first electrically lighted city in the U.S.

Pendleton, Indiana was the site of the first hanging of a white man for killing Indians.

The courthouse roof in Greensburg, Indiana has a tree growing from it – thus it’s nickname “Tree City.”

The world’s first transistor radio was made in Indianapolis.

Clark Gable and his wife, Carole Lombard (a Hoosier) honeymooned at Lake Barbee near Warsaw, Indiana.

The American Beauty Rose was developed at Richmond, Indiana.

Elkhart, Indiana is the band instrument capitol of the world.

Frank Sinatra first sang with the Tommy Dorsey Band at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis.

Purdue Alumnus, Earl Butz, served as the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S.

US 231 is the longest highway in Indiana (297 miles) goes from near Owensboro, KY north to the Chicaco suburban portion of Northwest Indiana.

Johnny Appleseed is buried at Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The singing McGuire Sisters spent their childhood summers at the Church of God Campground in Anderson, Indiana.

The main station of the Underground Railroad was in Fountain County, Indiana.

There are 154 acres of sculpture gardens and trails at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

LaPorte County is the only county in America having 2 functioning courthouses.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln is buried in Posey County, Indiana.

The Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Allen County, contains the world’s largest private collection of President Abraham Lincoln mementos (Lincoln National Life Insurance Company).

Pendleton, Indiana was the site of the “Fall Creek Massacre”. A museum housing 3,500 artifacts of pioneer heritage now exists on that site.

St. Meinrad Arch Abbey is located in Spencer County and is one of only 2 Arch Abbeys in the U.S. and seven in the world. (Abbey Press is an operation of the Arch Abbey.)

A Buzz Bomb (German – WWII), believed to be the only one on public display in the Nation, can be found on the Putnam County Courthouse lawn in Greencastle.

You can’t ship wine to Indiana (???So how does it get there???)

Oprah Winfrey built a residence in Indiana.

The much sought after Hoosier Cabinets are an Indiana product.

90% of the world’s popcorn is grown in Indiana.

The birthplace of the automobile, pneumatic rubber, the aluminum casting process, stainless steel and the first push-button car radio was in Kokomo, Indiana.

The first long-distance auto race in the U. S. was held May 30, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The winner averaged 75 miles an hour and won a 1st place prize of $14,000. Although average speed changes year to year based on heat, humidity and number of caution laps during the race, 2011’s average speed was 170.265 mph and the prize was $2.75 million. The fastest speed average was in 1990 when Arie Luyendyk won the race with a 185.981 average. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the site of the greatest spectacle in sports, the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis 500 is held every Memorial Day weekend in the Hoosier capital city. The race is 200 laps or 500 miles long.

Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana when he was 7 years old. He lived most of his boyhood life in Spencer County with his parents Thomas and Nancy.

Explorers Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their exploration of the Northwest Territory.

The movie "Hard Rain" was filmed in Huntingburg.

During WWII the P-47 fighter-plane was manufactured in Evansville at Republic Aviation.

Marcella Gruelle of Indianapolis created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914.


The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.


James Dean, a popular movie star of the 1950s in such movies as "East of Eden" and "Rebel without a Cause", was born February 8, 1941, in Marion. He died in an auto crash at age 24.


David Letterman, host of television's "Late Show with David Letterman," was born April 12, 1947, in Indianapolis.


Santa Claus, Indiana receives over one half million letters and requests at Christmas time.

Crawfordsville is the home of the only known working rotary jail in the United States. The jail with its rotating cellblock was built in 1882 and served as the Montgomery County jail until 1972. It is now a museum.


Historic Parke County has 32 covered bridges and is the Covered Bridge Capital of the world.


True to its motto, "Cross Roads of America" Indiana has more miles of Interstate Highway per square mile than any other state. In the early years river traffic, especially along the Ohio, was a major means of transportation. The National Road, a major westward route, and the north-south Michigan Road crossed in Indianapolis. Today more major highways intersect in Indiana than in any other state.


Most of the state's rivers flow south and west, eventually emptying into the Mississippi. However, the Maumee flows north and east into Lake Erie. Lake Wawasee is the state’s largest natural lake.


Indiana's shoreline with Lake Michigan is only 40 miles long, but Indiana is still considered a Great Lakes State.


More than 100 species of trees are native to Indiana. Before the pioneer's arrive more than 80% of Indiana was covered with forest. Now only 17% of the state is considered forested.


Deep below the earth in Southern Indiana is a sea of limestone that is one of the richest deposits of top-quality limestone found anywhere on earth. New York City's Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center as well as the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury, a dozen other government buildings in Washington D.C. as well as 14 state capitols around the nation are built from this sturdy, beautiful Indiana limestone.


Although Indiana means, "Land of the Indians" there are fewer than 8,000 Native Americans living in the state today.


The first European known to have visited Indiana was French Explorer Rene'-Robert Cavalier sierur de La Salle, in 1679. After LaSalle and others explored the Great Lakes region, the land was claimed for New France, a nation based in Canada.


