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History of Indianapolis and Marion County

Historic 1913 Flooding

Read Nancy Germano's article Adobe Acrobat file from the Winter 2008 issue of Circular on the historic flooding in 1913 and how Indianapolis fared.


It is most illuminating to think that what is now a sizeable city sprawling over an entire county began nearly 200 years ago as a mere square mile carved into swamp land far from the majority of the rest of Indiana settlement. What is more improbable is the inspiration for Indianapolis’ original design; none other than the palace of Versailles itself in Paris. The designer of the Indianapolis Mile Square, the heart of the city, was Alexander Ralston. He in turn was an assistant to the French architect L’Enfant. L’Enfant was responsible for the design of Washington D. C. and took inspiration from the palace of Versailles. Thus, by a few degrees of separation, the designer of our city was inspired by Versailles, one of the great palaces in the world.

[With thanks to Jeffery Tenuth’s Indianapolis: A Circle City History and the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis]

In the Beginning…1816- Indiana is admitted as the 19th State.

Civil War Era Growth

A Manufacturing and Transportation Center

The Great Depression and World War II

Prosperity, Recession, and Renewal