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Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (Indianapolis)

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (Indianapolis)

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The Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is a tall neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 monument
Monument
A monument is a type of structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture...

 in the center of Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 (and Marion County, Indiana
Marion County, Indiana
Marion County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. Census 2010 recorded a population of 903,393, making it the largest county in the state and 55th most populated county in the country, greater than the population of six states. The county seat is Indianapolis, the state capital and...

) that was designed by German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 architect Bruno Schmitz
Bruno Schmitz
Bruno Schmitz , was a German architect best known for his monuments in the early 1900s, working closely with sculptors such as Emil Hundrieser, Nikolaus Geiger and Franz Metzner for integrated architectural and sculptural effect...

 and completed in 1901.

The monument was erected to honor Hoosier
Hoosier
Hoosier is the official demonym for a resident of the U.S. state of Indiana. Although residents of most U.S. states typically adopt a derivative of the state name, e.g., "Indianan" or "Indianian", natives of Indiana rarely use these. Indiana adopted the nickname "Hoosier State" more than 150...

s who were veterans of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, territorial conflicts that partially led up to the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, the Mexican-American War, the US Civil War, and the Spanish American War. In addition to its external commemorative statuary and fountains (made primarily of oolitic
Oolite
Oolite is a sedimentary rock formed from ooids, spherical grains composed of concentric layers. The name derives from the Hellenic word òoion for egg. Strictly, oolites consist of ooids of diameter 0.25–2 mm; rocks composed of ooids larger than 2 mm are called pisolites...

 limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 and bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

) the basement of the monument is the Colonel Eli Lilly
Colonel Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly was an American soldier, pharmaceutical chemist, industrialist, entrepreneur, and founder of the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation...

 Civil War Museum
, a museum of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 history during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

At the top there is also an observation deck that can be reached by stairs for free or by elevator for a $2.00 charge. It takes 331 steps to reach this deck, 330 of which are numbered. In 1902 the cost to build this monument was (US) $598,318. It has been estimated that building a similar structure today would cost over $500,000,000.

It is about 21 feet (6.4 m) shorter than the 305 feet (93 m) tall Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

.

History


Indianapolis was selected in 1820 to be the site of the new capital of Indiana, and the city's layout was platted by Alexander Ralston
Alexander Ralston
Alexander Ralston was one of two co-architects for the design of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana.-Life:Alexander Ralston was born in Scotland in 1771. In Britain he was engineer working for the Baron of Roslin on his estate before immigrating to the United States after the American Revolution...

, whose design included a circle at the center of the city. The four city blocks in the center were called the Governor's Circle, which had a three-acre circle surrounded by an 80-foot street on which the Governor's Mansion
Indiana Governor's Residence
The Indiana Governor's Residence is the official home of the family of the Governor of Indiana and is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. In use since 1973, it is the sixth official residence of Indiana's governors.-Current residence:...

 was built in 1827. However, due to the residence's public location and poor construction, no governor
Governor of Indiana
The Governor of Indiana is the chief executive of the state of Indiana. The governor is elected to a four-year term, and responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the functions of many agencies of the Indiana state government. The governor also shares power with other statewide...

 ever lived there and it was torn down in 1857. As Indianapolis grew and developed after the Civil War, the area became a popular meeting place and was designated Circle Park. In 1884, a statue at the center of the circle of Oliver P. Morton, governor during the Civil War, was dedicated.

Many times after the Civil War it was suggested that a monument be built in city to honor Indiana's veterans. Action was finally taken in 1887 when the Indiana General Assembly
Indiana General Assembly
The Indiana General Assembly is the state legislature, or legislative branch, of the state of Indiana. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the Indiana House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Indiana Senate...

 made a $200,000 grant and formed a Monument Commission, which included General Mahlon D. Manson, Thomas W. Bennett
Thomas W. Bennett (territorial governor)
Thomas Warren Bennett was governor of Idaho Territory from 1871 to 1875. He also served as a Congressional delegate from the territory from March 4, 1875 to June 23, 1876...

, and Thomas A. Morris
Thomas A. Morris
Thomas Armstrong Morris was an American railroad executive and civil engineer from Indiana and a soldier, serving as a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

. Seventy designs were submitted in the international contest, of which two were chosen for further consideration. The commissioners then unanimously chose the design called Symbol of Indiana by the Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n architect Bruno Schmitz
Bruno Schmitz
Bruno Schmitz , was a German architect best known for his monuments in the early 1900s, working closely with sculptors such as Emil Hundrieser, Nikolaus Geiger and Franz Metzner for integrated architectural and sculptural effect...

, who was named supervising architect and given a pay of 5% of the monument's total cost.

The cornerstone was laid on August 22, 1889, and inside it is a copper box containing a list of all Indiana soldiers as well as newspapers, the Constitution of Indiana
Constitution of Indiana
There have been two Constitutions of the State of Indiana. The first constitution was created when the Territory of Indiana sent forty-three delegates to a constitutional convention on June 10, 1816 to establish a constitution for the proposed State of Indiana after the United States Congress had...

