Indianapolis in History

Indiana: Fort Wayne - Gary

Historical Events

Historic Invention

1862-11-04 American inventor Richard Jordan Gatling patents the hand cranked Gatling machine gun in Indianapolis

  • 1887-06-28 Phillies most lopsided shut-out beating Indianapolis 24-0
  • 1894-11-25 Greenback (Independent) Party organizes in Indianapolis
  • 1900-01-29 American League organized in Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis
  • 1900-03-06 After a meeting in Indianapolis, USA, a group forms the Social Democratic Party and nominates Eugene Debs as its candidate for President in the forthcoming election (becomes the Socialist Party in 1901)
  • 1900-03-25 US Socialist Party forms in Indianapolis
  • 1909-08-19 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of automobile race Indianapolis 500, opens in Speedway, Indiana
  • 1920-05-02 1st game of National Negro Baseball League played in Indianapolis
  • 1922-11-12 The Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority is founded on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana

Historic Event

1934-01-15 While robbing the First National Bank in East Chicago, Indianapolis, John Dillinger is shot several times by officer William O'Malley, but survives because he is wearing a bullet proof vest.

  • 1935-08-31 1st national skeet championship (Indianapolis)
  • 1936-03-29 10,000 watch the 200-inch mirror blank passing through Indianapolis

Music History

1940-02-02 Frank Sinatra performs at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, his first as featured singer with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

  • 1945-07-16 Cruiser Indianapolis leaves San Francisco with atom bomb
  • 1945-07-26 US cruiser Indianapolis reaches Tinian with atom bomb

Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

1945-07-30 After delivering the Atomic Bomb across the Pacific, the cruiser USS Indianapolis is torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-58. 880 of the crew died, many after being attacked by sharks, the inspiration for the movie Jaws.

  • 1945-08-02 After 3½ days suffering exhaustion, lack of water and shark attacks in the Philippine Sea, the surviving crew of USS Indianapolis are spotted by Wilbur “Chuck” Gwinn, a PV-1 Ventura pilot on a routine sector search. 316 had survived.
  • 1946-12-21 Morton Gould's "Minstrel Show" premieres in Indianapolis
  • 1949-05-30 WRTV TV channel 6 in Indianapolis, IN (ABC) begins broadcasting
  • 1951-01-06 Indianapolis Olympians beat Rochester Royals, 75-73 in NBA-record 6 overtimes; also the longest game in NBA history
  • 1955-08-03 Automobile Association of America ends support of auto racing, Le Mans disaster & Bill Vukovich death at Indianapolis contributing factors
  • 1957-10-30 WLWI (now WTHR) TV channel 13 in Indianapolis, IN (ABC) 1st broadcast
  • 1958-12-09 Robert W. Welch Jr and 11 other men meet in Indianapolis to form the conservative and anti-Communist John Birch Society

Boxing Title Fight

1959-05-01 Floyd Patterson scores 11th round KO of Englishman Brian London in Indianapolis; his 4th World Heavyweight Boxing title defence

  • 1970-10-04 WFYI TV channel 20 in Indianapolis, IN (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1971-01-25 WHMB TV channel 40 in Indianapolis, IN (IND) begins broadcasting

Sports History

1973-03-31 American tennis star Billie Jean King ends Australian Margaret Court's 57-match winning streak 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in semi finals of the WTA event in Indianapolis, IN

  • 1973-09-14 Indianapolis is awarded a WHA franchise
  • 1974-09-15 Market Square Arena in Indianapolis opens

Music Concert

1977-06-26 Elvis Presley sings in Indianapolis, the last performance of his career

  • 1978-07-23 US Open Women's Golf, CC of Indianapolis: Hollis Stacy successfully defends title by 1 stroke from Sally Little and JoAnne Carner

Sports History

1978-11-02 Wayne Gretzky is sold to the Edmonton Oilers after just 8 games with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA (scoring 6 points); scores 104 points in 72 games (both teams combined) and is named WHA rookie of the year

