Article Summary: Indiana Landmarks
Indiana Landmarks. More Than Just Parks has 20 incredible must-see sites for you to visit.
There’s so much more to this exciting place than the Indianapolis Colts. In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the incredible landmarks located in the The Hoosier State.
We’ve got incredible places, iconic memorials, fascinating museums, epic monuments and so much more.
We’re going to give you our list of the Top 20 Landmarks In Indiana.
So, What Is A Landmark?
Well, it’s a place of “a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of a city, state, or nation.”
Why visit these places? Because landmarks connect us to the past. Through visiting these wonderful places where history occurred we find our roots. It allows us to feel like we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
And, speaking of history, did I mention that I taught the subject? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind many of these amazing sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the fascinating stories of these places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents
Table of Contents: Indiana Landmarks
- Indiana Landmarks
- Some Interesting Facts About Indiana
- Top 20 Indiana Landmarks
- Top 15 Indiana Landmarks
- Top 10 Indiana Landmarks
- Top 5 Indiana Landmarks
- Map Of Indiana Landmarks
- We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Some Interesting Facts About Indiana
Here’s some fascinating facts about The Hoosier State:
- Indiana is located in the Midwest region of the United States and is bordered by Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois.
- The state capital and largest city is Indianapolis, which is known for hosting the famous Indianapolis 500 race.
- Indiana is nicknamed the “Hoosier State” and its residents are referred to as “Hoosiers”. The origin of the term is uncertain, but it has been in use since the early 19th century.
- The state’s official motto is “The Crossroads of America” due to its location at the intersection of several major transportation routes, including the Ohio River and the Great Lakes.
- Indiana is known for its limestone quarries, which have been used to build several famous buildings, including the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.
- The basketball movie “Hoosiers” is based on the true story of a small Indiana high school that won the state basketball championship in 1954.
- Indiana is the birthplace of several famous people, including author Kurt Vonnegut, musician Michael Jackson, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
- The Indiana Dunes National Park is located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan and is home to diverse plant and animal species.
- The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 4, 1871.
- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosts the Indianapolis 500, is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility with a capacity of over 250,000 people.
Top 20 Indiana Landmarks
20. West Baden Springs Hotel
We kick-off our list of the Top 20 Indiana Landmarks with a place which national newspapers once referred to the West Baden Springs Hotel as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” due to the magnificent dome that sat atop it.
At #20 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the West Baden Springs Hotel.
The West Baden Springs Hotel, located in the town of West Baden Springs, Indiana, has a rich and fascinating history. The hotel was first constructed in 1855 as a small inn, but it was later expanded in the 1880s by a wealthy businessman named Lee W. Sinclair. He had made his fortune in the railroad industry and he wanted to create a lavish resort in the Midwest that would rival the grand hotels of Europe.
Sinclair hired architect Harrison Albright to design the new hotel, which was to be a massive circular structure topped by a 200-foot dome. The dome was the largest free-span dome in the world at the time and it was an engineering marvel. The hotel also featured a grand atrium, a casino, a theater, and a ballroom, and it quickly became one of the most popular resorts in the United States.
The Hotel Was Used As A Seminary
The West Baden Springs Hotel continued to thrive throughout the early 20th century, but it was eventually forced to close during the Great Depression. The hotel was purchased by the Jesuits in 1934 and it was used as a seminary for many years. In the 1960s, the hotel was sold again and it was converted into a private college.
In the 1990s, the hotel was purchased by a group of investors who began a massive renovation project to restore the property to its former glory. The dome was restored and the hotel was reopened as a luxury resort in 2007.
Today, the West Baden Springs Hotel is a National Historic Landmark and it continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to admire its stunning architecture and learn about its fascinating history.
19. Indiana Caverns
Our next Indiana landmark is home to one of the largest deposits of Ice Age bones in the state. At #19 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is Indiana Caverns.
Indiana Caverns is a natural wonder located in southern Indiana. Its history spans millions of years. The caverns were formed through a combination of water erosion and the dissolution of limestone over a long period of time.
The first humans to discover Indiana Caverns were Native Americans who used the cave for shelter and as a source of water. Later, in the early 19th century, white settlers began to explore the cave and use it as a source of saltpeter, a key ingredient in gunpowder.
In the early 20th century, Indiana Caverns was developed as a tourist attraction, with a dance floor and a theater built inside the cave. However, the cave was eventually closed to the public due to safety concerns.
