Hoosier History Highlights May 10 – May 16

Indiana (NNDC):

May 10 – May 16

The Week in Indiana History


1825     Marquis de Lafayette visited Jeffersonville on a tour of the country.  He was escorted to a mansion overlooking the Ohio River where a reception and dinner were held in his honor.  He was greeted by Indiana Governor James Brown Ray and veterans of the American Revolution.  In a toast to Indiana, he said, “May the rapid progress of this young state, a wonder among wonders, more and more evince the blessings of freedom.”  The following year, the county seat of Tippecanoe County was named in honor of the famous guest.

Monument1902     Dedication ceremonies were held for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Circle in Indianapolis.  General Lew Wallace was Master of Ceremonies.  The program included the reading of a poem by James Whitcomb Riley and music written and performed for the occasion by John Philip Sousa.  Standing at a height of 284 feet, 6 inches, the monument is made of gray oolitic limestone from quarries in Owen County.  The cost of construction was $598,318.


1911     The Studebaker Company introduced the latest model of their electric car.  “It gives time to think from streetcar crowds and street annoyances,” the ad said, “and goes anywhere, anytime, to the theater, about town, or into the country.”  The company, based in South Bend, had become famous for its wagons and carriages.  Studebaker electric cars were manufactured from 1902 until 1912, when production turned to gasoline engines.  The electric model advertised had four speeds and could go up to 18 mph.

FDR1937     The Presidential Train carrying Franklin D. Roosevelt stopped at Union Station in Indianapolis.  Postmaster General James A. Farley came aboard as the Chief Executive waved to a small crowd from the window of his car.  The Indianapolis Star reported that spectators “caught a fleeting glimpse of that famous smile.”  The train had already stopped in Terre Haute to pick up Indiana Governor Clifford Townsend and would stop again in Richmond before moving on to Washington.  FDR was returning from a Texas fishing trip.

1951     The first “Little 500” bicycle race was held at Indiana University.  Started by I.U. Foundation Director Howard Wilcox, the purpose was to help generate scholarship funds. Wilcox, the son of 1919 500-Mile Race winner Howdy Wilcox, patterned the bicycle contest after the Speedway event, with 33 teams cycling 200 laps on an oval track. The first year’s race was a big success, and the event has become a yearly tradition. It is the central theme of the popular 1979 movie “Breaking Away.”

Air Force Reserve1968     Bunker Hill Air Force Base near Kokomo was renamed in honor of astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom.  His wife, two children, and parents were among the 35,000 who attended ceremonies marking the name change.  Grissom, from Mitchell, Indiana, was killed along with two fellow astronauts in a pre-launch explosion of Apollo I in 1967.

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Statehouse Virtual Tour

HOOSIER  HISTORY  HIGHLIGHTS is presented each week by the Indiana Statehouse Tour Office and the Indiana Department of Administration



Indiana Department of Administration

Due to the COVID-19 threat, the Statehouse is closed to the general public and tours have been suspended.  You are invited to take a “Virtual Tour” of the Statehouse by clicking the link at the bottom of the left column.

You may contact the Tour Office  at (317) 233-5293 or

Indiana Quick Quiz


1.  Which of the following was a popular model of Studebaker automobile?  a/ Fairlane           b/ Champion   c/ Bel Air              d/ LeMans

2.  The first Indiana State Park was   a/ Spring Mill  b/ Shades   c/ McCormick’s Creek  d/ Brown County

3.    Which rock star is from Indiana?   a/ Mick Jagger         b/ Gene Simmons  c/ Lady Gaga     d/ Axl Rose

Answers Below

Hoosier Humor

“It is really surprising what may be done in a home with a small can of paint, if you aren’t careful.”

 – – – Will Cuppy (1884-1949)

Born in Auburn, Indiana, Will Cuppy became famous as a humorist and literary critic.

Did You Know?

     The late summer and fall of 1978 were exciting times in Bloomington and Monroe County.  A film crew was spending 13-hour days making a movie about the human drama involved in the “Little 500” bicycle competition.  Hollywood actors like Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, and Barbara Barrie were on location, as well as over 700 “extras,” many of them Indiana University students.  “Breaking Away,” released the next year, was a huge success.  Nominated for “Best Picture,” it won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay by I.U. graduate Steve Tesich.  Film critic Roger Ebert called it “a wonderfully sunny, funny, goofy, intelligent movie” about “people who are complicated but decent, who are optimists but see things realistically, who are fundamentally comic characters but have three full dimensions.  It’s about a Middle America we rarely see in movies, yes, but it’s not corny and it doesn’t condescend.  Movies like this are hardly ever made at all; when they’re made this well, they’re precious cinematic miracles.”

ANSWERS:  1. b    2. c   3. d