Symbols of Indiana – A List

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Indiana is located in the Great Lakes and Midwestern region of North America. It’s one of the most populous states with a diverse economy and several metropolitan areas with large populations of over 100,000 people.

Indiana is home to many celebrities including Michael Jackson, David Letterman, Brendan Fraser and Adam Lambert as well as famous professional sports teams the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. 

The state is exceptionally beautiful and versatile, offering a variety of vacation experiences which is why millions of people visit it each year. Admitted to the Union as the 19th state in 1816, Indiana has several official and unofficial symbols that represent it as a state. Here’s a quick look at some of these symbols.   

State Flag of Indiana

Indiana state flag

Adopted in 1917, the official flag of Indiana consists of a gold torch, a symbol for enlightenment and liberty, in the center of a blue background. The torch is surrounded by a circle of thirteen stars (representing the original 13 colonies) and an inner half circle of five stars symbolizing the next five states to join the Union after Indiana. The 19th star at the top of the torch with the word ‘Indiana’ crowning it represents Indiana’s position as the 19th state to be admitted to the Union. All the symbols on the flag are in gold and the background is a dark blue. Gold and blue are the official state colors.

Seal of Indiana

The great seal of the state of Indiana was used as early as 1801, but it wasn’t until 1963 that the General Assembly of the state declared it as the official state seal.

The seal features a buffalo jumping over what looks like a log in the foreground and a woodsman chopping a tree halfway through with his axe. There are hills in the background with the sun rising behind them and sycamore trees nearby.

The outer circle of the seal contains a border of tulips and diamonds and the words ‘SEAL OF THE STATE OF INDIANA’. At the bottom is the year Indiana joined the Union – 1816. It’s said that the seal symbolizes the progress of the settlement on the American frontier.

State Flower: Peony

Peony flower Indiana

The peony is a type of flowering plant that’s native to Western North America. Peonies are incredibly popular as garden plants in the temperate areas of the U.S. and are sold on a large scale as cut flowers though they’re only available in late spring or early summer. The flower is cultivated extensively throughout Indiana and blooms in different shades of pink, red, white and yellow.

Peonies are a common flower in wedding bouquets and floral arrangements. They’re also used as a subject in tattoos along with the koi-fish and many believe that it was used in the past for medicinal purposes. Due to its popularity, the peony replaced the zinnia as the state flower of Indiana when it was officially adopted in 1957.

Indianapolis

Indianapolis

Indianapolis (also known as Indy) is the capital city of Indiana and the most populous city as well. It was originally founded as a planned city for the new seat of the state government and anchors one of the largest economic regions in the U.S.

Home to three major Fortune 500 companies, several museums, four university campuses, two major sports clubs and the largest children’s museum in the world, the city is probably best known for hosting the Indianapolis 500 which is said to be the largest single-day sporting event in the world.

Among the city’s districts and historic sites, Indianapolis contains the largest collection of memorials and monuments dedicated to war casualties and veterans in the U.S.A., outside of Washington, D.C.

State Stone: Limestone

limestone

Limestone is a type of carbonate sedimentary stone that’s typically composed of skeletal fragments of certain marine organisms like molluscs, coral and foraminifera. It’s widely used as building material, aggregate, in paints and toothpaste, as a soil conditioner and decorations for rock gardens as well. 

Limestone is quarried in large amounts in Bedford, Indiana which is famous as the ‘Limestone Capital of the World’. Bedford limestone is featured on several famous building across America including the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

The State House of Indiana, situated in Indianapolis, is also made with Bedford limestone. Due to the importance of limestone in the state, it was officially adopted as the state stone of Indiana in 1971.

Wabash River

The Wabash River is an 810 km long river that drains most of Indiana. In the 18th century, the Wabash River was used by the French as a transportation link between Quebec and Louisiana and after the war in 1812, it was quickly developed by settlers. The river continued to play an important role in trade for both river steamers and flatboats.

The Wabash River got its name from a Miami Indian word meaning ‘water over white stones’ or ‘shining white’. It’s the theme of the state song and is also mentioned in the state poem and on the honorary award. In 1996, it was designated as the official state river of Indiana.

Tulip Poplar

Although the tulip poplar is called a poplar, it’s in fact a member of the magnolia family. Named the official tree of the state of Indiana in 1931, the tulip poplar is a fast-growing tree with remarkable strength and a long lifespan.

The leaves have a distinct, unique shape and the tree produces large, greenish-yellow, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. The wood of the tulip poplar is soft and fine-grained, used wherever an easy-to-work, stable and cheap wood is needed. In the past, the Native Americans carved entire canoes from the tree trunks and today, it’s still used for veneer, cabinetry and furniture.

Hoosiers

 A Hoosier is a person from Indiana (also called an Indianan) and the official nickname of the state is ‘The Hoosier State’. The name ‘Hoosier’ is deeply rooted in the history of the state and its original meaning remains unclear.  Although politicians, historians, folklorists and every day Hoosiers offer numerous theories on the origin of the word, no one has one definite answer.

Some say that the word ‘Hoosier’ dates back to the 1820s when a contractor called Samuel Hoosier hired laborers from Indiana (called Hoosier’s men) to work on the Louisville and Portland Canal in the state of Kentucky. 

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Many people don’t know that Abraham Lincoln was a Hoosier for a certain period of time during his life, as he grew up in Indiana. Also known as Lincoln Boyhood Home, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is now a Presidential Memorial of the United States, covering a large area of 114 acres. It preserves the home where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1816 to 1830, between the years of 7 to 21.  In 1960, the Boyhood Home was listed as a National Historic Landmark and over 150,000 people visit it every year.

Love – Sculpture by Robert Indiana

Sculpture love Indiana state

‘LOVE’ is a famous pop art image created by Robert Indiana, an American artist. It consists of the first two letters L and O set over the next two letters V and E in bold typeface with the O slanted to the right. The original ‘LOVE’ image had blue and green spaces as a background for red lettering and served as the image for Christmas cards at the Museum of Modern Art. A sculpture of ‘LOVE’ was created from COR-TEN steel back in 1970 and is now on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The design has since then been reproduced in several different formats for rendering in displays throughout the world.

State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Male northern cardinal

The northern cardinal is a medium-sized songbird commonly found in the eastern United States. It’s crimson red in color with a black outline around its beak, extending down to its upper chest. The cardinal sings nearly all year round and the males aggressively defend their territory.

One of the most favorite backyard birds in America, the cardinal is commonly found throughout Indiana. In 1933, the state legislature of Indiana designated it as the official bird of the state and Native American cultures believe that it’s the daughter of the sun. According to the beliefs, seeing a northern cardinal flying towards the sun is a sure sign that good luck is on the way.

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Located in the city of Auburn, Indiana, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum was established in 1974, to preserve all cars built by the Auburn Automobile, Cord Automobile and Duesenberg Motors Company.

The museum was organized into 7 galleries which display more than 120 cars as well as related exhibits, some with interactive kiosks which allow visitors to hear sounds the cars make and see photographs and related videos, showing the engineering behind their designs.

The museum is an important symbol of the state and every year, the city of Auburn holds a special parade of all the old cars of the museum on the weekend just before Labor Day.

Check out our related articles on other popular state symbols:

Symbols of Connecticut

Symbols of Alaska

Symbols of Arkansas

Symbols of Ohio

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