Thursday, February 02, 2012

Super Bowl and the Civil War?

The Civil War memorial in downtown Indianapolis was completed in 1902. It stands 284 1/2 feet high,
nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.
A close-up of the Indiana Civil War Memorial in Indianapolis reveals intricate carving.
The Civil War is never too far away, even when I am in Indiana for the Super Bowl. During a short lunch break (Jimmy John's tuna fish sandwich with sprouts!), I left our ESPN headquarters and ventured into the heart of downtown Indianapolis to visit the Indiana Civil War memorial. As a work of art, the memorial is impressive, especially the intricately designed, mammoth statues of soldiers mounted on the south side.

Estes Wallingford, a lieutenant in the 33rd Indiana, died of
smallpox in 1864. This small plaque in his memory is on
a step leading to the top of the memorial.
As a venue for an afternoon workout, it's impressive too. Taking the advice of a friendly Indianapolis woman -- are there any other kind? -- I climbed the stairs of the 284 1/2-foot memorial to check out the view from the top of what once was the tallest structure in the city. Each step along the journey includes a small plaque denoting those who donated to repair the memorial or in memory of a soldier who fought during one of our wars.

Slightly winded and my heart pounding,  I snaked my way past several people and through the small opening near the top to join about 20 other visitors. The city did a terrific job sprucing up the memorial in time for the Super Bowl. After enjoying the view, I squeezed into the small elevator with three other visitors and made the quick trip to the bottom.

At the base of the monument is a small Civil War museum that includes the usual assortment of cannons, guns and accoutrements of Indiana's Civil War soldiers. The memorial was built for $598,318. According to the official site, a similar structure would cost about a $500 million today. Next time you're in Indianapolis be sure to check it out.
These huge, amazingly detailed statues are on the south side of the memorial.

The Civil War memorial was once the tallest structure in Indianapolis.


  1. Anonymous9:28 PM

    John, thanks for stopping by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis. I had a wonderful time discussing civil war history with you and hope your trip will be always memorable. I was the reenactor you spoke with on several occasions and was impressed with all the interested visitors who stopped and wantd to learn more about the city.

  2. Terri in Avon6:24 AM

    Cool that you had time to do this! Excellent photos. Incredible monument. Well done Indiana!