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Travel back in time at historic sites in Indiana and learn more about the heritage of the Hoosier State. Angel Mounds State Historic Site near Evansville is one of the best preserved Native American sites in the United States. Explore over 600 acres of trails and visit the gift shop for books, souvenirs, and gifts. Anderson’s West Eighth Street Historic District is a must for architecture buffs. Take a self-guided tour of structures built during the gas boom era and see excellent examples of Colonial Revival, Free Classic, and Queen Anne styles. Meyers Castle in Dyer is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The ornate Jacobean castle was built between 1921 and 1931 and is now used for parties and special events. Have lunch at the on-site restaurant or stroll the surrounding gardens. The Ruthmere Mansion in Elkhart is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a guided tour of the mansion’s interior from April-December or enjoy a self-guided tour of the grounds. Downtown Indy is home to the USS Indianapolis National Memorial and the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza. Explore five blocks of memorials honoring veterans.
Angel Mounds State Historic Site
Named after the Angel family, the Angel Mounds State Historic Site is located on land that the Angel family owned for over 100 years before it was named a historic site. The site runs along the Ohio River in southern Indiana through Evansville.
Nationally recognized as one of the most well preserved prehistoric Native American sites, it holds great historical significance to the history of Native Americans in the United States as far back as 1,000 A.D. Angel Mounds is currently operated by Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation with help from a 501(c)3 called Friends of Angel Mounds who raises funds and volunteers for events.
The site has over 600 acres of walking trails. Group tours and field trips are also offered by Angel Mounds. A visit to the gift shop is a great way to end a visit to Angel Mounds and pick up a variety of merchandise, including literature to learn more about the rich history of the site.
Soldiers & Sailors Monument
The Soldiers & Sailors Monument, towers the heart of downtown Indianapolis, at 284 feet tall. Designed by German Architect Bruno Schmitz, the first cornerstone of the monument was laid in 1889. This neoclassical monument was completed in 1901 to honor the Hoosiers, state veterans of the American Revolution.
A list of Indiana soldiers, a national flag, copies of newspapers and the Constitution of Indiana, are housed in a copper box inside the monument.
While in Indianapolis, enjoy strolling the grounds of Monument Circle to view the monument, its pristine fountains and the bronze statues of William Henry Harrison, George Rogers Clark, James Whitcomb and Oliver Morton. The statues are located on the side of the monument.
Visit the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, located in the basement of the monument, to learn more about the history of the American Civil War.
For an incredible birds-eye view of the city, climb the 331 stairs or take the elevator to the observation deck, at the top of the monument. Don't forget your camera to capture a great shot of "the Circle City." If visiting downtown Indianapolis during the holiday season, join in the annual Circle of Lights tradition, to see over 4,500 lights adorn the monument.
West Eighth Street Historic District
Established in spring of 1981, the West Eighth Street Historic District is a staple of the city of Anderson in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. As the first historic district to be recorded on the National Register of Historic Places, the West Eighth Street Historic District is a gathering of parks, buildings, and churches – many of which are over 100 years old.
Architecture aficionados may admire the nearly 200 structures in this historic district, most of which were constructed in the gas boom era in Queen Anne, Free Classic, and Colonial Revival styles. Be sure to enjoy a self-guided walking tour of West Eighth Street Historic District.
Built between 1921 and 1931 for Joseph Meyer, the finished castle was considered the most lavish mansion south of Chicago in the northern Indiana region. Today, the Jacobean castle is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is the host of many wedding and party receptions.
The castle is also an excellent place to host large events, corporate meetings, parties, and conferences near Schererville – check out the notable oak paneling interior. And whether you are just visiting or attending an event, round out your visit with the grounds' Argentinean Rodizo restaurant, gardens, and lounge.
A famous historic residence in Elkhart, the Ruthmere Mansion offers guests tours throughout the three-story mansion and its gardens. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ruthmere Mansion is also one of northern Indiana's most popular venues for weddings, events, and public programs.
Ruthmere is open to the public from April 1 to December 30 and is open from Tuesday through Saturdays. You can only experience the inside of the mansion through a guided tour, but you are free to take a self-guided tour on the outside grounds. Tours generally start on the hour every hour.
Indiana World War Memorial Plaza
While visiting the Capital City of Indianapolis, schedule plenty of time to learn about its rich history. Make your way to the center of downtown Indianapolis to tour the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the USS Indianapolis National Memorial and the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza.
This five block plaza, encompassing twenty-four acres of land, is the second largest area containing monuments devoted to veterans, following Washington D.C.
As early as 1919, plans were made to construct the plaza. By 1921, the plaza was dedicated with the first cornerstone laid, beginning the construction project. The plaza is home to the American Legion Mall, containing two buildings used by the American Legion, including one for the American Legion national headquarters, and Cenotaph Square, a sunken garden with a granite cenotaph in the center.
Veterans Memorial Plaza features an 100-foot granite obelisk and a fountain, while University Park features statues of Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Schuyler Colfax and the Depew Memorial Fountain. The 210-foot tall neoclassical Indiana World War Memorial Building, the centerpiece of the plaza, honors World War I Hoosier veterans and contains the Indiana War Memorial Museum. Be sure to view the beautiful Shrine Room, containing the Star of Destiny and an Altar of Consecration below the United States flag.
Wabash & Erie Canal
Step back in time when you visit this restored section of the Wabash & Erie Canal. Once a vital shipping link because the Great Lakes and the Ohio River, the canal was the longest canal ever built in North America.
Now, the preserved section in northern Indiana's Delphi features an interpretive center, boat tours, and a pioneer village. Glimpse a portrait of the life and economy of 1850's Indiana - guests can ride a canal boat down the canal, explore the restored living quarters of an authentic canal boat at the interpretive center and gaze at informative exhibits.
Finally, watch all those elements come together at the reconstructed pioneer village. The canal is located near Lafayette.
The nation's first historic cemetery trail, the Tombstone Trail covers 10 cemetery locations and spans 85 miles in the northern Indiana region. Visitors to the trail can choose to explore the cemeteries on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour – in either case, you will have the chance to hear and read stories of past achievements, lives and experiences.
Relive the centuries amongst these cities of stones stretched out beside U.S. Highway 6 and State Road 9 near Kendallville. Self-guided tour passes are available per cemetery location or an all tour package – guided tours are available at select cemeteries. Group guided tours of 10 or more are also available – make sure to reserve beforehand.