, a national flag, and other related paraphernalia. Ceremonies included a speech by President Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States . Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born in North Bend, Ohio, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there...

, firing of artillery, and a parade. It was the first monument dedicated to the common soldier. The structure took twelve years to complete, and more funds were required. The legislature appropriated an additional $160,000 and raised over $123,000 with an additional property tax. In 1893 the circle was renamed Monument Place.

The Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument was formally dedicated on May 15, 1902. After a parade of flags with veterans of the Mexican, Civil, and Spanish-American Wars, General Lew Wallace
Lew Wallace
Lewis "Lew" Wallace was an American lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, territorial governor and statesman, politician and author...

 was the master of ceremonies. General David R. Lucas led in prayer, and Governor Winfield T. Durban, Lew Wallace, and former Secretary of State John W. Foster
John W. Foster
John Watson Foster was an American military man, journalist and diplomat.Born in Petersburg, Indiana, and raised in Evansville, Indiana, he was first a lawyer and then served as general for the Union in the American Civil War. Following the war he worked as a journalist, editing the Evansville...

 gave speeches. Next, a male chorus sang and poet James Whitcomb Riley
James Whitcomb Riley
James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the Hoosier Poet and Children's Poet for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively...

 read his poem "The Soldier". John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

 had composed a march for the occasion entitled "The Messiah of the Nations". Following a second parade, the bells of Christ Church
Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis
Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest religious building in continuous use in Indianapolis.- History :...

 sounded and its choir sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee
My Country, 'Tis of Thee
"My Country, 'Tis of Thee", also known as "America", is an American patriotic song, whose lyrics were written by Samuel Francis Smith. The melody derived from Muzio Clementi's Symphony No. 3, and is shared with "God Save the Queen," used by many members of the Commonwealth of Nations...

".

In 1918 a museum opened in the basement of the monument that has equipment and artifacts from the Civil War. Flood lights were added to the surrounding candelabra in 1928. Since 1945, the monument has been decorated for Christmas and in 1962 it was first decorated as the world's largest Christmas tree, with garlands and cables of lights stretching to the top. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 on February 13, 1973.

A series of repairs to the monument began in September 2009. Angled windows, which had allowed some rain to seep in, were replaced with vertical windows, and steel supports for the Victory statue were replaced.

Monument Circle



The side of the circle is now guarded by bronze statues of four wartime leaders: George Rogers Clark
George Rogers Clark
George Rogers Clark was a soldier from Virginia and the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the Kentucky militia throughout much of the war...

, military conqueror of the Old Northwest; William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

, first governor of the Indiana Territory
Indiana Territory
The Territory of Indiana was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1800, until November 7, 1816, when the southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Indiana....

 and general during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 (and, later, 9th President of the United States); James Whitcomb
James Whitcomb
James Whitcomb was a Democratic United States Senator and the eighth Governor of Indiana. As governor during the Mexican-American War, he oversaw the formation and deployment of the state's levies...

, governor of Indiana during the Mexican-American War; and Oliver Morton
Oliver Hazard Perry Morton
Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton , commonly known as Oliver P. Morton, was a U.S. Republican Party politician from Indiana. He served as the 14th Governor of Indiana during the American Civil War, and was a stalwart ally of President Abraham Lincoln. During the war, Morton suppressed the...

, governor during the Civil War.

The outside of the circle is today surrounded by small retail shops, including the South Bend Chocolate Factory, studios for several local radio stations, the Hilbert Circle Theatre (home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is a major American orchestra based in Indianapolis, Indiana.Annually, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs 200 concerts for over 350,000 people. It is the largest performing arts organization in Indiana. The ISO is currently one of only 18 American...

), financial institutions, the Columbia Club
Columbia Club
The Columbia Club is a private hotel and clubhouse located on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The current structure was built in 1925 as the third home to a private club of the same name.-Club history:...

 (one of the oldest social clubs of Indianapolis), and Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis
Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest religious building in continuous use in Indianapolis.- History :...

, a historic Episcopal church, and the IPL
Indianapolis Power & Light
Indianapolis Power & Light Company, also known as IPL or IPALCO, is a utility company providing electric service to the city of Indianapolis. It is a subsidiary and largest utility of AES Corporation, which acquired it in 2000....

 corporate headquarters. The circle is the standard symbol of the city of Indianapolis, and the flag of Indianapolis is an iconic representation of Monument Circle and the two streets (Meridian
Meridian Street (Indianapolis)
Meridian Street is the primary north-south street in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.Meridian Street was formerly aligned with US 31 for much of its length in the city of Indianapolis, before being re-routed to a segment of Interstate 465. The street delineates east addresses from west...

 and Market) that feed in and out of it. One of Indy's recognizable nicknames, "the Circle City", comes from Monument Circle.

Christmas


Every Christmas season the monument is decorated as an enormous Christmas tree
Christmas tree
The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century...

. This city tradition is known as the Circle of Lights and has been done annually since 1962. The tree lighting ceremony is held the day after Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

. The decoration of the monument uses 4,784 lights and 52 strands of garland. More than 100,000 people attend the ceremony and the event is televised to an even larger audience.

External links