Many Americans choose to overlook Indiana because of its bland image, but if you take a closer look at it, you’ll realize it doesn’t need a fancy makeover to be beautiful; it has all the ingredients already. Not convinced? Check out these 30 things to know when moving to Indiana.
The name is a bit of a misnomer
If you use your basic reasoning (i.e. googling) skills, you’ll find out that “Indiana” means “Land of the Indians”. Several tribes of indigenous Americans once inhabited Indiana before colonization, but add some Europeans into the mix and let sit for 200 years, and voila! You have modern day Indiana, now with less than 7,000 people total who identify as Native American. Historical irony at its finest. It’s still a nice state though, despite the lack of its OGs.
Santa Claus is real
Well, as more of a place than a person. Anyone living in Indiana knows about Santa Claus, a small town of about 2,500 people. Home to Holiday World, the nation’s first, yes, first theme park. Holiday World still retains that nostalgic charm while boasting old time-y coasters and a huge water park perfect for the whole family. Santa Claus is also the birthplace of Smokin’ Jay Cutler, the current Chicago Bears’ QB. Fun fact: each year Santa Claus intercepts about a few thousand letters a year from hopeful kids. See what we did there? Yes, yes you did, because we italicized it.
Everyone’s a stoner
A lime-stoner that is. Though the more common name for them is “Cutters” (shortened from “stone cutter.” Indiana limestone is one of the state’s biggest exports, as the state once sat under a shallow sea millions of years ago which helped to form massive deposits of calcium-rich rock. Indiana limestone can be found on the Empire State Building and The Pentagon, as well as thousands of other buildings across the U.S. When you’re as productive as that, it’s okay to get the munchies.
It’s a roundball republic
Hoosiers love a good game of “put this thing in that net”, otherwise known as basketball. You’ll be hard pressed to find a house or barn door without a hoop anywhere throughout the state. Football may reign supreme elsewhere, but in Indiana, the hardwood is home. It’s not uncommon for high school gyms to be packed to the brim with spectators hoping to see the next big hometown hero.
You’ve got the best shot of going to the NBA
Remember that paragraph you just read? Well, we split it up into two sections because basketball is so important to Hoosiers. Indiana has had more NBA players per capita than any other state, with 26 out of every 1 million residents going pro. That’s 0.000026%. So we’re telling you there’s still a chance…
It makes movies better
And we’re not talking about Indiana staple “Hoosiers” starring Gene Hackman. A whopping 90% of the world’s popcorn supply comes from Indiana corn, thanks to popcorn Czar Orville Redenbacher, the folksy guy who built his fluffy, buttery empire on billions and billions of tiny explosions.
They’ve got you covered
If you’re a bridge that is, causing many to shout “Finally?! Covered Bridges?!” Indiana ranks highly on states with the most covered bridges, with over 130 across its roughly 36,500 square miles. When bridges are covered, the trusses aren’t as subject to erosional forces such as wind and water, causing the lifespan of the bridge to increase tenfold. Are you still awake? Great, let’s cross this bridge to the next item.
It’s hard on crime
In an interesting provision to Indiana’s public decency laws, it’s illegal for a man to become excited in public, specifically under the jeans. Anyone violator of this law will be prosecuted to the er, well… fullest extent of the law.
It’s surprisingly stunning
Indiana has a reputation for being flat and barren, which much of the northern part it is. Central and southern Indiana, however, are home to several beautiful state parks and national forests, including Hoosier National Forest, Brown County State Park, and Turkey Run State Park. Indiana’s small, but mighty coastline up north is also home to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a stunning geographic landscape more reminiscent of a deserted island than a midwestern flyover state.
The residents think big
Hoosiers are so proud of their limestone that they once tried to erect a smaller scale replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The project came under heavy fire after the general population learned the builders received a few hundred grand in federal funding, prompting the plans to be staunchly halted. Fittingly, the replica pyramid was scheduled to be built in Needmore, Indiana. Starting a project and not finishing? Now that’s more like a stoner.
Single guys have great odds
“Single men sure have it rough!” said very few people who understand how society works. Regardless, if you’re a single man looking for a single woman, Indiana’s a(nother) great spot for you. Indianapolis has one of the highest single female to single male ratios in the nation. Ladies, there’s an upside, too. Indy also has one of the highest relationship conversion rates, meaning that when you land a man, he’s more likely to be in it for the long haul.
Everyone hates Daylight Savings Time
You can drive down the western edge of Indiana and switch time zones twice. As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, Indiana just started observing Daylight Savings Time in 2006, causing many Hoosiers to long for a simpler time when clocks didn’t have to be changed. Listen, we know it’s only twice a year, but IT’S REALLY INCONVENIENT, OKAY?!
It’s the middle child of the Midwest
Illinois picks on Indiana, Indiana picks on Kentucky, and Kentucky is too drunk on bourbon to realize the derby ended six months ago. Hoosiers are good-natured enough to be able to laugh at themselves, but they can still dish it out to our neighbors to the south. Never being at the top, but never being at the bottom makes Hoosiers humble, happy, and confident enough to not care what anyone else thinks. They love Indiana, and that’s all that matters.
“In the barn” and “going alone” are good things
If this photo is heaven and you know what either of these phrases mean, chances are you’ve played the unofficial state card game of Indiana, Euchre. We’d explain it, but it would take a couple of hours and a few practice rounds. The basics: you only use about half the regular deck of cards, and you’ll need a partner. Euchre is a beloved pastime you won’t find outside of the midwest. Just don’t ask us what it means.
