Hoosier Hall Of Fame: It Happened Here!

The past comes alive at these historic spots-of-significance around the state—some of which are getting a little lift from Bicentennial projects.

This story is part of

Indianapolis Monthly’s 2016 Indiana Bicentennial coverage, which includes our list of the 200 Hoosier Hall of Fame picks, designated throughout in bold or highlighted. For more on this celebration of the state’s first two centuries, click here.


Indiana Polishes Its Auto Reputation

For a while, Detroit had nothing on us. Explore that car heyday at Hoosier Made: World Driven, a joint exhibit with South Bend’s Studebaker National Museum, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, and the Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum. Through Oct. 3, studebakermuseum.org, automobilemuseum.org, kokomoautomotivemuseum.org

The Native Americans Resist

The historic Fort Wayne grounds, named after General “Mad” Anthony Wayne—who fought against the Miami and Chief Little Turtle during the Northwest Indian War—was also the site of a failed Native American siege during the War of 1812. During the 1816: Frontier Fort to Statehood event, soldiers, weavers, and blacksmiths will re-create the aura of the “Old Fort.” June 11–12, oldfortwayne.orgFortWayne

An Evangelist Reaches Millions

When Billy Sunday wasn’t traveling the country spreading his fire-and-brimstone message to an estimated 100 million people, he made his home and headquarters at Winona Lake. The Sundays’ Arts and Crafts–style abode is open for tours, and remains almost exactly as they left it. winonahistorycenter.com

Slaves Find a Safe HavenLeviCoffinHouse

Underground Railroad “President” Levi Coffin and his wife sheltered more than 2,000 slaves seeking freedom. In September, the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City will debut a new Interpretive Center, adding a theater and library to the National Historic Landmark. June through October, waynet.org/levicoffin

Westward Expansion—and Jazz Masters—Move Through

Richmond served as the entry point for settlers heading west on the Old National Road, the first federal highway. The town also hosted Gennett Records, one of the premier jazz studios of the 1920s. For the bicentennial, Richmond will attempt a world record for continuous piano music during the Starr Piano Festival. Sept. 9–16, visitrichmond.com

The Civil War Hits Home

Before the Bicentennial Torch Relay kicks off in Corydon on September 9, Indiana’s first capital will reenact the 1863 Battle of Corydon, the only Civil War combat on Hoosier soil (unfortunately, a loss for the Union). July 16–17, corydonbattlepark.com

Abe Matures Into Abraham

Abraham Lincoln’s family moved from Kentucky to Indiana in the year of the state’s founding. To celebrate, Spencer County—home of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial—will host the Lincoln Presenters Association Conference in April. More than 100 people who portray the 16th president are expected to come. nps.gov/libo/index.htm

Utopia Begets an Artistic Oasis

First settled by George Rapp and his “Harmonist” followers in 1814 as they prepared for the end of the world, New Harmony was then bought outright in 1825 by the Owen family. Robert Owen envisioned the place as a haven for thinkers and ideas. Initiatives born there include the state’s first free public libraries, and Owen’s son, Robert Dale Owen, made his name as an advocate for public education and women’s rights. Heiress Jane Blaffer Owen, who married into the family, preserved historic buildings and commissioned new art and architecture, such as Philip Johnson’s Roofless Church. usi.edu/outreach/historic-new-harmony

Rural African Americans Thrive

One of the last remaining historic African-American settlements in Indiana, Lyles Station was home to significant figures like William H. Roundtree, the first black postmaster north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and Alonzo Fields, the first black chief butler at the White House. lylesstation.org

The Elite Roll the DiceFrenchLick

French Lick Resort is known for its golfing, gambling, and status as one of Al Capone’s hangouts. The French Lick Springs Hotel opened more than 150 years ago, but received a needed makeover (along with West Baden Springs Hotel) after 2005, when the property was purchased by medical-
manufacturing magnate
Bill Cookfrenchlick.com

A Trading Post Opens for Business

French settlers and Native Americans exchanged goods at Fort Ouiatenon, the first place in Indiana for such interactions. The post prospered during the 1700s, and visitors can relive those gatherings at the annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. Oct. 1–2, tippecanoehistory.org