HOOSIER HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS: Benjamin Harrison Heads to the White House

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Hoosier History Highlights

February 21 - February 27

The Week in Indiana History


1889     Benjamin Harrison left his home in Indianapolis to go to Washington, D. C.,  to take the oath as the 23rd President of the United States.  Indiana Governor Alvin Hovey and Indianapolis Mayor Caleb Denny led the large crowd which gathered to send him off.  The parade to Union Station included prominent citizens and members of the state legislature as well as hundreds of school children who had been given a long recess to allow them to witness the history-making event.  Speaking to the assembly, Harrison said, "I love this city.  It has been my one cherished home."  The Indiana Sentinel reported that, through the excitement,  Harrison's "ever cool and collected manner manifested itself." (Pictured:  The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site at 13th and Delaware in Indianapolis.)  


1890     Mary Tomlinson was born in Acton, Indiana.  After attending local schools and Franklin College, she became interested in theater.  She ended up in Hollywood where, under the name Marjorie Main, she was hired by the MGM Studio.  Her filmography includes over 80 films, including "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Friendly Persuasion."  She is best known as "Ma" in the popular "Ma and Pa Kettle" series.  

Marian Anderson

1922     24-year-old Marian Anderson was the featured singer in a program at the Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.  She was at the beginning of a long career in which she gained international fame and broke down racial barriers in the arts.  She was the first African American to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera and the White House.  


1925     The Duesenberg Motor Company filed incorporation papers with the Indiana Secretary of State.  The firm was being moved to Indianapolis from New Jersey by brothers Fred and August Duesenberg.  Their luxury automobiles were not only beautiful but powerful, performing well on the Speedway track.  The company ceased production in the mid-1930s, but the cars are still highly prized by collectors. (Pictured:  The 1930 Model J Duesenberg.) 



1932     The 200th Anniversary of George Washington's birth was celebrated in cities all around the state.  Pageants, plays, and speeches were on the programs in Greensburg, Anderson, Connersville, Greencastle, and Martinsville.  In Columbus, flowers were placed on the grave of Jonathan Moore, a Revolutionary War soldier and bodyguard for Washington.  


1932     British Diplomat Winston Churchill was the featured speaker in a program at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis.  Accompanied by his 22-year-old daughter Diana, he was in the city under the auspices of the Council on International Relations.  A reporter wrote, "Most of Mr. Churchill's carefully prepared address was made with the assurance and deliberation with which he would have addressed the House of Parliament."

Abe Martin Sez:  Ther's nothin' as uncertain as a sure thing.  (Indianapolis News, February 23, 1922)


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Indiana Quick Quiz

The Father of our Country 

1.  In front of which building in Indianapolis will you see the above statue of George Washington?      a/ Federal Building    b/  Post  Office   c/  Statehouse       

2.  The city of Washington, Indiana, is in which county?  a/  Daviess    b/  Adams    c/  Madison  

3.  What city serves as the seat of Washington County?  a/ Peru        b/ Salem   c/ Princeton

Answers Below 

Hoosier Quote of the Week


"I don't think I could have played the part if I hadn't lived on a farm in Indiana." 

Commenting on her role as Ma Kettle

- - - Marjorie Main (1890-1975)


Did You Know?

February is Black History Month

     An historic African American community in Indiana was Lyles Station, about five miles west of Princeton in Gibson County.  It was founded by two brothers, Joshua and Sanford Lyles, in the early 1840s.  Their families worked the land along with others who began to move to the community.  They reportedly offered safe haven to fugitive slaves escaping from the South.  The town flourished after the Civil War.  By 1900, there  was a post office, railroad station, two general stores, a lumber mill, two churches, and an elementary school.  The school produced many outstanding students, including Alonzo Fields, chief butler for Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower.  The community began to decline after widespread flooding in 1913.  The school building (pictured) was restored through the efforts of the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation and Indiana Landmarks.

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Answers:  1.  c     2.  a    3.  b