History – Soldiers and Sailors

So let’s tackle one of the best well known areas of my hometown: Monument Circle. Some of you may be familiar with some of the nicknames of Indianapolis: Naptown, Indy, Circle City, Crossroads of America (well….that maybe more for the state). But one thing is for certain, at the epicenter of this friendly Midwestern city sits this well-known landmark: The Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument.

Monument Circle

When Indianapolis was undergoing its original plan, Monument Circle was actually the Governor’s Circle. It was here that the home of the governor was built. However, none actually lived there. When I was a kid (learning Indiana history), we were told it was because the First Lady was mortified at the idea of fellow Hoosiers being able to see their laundry being hung out to dry.

It’s a fair point, especially at that time (1827) when there were no dryers.

It was also said that no one lived there because it was not only so public, but also not well-built.

The building was primarily used for the Supreme Court of Indiana, the Indiana State Library, as well as the State Bank of Indiana.

Eventually it was torn down and a new idea for a monument was formed. The first mention of a monument was on April 1, 1862. There was talk of creating a monument for the Civil War Veterans but nothing came of it. But in 1887 a committee was brought together to decide what to do with the area. They devised an international competition and had over seventy submissions. The winner was a German architect by the name of Bruno Schmitz and by the next year had arrived in Indianapolis straight from Germany in order to oversee the construction.

Monument Circle2

The Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument as you see it today was finished in 1901 and has remained a focal point and symbol for the city of Indianapolis.

I have always loved this monument. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a must-see for any visitor to the city.

For those of you familiar with Monument Circle: what significance does the monument have to you?

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