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POPULAR INDIANA DESTINATIONS
The Westin Indianapolis 50 South Capitol Ave. Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 Phone: (317) 262-8100 Fax: (317) 231-3928 (check availability & rates)
Thanks to an early nineteenth-century influx of northward migrants, much of INDIANA still displays vestiges of the easygoing South. Among these early settlers was the family of Abraham Lincoln, who set up home near the present village of Santa Claus in 1816 and stayed for fourteen years before moving to Illinois. Unlike the abolitionist Lincolns, many brought slaves to this new territory; Indiana allowed a system of "voluntary servitude" to operate until 1843. At the outbreak of the Civil War, thousands of ex-Southerners rioted against the draft, in part expressing a concern that Indiana was every bit as subservient to the northeast as Deep South slaves were to their masters. However, since the 1870s, industrialization has integrated Indiana into the regional economy. The sports-happy state is at the forefront of the nation in automobile racing and high school basketball.
Despite some beautiful dunes and beaches, the most lasting memories provided by Indiana's fifty-mile lakeshore (by far the shortest of the Great Lake states) are of the grimy steel mills and poverty-stricken neighborhoods of towns like Gary and East Chicago . In northern Indiana, the area in and around Elkhart and Goshen contains one of the nation's largest Amish settlements.
The central plains are characterized by small market towns, except for the sprawling capital, Indianapolis , which has brightened up its downtown in recent years to the point that it's not a bad stopover. Hilly southern Indiana, at its most appealing in the fall, is a welcome contrast to the central cornbelt, boasting several quaint towns such as Nashville, Vincennes, Madison and Corydon .
Thriving Columbus exhibits a great array of contemporary architecture for such a small city, and former resort town West Baden Springs is restoring the elegant hotel that made it famous.
Dozens of explanations have been offered as to why residents of the state are called " Hoosiers "; the most believable is that its use spread from the days of the Ohio Falls Canal construction in the 1820s, when a contractor, Samuel Hoosier, gave employment preference to those living on the Indiana side of the Ohio River.
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