In the 1960s, a group of cavers began to explore Indiana Caverns in earnest, and they discovered many new passages and underground streams. In 2010, the caverns were officially opened to the public again, and a new entrance was built that allowed visitors to enter the cave without damaging its delicate ecosystem.
Today, visitors to Indiana Caverns can take guided tours through the cave, learning about its geology, ecology, and history. The cave is home to a wide variety of unique geological formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and underground rivers.
Indiana Caverns is also an important archaeological site, with evidence of human activity dating back thousands of years.
18. The Quilt Gardens
Our next Indiana landmark is a unique and colorful attraction that combines two of the state’s most beloved traditions: quilting and gardening. At #18 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Quilt Gardens.
The project began in 2007 as a collaboration between the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the community of Amish and Mennonite quilters in the region.
The idea was to create a series of garden displays that would showcase the intricate patterns and designs of traditional Amish and Mennonite quilts. Each garden would be planted with thousands of colorful annuals arranged in a quilt pattern, and a corresponding quilt block would be displayed nearby.
The first Quilt Garden was created in the town of Nappanee in 2008, and it was an instant success. Visitors were drawn to the bright colors and intricate designs, and soon other towns in the region began to create their own Quilt Gardens.
Today, there are more than a dozen Quilt Gardens throughout Elkhart County, each one featuring a unique design and color scheme. In addition to the gardens themselves, the project also includes a driving tour that takes visitors to each of the gardens and provides information about the history and culture of the region.
The Quilt Gardens have become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world to see the beautiful displays of flowers and quilting. The project has also helped to support local businesses and promote the region’s unique cultural heritage.
17. Jug Rock
Our next Indiana landmark is believed to be the largest freestanding table rock east of the Mississippi River, in large part because rock formations like this just don’t occur in the eastern United States. At #17 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is Jug Rock.
Jug Rock is a unique natural formation located near the town of Shoals, Indiana. It is a massive rock pillar that stands 60 feet tall and 20 feet in diameter, and it is thought to be one of the largest free-standing rock formations east of the Mississippi River.
The rock is composed of sandstone that was deposited in the area during the Mississippian period, approximately 350 million years ago. Over time, erosion and weathering caused the softer layers of sandstone to wear away, leaving behind the harder, more resistant layers that make up Jug Rock.
It’s Named For Its Distinctive Shape
The formation is named for its distinctive shape, which resembles a jug or a bottle. It is believed that the original Native American inhabitants of the area used the rock as a marker or a gathering place.
Jug Rock was first documented by European settlers in the early 1800s, and it quickly became a popular destination for tourists and geologists alike. In the early 20th century, a stairway was built to the top of the formation, and a viewing platform was added to provide visitors with a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.
Today, Jug Rock is protected as a natural landmark and is part of a 160-acre nature preserve. Visitors can hike to the rock and explore the surrounding area, which is home to a variety of plants and animals. Jug Rock is a unique and impressive natural wonder that is a must-see for anyone visiting southern Indiana.
16. Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Our next Indiana landmark is a historic house museum located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The site was originally the home of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, and his wife Caroline.
At #16 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.
The house was built in the late 19th century in the Queen Anne style, and it features many original furnishings and decorations from the Harrison family. The site also includes a carriage house, a garden, and a museum that showcases artifacts and exhibits related to Harrison’s life and presidency.
Benjamin Harrison was a prominent lawyer and politician before he was elected President in 1888. During his term in office, he signed the Sherman Antitrust Act and helped to modernize the U.S. Navy. After leaving office, he returned to his home in Indianapolis, where he continued to be active in politics and public life.
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site was established in the 1950s as a way to preserve Harrison’s home and legacy. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and educational resource, offering tours, exhibits, and special events throughout the year.
Visitors to the site can explore the elegant rooms of the house, which are decorated with Victorian-era furnishings and artworks. They can also learn about Harrison’s life and career, as well as the history of the United States during the late 19th century.
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is an important cultural and historical landmark in Indianapolis, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential Presidents.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Top 15 Indiana Landmarks
15. Huddleston Farmhouse
We’re on to our Top 15 Indiana landmarks. Our next site is a historic inn that once served travelers along the National Road. At #15 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Huddleston Farmhouse.
The Huddleston Farmhouse is a historic house located in the city of Cambridge City, Wayne County, Indiana. It is a two-story brick house built in 1841 and is considered to be one of the best examples of Federal-style architecture in the state.
