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Hoosier History Highlights May 24-30

Indiana (NNDC):

May 24 – May 30

The Week in Indiana History


May Wright Sewall1844     May Wright Sewall was born in Wisconsin.  After moving to Indianapolis to teach at Shortridge High School, she became active in the feminist movement, established a girls’ classical high school, and helped found the Propylaeum.  Elected president of the National Council of Women in 1891, she later served as president of the International Council.  In 1915, she accepted an invitation to travel on the Ford Peace Ship to Europe.

George McClellan1861     Major General George McClellan came to Indianapolis to review five regiments of soldiers in Military Park.  He was joined by Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton, Illinois Governor Richard Yates, and Ohio Governor William Denison.  Newspapers reported that a huge crowd came to witness the event as General McClellan rode through the ranks on a large white horse.  He was said to be “well pleased with the stalwart and soldierly appearance of the men and their proficiency in drilling, considering the short time they have been at it.”

Rene Thomas

1914     Automobile pioneer Henry Ford attended the fourth running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  He and other executives of the Ford Motor Company cheered Frenchman René Thomas as he took the checkered flag after running 200 laps at an average speed of 82 mph.  That evening Ford was honored at a dinner in the Florentine Room at the Claypool Hotel.  The day before, company officials had been treated to a luncheon where they were welcomed by Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Bell.  After lunch, the 300 guests were seated in several hundred Ford cars which paraded through downtown streets.  (Pictured:  René Thomas in his winning car #16.)


Horse

100 Years Ago

1920     Mrs. John Sprague was driving her buggy near St. Louis Crossing in Bartholomew County when the horse became frightened and began running away.  Nearby with their automobile were two young farmers, Charles Hiatt and David Marr.  With Hiatt at the wheel of his car and Marr on the running board, they took off after the runaway.  When they were side by side, moving at a high rate of speed, Marr leaped from the running board into the buggy, seized the lines, and stopped the horse.  Newspapers reported that the animal was halted just as it was approaching a sharp turn in the road along the edge of a steep embankment.


James Alexander Thom1933     James Alexander Thom was born in Gosport, Indiana.  After graduating from Butler University and serving in the Marine Corps, he began writing novels set in Colonial America and the Western United States.  His books include Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Fire in the Water, and Panther in the Sky, which was named “Best Novel of the Year” by Western Writers of America.  His work is known for meticulous research and historical accuracy.

Burger Chef1957     The first restaurant in the new Burger Chef hamburger chain opened at 62nd and Keystone in Indianapolis.  The original menu listed flame-broiled hamburgers for 19 cents, fries 14 cents, shakes 19 cents, and soft drinks 10 cents.  The Burger Chef system, based in Indianapolis, became the nation’s second largest hamburger operation, trailing only McDonald’s.  Their mascots Burger Chef and Jeff were popular in commercials.  Purchased by General Foods in 1968 and later sold to a Canadian company, Burger Chef was taken over by Hardee’s in the 1980s.

HHH

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Indiana Quick Quiz

quiz

Indiana History in the Month of May

1.  May 1, 1813:  The capital of the Indiana Territory was moved to       a/  Vincennes  b/ Madison  c/ Terre  Haute  d/ Corydon

2.  May 30, 1911:  The winner of the first 500-Mile Race was             a/ Elmer Shaw  b/ Sam Hanks        c/ Ray Harroun   d/ Joe Dawson

3.  May 30, 1949:  The first television station in Indianapolis went on the air.  It was  a/ WTHI     b/ WFBM   c/ WOWO   d/ WFYI

Answers Below


Did You Know?

peony

Memorial Day is prime time for the beautiful genus Paeonia.  Hoosiers know this lovely flower as the peony, and it is the official flower of Indiana.  The state has been somewhat fickle in this department.  When Indiana first adopted an official flower in 1913, the choice was the carnation.  Ten years later, it was replaced as the official flower by the tulip tree blossom.  In 1931, lawmakers changed state flowers again, this time adopting the zinnia. The zinnia had a relatively long reign.  It wasn’t until 1957 that contenders were considered. Legislation was introduced which would restore the tulip tree blossom as the state flower.  However, a quick change was made in favor of the dogwood blossom.  And, at the last minute, the wording in the bill was changed from “dogwood blossom” to “peony.”    Governor Harold Handley signed the measure amidst a flurry of complaints from flower fans everywhere, especially zinnia fanciers. Letters to the editors flew into newspapers around the state.   Someone even waxed poetic:  “Somehow the men seem quite impelled, the zinnia to discard, as Indiana’s flower, and I think they should be barred.  Indiana is a proud state, colorful and strong, and sturdy as a zinnia, and somebody’s done her wrong!”  Protests aside, the peony has been on the throne for 63 years, the longest term for any state flower In Indiana.  Perhaps it can be said that the pretty peony has “flower staying power.”


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ANSWERS:  1. d    2. c    3.  b

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