Hoosier History Highlights May 31 – June 6

Indiana (NNDC):

May 31 – June 6

The Week in Indiana History


1894     In Richmond, Indiana, Charles Francis Jenkins demonstrated what is considered the first motion picture projector.  His “Phantoscope” (pictured) used electric light and reels of film to cast moving images on the wall.  Witnesses to the event were amazed to see animated pictures of a woman performing a butterfly dance. The rights to the projector were eventually sold to Thomas Edison, who marketed the machine under the name “Vitagraph.”  Jenkins went on be granted over 400 patents, most of which involved motion pictures and television.

votes1912     Members of the Women’s Franchise League took an automobile tour of Hamilton County.  Yellow banners reading “Votes for Women” waved from the car as members distributed flyers and made speeches in Nora, Carmel, Westfield, and Noblesville, where children decorated the auto in pink and white peonies, roses, and lilacs.  The Indianapolis Star reported that the women returned home “tired, triumphant, dusty, and delighted.”

flag monument1917     The Indiana State Banner, designed by Paul Hadley of Mooresville, was officially adopted by the General Assembly.  Hadley’s design won a competition sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The banner was designated as the official State Flag in 1955.  Pictured:  The 60-foot monument honoring the Indiana State Flag, erected in Mooresville in 2016 as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration.

cow1939     To celebrate Dairy Month, a cow-milking contest was held on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse.  Dr. Herman Morgan of the Board of Health won first prize, producing 5 1/2 pounds of milk in the allotted three minutes.  Lieutenant Governor Henry Schricker placed second with 5 pounds, and Governor M. Clifford Townsend came in third with 3 pounds.

Bill Haley1957     Bill Haley and the Comets entertained at Indiana Beach in Monticello.  Their “Rock Around the Clock” was one of the first hit records of the rock-and-roll era.  At the same time of their live appearance, they were starring in the movie “Don’t Knock the Rock” playing at drive-in theaters around the state, including the Sky-Line in Madison, the Star-Dust in Seymour, the Bel-Air in Richmond, and the East Side in Terre Haute.

tornado1990     Indiana was hit with 37 tornadoes in one day.  They roared through 31 counties, killing 8 people and injuring over 200.  Governor Evan Bayh sent the National Guard to Bedford and Petersburg, the hardest-hit areas.  State Police set up a temporary command post to assist injured and homeless residents.  (Headline is from Lafayette Journal and Courier for June 3, 1990.)


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 this column.

(317) 233-5293

Indiana Quick Quiz


1.  Name the only National Park in Indiana.

2.  What river marks the border between Southwest Indiana and Southeastern Illinois?

3.  Before going to Washington in 1959, United States Senator Vance Hartke was mayor of what Indiana city?

Answers Below

Hoosier Quote of the Week


“I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am.”

– – – Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007)


Did You Know?

     Indiana had no state flag when local members of the Indiana Daughters of the American Revolution attended their national meeting in Washington, D. C., in 1914.  Observing many state flags on display there, they realized the need for Indiana, especially in light of the upcoming state centennial in 1916.  When they returned home, they sponsored a statewide competition for a state flag design.  A prize of $100 was offered for the best entry.  From the over 200 submissions, the winner was Paul Hadley, an artist and teacher at John Herron Art Institute.  His blue and gold banner displays a torch in the center, symbolizing liberty and enlightenment.  The rays extending from the torch represent the state’s far-reaching influence, and the 19 stars indicate Indiana’s entry into the Union as the 19th state.

Statehouse Virtual Tour

ANSWERS:  1.  Indiana Dunes National Park  2.  Wabash River  3.  Evansville