INDIANAPOLIS, the capital and largest city of Indiana, U.S.A., on the White river, at about the exact geographical centre of the State ; a port of entry and the county seat of Marion county. It is on Federal highways 31, 36, 4o and 52; has a municipal airport; and is served by the Baltimore and Ohio, the Big Four, the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville, the Erie, the Illinois Central, the Indianapolis Union, the Nickel Plate and the Pennsylvania railways, and by inter-urban trolley and motor-bus lines radiating in every direction. In 193o, when Indianapolis ranked 2 i st among the cities of the United States, the population was 364,161, of whom 43,967 were negroes and 13,74o were foreign-born white (over half from Germany and the British Isles). The population in 1936 was estimated at Indianapolis is one of the most populous cities in the world not situated on navigable water. Transportation facilities by rail and highway are exceptionally good. The first union railway station in America was built here, and the present Union Depot (vastly enlarged since 1917, when work was begun on the eleva tion of all the tracks) is one of the most commodious and well arranged stations in the country. Some 1 ro mail trains enter and depart daily, and the belt line connecting the several railways carries over 1,000,000 freight cars annually. The traction terminal and the motor-bus terminal are the largest in the country.
The city covers 54.15 sq.m. on a level plain surrounded by low, gently sloping hills. It has the beauty of wide, well-planned streets, winding streams, trees, lawns, gardens and shrubbery. In the exact centre of the original tract of four "sections," sur rounded by a circular park, is the Soldiers' and Sailors' monument. It rises to a height of 284.5ft. above the street level and is sur mounted by a figure called Miss Indiana. An elevator runs to a balcony at the top, which commands a panoramic view of the city and many miles of surrounding country. At the base of the monument are fountains with a capacity of 2o,000gal. per minute. From this central circle four avenues radiate to the four corners of the city. The other streets run at right angles to one another. The main street (Washington) is 1soft. wide ; most of the others, 90 feet. There are 33 public parks, with a total area of 3,161 ac. ; 37 playgrounds; and Tom. of boulevard, including a 6oft. drive way on the top of the concrete levee (4oft. high) which was con structed (1914-16) along the west bank of the White river.
North of the Circle is the World War memorial plaza (con structed at a cost of $1o,000,000), covering five blocks given by city, county and state, and containing, among other public build ings, the national headquarters of the American Legion. The State house, in a square of 8ac., has a ground area of sac. and a central tower and dome 24oft. high. Many of the public and business buildings are constructed of the famous Indiana lime stone, from the Bedford district in the southern part of the State. North-west of the city is the motor speedway, where races are held annually on Decoration Day. A record crowd of 170,000 was attracted from all parts of the country in 1937. The home of James Whitcomb Riley, 528 Lockerbie street, is a literary shrine.
Indianapolis was one of the first cities in America to adopt electric street-lighting. A city-plan commission (1919) , and a zoning ordinance, adopted in 1922, outlined a scheme for resi dential, commercial and industrial districts. The assessed valua tion of property for 1936 was $505,286,030.
The public school system of the city comprises 88 grade and 6 high schools, and employs 1,753 teachers. The public library, a fine example of Greek architecture, on a site presented by J. W. Riley, contains 589,655 volumes. The 36 private charitable agen cies are financed by a joint community fund which raised $693,368 in 1936. There are three daily newspapers: the News (1869) ; the Star (1883) ; and the Times (1888) .
Indianapolis is the seat of the School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry of Indiana university; of Butler university (chartered 1849), Indiana Central college (1904), the Benjamin Harrison Law school, Indiana Law school, the Indianapolis col lege of pharmacy, the Teachers college of Indianapolis (a private institution), the John Herron Art institute and school, a private school for stammerers, the School of Printing of the Typothetae of America ; of the Central Indiana hospital for the insane, the State schools for the blind and deaf, the State prison for women (the first in the United States, opened in 1873), and (at Clermont, Iom. out) the State reformatory school for girls, which was a department of the prison until 1899. Ten miles north-east of the centre of the city is Ft. Benjamin Harrison, an important United States army post, named after President Harrison, whose home was in Indianapolis. The State fair grounds and the State fish hatcheries are within the city limits. Around the Indiana uni versity school of medicine has developed one of the important medical centres of the country. The school itself was formed in 1908 by the union of the Indiana Medical college of Purdue uni versity and the earlier medical department of the State university, which together incorporated six institutions founded between 1869 and 1906 at several different points in the State. Its new building is conveniently located on the spacious grounds of the Robert W. Long hospital (completed 1914) which is a part of the school's equipment. Near by is the James Whitcomb Riley Memorial hos pital for children, built by private subscription and conveyed to the university on the day it was dedicated (1924) ; and the Wil liam H. Coleman hospital for women (opened 1927), also under the university's management.
The transportation facilities of Indianapolis and its position in the midst of the corn belt, near large coal-fields, and with populous markets in every direction, have combined to make it an important commercial and industrial centre. It has a large trade in grain (25,00o,000bu. annually) and its elevators have a capacity of 5,750,000 bushels. First place among the industries in 1929 was meat-packing with products valued at Automobiles were second with $56,602,870 and foundry and ma chine shop products third with Other leading branches were automobile accessories and printing and publishing. In 1936 the Indianapolis Board of Trade claimed the world's largest manufacturer of radios, cotton gloves, auto bodies, shoe polish, and nineteen other products as well as manufacturers of silk hose, canned food, batteries, road machinery, air craft engines, maps, pharmaceutical supplies. In 1935 the aggregate factory out put was valued at $222,592,177; bank debits, $1,8io,000,000.
History.—When Indiana was admitted to the Union (1816) Congress gave it four sections of public land for its capital. The commissioners appointed to select the site placed it (182o) almost exactly in the geographical centre of the State, at the cabin of John McCormick, on the White river, in the midst of dense for ests and without any means of communication with the rest of the State. A town was laid out in 1821 (the "original mile square," bounded by north, east, south and west streets) and some activity in land speculation followed; but when the seat of government was moved here from Corydon in 1824 there was but a single street and 600 inhabitants. The legislature met in Indianapolis for the first time in 1825. It was incorporated as a town in 1832, with a population of i,000. The first State capitol was com pleted in 1836. Some impetus was given to the city's growth by the completion of the National Road, and later, beginning in 1847, by the coming of the railways, but the development was slow until after the Civil War. The city was chartered in 1847, and in the same year a free public school system was inaugurated.
In 185o the population was only 8,091. By 186o it had grown to 18,611, and in the following decade it increased to 48,244. In the next 20 years (1870-90), and again between 1890 and 191o, the increase was considerably more than I 00%, and in the years 1910-30 it amounted to 56%.
In the years following the World War, Indianapolis suffered severely from the domination of State and city politics by the Ku Klux Klan, until exposure of the methods of the Klan (largely through the initiative of the Indianapolis Times) led to a weak ening of its power.