63 Important Facts About Indiana

Last updated on June 29th, 2023

51. Well-known poet James Whitcomb Riley was born in October 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana. He had a writing career spanning many decades, and famously wrote “Rhymes of Childhood”.

Main Administration Building on the Campus of Notre Dame University.
Main administration building on the campus of Notre Dame University. Photo © Ken Wolter

52. The historic University of Notre Dame was established in 1842 and is still considered one of the best Catholic schools in the country.

53. Late-night talk show host David Letterman was born in 1947 and raised in Indianapolis, where he stayed until 1975.

54. Although Indiana does have a state bird – the cardinal – it doesn’t have a state animal. It’s one of just 4 US states that don’t have a state animal.

55. On 4 May 1871, the world’s first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne between the Cleveland Forest Citys and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas. A monument was erected at the site of this first game.

56. There are over 40 towns in the state that are classified as ghost towns – many of them aren’t listed on maps. Elizabethtown is one of the most popular abandoned towns, with only a dilapidated 1800s cemetery remaining.

57. Paul Dresser was a famous Indiana musician who wrote over 150 songs in his career, including the state song. He wrote “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” in 1897, and it was adopted as the state song in 1913.

58. Indiana has 24 state parks. Brown County State Park is the largest and most popular, known for its beautiful autumn colors and fun activities.

59. Indiana has an impressive 43 national historic landmarks, including a racetrack, cotton mill, aqueduct, churches, carousels, a courthouse, and ancient earth mounds.

60. New Whiteland experienced Indiana’s coldest temperature of -36°F (-38°C) on 19 January 1994. Collegeville recorded the hottest temperature of 116°F (47°C) on 14 July 1936.

Red Checkered Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls
Red Checkered Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls. Facts about Indiana. Photo © Thelmaelaine

61. Johnny Gruelle, the Indianapolis author and cartoonist, created the famous Raggedy Ann doll in 1915. When the doll became popular, he created books, songs, and cartoons featuring Raggedy Ann.

62. The 1987 Pan American Games were held in August in Indianapolis and welcomed 4,453 athletes who participated in 30 sporting events from 38 nations.

63. In 2008 in Shelbyville, Indiana, the oldest person in the world at the time, Edna Parker, died at the age of 115 years old.

About the Flag of Indiana

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

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Indiana features a golden torch surrounded by stars on a blue field. The torch symbolizes liberty and enlightenment. Seven lines radiating in all directions signify the far-reaching influence of these noble ideas.

Thirteen stars encircle the entire torch to represent the original thirteen states. Five more stars appear in a semi-circle on an inner row to denote the succeeding states to join the Union.

The nineteenth star, representing Indiana, is directly over the fire with its name spelled out.

2. Adoption

Indiana adopted the flag on May 11, 1917, from the design of Paul Hadley. It remains unchanged, except for a new production standard in 1955.

3. Technical Details

According to the governing statute, the flag should be three by two feet or five by three. Other sizes that comply with these proportions are also acceptable. The torch is gold or buff. The star representing Indiana must be superior to the rest.

4. History

In 1916, Indiana celebrated its statehood centennial. The General Assembly wanted a new state flag to mark the event.

They asked the Indiana Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution to sponsor a contest for it. Mrs. Marie Stewart Carey led the way. A prize of $100 served as an incentive for designers. The amount is equivalent to $2,717 in 2022.

Over 200 submissions later, the Society selected the work of Paul Hadley. Hadley is a watercolorist and art designer. At the time, he was busy doing interior decoration and making stained glass windows for churches. A few years after his win, Hadley joined the faculty of John Herron Art Institute and served as Assistant Curator to the Art Museum. He enjoyed an illustrious career with numerous awards for his watercolor paintings. His flag design gained the official acceptance of the legislature in 1917.

previous flag of Indiana
The previous state flag with the Seal of Indiana.

5. Other Flags

Before the Hadley flag, Indiana used a state flag with a blue field and the state seal. The seal features a woodsman chopping down a sycamore tree while a buffalo roams and the sun rises behind mountains. It signifies that civilization is subduing the wilderness. It also implies that Indiana has a bright future ahead of it.

Surrounding the seal are leaves and a shield bearing the US flag. Above it is a flowing red ribbon with the name of the state. The previous state flag also had a gold fringe along the edges. Indiana also used the “Old Glory” US flag during state functions.

6. Flag Facts

The General Assembly modified the original design by adding the state name over the torch. “INDIANA” is curved instead of straight to fit with the circular arrangement of the stars. In 2016, a Bicentennial Torch Relay became part of the celebrations. The symbols featured in the Indiana state flag were prominent across the event, such as the torch surrounded by stars. The flag is also in the bicentennial postage stamp series. The team colors of the Indiana Pacers from the NBA are navy blue and gold – directly taken from the state flag. Their home uniform is white with blue and gold trim, while their road kit is blue with gold trim.

Indiana – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationIN
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, 2022 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
Table last updatedOctober 31, 2023