HOOSIER HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS: The Spanish Flu Comes To Indiana


September 26 – October 2

The Week in Indiana History


1858     The Metropolitan, the first theater in Indianapolis, opened its doors to the public.  Located on the northeast corner of Washington and Tennessee Street (now Capitol Avenue,) it was described by the newspaper as “the most elegant theater in the West.”  For the premiere performance, a cast of 23 actors presented two plays:  a drama titled Love’s Sacrifice and a comedy called My Neighbor’s Wife, described as “a laughable farce.”


1881     Indiana Governor Albert Porter and other state officials traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to attend the funeral of President James A. Garfield.  The President had died from infection caused by an assassin’s bullet.  He had been shot in the Washington train station two months earlier.  Governor Porter issued a proclamation encouraging the cessation of all business throughout the state on the afternoon of the funeral. Pictured:  James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States.  


1918     The first cases of Spanish Influenza were reported in Indianapolis.  The health department issued orders effectively closing all schools, theaters, and churches.  Many businesses shut down and postal workers were ordered to wear facial masks.  The city would have over 6,000 influenza cases over the next two months.  Statewide, over 3,200 Hoosiers died from the illness.  Pictured:  The headline from the Brazil (IN) Daily Times. 

Elfrieda1934     Elfrieda Mais LaPlante was killed while driving a stunt car through a wall of fire at the Alabama State Fairgrounds.  Born and raised in Indianapolis, she was billed as the “only woman auto racer in the world.”  She had an adventure-filled life as a “wing walker” on airplanes, a race driver, and a stunt car star.

carl1953     Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine set a baseball World Series record with 14 strikeouts in one game.  He led the team to a win over the New York Yankees by a score of 3 to 2.  Erskine, from Anderson, Indiana, spent his entire career with the Dodgers, from 1948 to 1959.  He was the pitching mainstay in winning five National League pennants.


2018     Governor Eric Holcomb took part in the official commissioning of the new USS Indiana at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  A fast-attack submarine, the vessel is powered by a nuclear reactor that can go three decades without refueling.  The governor told the service members, “Your crew is a lot bigger than you think. . . it is 6 million strong because there are 6.6 million Hoosiers who are proud of the USS Indiana.


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Indiana Statehouse Tour Office

Indiana Department of Administration

Visitors are welcome at the  Indiana Statehouse Monday through Saturday.  For more information, please contact the tour office.

(317) 233-5293

Indiana Quick Quiz

Name the sport for each of the Hoosier athletes below.

1.  Bob Griese

2.  Lilly King

3.  Don Mattingly

4.  LaTaunya Pollard

Answers Below

Hoosier Quote of the Week


“How I shall rejoice to see the dry land.. . . we have had a most calm and prosperous voyage, and the thought of seeing the green earth again is inspiriting.”

– – – Susan Wallace (1830 – 1907)

While her husband, General Lew Wallace, was famous as the author of Ben Hur, Susan Wallace was a popular writer in her own right.  The above passage is from a travel book entitled The Storied Sea, which told of her trip from New York to Ireland.

Did You Know?

     The Indiana Center for the Book is holding an Essay Competition to commemorate Indiana’s 205th birthday.  The Statehood Essay theme this year is “Indiana’s Great Outdoors.”  The contest is open to all Indiana fourth graders.  The first-place winner receives a CollegeChoice 529 deposit of $250.  The second, third, and fourth-place winners each receive CollegeChoice deposits of $150.  Essays must range from 100 to 350 words, handwritten or typed, and must be submitted with an entry form.  The deadline is October 22.  For more information, follow the link below.

Follow this link to learn more about the Statehood Essay Contest


You don’t have to look for work if you live on a farm.

Kin Hubbard, The Indianapolis News,August 26, 1920


ANSWERS:  1. Football    2.Swimming     3. Baseball 4.Basketball