The farmhouse was built by William Huddleston, a Quaker farmer who migrated from North Carolina in the early 1800s. Huddleston was one of the first settlers in the area, and he built the farmhouse to accommodate his growing family and to serve as a hub for his farming operations.
Huddleston Farmhouse | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
It Served As A Stop On The Underground Railroad
The Huddleston Farmhouse served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by African American slaves to escape to freedom in the North.
The farmhouse’s location, close to the Indiana-Ohio border, made it an ideal spot for fugitive slaves seeking freedom. The Huddleston family, who were Quakers and abolitionists, played an active role in the Underground Railroad, providing shelter, food, and guidance to the escaping slaves.
In 1974, the Huddleston Farmhouse was acquired by the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and was later designated a National Historic Landmark. The house was restored to its 1860s appearance, and today it serves as a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Underground Railroad and the Huddleston family’s role in it.
Visitors can tour the house and see artifacts and exhibits related to the Underground Railroad and Quaker life in Indiana during the mid-19th century.
In 2020, the Huddleston Farmhouse was awarded a grant to help preserve the historic building and to continue telling the story of the Underground Railroad and the Huddleston family’s legacy of social justice and equality.
14. Falls of the Ohio State Park
Next up is a place which is known for its amazing geologic formations. At #14 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Falls of the Ohio State Park.
The Falls of the Ohio State Park is a state park located in Clarksville, Indiana, on the banks of the Ohio River. The park is known for its unique geological formations, which include a 390-million-year-old fossil bed that is one of the largest exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world.
The park features a visitor center with interactive exhibits, a film, and a gift shop, as well as a number of hiking trails that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the fossil beds and other natural features of the area.
It also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including guided fossil walks, bird watching, and nature programs.
The park is a popular destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone interested in learning more about geology and the natural history of the region.
13. Evansville Museum
Our next Indiana landmark is a multidisciplinary museum located in Evansville, Indiana. The museum was founded in 1904 and has since grown to become one of the most important cultural institutions in the region. At #13 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Evansville Museum.
The Evansville Museum is a multidisciplinary museum. It was founded in 1904 and has since grown to become one of the most important cultural institutions in the region.
The museum’s collection covers a wide range of topics, including art, science, history, and culture. The art collection includes works by American and European artists from the 16th century to the present day, including paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts.
The science and technology collection features exhibits on astronomy, geology, paleontology, and other scientific disciplines.
The history collection covers the history of Evansville and the surrounding area, with exhibits on local industry, transportation, and agriculture. There’s also has a large collection of artifacts from ancient cultures, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
In addition to its permanent collections, the Evansville Museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year. These exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from contemporary art to historical events to scientific discoveries.
The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages. These programs include guided tours, hands-on workshops, lectures, and special events. The museum’s planetarium offers shows that explore the night sky and the mysteries of the universe.
12. Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
We’re moving on from a multidisciplinary museum to one which celebrates the art and cultures of the American West and the Native American people. It’s the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
The museum was founded in 1989 by Harrison Eiteljorg, a businessman and collector of Western and Native American art.
The museum’s collection features over 25,000 works of art and artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, textiles, and photographs. The collection spans from pre-Columbian times to the present day and includes works from Native American tribes from across the United States and Canada, as well as Western art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
One of the most notable features of the museum is the outdoor sculpture garden, which showcases contemporary Native American and Western art in a beautiful natural setting. The garden features works by renowned artists such as Allan Houser, Nona Hengen, and George Carlson.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year. These exhibits focus on a range of topics related to Native American and Western art, history, and culture. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for all ages, including guided tours, artist talks, and hands-on activities.
The Eiteljorg Museum is committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding and respect through its exhibits, programs, and outreach efforts. It is a unique institution that celebrates the rich and diverse history and art of the American West and its people.
11. Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
If you like learning about cars and their history then you’ll love our next site. At #11 on our list of the Best Illinois Landmarks is the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum (ACD Museum) is a museum located in Auburn, Indiana, that is dedicated to the history of the Auburn Automobile Company, Cord Automobile Company, and Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company.
The museum features a large collection of vehicles, including classic cars, race cars, and concept cars, as well as a variety of automotive-related artifacts and memorabilia.
The collection includes many of the most significant and historically important vehicles produced by these companies, such as the Auburn Speedster, the Cord 810/812, and the Duesenberg Model J.
