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Indiana State Library

Library > Collections > Rare Books & Manuscripts > Centennial Indiana > Other Centennial Celebrations Other Centennial Celebrations

In addition to celebrations in honor of Indiana's centennial , communities around the state have celebrated their centennials through pageants and other programs. What follows is a small selection of centennial celebrations held by cities and towns in Indiana.

Hammond's Fiftieth Anniversary

Hammond program

The fiftieth anniversary of Hammond was held June 25 to July 1, 1933. It celebrated the incorporation of Hammond as a city in 1883 and the program was filled with stories of the community, family histories, and other notable incidents in town history. By the 1930s these programs were no longer free to anyone, but had a price of 10 cents and contained many advertisements. As part of the celebration a historical pageant was produced that included the following scenes:

  • The entrance of Miss Hammond to review the pageant
  • The entrance of Father Time and a Creation Ballet
  • Indian camp life
  • The pioneers and their struggles
  • The first school
  • The Civil War
  • The first wedding in town
  • The Melting Pot of Nations

Indianapolis Centennial

Indianapolis programThe Centennial of the founding of Indianapolis was held June 8, 1920 at the State Fair Coliseum. Compared to many of the Statehood Centennial celebrations, the Indianapolis Centennial was not quite as reverent with its subject matter. William Bates, the author, felt that "quite a number of quaint and amusing things have happened in Indianapolis within the past hundred years, and if some of them have crept into this picture they may be welcomed by those who delight not in dry-as-dust annals." More attention was paid to early events rather than those remembered by the still living, and "in doing so only a general sequence of events has been attempted, and the calendar has been condensed with a freedom bordering upon disrespect." Some of the events they portrayed included the following:

  • An Indian chant
  • Settling of Pioneers
  • An attack by an Indian looking for whisky
  • Platting the town with a roll-call of prominent early settlers
  • An interpretive dance with the enemies of mud and malaria
  • Finishing the Madison Railroad
  • The Civil War
  • A Ballet of gifts to the city

Lafayette-Tippecanoe County Centennial

Lafayette program

The historical pageant of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County to mark their centennial was held September 29-30, 1925 at the Tippecanoe County fairgrounds. The pageant began with Queen Nature in the Primitive Northwest calling the spirits of the seasons and the spirit of the Wabash in an interpretive dance. Other scenes historic events represented in the pageant included the following:

  • French Jesuits and Traders Visit Ouiatenon
  • French and British control of Ouiatenon
  • Destruction of Ouiatenon
  • Prophet's Town
  • Battle of Tippecanoe
  • Early settlement and pioneer home life
  • Laying out Lafayette
  • Deportation of the Pottawottomies
  • The Civil War
  • Founding Purdue University
  • The World War
  • Victory and Eternal Peace

New Harmony Centennial

New Harmony programThe New Harmony Centennial Pageant was celebrated on June 6-13, 1914. The text of the pageant was written by Charity Dye, a high school teacher in Indianapolis who was known statewide for the pageants she produced each year. This was intended to be a solemn, high-class celebration, "such as would reflect credit upon the community, the state and nation." To achieve these means the planning commission made an effort to eliminate any objectionable features from the pageant to make sure it would be uplifting and educational. The significance of New Harmony to the history of the state was considered so important that anything less would have failed to honor the community properly.

Pageant of the Dunes

Pageant of the Dunes program

The Pageant of the Dunes was held May 30 and June 3, 1917. This was not a production related to a centennial, but it is part of the group of historical pageants that were held immediately around the Indiana Statehood Centennial. The goal of this pageant was to raise awareness of the natural beauty of the dunes and to establish a State Park to protect them. It was put together through a joint effort of Hoosiers from Lake and Porter Counties and nearby citizens of Chicago. Some of the historical events they depicted included the following:

  • The French Settlement Period
  • Father Marquette and the Indians
  • The Fort at Saint Joseph
  • Interpretive Dances of the Dunes

Putnam County Centennial

Putnam County program

The Putnam County Centennial was celebrated on October 24, 1924. The pageant program described several episodes of Putnam County history including the following:

  • Native American Camp
  • Pioneers arriving in covered wagons & cooking over fires
  • Putnam County School
  • Circuit Riders
  • First Sunday School
  • Founding DePauw University
  • Social Life
  • Wars

Wabash

Wabash program

The Wabash Centennial was held July 24-28, 1935. The theme of this celebration was Wabash's claim as "The First Electrically Lighted City in the World." The planning committee included several, brief essays on highpoints in Wabash history. Events that occurred in connection to the Centennial were the coronation of the centennial Queen; a children's parade; a ball; illuminated parade; cross country run & swimming exhibition; an all day religious observation; and the dedication of the Light Memorial. In 1916 Wabash had marked the State Centennial with the erection of a monument to Paradise Spring treaty and water source near the rail station. Scenes that were included in the pageant included the following:

  • The Dawn of creation & interpretive dances
  • Battle of Mississinewa
  • Frances Slocum
  • Early settlement of Wabash
  • Wabash & Erie Canal
  • The Civil War
  • Tribute to Gene Stratton Porter
  • The Gay 90s
  • Spanish-American War
  • The World War
  • Hope for Peace/Evolution of Living