35 Important Facts About Indiana

Last updated on March 12th, 2020

Indiana is the 17th most populous and the 38th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. The state attained statehood on December 11, 1816, becoming the 19th state to join the union. Its four bordering states are Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Indiana (nicknamed: Crossroads of America, Hoosier State, Hospitality State) has 92 counties. The state’s capital is Indianapolis. The abbreviation for Indiana is IN. With these facts about Indiana, let us learn about its history, geography, economy, people, culture, etc.

1. Did you know that on 29th August 1958, the “King of Pop” Michael Jackon was born in Gary, Indiana?[1]

2. The world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of the human brain lies in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. The brain weighs 10,000 pounds and rises 7 feet from the ground. The brain is built entirely of Indiana limestone.[2]

world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of the human brain
The world’s largest anatomically correct sculpture of the human brain. Image via – https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/the-biggest-brain-sculpture-in-the-world

3. Bedford, Indiana, is known as the “Limestone Capital of the World.” The city was named so because it is surrounded by large limestone quarries.[12]

4. Did you know that the Empire State building was erected from the limestone procured from Empire Quarry in Indiana? The limestone was also used in the construction of the Pentagon and National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., as well as several state capitols.[3,12]

5. The Indy 500 is an automobile race held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The inaugural race was first held in 1911 and was won by Ray Harroun.[4]

Indiana on the U.S map with bordering states.
Indiana (in red) on the U.S map with bordering states.

6. Wabash, Indiana, is the world’s first electrically lighted city. The event took place on March 31, 1880, when four 3,000 candle power lamps, suspended on the Wabash County Courthouse dome were lighted at 8 p.m. The illumination from the electric lights could be seen from over a mile away.[6]

7. Manufacturing, agriculture, and education are some of the most important industries in the state. Calumet region helps make Indiana a major industrial state.[5]

8. Santa Claus, a town in Spencer County, Indiana receives more than half a million “Dear Santa” letters at Christmas time every year. The most interesting fact is that each and every letter is read and is replied to![6]

9. Did you know that Indiana produces more than 20% of the United State’s popcorn supply? Nebraska is the leading producer of popcorn in the U.S.[7]

10. Six men from Indiana have been elected as the vice president of the United States. These men earned the state another nickname “The Mother of Vice Presidents”. New York has produced eight vice presidents until now, the most of any state in the U.S.[8,10]

Indiana on the map

11. The first successful goldfish farm in the United States was opened in Martinsville in 1899.[9]

12. Indiana means “land of the Indians.” It was named after the American Indian tribe who lived there when Europeans arrived.[11]

13. Because many transportation routes pass through the state, the state’s motto is the “Crossroads of America.”

14. Did you know that the Ohio River creates the state’s southern border?[11]

15. Except for Hawaii, Indiana is the smallest state west of the Appalachian Mountains.[12]

16. The first train robbery in the United States occurred in Indiana when a gang of robbers stopped an Ohio and Mississippi train in Jackson County and looted $13,000. The event took place on October 6, 1866.[12]

17. Indiana is the tenth largest farming state in the country. And 96% of the farms are family owned or operated.[13]

The flag of Indiana

Flag of Indiana. Indiana fact file
The Flag of Indiana. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

18. With an average age of 55.5 years, there are over 94,000 farmers in Indiana. The average farm size is 264 acres.[13]

19. The top five agricultural commodities in Indiana in 2017 were corn, soybeans, hogs, dairy products, and chicken eggs.[14]

20. Indiana is home to the longest-known underground river in the United States. The river flows through the Bluespring Caverns (a 21 mile-long cave system.) The system is home to unique amphibians and aquatic creatures.[15]

World's largest ball of paint.
World’s largest ball of paint.

