Indiana Facts
Indiana Facts

23 Interesting Indiana Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published September 8, 2021
  • Although Abraham Lincoln was a resident of Indiana for almost a quarter of his life, his autobiographies contain fewer than 800 words about his time there.[5]
  • With an estimated capacity of over 425,000 spectators, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds the record for hosting the most fans for a single-day sporting event.[15]
  • The Fisher, Newby, Wheeler, and Allison Elementary Schools in Speedway, Indiana, are named after the four men who invested in the project to build the Indy 500 racetrack.[15]
  • The very first major league baseball game was played in Indiana in 1871, between the Cleveland Forest Cities and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas.[12]
  • Indiana, which means "land of the Indian," received its name from the United States Congress.[17]
  • No one actually knows the source or original meaning of the word "Hoosier," the traditional nickname for a resident of Indiana.[17]
  • The town of Popcorn, Indiana, is so tiny that the US Census doesn't include its population in their surveys.[13]
  • Indiana, the second-largest grower of popcorn in the United States and the location of Orville Redenbacher's famous popcorn company, hosts two different popcorn festivals every year.[13]
  • Indiana Gas Pump
    Fort Wayne, Indiana, native Sylvanus Bowser created something used the world over
  • People in parts of Europe and Australia call gasoline pumps "bowsers," after the inventor, lifelong Indiana resident Sylvanus Freelove Bowser.[4]
  • "Indiana" brand popcorn is made in New York.[13]
  • The post office in Santa Claus, Indiana, receives 20,000 letters to Santa every Christmas.[16]
  • Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken is an Indiana native.[2]
  • At the same time that Indiana inventor Richard Jordan Gatling was trying to sell his Gatling machine gun to the Union army, he was a secret participant in a group of Confederate sympathizers and saboteurs.[7]
  • The first known use of a rearview mirror was in the first Indy 500; Ray Harroun was able to win the race by replacing the then-common second man, whose job was to keep an eye on what was going on behind the car, with a mirror, thus eliminating weight.[11]
  • Indiana's state motto is "The Crossroads of America," either due to the multiple interstate roads that crisscross the state or because its Highways 40 and 41 helped to connect the eastern and western United States.[6]
  • The first robbery in which a moving train was actually stopped by the bandits took place in 1866 in Jackson County, Indiana. The thieves chose this location due to the sparse population.[8]
  • Indiana Johnny Appleseed
    From missionary to folk hero
  • Johnny Appleseed, whose real name was John Chapman, was a missionary and shrewd businessman who planted apple trees in Ohio and Indiana. He was buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1845.[19]
  • Levi and Catharine Coffin, Quakers living in what is now Fountain City, Indiana, are believed to have helped over 2,000 enslaved people escape, using their home as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.[14]
  • In 1957, Indiana changed its state flower from the zinnia to the peony.[9]
  • Elvis Presley's final live performance was in Indianapolis in 1977, a little over a month before he died of a heart attack.[10]
  • Eckhart, Indiana, is known as the "RV Capital of the World," because, for decades, over 80% of the world's RVs were made in the area.[18]
  • Although it was set in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, major television hit Parks and Recreation was actually filmed in Southern California.[3]
  • Michael Jackson was raised in Gary, Indiana, where he and his family, including 8 siblings, lived in a two-bedroom home.[1]
  • Fun Indiana INFOGRAPHIC
    Indiana Infographic Thumbnail

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