The museum also features exhibits that explore the history of these companies and the people who built them, including the designers, engineers, and executives who made them famous.
It also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours.
Top 10 Indiana Landmarks
10. Basilica of the Sacred Heart
We’re on to the Top 10 Indiana landmarks. Our next site is adorned with an imposing mosaic of 475 square meters. At #10 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic church located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. The history of the basilica can be traced back to the late 19th century when the university’s president, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., proposed building a new church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Construction of the basilica began in 1871, but progress was slow due to financial difficulties and the challenges of building in a rural area with limited resources. The church was designed by French architect Napoleon LeBrun, who was known for his work on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
In 1888, the exterior of the basilica was completed, and the church was dedicated in 1889. However, the interior remained unfinished for several years due to ongoing financial struggles. The interior was finally completed in 1925, with the addition of stained glass windows and murals depicting the life of Christ and the history of the Catholic Church.
The Basilica Has Undergone Several Renovations & Additions
Over the years, the basilica has undergone several renovations and additions. In the 1930s, a large bell tower was added to the west end of the church, and in the 1960s, a new entrance was constructed on the east side of the building. In 1991, the basilica was designated a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in recognition of its historical and religious significance.
Today, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is one of the most iconic buildings on the University of Notre Dame’s campus and a popular destination for visitors and pilgrims. It continues to serve as a center of worship and a symbol of the Catholic faith for the Notre Dame community and the wider world.
9. Ernie Pyle World War Two Museum
At More Than Just Parks were committed to bringing you the most interesting and diverse historic sites so as to maximize your traveling experience whenever you decide to boldly go where you’ve never gone before.
Our next site is a prime example of our philosophy that, when it comes to historical research, we believe in finding the interesting people wherever they happen to be. One of those people was an award-winning journalist whose gift was to bring the stories of ordinary soldiers struggling with the trauma of combat to life.
Our next Indiana landmark is a case in point. At #9 on our list is the Ernie Pyle World War Two Museum.
Ernie Pyle (1900-1945) was an American journalist and war correspondent who gained national recognition for his coverage of World War II.
He was born in Dana, Indiana, and began his career as a journalist in the 1920s, working for various newspapers across the United States.
Pyle’s reporting during World War II was distinguished by its human interest focus and its emphasis on the experiences of individual soldiers. He traveled extensively throughout Europe and North Africa, reporting on the war from the perspective of the soldiers on the front lines.
His writing was widely read and beloved by the American public, who appreciated his honest and compassionate portrayals of the human toll of the war.
He Earned The Pulitzer For His Work
Pyle’s reporting earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1944. He was also known for his humility and modesty, and was widely respected by his fellow journalists and the soldiers he covered.
Tragically, Pyle was killed in action in 1945, while reporting on the war in the Pacific. His death was widely mourned. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Merit by President Harry S. Truman.
Today, Ernie Pyle is remembered as one of the greatest war correspondents in American history, and his legacy continues to inspire journalists and writers around the world. His work remains an important record of the human experience of World War II and a testament to the power of honest and compassionate reporting.
To learn more about this gifted journalist and accomplished storyteller I recommend Ernie Pyle: The Life and Legacy of the Most Famous Journalist Killed in Battle during World War II by Charles River Editors.
Things To Do
Here are some things to do when visiting the museum:
- Tour the museum exhibits: The museum features a variety of exhibits that highlight the life and career of Ernie Pyle, including personal artifacts, letters, and photographs. The exhibits also showcase the experiences of soldiers and civilians during World War II.
- Visit the Pyle Home: The museum is housed in the childhood home of Ernie Pyle. Visitors can take a guided tour of the home and learn about his early life and the influence it had on his career as a journalist.
- Attend a special event: The museum hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including lectures, book signings, and film screenings. Check the museum’s calendar of events to see what’s happening during your visit.
- Explore the nearby town of Dana: Dana is a small town with a rich history. Visitors can take a walking tour of the town and see historic buildings and landmarks, including the childhood homes of several famous Hoosiers.
- Walk the Ernie Pyle Trail: The museum is located near the Ernie Pyle Trail, a scenic walking trail that follows the path of a former railroad line. The trail is a popular spot for hiking, biking, and birdwatching.