  • 1985-02-10 35th NBA All-Star Game, Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis: West beats East, 140-129; MVP: Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets, C
  • 1985-06-16 Willie Banks of USA sets triple jump record (58 feet 11 inches) in Indianapolis
  • 1986-02-09 Marvin Johnson stops Leslie Stewart in 7 rounds in Indianapolis to win WBA light heavyweight boxing title; record 3rd time he regains a version of light heavyweight crown
  • 1987-08-15 At Pan Am games in Indianapolis, USA & Cuba are tied with 2 outs in 9th, Ty Griffin HR, Cuba 1st loss in 20 years of Pan Am competition
  • 1987-10-20 10 die as US Air Force jet crashed into a Ramada Inn near Indianapolis
  • 1987-11-22 Patriots shutout Indianapolis 24-0

Sports History

1989-09-10 Indianapolis running back Eric Dickerson rushes for 106 yards against San Francisco to become the fastest player to top the 10,000 yard plateau; 91st career game

  • 1992-03-01 Jenny Thompson swims 100m freestyle world record 54.48s at the US Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, IN; passes famous GDR drug tainted record, Kristen Otto 1986 by 0.25s
  • 1992-03-02 American swimmer Anita Hall breaks the 200m breaststroke world record twice in the one day at the US Swimming championships in Indianapolis; wins final in 2:25.35


1992-04-05 WrestleMania VIII, Hoosier Dome, Indianapolis, IN (62,167): Hulk Hogan defeats Sid Justice by DQ; Randy Savage beats Ric Flair for WWF Heavyweight title

  • 1998-01-30 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Indianapolis IN on WNAP 93.1 FM

Sports History

2006-07-02 Michael Schumacher wins US F1 Grand Prix for the 5th time, 1st driver in any series to win 5 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Super Bowl

2007-02-04 Super Bowl XLI, Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Miami, FL: Indianapolis Colts beat Chicago Bears, 29-17; MVP: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, QB

Super Bowl

2010-02-07 Super Bowl XLIV, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Miami, FL; New Orleans Saints beat Indianapolis Colts, 31-17; MVP: Drew Brees, New Orleans, QB

Super Bowl

2012-02-05 Super Bowl XLVI, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN: New York Giants beat New England Patriots, 21-17; MVP: Eli Manning, New York, QB

Historic Event

2017-08-18 Civilian researchers led by Paul Allen re-discover the USS Indianapolis 18,000 feet below the Pacific surface, 72 years after it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes

Famous Birthdays

  • 1829-02-11 William Anderson Pile, American politician, minister, and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1889)
  • 1830-09-29 John Parker Hawkins, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1914)
  • 1871-10-20 Frederick Burton, American actor (The Big Trail, One Way Passage), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1957)
  • 1876-08-05 Mary Ritter Beard, American historian (Woman as a Force in History), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1958)
  • 1878-11-26 (Marshall) "Major" Taylor, American track cyclist (first African-American world champion; 1899 World Track C'ships), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1932)
  • 1888-05-21 May Aufderheide, American ragtime composer (Dusty Rag), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1972)
  • 1889-11-19 Clifton Webb [Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck], American actor (Razor's Edge, Laura), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1966)
  • 1890-01-11 Monte Blue, US silent film actor (Montana, Oh Boy), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1963)
  • 1890-07-18 Chick Evans, American golfer (US Open 1916), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1979)
  • 1891-09-29 Fabien Sevitzky [Koussevitzky], Russian-American conductor (Indianapolis Symphony), born in Vishny Volotchok, Russia (d. 1967)
  • 1892-03-13 Janet Flanner, American journalist (New Yorker), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1978)
  • 1895-10-05 Walter Bedell Smith, U.S. Army general (WWII) and head of CIA (1950-52), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1961)
  • 1897-10-11 Russell Collins, American actor (Niagara, Close Up, Shockproof), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1965)
  • 1900-08-18 Glenn Albert Black, American archaeologist, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1964)
  • 1903-02-05 Nathaniel Owings, architect (Oak Ridge, TN; Sears), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

