Profile: Indianapolis, Indiana

Brush up on the basic facts about the capital of Indiana.
By: Susan McKee
Related To:

Population: 784,000 (city); 2 million (metro area)

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5

Major Airport: Indianapolis International Airport

Companies with a Major Presence: Eli Lilly and Company, General Motors, Clarian Health, St. Vincent Health and Hospital Corp., Purdue University, Allison Transmission Inc., Rolls Royce Corp., Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and FedEx.

Indianapolis didn't start as a commercial center. There wasn't even an ancient human settlement on the site, although a significant trail used by Native Americans passed through the area. When the state of Indiana was established in 1816, its capital was near the Ohio River, in the southern part of the state.

The new state's leaders knew that if the territory was to grow and prosper, the capital city needed to be moved to the middle of the state. So a group set out on horseback in 1820 and selected a spot for a new city where Fall Creek flowed into White River, which they thought would provide a highway to the Ohio River.

The White River turned out to be too shallow for commercial navigation, but the location of the new city of Indianapolis proved a benefit in the long run. The first major road construction by the U.S. government, the National Road, passed right through town in the early 1800s, leading to a stream of settlers from the east. And the arrival of the railroad in the 1840s made Indiana's capital go boom.

Later, Indianapolis acquired the nickname of "Crossroads of America", and today rail lines and interstate highways continue its reputation as a transportation hub. The town also has a reputation as a serious sports town: It's home to the Indianapolis 500, the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.

Next Up

Indianapolis Essentials

Here are all the favorite local spots, including grocery stores, farmer's markets, bistros, parks and museums.

Indianapolis Life and Lore

Learn the resident lingo and layout to blend in with the locals.

Indianapolis: Like No Place Else

From fast cars to football, here are the things that make Indianapolis unique.

Profile: Cincinnati, Ohio

Get the 411 on Cincinnati's economy, demographics, and more.

Profile: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

It may be not be as big as its nearby cousin Chicago, but Milwaukee has an urban style all its own.

Profile: Chicago, Illinois

Take a quick look at Chicago, the third largest city in the United States.

Profile: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Study up on Minneapolis's economy, history, and more.

Profile: Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland's metropolitan area is one of the largest in the country, attracting young professionals and empty nesters alike.

Profile: Detroit, Michigan

Learn more about Motor City's history and what drives its economy today.

Profile: Kansas City, Missouri

Get a brief overview of this Midwestern city that some call the Heart of America.

On TV

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

10:30am | 9:30c

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

11:30am | 10:30c

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

12:30pm | 11:30c

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

1:30pm | 12:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

My Lottery Dream Home

8pm | 7c

My Lottery Dream Home

10:30pm | 9:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

11:30pm | 10:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

12:30am | 11:30c

My Lottery Dream Home

1:30am | 12:30c

Top GAC Shows

Flea Market Flip

Sundays at 8|7c

Living Alaska

Mondays at 9|8c

Top 20 Countdown

Consult Program Guide

Flippin' RVs

Wednesdays 9|8c

Get Social With Us

Let's explore this country together.