Rock Solid

From Indiana quarries to the Big Apple, and places in between, Hoosier limestone has been used on some of America’s most iconic buildings.

Peering up at the Empire State Building in New York City, the daunting skyscrapers can make you feel far from home. The hustle and bustle of the big city is a change of pace from the slow and steady heartbeat of home of Indiana.

But home isn’t as far away as you’d think. It’s built right into the very foundations that New Yorkers and tourists alike (okay, mostly tourists) marvel at. The Empire State Building is just one of the famous structures built with Indiana limestone.

On Saturday, June 24, Stone Country: Then and Now opened at the Indiana State Museum. The exhibit’s 30 pieces tell the story of the men and women of the Hoosier limestone industry, and just how these pieces help shape iconic American buildings.

To prepare, here are five buildings that really rock with Hoosier pride:

The Pentagon

The famous headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense was damaged during 9/11. Located in Arlington, Virginia, the building was reconstructed with Indiana limestone.

Rockefeller Building

The Rockefeller family built this with—you guessed it—limestone in 1933. Since then, the building has become a New York icon, famous as the headquarters of NBC broadcasting. Every holiday season, a humongous Christmas tree is placed in the middle of Rockefeller Center. As you nestle on the couch and watch the tree light up on TV, know that a piece of Indiana home is there in spirit.

Flatiron Building

This building is in every romantic comedy set in NYC. But, following the pattern here, it is not just a NYC building. It is bona fide Indiana real estate down to its foundation. Although it’s built around a steel skeleton frame, the bottom is trimmed in limestone from this state’s quarries.


Grand Central Station

No need to board a train to make it all the way home to the Hoosier state—the famous New York City station has limestone that already made the journey. Its true name is Grand Central Terminal, and it was originally built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1913. This station has seen its fair share of reunions and visitors, all thanks to some Indiana backbone. 

Tribune Tower

Our Illinois neighbor had to get some of our precious rock, too. The Tribune Tower is home of the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Media, and Tronc, Inc., and, yes, Indiana limestone. Built in 1925, the architectural masterpiece stands tall along Michigan Ave. It also incorporates overseas stone, including some from the Roman Colosseum and even the Great Wall of China.