John DillingerJohn Dillinger (1903-1934)

1903-06-22 Notorious American bank robber, born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1904-02-16 James Baskett, American actor (Song of the South) 1st African American male to receive an Oscar, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1948)

Chuck KleinChuck Klein (1904-1958)

1904-10-07 American Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder (Triple Crown 1933; MLB All-Star 1933, 34; NL MVP 1932; Philadelphia Phillies), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1906-07-11 Harry Von Zell, TV announcer (Burns & Allen), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1910-12-02 Robert Paige, American actor, TV newscaster and political correspondent (Son of Dracula, Pardon My Sarong, Colgate Comedy Hour), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1987)
  • 1911-01-24 C. L. Moore, American science fiction & fantasy writer (Judgment Night), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1987)
  • 1911-06-13 Albert Cleage, African-American theologian and religious leader, born in Indianapolis (d. 2000)
  • 1912-08-24 Durward Kirby, American TV announcer (Garry Moore Show), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2000)
  • 1914-05-30 Bobby Sherwood, American orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1981)
  • 1914-07-24 Robert Emhardt, American actor (Another World, Underworld USA, Mooncussers), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1994)

Kurt VonnegutKurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

1922-11-11 American author (Slaughterhouse Five, Sirens of Titan), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1923-03-06 (John) "Wes" Montgomery, American influential and Grammy Award-winner jazz guitarist, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1968)
  • 1924-01-22 J. J. Johnson, American composer and jazz trombonist, born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2001)
  • 1925-02-09 Bobby Lewis, American rock and roll singer (Tossin' and Turnin'), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2020)
  • 1929-12-23 Dick Weber, American ten-pin bowling pro (16, 300 games), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2005)
  • 1930-02-22 James McGarrell, American painter, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1930-09-14 Allan Bloom, American philosopher and author (Closing of the American Mind), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1992)
  • 1931-07-11 Thurston Harris, American R&B and pop vocalist (The Sharps - "Little Bitty Pretty One"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1990)
  • 1931-12-21 David Baker, American jazz trombonist and cellist, jazz and classical composer (Reflections), and educator (Indiana University), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2016)
  • 1932-04-04 Richard Lugar, American politician (U.S. Senator from Indiana, 1977-2013), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2019)
  • 1932-07-24 William Ruckelshaus, American attorney and first Head of Environmental Protection Agency, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1934-04-18 George Shirley, African-American tenor (first African-American tenor to perform a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

Michael GravesMichael Graves (1934-2015)

1934-07-09 American postmodernist architect and designer, born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1937-04-03 Sandra Spuzich, American golfer (US Open 1966), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2015)
  • 1937-06-17 Peter Lupus, American bodybuilder and actor (Mission Impossible), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1938-04-07 Freddie Hubbard, American jazz trumpeter (Art Blakey), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1938-06-21 Dan Burton, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1939-02-27 Peter Revson, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1971 pole winner, runner-up), born in New York City (d. 1974)
  • 1939-08-09 Billy Henderson, American singer (The Spinners - "The Rubberband Man"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2007)
  • 1940-10-03 Mike Troy, American swimmer (Olympics 2 x gold 200m butterfly, 4×200m freestyle relay 1960), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2019)
  • 1940-12-02 Constance "Connie" Booth, American writer, actress, comedienne and psychotherapist (Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and the Holy Grail), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1941-07-09 Don McPherson, American R&B singer (The Main Ingredient - "Everybody Plays the Fool"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 1971)
  • 1942-05-15 Anthony Wayne England, PhD/astronaut (STS 51-F), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1943-02-22 Dick Van Arsdale, American NBA all-star (NY Knicks, Phoenix Suns), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1943-02-22 Tom Van Arsdale, American NBA all-star (Detroit, Cincinnati, KC-Omaha, Phil), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1947-02-04 James Danforth "Dan" Quayle, USA (Sen-R-Ind, 44th Vice President 1989-93), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

