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 Indianapolis, Indiana



Book Introduction

     Indianapolis was founded in 1821 as a capital city on the White River. Although the river proved to be too sandy to navigate, the railroads later brought prosperity by land and made the town the thriving, commercial center envisioned by the original settlers.

     By the turn of the 20th century, fast-growing Indianapolis was a burgeoning transportation and automobile manufacturing center. In its heyday, the city’s Union Station serviced two-hundred trains from eight railroad lines every day, and the area around the station bustled with businesses, hotels, shops, wholesalers and warehouses.

     The antithesis of Detroit’s mass production lines, Indianapolis was the breeding ground of fiercely independent and innovative automobile designers who have created some of the most unique masterpieces of Art Deco styling and power in the world, one car at a time. These highly acclaimed “rolling sculptures” had the infamous names of Dusenberg, Stutz, and Marmon.

Home of the Indy 500

     The original racetrack at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built as a testing ground for new cars. In 1911, spectators filled the stands for the inaugural Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the first race of that distance in history. Lap after lap, drivers jockeyed for position at speeds of an unheard-of 75 mph. Driver Ray Harroun in his Marmon “Wasp” battled Lozier driver Ralph Mulford for the grand prize. Harroun won, and the crowds roared. Today when drivers take off at the Indy 500, fans watch the action from around the world.

     In addition to auto racing, Indianapolis has earned a national reputation as an auspicious sports center. Home to the 2007 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, the NBA's Indiana Pacers, the WNBA's Indiana Fever, and the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, the "Hoosier Capitol" supports no less than thirteen major sports facilities.

The Re-birth of Downtown

     Like so many American cities in the 1950’s, Indianapolis’ vibrant Downtown core was affected by the dizzying growth of its suburbs. By the 1990’s, city planners created a master plan to bring the focus back where it belonged. One of the greatest urban revitalization success stories in the country, Indianapolis' 21st-century refurbishments have brought dazzling, cultural, arts and entertainment districts in areas where only memories of former grandeur existed just a decade before.

     Known as the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis is alive with sparkling new museums, theaters, art galleries and new sports arenas.  Central Canal's gondolas and singing gondoliers, ethic restaurants and hot night spots, as well as top ranked colleges and universities, pristine greenways and revitalized downtown residences mark this thriving metropolis.

     With a strong heritage and an eye on its future, Indianapolis is a modern capital city, skillfully molded from a rich historical past. Photographer Richard W. Clark captures this fascinating city in detail from the glistening night skylines, to period architecture, and vibrant outdoor sculpture. The city of Indianapolis unfolds in this stunning photographic portrait.


The elegant, 65-foot-tall glass conservatory houses 5,000 square feet of lush, native plants and trees of the Tropics. Witness a garden just for butterflies, marvel at the ancient craftsmanship of bonsais, or enjoy Holiday Trainland, one of several, seasonal shows.


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