You can call yourself a Hoosier
Never call yourself an “Indianan”. That’s not a thing. No one can agree on what a Hoosier really is, except that it’s definitely a person from Indiana. You’ll hear a lot of different origin stories for the term, some with people shouting “Who’s here?!” or “Whose ear?!” or any number or ridiculous, homophonic phrases. They’re all technically “right”, but none of them make any real sense.
That fizzy, carbonated beverage? It’s pop. Or maybe beer, or possibly LaCroix. Whatever it is, it’s not soda, unless you’re far south enough in Indiana, in which case it may be called soda. You know what? We’re overanalyzing this and you’re probably just better off referring to it by the name brand.
Part of Indiana is just Chicago
Called “The Region” by Hoosiers, it’s the patch of northwest Indiana that’s in the central timezone just because so many people who live there commute to Chicago. “The Region” is about as exotic as it sounds, with sights such as Gary, Hammond, and La Porte making up the hotbeds of activity in the area. By hotbeds of activity, we mean casinos.
Everyone loves this Mann…ing
Even when he’s selling pizza, car insurance, or playing for a team located over 1,000 miles away from Indianapolis. Number 18 is a Hoosier hero and despite being traded to the Broncos to make room for a younger buck named Andrew Luck, Colts fans still love him. Manning almost single-handedly made Indy a football city and brought a super bowl home to Naptown in 2006. Just like Nationwide, they’ll always be on his side.
South Bend is not where you think
Common logic tells you that a state names a city in relation to itself, not other states. Not in Indiana. South Bend, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, is technically one of the most northern cities in all of Indiana. It’s named for being located at the south bend of Michigan, lending itself to the classic* Indiana colloquialism “one man’s South Bend is another man’s North Bend.”
*made up for this article
Amish people aren’t a big deal
Quit freaking out. Yeah, there are a ton of Amish people in Indiana and they come into town occasionally to buy food and supplies. They also love state parks. Get over it and climb back in your Prius, hipster.
The mascots are weird, but you’ll get used to it
Which one of these is a beloved college mascot in Indiana?
A) An ornery foreigner
B) A sappy leaf
C) An old train
D) A local man
E) All of the above?
The Fighting Irish, The Sycamores, The Boilermakers, and the Hoosiers are all college mascots in Indiana. There are some bulldogs and cardinals in there as well, but most institutions of higher learning appear to have chosen a mascot by selecting whatever was directly in front of them at the time. The pro teams follow suit with the “Little Horses” (Colts-NFL) and “Pace Cars” (Pacers-NBA).
I-69 is one of the many interstates that bisects Indiana, earning the state the thrilling nickname of “The Crossroads of America”. However, the construction of I-69 has raised quite the stir across small towns who aren’t as thrilled about multiple lanes of cross country traffic cutting through their backyards, hunting properties, and rural roads.
The winter is gray-t
If you like cloud watching, you’ll love winter in Indiana. November through March will have you exclaiming things like “That one looks like a never-ending expanse of grey ether!” and “That one completely blocks out the sun and has been here for months!” Sometimes, a thick snow will break up the gray monotony of winter and you can sled your sorrows away and enjoy your land of darkness for at least a few hours.
Haters are welcome
Hoosiers have heard it all. It’s safe to say that most have never heard a positive thing about Indiana outside of what other Hoosiers have said, but they love it and don’t really give a damn whether you do or not. If you don’t like it, there are 41 other less populous states to choose from. That’s right, Indiana is the 11th largest state population wise. How ‘bout that, Kentucky?
These Dan Quayle quotes
Dan Quayle is a native Hoosier and was the 44th Vice President of the United States. A lot of Hoosiers won’t proudly claim him because he was infamous for his sincere misspeaks and the hilarious, awkward results. Check out the top five actual Dan Quayle quotes below:
- “It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.”
- “The Holocaust was an obscene period in this nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.”
- “My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will, never, never surrender to what is right.”
- “I was known as the chief grave robber of my state.”
- “I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.”
You can visit Lincoln’s boyhood home
It’s an unwritten law that any state with a connection to Abe Lincoln must exploit it and Indiana is no different. While Illinois may be where Lincoln was born and served, he was in fact raised in southern Indiana where visitors can check out the place where Honest Abe was once Awkward Abe.
Indiana has been an incubator for several legendary musicians, including John Mellencamp, Axl Rose, and Michael Jackson (RIP). Fans of classical music might know Indiana-born and world renowned violinist Joshua Bell, famous for his “violinist on the street” video that went viral when thousands unknowingly passed him by while giving a free concert at a Washington DC train platform. To be fair, he wasn’t wearing his typical classical violinist’s jersey (i.e. tuxedo).
Don’t sweat the stereotypes
Indiana has drawn a lot of negative publicity as housing a bigoted population not accepting of others. While there are certainly many people behind the times in the Hoosier state, most residents are kind, good-hearted people with open minds. In fact, Bloomington, home of Indiana University, consistently ranks as one of the most LGBT-friendly small towns in the country.
It’s health conscious
Indiana is home to Eli Lilly, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers. The company produces a variety of uplifting drugs, such antidepressants Prozac and Cymbalta, as well as the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis.
The 500 does happen
It wouldn’t be a proper Indiana list without at least mentioning the Indianapolis 500, probably one of the only things that brings Indiana to the national spotlight other than crazy politicians. The Indy 500 is no doubt one of the greatest spectacles in all of sports, but you’d be hard pressed to find a large faction of Hoosiers who pay attention to Indycar racing outside of 500 weekend. During 500 weekend though, it’s as if the state’s future depended on it. Behold, the power of beer.
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