By Victoria T. Davis
In Indiana, basketball is king, football fans adore the Indianapolis Colts, pork tenderloins can be found at almost every local fair and visitors can experience Hoosier hospitality at its finest. But do you think you know all Indiana has to offer?
Think you’re the master of Indiana trivia? Following are little-known facts about the State of Indiana.
- Indianapolis native Marcella Gruelle created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914.
- Baseball was practically born here — the first professional game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.
- Well-known actor James Dean was born in Marion in 1941.
- Southern Indiana is where Hoosiers can find a sea of limestone that is one of the richest deposits of top-quality limestone on earth, experts say. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Pentagon as well as 14 state capitol buildings are built from Indiana limestone.
- Although Indiana means “land of the Indians,” fewer than 8,000 Native Americans live in the state.
- The first practical gas pump was designed in Fort Wayne by Syvanus Bower.
- Indiana is known as the “mother of vice presidents,” as it is the home of five vice presidents: Schuyler Colfax (President Ulysses S. Grant), Thomas Hendricks (President Grover Cleveland), Charles Warren Fairbanks (President Theodore Roosevelt), Thomas Marshall (President Woodrow Wilson) and J. Danforth “Dan” Quayle (President George HW Bush).
- Sarah Walker, more widely known as Madame CJ Walker, became one of the nation’s first female millionaires by selling hair products marketed to African-Americans.
- Indiana’s first newspaper, The Indiana Gazette, was published in Vincennes in 1804.
- Indiana produces more than 20 percent of the United States’ popcorn supply. In a typical year, almost half of all cropland in Indiana is corn.
- Indiana has had two state constitutions, one in 1816 and another in 1851.
- In 1918, Columbus-born Charles “Chuck” Taylor made the Indiana High School All-State team. He developed a popular shoe colloquially called “Chucks,” which were created by Converse.
- Santa Claus Land opened in 1946 in Santa Claus, Indiana, becoming the world’s first theme park. The park was dedicated to all things Santa Claus and North Pole-related. This one design decision set it apart from all previous amusement parks, like the famed Coney Island, Luna Park and White City. This park opened almost a decade before Walt Disney’s park. Today, the theme park is known as Holiday World.
- Indianapolis hosted Elvis Presley’s last concert in 1977 in Market Square Arena.
- Cartoonist Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, is from Marion.
- Indiana is one of 13 U.S. states to be divided by more than one time zone.
- The iconic, curvy Coca-Cola bottles were designed in Terre Haute.
- The neighborhood of Newport, now known as Fountain City, was considered “grand central station” of the Underground Railroad, as many slaves used the location to escape.
- Wyandotte Cave is one of the largest caves in the U.S.
- In 1880, Wabash became the first electrically lighted city in the world.