- Visit nearby attractions: The museum is located near several other attractions, including Turkey Run State Park, the Covered Bridge Festival, and the Wabash and Erie Canal. Visitors can easily combine a trip to the museum with a visit to one of these nearby attractions.
8. Indiana State House
Our next Indiana landmark is the seat of government for the state of Indiana in the United States. It is located in the state capital of Indianapolis and has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. At #8 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Indiana State House.
The first Indiana State House was completed in 1835, just four years after Indiana became a state. It was a modest two-story brick building designed by local architect Edwin May. This building served as the state capitol until 1867, when it was destroyed by a fire caused by faulty heating equipment.
A competition was held to design a new State House, and the winning design was submitted by a team of German architects, led by Adolph Scherrer. Their design was based on the neoclassical style, which was popular at the time and reflected the ideals of the newly-formed American republic.
Construction Of The New State House
Construction of the new State House began in 1878 and was completed in 1888. It is a massive structure, with a central dome rising 238 feet above the ground. The building is constructed of Indiana limestone and features intricate carvings and decorative elements, including a number of statues and bas-reliefs.
Over the years, the State House has undergone several renovations and additions. In the early 20th century, wings were added to either side of the building to provide more space for the state government. In the 1980s, a major renovation was undertaken to update the building’s electrical and mechanical systems and restore many of its original decorative features.
Today, the Indiana State House remains a vital center of government for the state of Indiana. It is open to the public and serves as a popular tourist attraction, with visitors from around the world coming to see its impressive architecture and learn about Indiana’s rich history.
7. Indianapolis Museum of Art
Our next Indiana landmark has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. At #7 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The museum was founded in 1883 as the Art Association of Indianapolis, with the goal of bringing high-quality art to the city. Its first location was a small space in the city’s Commercial Club Building.
In 1906, the association received a major gift from local philanthropist John Herron, who donated his entire collection of art to the organization. This gift included works by important American and European artists, and it formed the foundation of the museum’s permanent collection.
In 1927, the Art Association of Indianapolis merged with the John Herron Art Institute to form the John Herron Museum of Art. The museum continued to grow over the following decades, and in 1969, it moved to its current location on a 152-acre campus in the city’s northwest side.
In 2005, the museum was renamed the Indianapolis Museum of Art, reflecting its expanded mission to include a wider range of art and programming. In recent years, the museum has undergone several major renovations and expansions, including the addition of a new contemporary art wing and the creation of a 100-acre park on its grounds.
Today, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of the largest and most respected art museums in the United States, with a collection of over 54,000 works from around the world. It is a vibrant cultural center for the city of Indianapolis and a popular destination for visitors from around the world.
6. Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum
We’re on to the final six sites on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks. At #6 is a site which celebrated one of the pioneers of manned-flight. It’s the Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum.
History is replete with incredible moments that change the trajectory of humankind. One such moment occurred on December 17, 1903. Orville & Wilbur Wright, otherwise known as the Wright Brothers, ushered in the aerial age with their successful first flight of a heavier-than-flying machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
This airplane, known as the Wright Flyer, was the product of a sophisticated four-year program of research and development conducted by the brothers beginning in 1899.
Together, these two aeronautical visionaries pioneered many of the basic tenets and techniques of modern aeronautical engineering, such as the use of a wind tunnel and flight testing as design tools.
The impact of the airplane on the 20th century is beyond measure. The Wrights not only solved a long-studied technical problem, but also helped create an entirely new world.
As a retired history teacher and avid history buff I’m always recommending books. One of my favorites is The Wright Brothers by Pulitzer Prize Winning Author & Historian David McCullough.
What You’ll See At The Museum
At the museum, visitors can see the following:
- The Birth Home: Wilbur’s parents bought this 5 acres and house for $700 and they only lived here for three years. Along with the Wright family house is a Smoke House, Barn and an Outhouse.
- The Wright Flyer: This is a full-size replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. This replica took 10 years to build and was meant to fly. The propellers are hand-carved. The motor is molded and cast into the replica 4-cylinder engine.
- Kitty Hawk Room: Replica of where they the Wrights stayed when returning to Kill Devil Hills site in 1901. They pitched a tent about 1,000 ft. east of the higher hill and built a rudimentary shed as a workshop.
- Main Street: The Brothers began their careers as printers. When they were unable to make a living at that, they began repairing and building bicycles. Check out the barber shop, dress shop, general store and school. Wood Carvings: Many of these carvings were made from wood taken from the original house and fence.
