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8 Indiana Facts the Entire the Country Should Be Thankful For




I’m guessing that when most people think of the state of Indiana, the first image that comes to their head is one of the seemingly endless cornfields. But we all know that Indiana has a lot more going on. Or we should at least all know. Here are 3 Indiana facts the entire country should be thankful for.

1) Garfield is Based in Muncie, Indiana

Garfield by Jim Davis
Garfield by Jim Davis

Creator, Jim Davis went to college in Muncie, Indiana and based his famous comic strip and cartoon series, Garfield there. The house of Garfield’s bachelor owner Jon Arbuckle is located in Muncie. John does have that quintessential mid-western look to him.

2) Indiana’s Rich Source of Limestone

Sanders Quarry in Monroe County, Indiana
Sanders Quarry in Monroe County, Indiana

One of the richest sources of limestone on the planet is located in Indiana. Indiana’s limestone has helped build the Pentagon, the Empire State Building, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Cathedral, and more. Think about that. Many important buildings exist thanks to Indiana.

3) The Gasoline Pump – Invented in Fort Wayne, Indiana

The first gasoline pump.
The first gasoline pump

The first gasoline pump was invented in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Sept. 5, 1885. Sylvanus Freelove Bowser invented the pump and changed history forever. I wonder if he knew how incredibly popular his invention would be so popular and necessary for most of the country’s daily commutes.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Indiana would be so important to the rest of the country with regard to entertainment, materials, and inventions. Indiana is located at the heart of the United States.

4) Abraham Lincoln Lived in Indiana for 14 Years

Black and white photograph of Abraham Lincoln who lived in Indiana from age 7 to 21.
Photo Courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture via Flickr

Abraham Lincoln spent 14 of his most formative years in Indiana. From age 7 to 21, Lincoln lived with his family on a settled land referred to as the “unbroken forest.” It was located the Hurricane Township, Perry County, Indiana. Lincoln’s mother Nancy and father Thomas, moved to Indiana along with their 9-year-old daughter Sarah, and then 7-year-old Abraham. This is also one of the Indiana facts that the state takes much pride in. The childhood and adolescent years are believed to be when one’s personality, morals, and values are formed.

5) Raggedy Ann Was Born Here

Photograph of Raggedy Ann doll close-up.
Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr

Raggedy Ann, along with her brother Andy, were created by a cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star named Johnny Gruelle. After illustrating and authoring many cartoons over the years, Gruelle then began illustrating books like editions of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Legend tells that one day when Gruelle was in his studio with his daughter Marcella, she found a doll without a face painted on it. She asked her father to illustrate a face, and thus began the life of Raggedy Ann.

Marcella, unfortunately, died at the age of 13 due to smallpox. This was around the time that Gruelle received the patent for the first Ragged Ann doll. After her death, Gruelle then took a leave of absence and wrote down the stories he used to tell her. These stories became Raggedy Ann’s stories, and soon after in 1918, the first Raggedy Ann book appeared.

By the time Johnny Gruelle passed away in 1938, he penned just under 40 Raggedy Ann children’s books.

6) David Letterman Started in Indiana

Black and white autographed photograph of David Letterman.
David Letterman

Television host and comedy personality, David Letterman, was born on April 12, 1947, in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father Harry was a florist and his mother Dorothy was a church secretary. Dorothy also appeared on his Late Night Show several times.

David Letterman studied at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He majored in radio and television studies. After graduating, he worked in Indianapolis as a radio talk-show host, a children’s television host, a late-night movie host, and eventually a news anchor and weatherman.

Letterman angered his employers at the television station WLWI. Legend has it he got into trouble after congratulating a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane. Shortly after working multiple television jobs in Indianapolis, he moved to Los Angeles to further his career. Finally, in 1982, he began his ground-breaking television talk-show host on Late Night with David Letterman.

7) Levi Coffin House was the “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad

Exterior of the Levi Coffin House in Newport (Fountain City), Indiana.
Photo Credit: Becca James via Flickr

This is arguably the most important of all Indiana facts that served the rest of the country for the better. Levi Coffin and his wife Catherine were Quaker abolitionists who were integral to the operation of the Underground Railroad. Levi Coffin is often regarded as the president of this revolutionary system that gave freedom to so many.

The Levi Coffin House is located in Newport (Fountain City), Indiana. This 8-room Federal-style house was a safe haven for thousands of runaway slaves. It was an important stop when traveling from the South up to Canada.

In 1967, the house was purchased by the state of Indiana. It was fully restored before being opened to the public in 1970. The house is now a National Historic Landmark and also receives thousands of visitors each year.

8) The Saturday Evening Post is Published in Indiana

The January 29, 1916 cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
Photo credit: Art and Vintage via Flickr

The Saturday Evening Post came about in Indiana in 1821 and is still in circulation today. The magazine was one of the most widely circulated in the United States. Especially between the 1920s and 1960s.

The content was focused on the typical middle-class American. It featured fiction, nonfiction, cartoons, as well as feature stories. Many famous and beloved authors were featured in the magazine over the years. These authors included: Ray Bradbury, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, C.S. Forester, Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy Parker, Agatha Christie, Louis L’amour, and Sinclair Lewis among many other legends.

The Saturday Evening Post declined in the late 60s, then was revived in the 70s. It ran until 1988. Then it was revived and redesigned again in 2013.

I know I’m grateful for the heartland state of Indiana. I’m grateful for all the Indiana facts. We all thank you Indiana. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for the building material. And thank you for harboring citizens who greatly influenced the country and helped to make it great.

John Ghost is a professional writer and SEO director. He graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in English (Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies). As he prepares for graduate school to become an English professor, he writes weird fiction, plays his guitars, and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. He lives in the Valley of the Sun. MuckRack Profile

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