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National Indiana Day - November 16


On November 16, National Indiana Day revs up its engines for the state that’s the home of the Indy 500 and Hoosier hospitality, too.

Indiana was the 19th state to enter the Union.  James Monroe had just defeated Rufus King in the 1816 presidential race to become the 5th President of the United States. The second state to enter the Union from the Northwest Territory, Indiana grew rapidly.

As the “Crossroads of American, we can thank the many interstates and railroads transversing the state for getting us across the country. Indiana’s highways and byways do not keep the state from a rural feel in a growing urban world. With an abundance of rivers, streams and farmland, Lake Michigan to the North, words don’t fail Hoosiers.  Her authors, poets and songwriters have a continuous source of inspiration.

They are also inspired by a sport that started with a peach basket long ago. Basketball fills hearts of Hoosiers, as the movie with the same name would tell you.  As far as the citizens of the fine state go, it’s a mystery how they earn their name.

From miners, farmers, inventors, entertainers, industrialists, and many more, Indiana grows more than corn.  There’s plenty to see as the heartland helps keep the country moving right along.


Join National Day Calendar as we recognize Indiana’s pioneering and progressive history. Explore border to border and unearth the most peaceful heartland and entertaining nightlife! Use #NationalIndianaDay to share on social media.

Each week following the week of Independence Day 2017, National Day Calendar will be announcing a National Day in honor of each state in the order they entered the union. We start with Delaware on July 13 and will complete the celebrations with Hawaii on June 27, 2018, allowing for some time off for the holidays.

For a complete list of Indiana State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.in.gov and www.nps.gov.  Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below. 

Chain O’ Lakes State Park – Albion

Fort Harrison State Park – Indianapolis

Indiana Dunes State Park – Chesterton

McCormick’s Creek State Park – Spencer

Mounds State Park – Anderson

Shakamak State Park – Jasonville

Tippecanoe River State Park – Winamac

Turkey Run State Park – Marshall

George Rogers Clark Historic Site – Vincennes


Conner Prairie – Fishers

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indianapolis

Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum – Auburn

Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science – Evansville

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum – Indianapolis

Museum of Miniature House – Carmel

Grissom Air Museum – Peru

James Whitcomb Riley Museum – Indianapolis

Angel Mounds – Evansville

Little Turtle - Military Leader - (1752 - July 14, 1812)

Born in Northern Indiana, Little Turtle led his tribe of the Miami on a series of successful military campaigns against raiding settlers in the Northwest Territory. From 1774 to 1795 he fought against Revolutionary Patriots or United States military forces until The Treat of Greenville ended Little Turtle’s War in 1795.

Chief Menominee - Religious Leader - (1791 -April 15, 1841)

The chief and religious leader of the Potawatomi tribe on a reservation near Plymouth, Indiana, Menominee refused to willing to give up lands in 1838 as part of the 1836 Treaty of Yellow River. Indiana Troops forcefully removed the village to land in Kansas during which 42 members of the tribe died. The removal of the Potawatomi Tribe became known as the Trail of Dea

Juliet Strauss - Columnist - (January 7, 1863 - May 22, 1918)

Known as the Country Contributor for the Rockville Tribune and the Indianapolis News, Juliet Strass shared her thoughts on daily life and reflected on current events in her column Ideas of a plan Country Woman.

After being discovered by the editors of the Ladies Home Journal, in 1905 her column received a national audience on a regular basis.

Wilbur Wright - Inventor - (April 16, 1867 - May 30 1912)

From a young age, Wilbur Wright and his brother, Orville, developed a fascination with flight. Inspired by a rubber band propelled helicopter created by inventor, Alphonse Penaud, the brothers would dedicate their lives to invention. They first found success manufacturing bicycles including the Van Cleve and St. Clair.

They never lost interest in flight and continued to develop designs. By 1902, the future aviators were making progress with their gliders and nearing a successful mechanical flight. They sold their bicycle business and on December 17, 1903, achieved their goal.

James Whitcomb Riley - Author - (October 7, 1849 - July 22, 1916)

James Whitcomb Riley

The Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley wrote a wide variety of poetry and short stories about Midwestern life.  He often toured the country reciting his poems to sold-out audiences.

The Days Gone By
By James Whitcomb Riley

O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail
As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale;
When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky,
And my happy heart brimmed over in the days gone by.

In the Days gone by, when my naked feet were tripped
By the honey-suckles tangles where the water-lilies dipped,
And the ripples of the river lipped the moss along the brink
Where the placid-eyed and lazy-footed cattle came to drink,
And the tilting snipe stood fearless of the truant’s wayward cry
And the splashing of the swimmer, in the days gone by.

O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The music of the laughing lip, the luster of the eye;
The childish faith in fairies, and Aladdin’s magic ring-
The simple, soul-reposing, glad belief in everything,-
When life was like a story, holding neither sob nor sigh,
In the golden olden glory of the days gone by.

Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (The Library of America, 1993)

Cole Porter - Composer - (June 9, 1891 - October 15, 1964)

Composer and songwriter, Cole Porter is known for his catchy Broadway and Hollywood show tunes such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Anything Goes.”

Ernie Pyle - Journalist - (August 3, 1900 - April 18, 1945)

Pulitzer Prize-winning war journalist, Ernie Pyle brought the events World War II to those waiting back home in the United States. He covered conflicts on every front of the war from Normandy to the Pacific. As a war correspondent, Pyle traveled to the midst of war and as a result, was killed by enemy fire on April 18, 1945, on the island of le Shima.

Orville Redenbacher - Businessman - (July 16, 1907 - September 19, 1995)
Kurt Vonnegut - Author - (November 11, 1922 - April 11, 2007)
Gil Hodges - Baseball Player - (April 4, 1924 - April 2, 1972)

Gil Hodges’ professional baseball career was interrupted by the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At the time he had signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. For the duration of the war, he served in the U.S. Navy. Afterward, he returned to the home of the Dodgers to take up first base and go on to be a major hitter for the team.

James Dean - Actor - (February 8, 1931 - September 30, 1955)
Twyla Tharp - Dancer - (July 1, 1941 -)

Emmy and Tony award-winning choreographer, Twyla Tharp has collaborated with companies around the world and was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008.

Jim Davis - Cartoonist - (July 28, 1945 -)

As the creator of the famous lasagna-loving cat, Jim Davis has been drawing Garfield 1978 and is syndicated in over 2500 publications.

Jackson Five - Musicians/Song Writers

Originally formed in 1964, the group was formed as a trio with Jackie, Tito and Jermaine as the Jackson Family. When Marlon and Michael later joined, the Jackson Five was founded. Randy Jackson also has been a member. The entire family has had various levels of success, most famously Michael, who died in 2009.

John Mellencamp - Singer/Song-writer (October 7, 1951)

From “Pink Houses” to “Rain on the Scarecrow,” John Mellencamp has been writing and performing American anthems with the voice of everyman since 1977.

Larry Bird - Basketball Player - (December 7, 1956 -)

The small forward for the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird wowed fans for 13 seasons. A dominant player on the court and personable off the court, Bird built attendance at Boston Gardens for a generation of basketball lovers.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day with National Day Calendar!


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