THIS WEEK

IN INDIANA HISTORY


MAY 19 - MAY 25


1856     A post office was established in the newly-named town of Santa Claus in Spencer County.  The previous name, Santa Fe, was changed since there was already a town by that name in Miami County.  In the early 1930’s, the town was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  That Christmas, the post office received thousands of letters to Old St. Nick, a tradition which has continued to today.  

 1919     Madam C. J Walker died in Irvington, New York.  At the time of her death, she was considered the wealthiest self-made woman in America.  She had amassed a fortune from her Indianapolis cosmetics and hair-care business.  Her legacy includes the Walker Theater on Indiana Avenue. 

 1921     Wonder Bread was introduced by the Taggart Bakery in Indianapolis.  The name was inspired by the “wonder” of the International Balloon Race at the Speedway.  At first, the bread was sold as a whole loaf.  The “pre-sliced” product was introduced in the 1930s.

 1929     Ceremonies were held at Garfield Park in Indianapolis for the re-dedication of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which had been moved from the old Greenlawn Cemetery.  The memorial is for the 1,616 soldiers who died at Camp Morton, a Civil War prison camp on the north side of the city.

 1938     Novelist Thomas Wolfe was the featured speaker at a literary banquet in the Memorial Union Building at Purdue University.  Dr. E. C. Elliott, University President, was the toastmaster at the event.  Wolfe spoke on the topic of “Writing and Living,” drawing upon his own works, experiences, and convictions.

 1954     Comedians Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, according to the newspaper, “hit like a tornado, and aroused drivers, mechanics, officials, and a swarm of spectators with their antics.”  They took a spin around the track in the pace car, a yellow 1954 Dodge Royal.