- Gift Shop/Visitor Center: Visit our Gift Shop and website store. We are well-stocked with affordable items such as posters, key chains, shot glasses, T-shirts, and postcards etc.
Top 5 Indiana Landmarks
5. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
We’re on to our final 5 historic sites and they’re all worth a visit (as our all of the other sites on our list).
At #5 is the story of an amazing man who was a Revolutionary War Hero. And you can learn all about him at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.
Who Was George Rogers Clark?
George Rogers Clark was an American Revolutionary War hero and military leader.
Born in Virginia in 1752, he is best known for his role in the western theater of the American Revolution, where he led a group of American forces against British-allied Native American tribes and British forts in the Ohio River valley.
Clark is credited with securing the western frontier for the American colonies, and his victories in the Ohio River valley were seen as critical to the eventual outcome of the American Revolution.
He is particularly remembered for his capture of the British fort at Kaskaskia in 1778, which was a major turning point in the war in the western frontier.
One Of The Most Important Military Leaders Of The American Revolution
After the war, Clark continued to play a key role in the development of the western United States, serving as a surveyor, military commander, and territorial governor in the region. He is remembered today as a symbol of American bravery and determination, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of Americans.
Throughout his life, George Rogers Clark was known for his courage, his strategic vision, and his unwavering commitment to American independence. He is remembered as one of the most important military leaders of the American Revolution and as a pioneer in the western frontier of the United States.
Things To Do At The Park
I always recommend that first timers start at the visitor center. There you can gather information on points of interest at the site. At this site, I recommend a 30 minute film, titled Long Knives. The film explores Clark, his march to Vincennes, and the attack on Fort Sackville.
From there you should check out the Memorial where you can see seven murals which tell the story of Clark and the Old Northwest along with a magnificent statue of George Rogers Clark.
As the National Park Service notes, the Memorial was a major feat of architectural engineering. It was built from 1931 to 1933. Workers assembled it piece by piece like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Today it stands as a testament to a man who did his part for the cause of freedom.
4. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
It’s on to the final four sites on an amazing list of historical places. At #4we have a place which celebrates the man who many historians consider to have been America’s Greatest President. It’s the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.
The Case For Lincoln
In 2021, C-SPAN asked a group of distinguished presidential historians to rank our nation’s presidents from worst to best.
At the top of their list, with a total score of 897 points, was Abraham Lincoln. George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt came in second and third respectively.
Why is Abraham Lincoln ranked as the greatest president of all time? Simply put, he saved the Union.
In the process of saving the nation, Lincoln managed to define the creation of a more perfect Union in terms of liberty and economic equality that rallied the citizenry behind him.
Lincoln’s legacy is based on his momentous achievements: he successfully waged a political struggle and civil war that preserved the Union, ended slavery, and created the possibility of civil and social freedom for African-Americans.
Take A Deeper Dive Into The Life & Times Of Abraham Lincoln
If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive and learning more about America’s greatest president then you cannot do better than Carl Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years. Sandburg won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for his monumental work on America’s 16th President.
Things To Do At The Site
Here are some things to do when visiting the memorial:
- Tour the Visitors Center: The Visitors Center features exhibits and multimedia displays that tell the story of Lincoln’s childhood and his family’s life in Indiana.
- Visit the Lincoln Living Historical Farm: The farm is a reconstruction of the farm where Lincoln lived with his family. Visitors can tour the farm and see costumed interpreters demonstrate daily life on the farm during the mid-19th century.
- Explore the hiking trails: The memorial features several hiking trails that wind through the woods and fields where Lincoln played and worked as a child. The trails offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
- Visit the Lincoln Boyhood Trail: The Lincoln Boyhood Trail is a self-guided driving tour that takes visitors to several sites related to Lincoln’s life in Indiana, including the sites of his childhood home and the church where his family worshipped.
- Attend a special event: The memorial hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including living history programs, music concerts, and commemorative ceremonies.
- Visit nearby attractions: The memorial is located near several other attractions, including Santa Claus, Indiana, and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari amusement park.
3. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Our next Indiana landmark is the third-oldest permanent automobile race track in the world, behind Brooklands and the Milwaukee Mile. With a permanent seating capacity of 257,325, it is the highest-capacity sports venue in the world.