David LettermanDavid Letterman (75 years old)

1947-04-12 American comedian and late night TV host (Late Night; Late Show), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1947-10-09 William E. McAnulty, Jr., American lawyer (1st African American justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2007)
  • 1950-04-13 Terry Lester, American actor (Young & Restless, As World Turns), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1950-10-31 Jane Pauley, American newscaster (Today, NBC Weekend), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1952-08-20 John Hiatt, American singer and songwriter ("Have a Little Faith in Me"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1954-01-23 Richard Finch, American disco and rock bassist, songwriter and producer (KC and the Sunshine Band - "Shake Your Booty"; "I'm Your Boogie Man"), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1954-04-12 Marvin Johnson, American boxer (WBC Light heavyweight title 1978; WBA Light heavyweight title 1979-80, 86-87), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1956-08-23 David Wolf, American astronaut (STS 58, sk: 89/91), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1958-10-13 Maria Cantwell, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1959-04-10 Babyface [Kenneth Edmonds], American Grammy Award-winning R&B singer, songwriter ("Every Time I Close My Eyes") and record producer (Boyz II Men; Whitney Houston; Ariana Grande; Eric Clapton), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1960-10-25 Scott Anthony Haneline, murderer (FBI Most Wanted List), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1961-08-26 Jeff Parrett, American pitcher (St Louis Cardinals), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1961-11-24 Carl Sundquist, cyclist (Olympics 1996), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1965-07-12 Russ Bertram, American diver (Olympics 1996), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1966-10-28 Tim Bogar, infielder (NY Mets), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1967-04-27 Jason Whitlock, American sports journalist, born in Indianapolis, Indiana

Brendan FraserBrendan Fraser (53 years old)

1968-12-03 American actor (Encino Man; The Mummy films; Gods and Monsters), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 1969-08-05 Kenny Irwin Jr., American auto racer (USAC National Midget Champion 1996; NASCAR 87 starts), born in Indianapolis, Indiana (d. 2000)
  • 1970-06-28 Steve Burton, American actor (Chris-Out of this World), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1971-01-11 Stephen Smith, high jumper, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1971-03-13 Ryan Hayden, American athlete, 400m hurdler, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1971-04-24 Ken Klee, NHL defenseman (Washington Capitals), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1971-09-06 Holli Hyche, American runner, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1972-09-08 Kennedy [Lisa Kennedy Montgomery], American political commentator and television personality, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1973-11-21 Brook Kerr, American actress (Passions), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1977-08-23 Jared Fogle, American spokesperson known as the Subway Guy, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1977-08-24 John Green, American author (The Fault in Our Stars) and vlogger, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1977-09-05 Rosevelt Colvin, American football linebacker (Super Bowl 2003, 04; NE Patriots) and analyst (Big Ten Network), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1979-09-26 Jaycie Phelps, American gymnast (Olympic gold team 1996), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1988-12-25 Eric Gordon, American basketball guard (NBA 6th Man of the Year, NBA 3-Point Contest champion 2017; Houston Rockets), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1990-01-15 Chris Warren Jr., American actor, born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1993-05-25 Dilley sextuplets, American sextuplets (United States' first set of surviving sextuplets), born in Indianapolis, Indiana

Famous Weddings

Mike Pence

1985-06-08 Future US Vice President Mike Pence (25) weds Karen Batten (26) at Indianapolis, Indiana

  • 2005-10-22 "Extra" reporter Carlos Diaz weds Adrienne Allen at Union Station's Grand Hall in Indianapolis, Indiana

Famous Deaths

Benjamin HarrisonBenjamin Harrison (1833-1901)

1901-03-13 23rd President of the United States (Republican: 1889-93), dies in Indianapolis at 67