In the 1700s the first three non-native American settlements in Indiana were the three French forts of Ouiatenon, Ft. Miami, and Ft. Vincennes. Although they had few settlers in the region, French presence in Indiana lasted almost 100 years. After the British won the French and Indian War, and upon the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the French surrendered their claims to the lower Great Lakes region.


Indiana was part of the huge Northwest Territory, which included present day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, which were ceded to the United States by the British at the end of the Revolutionary war.


Ft. Wayne, Indiana's 2nd Largest city, had its beginnings in 1794, after the Battle of Fallen Timbers, when General "Mad Anthony" Wayne built Ft. Wayne on the site of a Miami Indian village.


Many Mennonite and Amish live on the farmland of Northeastern Indiana. One of the United States largest Mennonite congregations is in Bern. According to Amish ordnung (rules) they are forbidden to drive cars, use electricity, or go to public places of entertainment.


At one time Studebaker Company of South Bend was the nation's largest producer of horse-drawn wagons. It later developed into a multimillion-dollar automobile


In Fort Wayne, Syvanus F. Bower designed the world's first practical gasoline pump.

Indianapolis grocer Gilbert Van Camp discovered his customers enjoyed an old family recipe for pork and beans in tomato sauce. He opened up a canning company and Van Camp's Pork and Beans became an American staple.


Muncie's Ball State University was built mostly from funds contributed by the founders of the Ball Corporation, a company that made glass canning jars.


Thomas Hendricks, a Democrat from Shelbyville, served Indiana as a United States Senator, a United States representative, governor, and as Vice President under Grover Cleveland. Indiana has been the home of five vice presidents and one president.

Peru was once known as the "Circus Capital of America."


Indiana University's greatest swimmer was Mark Spitz, who won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympic games. Up until then, no other athlete has won so many gold medals in a single year – until Michael Phelps!


In 1934 Chicago Gangster John Dillinger escaped the Lake Country Jail in Crown Point by using a "pistol" he had carved from a wooden block.


Before Indianapolis, Corydon served as the state's capitol from 1816-1825. Vincennes was the capital when Indiana was a territory.


East Race Waterway, in South Bend, is the only man-made white-water raceway in North America.


In 1862, Richard Gatling, of Indianapolis, invented the rapid-fire machine gun.


The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was organized in Terre Haute in 1881.


Sarah Walker, who called herself Madame J.C. Walker, became one of the nation's first woman millionaires. In 1905 Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker developed a conditioning treatment for straightening hair. Starting with door-to-door sales of her cosmetics, Madame C.J. Walker amassed a fortune.


From 1900 to 1920 more than 200 different makes of cars were produced in the Hoosier State. Duesenbergs, Auburns, Stutzes, and Maxwells - are prize antiques today.


The Indiana Gazette Indiana's first newspaper was published in Vincennes in 1804.


The state constitution of 1816 directed the legislature to establish public schools, but it was not until the 1850s that state government was able to establish a public school system.

Before public schools families pitched in to build log schoolhouse and each student's family paid a few dollars toward the teachers’ salaries.


At one time 12 different stagecoach lines ran through Indiana on the National Road. (Now U.S. Interstate 40)


In the 1830s canals were dug linking the Great Lakes to Indiana's river systems. The canals proved to be a financial disaster. Railroads made the canal system obsolete even before their completions.


Indiana's first major railroad line linked Madison and Indianapolis and was completed in 1847.


The farming community of Fountain City in Wayne County was known as the "Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad." In the years before the civil war, Levi and Katie Coffin were famous agents on the Underground Railroad. They estimated that they provided overnight lodging for more than 2,000 runaway slaves who were making their way north to Canada and freedom.


During the great Depression of the 1930's one in every four Hoosier factory hands was out of work, farmers sank deeper in debt, and in southern Indiana unemployment was as high as 50%.


In the summer of 1987, 4,453 athletes from 38 nations gathered in Indianapolis for the Pan American Games.


The Saturday Evening Post was published in Indianapolis.


Comedian Red Skelton, who created such characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, and Freddie the Freeloader, was born in Vincennes.


The Poet Laureate of Indiana, James Whitcomb Riley was born in a two-room log cabin in Greenfield. He glorified his rural Indiana childhood in such poems as "The Old Swimmin' Hole" "Little Orphant Annie", and "When the frost is on the Pumpkin."


Albert Beveridge won the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1920, for The Life of John Marshall. In 1934 Harold Urey won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of deuterium. Ernie Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize in foreign Correspondence in 1944. Paul Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in economics, 1970.


Many Hoosiers remember Bob Sievers with WOWO Radio. He was on the radio for 40 years, best known for "The Little Red Barn" show with Jay Gould. Bob passed away at age 90 on September 3, 2007.




Pretty neat, huh??  . . . .


And you thought there were only fields of corn and pigs


in Indiana.