Monday, July 17, 2023

Indiana Times

After seeing the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, OH, we found the hotel we had reserved and got settled in before going to dinner.  We found a favorite restaurant- Longhorn Steakhouse - and enjoyed a quiet evening. The next morning we left for Indianapolis and the state capital.  One of our goals is to visit all 50 state capitols.  It’s a quest we started while we were on the road full-time in the Roadrunner.

We had an uneventful two-hour drive heading east on I-70.  We found a parking garage across the street from the capitol and approached the grounds.  

When we visit a state capitol, we want to get a general sense of the “mood” of the place which sometimes depends on the time of the year we are there. This capitol seemed uplifting, organized, open, clean and beautiful.

We had good timing and joined a tour of the building that was forming up.  There was only another person on the tour was a lady, and the tour guide.  

We learned that the state has had three capital locations.  The original capitol in Corydon, IN which still stands.  It was a modest two-story limestone structure built while Indiana was still a territory in 1813.  
Indiana became a state in 1816.

In 1831, funds were approved for the construction of a larger facility which was completed in 1835.  That building was not well built and suffered from inferior limestone which deteriorated to a point the building was condemned in 1877 and razed shortly thereafter.  A new building was constructed on the same site and it was completed in 1888.

The building was constructed in the shape of a cross and made of marble, granite and limestone.   It reached 256’ high.  A large rotunda in the center connects four wings and the building is four stories high.  The dome on top can be seen for miles.

In 1988 workers began a seven-year, extensive renovations began which included all of the stonework cleaned and polished. Also the building’s woodwork was cleaned, repaired and polished. Glass that was broken or damaged in the central dome skylight was replaced.  Chandeliers were updated based on original designs.  Additionally, the building was wired for a new data network.  It all cost about $11M.  

It was worth every cent.  The building inside and out was strikingly beautiful and making it in our mind, one of the top tier most beautiful capitols in our nation.  I haven’t counted lately, but I’m guessing we have seen more than half of the country’s seats' of government.

We entered the building on the first floor before going to the tour office on the second floor.
The second floor also contains the Governor’s and related executive offices.  The third floor is where we spent most of our time:  in the House on the east side, the Senate on the west, and the Supreme Court which is located on the north end.

One thing we immediately noticed was the wide openness of each floor. And of course the main attraction is the central rotunda with the stained glass ceiling.

We made our way to the Governors office and were immediately struck by the beauty of the wood carved conference table at one end of the room.

The 16’ table was carved/built by prisoners from a state correctional facility.  Amazingly it is made from  cherry, oak, tulip poplar, black walnut, white pine, and maple.  It displays all 92 state counties and the official state seal.
Next we went over to the House of Representatives chambers.  It also is a beautiful room with lots of intricate and attractive woodworking as well as a large mural on the front wall: Spirit of Indiana
The Senate chambers were in another wing on the same floor. Though smaller, it was also very attractive.
The Supreme Court is in another wing.  
Some of the chairs in the gallery date back to the mid 1800s.
After the tour we walked a few blocks over to the War Memorial building which houses the Liberty Bell replica.  
Each state capitol was given a replica of the original Liberty Bell as part of a bond fund raising effort by the U.S. government in 1950.  Each capital has the bell on display somewhere.  It is a bit like hide-and-seek.
Some are in places of prominence, others in obscure locations. Some are inside others are outside on the capitol grounds.  Indiana has there’s on display a few blocks away in the War Memorial building.  
We tracked it down and found it!  And checked it off the list. Read more about the replica Liberty Bells here.

After that, we ate sandwiches for lunch which Pam prepared and then drove on to South Bend Indiana, home of two more places on our sight-seeing list:  the University of Notre Dame and the Studebaker museum.

Read about it in upcoming editions of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Thanks for reading today.  We especially enjoy your comments - keep them coming!


  1. Another great update! I’m from Indiana and it has been since school age since I’ve been in the capital.

  2. Kathy Blakeney ThompsonJuly 17, 2023 at 10:50 AM

    My stepfather was from Corydon and we had some interesting trips there when I was a kid. It’s been many years since I’ve been there. I remember it as a beautiful old city, well maintained. I think History was considered very important there; I remember my relatives there being very interested in antiques.

    Fun to read your travel updates. 😊

  3. Indiana Times" could refer to a newspaper, magazine, or media outlet based in the state of Indiana, USA. What Game Best It likely covers local news, events, and issues relevant to the Indiana community.