21. Alexandria, Indiana is home to the world’s largest ball of paint. In the beginning, it was just a baseball that was covered with a layer of paint. However, as time progressed, the owner kept adding more and more layers of paints to it and thus the ball kept growing in size. Today, the ball weighs more than two and a half tons and the visitors can even choose to coat the ball with their favorite color.[16]

22. Did you know that the first Indiana state fair was held in 1852?[19]

23. Indiana is divided into three great regions: the northern lake country, the central agricultural plain, and the more varied southern section containing both hills and lowlands.

24. More than half of the farming in Indiana is done within 75 miles of Indianapolis.[17]

25. Because of its central location, Indianapolis has a great commercial advantage. And this is the reason why it was selected as the site of the state capital.[17]

26. Did you know that natural gas was discovered in Indiana in Delaware County in 1876?[20]

27. The first settlers of Indiana were French Catholics at Vincennes?[21]

28. The first Union Station was built here in Indianapolis and was opened on September 20, 1853?

29. Before Indianapolis, until 1825, Corydon was the capital of Indiana.

30. Columbus is located just 40 miles south of Indianapolis and 70 miles north of Louisville. 

31. The American Institute of Architects has ranked Columbus, Indiana at the sixth spot in the nation for architectural innovation and design, right behind Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Moreover, the city also has hundreds of acres in a city park system which is also ranked number one in the country by the National Recreation and Park Association for cities the size of Columbus.[21]

32. Did you know that the land which is now Columbus was known as Tiptonia, named in honor of General Tipton who along with Luke Bonesteel bought the land in 1820? The town’s name was changed to Columbus on March 20, 1821.[21]

33. On May 7, 1919, Indianapolis hosted Welcome Home Day for returning WWI soldiers. On this day, the returning soldiers reunited with their family members and were served boxed lunches by the Salvation Army and Eastern Star. A huge parade was also organized and the soldiers were served a pint of coffee before and after the parade. This year (2019) marked the 100th anniversary of the day.[22]

pop corn

34. Did you know that there is a town in corn belt in Indiana called “Popcorn”? The town is famous for the production of popcorn that is free of growth hormones.[23]

35. Indiana exports more products to Canada than any other country. Cars, cars part, and pharmaceuticals are among the major exports from the state.[24]

Indiana – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationIN
Table last updatedMay 15, 2019
State CapitalIndianapolis
List Of 50 U.S. States And Their Capital
Largest CityIndianapolis
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 36,418 sq miles; Land Only: 35,867 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodDecember 11, 1816
State rank by population17th
State rank by date of formation19th
State rank by area38th
Number of Counties92
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
Bordering StatesIllinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointHoosier Hill
1,257 ft (383 m)
Lowest pointConfluence of Ohio River and Wabash River
320 ft (97 m)
Mean elevation700 feet above sea level
Length 270 miles (435 km)
Width140 miles (225 km)
GovernorEric Holcomb (R)
Lieutenant GovernorSuzanne Crouch (R)
Electoral Votes11
State MottoThe Crossroads of America
State NicknameHoosier State
% Water1.5
Nobel Prize WinnersEric F. Wieschaus (Physiology or Medicine, 1995)
Ferid Murad (Physiology or Medicine, 1998)
Joseph E. Stiglitz (Economic Sciences, 2001)
Richard R. Schrock (Chemistry, 2005)
Harold C. Urey (Chemistry, 1934)
Wendell M. Stanley (Chemistry, 1946)
Paul A. Samuelson (Economic Sciences, 1970)
Philip W. Anderson (Physics, 1977)
Famous peopleChris Doleman (Pro Football player)
Chuck Klein (Baseball player)
George McGinnis (Basket ball player)
Jenna Fischer (Actress)
Michael Jackson (singer songwriter, and dancer)
State BirdCardinal
State FlowerPeony
State InsectSay's Firefly
State TreeTulip tree
Longitude84° 47′ W to 88° 6′ W
Latitude37° 46′ N to 41° 46′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone, Central Time Zone
Area Codes219, 260, 317, 574, 765, 812