10 Indiana Birthday Tidbits

Today is the official 200th birthday of the State of Indiana, so in honor of this historic celebration here are ten tidbits you should know about our Hoosier State.

1)   Indiana is the smallest state in the continental US west of the Appalachian Mountains.

2)   Indiana has had only two capitals – Corydon from 1813- 1825 and Indianapolis from 1825 to present day. Vincennes was the first capital of Indiana Territory from 1808-1813.

3)   The first U.S. train robbery occurred on October 6, 1866 in Jackson County Indiana. The Reno gang stopped an Ohio and Mississippi train and robbed it of $13,000.

Bedford Limestone
4)   Bedford Indiana is known as the “Limestone Capital of the World” thanks to the plentiful supply of Indiana limestone found in local quarries. Hoosier limestone has been used to build the Empire State Building, the Pentagon and the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

5)   The “Grand Central Station” on the Underground Railroad was located in Newport – now called Fountain City. Levi and Catherine Coffin helped more than 2,000 slaves escape to freedom from here.

Santa Claus, Indiana
6)   The first successful goldfish farm was established in 1899 in Martinsville, Indiana.

7)   Santa Claus Indiana has the only post office which is officially named Santa Claus. For over 100 years, Santa’s elves have assisted in answering all the letters addressed to Santa that come into the post office each year from around the world.

8)   Indiana’s state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” was written by Hoosier native Paul Dresser in 1897 at West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden, Indiana. It was adopted as the official state song in 1913 – six years after Dresser died in poverty.

9)   Crown Pointe touted their escape-proof jail – that is until John Dillinger escaped from a cell on March 3, 1934 using a fake pistol carved from wood. Dillinger ran for Illinois where he managed to hide out until he was shot to death on July 22, 1934.

10)  Tomato juice was first created in 1917 at French Lick Springs Hotel. Chef Louis Perrin began crushing tomatoes one morning after he ran out of oranges and still needed a breakfast beverage to serve guests.

And, as an added Bicentennial bonus,
*The name Indiana means “Land of the Indians.”
Happy 200th Birthday, Indiana!

By Joy Neighbors