|Indianapolis Indiana Overview
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Indianapolis is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County. According to the 2000 Census, its population is 791,926, making it Indiana's most populous city and the 12th largest city in the U.S. The U.S. Census July 1, 2004 estimate for the Consolidated City of Indianapolis is 794,160 and a metropolitan area population of 1,771,377. The larger combined statistical area has a population approaching 2 million residents (1,939,349). Indianapolis is the third largest city in the Midwest after Chicago and Detroit and the the eighth largest metropolitan area in the Midwest. According to the list of United
States metropolitan areas, Indianapolis has the 34th largest metropolitan area in the United States. It is one of only three major cities in the midwest which had a growth rate above 5% in the core city. As of 2005, Marion County's population is 863,133, and in 2006, the city was voted tenth of two hundred Best U.S. Metropolitan Areas for Business and Careers by Forbes Magazine.
Jeremiah Sullivan, a judge of the Indiana Supreme Court, invented the name Indianapolis by joining Indiana with polis, the Greek word for city.
Indianapolis was founded as the state capital in 1821 by an act of the Indiana General Assembly. Prior to its official founding, Indianapolis was a swampy area called the Fall Creek Settlement sparsely settled by fur traders. The first European American settler is generally believed to be George Pogue, who on March 2, 1819, settled in a double log cabin along the White River in what is now White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. The state commissioned Alexander Ralston to design the new capital city. Ralston was an apprentice to the French architect Pierre L'Enfant, and he helped L'Enfant plan Washington, DC. Ralston's original plan
for Indianapolis called for a city of only 1 square mile. Under Ralston's plan, at the center of the city was placed the Governor's Circle, a large circular commons, which was to be the site of the Governor's mansion. It was used as a market commons for over six years. Although an expensive Governor's mansion was finally constructed in 1827, no Governor ever lived in the house at Governor's Circle, as the site in the city center lacked any privacy. The Governor's mansion was finally demolished in 1857. (See History of Indianapolis and Marion County Indiana by B.R. Sulgrove, 1884). Later, Governor's Circle became Monument Circle
after the impressive 284-foot-tall (86.5-meter-tall) neoclassical limestone and bronze State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz, was completed on the site in 1901.
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, "the balance" (that part of Marion County not part of another municipality) has a total area of 368.2 square miles-361.5 square miles of it is land and 6.7 square miles of it is water. These figures are slightly misleading because they do not represent the entire Consolidated City of Indianapolis (all of Marion County, except the four "excluded" communities). The total area of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis, which does not count the four "excluded" communities, covers approximately 373.1 square miles.
At the center of Indianapolis is the One-Mile Square, bounded by East, West, North, and South Streets. Four diagonal streets pass through the corners of the Square but stop one to five blocks (depending on the street) before reaching the Circle. Nearly all of the streets in the One-Mile Square are named after U.S. states. (The exceptions are Meridian Street, which numerically divides west from east; Market Street, which intersects Meridian Street at Monument Circle; Capitol and Senate Avenues, where many of the Indiana state government buildings are located; and Washington Street, which was named after President George Washington. Washington State attained
statehood in 1889, 68 years after Washington Street was so named on the "Plat of the town of Indianapolis" designed by Alexander Ralston in 1821. The street-numbering system centers not on the Circle, but rather one block to the south, where Meridian Street intersects Washington Street - National Road.)
Indianapolis enjoys a moderate climate with warm summers and cool weather during the winter months.
The Indianapolis seasons of spring and autumn are usually pleasant, with temperatures reaching around 18°C / 65F.
Summer in Indianapolis can be hot, with a fairly humid climate. The warmest weather of the year is between the months of July and August, with temperatures reaching around 31 C / 90 F.
The winter months of December, January and February are the coolest of the year, and temperatures can drop to below freezing. Wintertime in Indianapolis can also bring snowfalls, especially during January and February. The average Indianapolis annual snowfall is 58 cm / 23 inches.
The city's average annual precipitation is 102 cm / 40 inches. The average July high is 86F (30C), with the low being 61 F (16 C). January highs average 34 F (1 C), and lows 18 F (-8 C). The record high for Indianapolis is 104.0F (40 C), on July 14th, 1954. The record low is -27 F (-33 C), on January 19th, 1994. Snowfall varies from about 20 to 30 inches (500-760 mm) a year.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis is most noted for the largest single-day sporting event in the world: the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race which is held at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the largest stadium in the world.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, is the site of the Indianapolis 500, an open-wheel automobile race held each Memorial Day weekend on the 2.5 mile (4 km) oval track. The track is often referred to as "the Brickyard," as it was paved with 3.2 million bricks shortly after its initial construction in 1909. Today the track is paved in asphalt, although there remains a yard of bricks at the start/finish line.
The first 500-Mile Race (804.67 km), held in 1911, was won by driver Ray Harroun driving a Marmon Wasp. (Marmon, incidentally, was an Indianapolis manufacturer.) The "500" is currently part of the Indy Racing League series.
The Speedway also hosts the NASCAR stock car series' largest attended race, the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, still generally referred to by its former name of the "Brickyard 400" (currently scheduled in August), and the Formula One United States Grand Prix (moved between 2005 and 2006 from mid-June to the July 4th weekend). Smaller series host races at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park, which is also the site of the annual "Nationals," the most prestigious drag-racing meet of the year for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).
As measured by the number of fans in attendance (more than 257,000 permanent seats, not including infield), the Indianapolis 500 is the largest annual single-day sporting event in the world.