At #3 on our list of the Best Indiana Landmarks is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The track was originally built in 1909 as a testing ground for the growing automobile industry. Its founders, Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Arthur C. Newby, and Frank H. Wheeler, saw the potential for using the track as a venue for automobile racing, and the first Indianapolis 500 race was held in 1911.
The early years of the Indianapolis 500 were marked by tragedy and innovation. The track was made of bricks, earning it the nickname “The Brickyard,” and the rough surface led to many accidents. In response, the track was paved with asphalt in 1937, making it faster and safer.
During World War II, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was closed to racing and used as a manufacturing site for military aircraft engines. After the war, the track was reopened and quickly became one of the premier racing venues in the world, hosting a wide range of events in addition to the Indianapolis 500.
Over the years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone numerous renovations and improvements, including the addition of new grandstands and the installation of state-of-the-art safety features.
It remains one of the most iconic racing tracks in the world, with a rich history and a bright future as a center of innovation and excitement in the world of motorsports.
2. Indiana War Memorial
In the runner-up spot at #2 is a historic landmark and war memorial located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The monument was erected in honor of the Indiana soldiers and sailors who served in the American Civil War and later conflicts.
Welcome to the Indiana War Memorial.
The Idea For A Monument
The idea for the monument was first proposed in the late 19th century, but it was not until the early 20th century that plans for its construction were finalized. The monument was designed by German-born architect Bruno Schmitz, who was also responsible for designing several other notable war memorials in the United States and Europe.
Construction on the monument began in 1888 and was completed in 1901, at a cost of over $600,000. The monument is constructed of Indiana limestone and stands 284 feet tall, making it one of the tallest war memorials in the United States.
The monument features a number of decorative elements, including several bronze statues representing the various branches of the military, as well as depictions of several important Civil War battles. The interior of the monument houses a museum and observation deck, which offers panoramic views of downtown Indianapolis.
Over the years, the Soldiers & Sailors Monument has become an important symbol of Indiana’s military heritage and a beloved landmark for residents of Indianapolis. It has also been the site of numerous public events and ceremonies, including parades, concerts, and political rallies.
Today, the monument is maintained by the Indiana War Memorials Commission, which is responsible for preserving and interpreting the state’s military history. It remains an important cultural institution and a significant part of Indiana’s heritage.
1. Indiana Dunes National Park
As the #1 Indiana landmark, More Than Just Parks has selected Indiana Dunes National Park.
The park is home to a diverse range of habitats, including sandy beaches, dunes, wetlands, forests, and prairies, and it has a rich history dating back thousands of years.
The area that is now Indiana Dunes National Park was first settled by Native American tribes more than 10,000 years ago. These tribes relied on the area’s abundant natural resources, including fish, game, and plant materials, to sustain their communities.
In the 19th century, the region became a popular vacation destination for residents of nearby Chicago, who were drawn to the area’s beautiful beaches and scenic vistas.Fast forward to the early 20th century and a number of resorts and cottages were built along the shore. The area became known as the “playground of the Midwest.”
In the 1920s, a group of conservationists began working to protect the dunes from development and preserve them as a natural resource. Their efforts culminated in the establishment of Indiana Dunes State Park in 1925, which was later expanded to include additional land and renamed Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966.
In 2019, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was redesignated as Indiana Dunes National Park, becoming the 61st national park in the United States.
Today, the park attracts millions of visitors each year, who come to hike, swim, camp, and explore the natural and cultural history of the region. It is also home to a diverse range of plants and animals, including several rare and endangered species.
Map Of Indiana Landmarks
List Of Indiana Landmarks
- Indiana Dunes National Park
- Indiana War Memorial
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
- George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
- Wilbur Wright Birthplace & Museum
- Indianapolis Museum of Art
- Indiana State House
- Ernie Pyle World War Two Museum
- Basilica of the Sacred Heart
- Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
- Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
- Evansville Museum
- Falls of the Ohio State Park
- Huddleston Farmhouse
- Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
- Jug Rock
- The Quilt Gardens
- Indiana Caverns
- West Baden Springs Hotel
Why Trust Us About Indiana Landmarks?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, U.S. Forest Service, and more for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
And, in 2018, our father – having spent a lifetime teaching history – joined us so that he could help us to tell the stories behind these amazing places.
Meet The Parks Brothers
We Hope You’ll Follow Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then sign up below!
What Is A National Park? To learn more about the difference between the various National Park Service designations check out our article that explains everything!
Indiana National Parks: 4 EPIC Indiana National Parks You Should See