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Indiana, Land of the Indians

The Indianapolis 500-the annual Memorial Day auto race-tells much about Indiana, past and present. The name of the capital- city of the land of the Indians”-recalls the frontier past, and the 500-mile race, one of the most celebrated national sports events, reflects the State position as a leader in the automobile world. During its early history, Indiana was indeed the “land of the Indians”: even when it entered the Union, over half the State was held by Indians. The Indian wars made General William H. Harrison famous, and his victory at Tippecanoe gave him his campaign slogan (“Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too”) when he ran for President in 1840.

Since the beginning of this century, automobiles have been built in the South Bend area. Other important products are iron and steel (Gary), machinery (Ft. Wayne), musical instruments (Elkhart), refrigerators (Evansville), and books and chemicals (Indianapolis). The Bedford quarries are a major source of building stone, the mines in the southwest a rich producer of bituminous coal. Gas and oil, clay and gypsum are other valuable resources. Most of the State is prairie with rich farmlands that produce corn, rye, wheat, soybeans, spearmint and peppermint, and on which are raised hogs and cattle. Fruit and tobacco are grown in the hilly area near the Ohio River.

Small lakes formed by glaciers abound in the North, man-made lakes in the South, which also boasts such natural features as huge caves p (Wyandotte cave is second largest in the U. S.) and mineral springs (French Lick and West Baden). Indianapolis, the capital and largest city, lies near the center of the State. In 1820, commissioners selected this location, even though the site was then a dense forest. Today over half a million people live there-in the nation’s second largest city not on navigable waters.