Plans of the Centennial Committee
Planning for the 1916 Statehood Centennial began in 1911 with the creation of a Centennial Committee. This Committee was made up of representative men from each Congressional District in Indiana, including the President of Indiana University, William L. Bryan; Winthrop Stone, President of Purdue University; Judge Andrew Adams of Columbia City; and editor of the Corydon Democrat, Lew O'Bannon.
The 1911 Legislature allowed for this Committee to recommend a site for a celebration and to suggest a permanent memorial to mark the occasion of the Centennial. While the Committee was empowered to select a site, it was not allowed to actually plan anything. Because of this, it was the feeling of the Committee that a Library and Museum should be erected--
"A splendid Library and Museum of the monumental design and fitting environment contemplated, will supply an urgent present need, typifying the patriotic and intelligent spirit of the Commonwealth today; and stand a hundred years hence to proclaim with dignity the high character and citizenship in 1916."
Caption: The Great Question, Where to Put 'Em? Drawn by Gaar Williams
Source: Suggestive Plans for a Historical and Educational Celebration in Indiana in 1916. Prepared by the Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, 1912. Page 16.
Centennial Committee Resolutions
Because its powers were limited, the Committee adopted the following resolutions:
- To endorse the construction of a State Historical Library and Museum, "of ample size, artistic design and proper setting for architectural effect, as a permanent memorial to the Centennial."
- To hold a celebration that would typify the history of Indiana in an educational way, especially pageants, which would call the attention of the public to the development and growth of Indiana.
- To secure the construction of a Coliseum and music hall in conjunction with the Historical Library and Museum to house historical, educational, and artistic exhibits.
- To harmonize and coordinate efforts of the State Boards of Education, Agriculture, Health, Charities, and the Indiana Historical Society.
- And to do all of this in the most economic fashion of all.
Caption: An adequate Convention Hall in Indianapolis is a pressing need both for the city and State, which must and will be met by the public-spirited citizenship of Indianapolis in ample time for the Centennial Celebration. Drawn by Frank Bowers.
Source: Suggestive Plans for a Historical and Educational Celebration in Indiana in 1916. Prepared by the Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, 1912. Page 123.
Another plan of the committee was to establish a fund for the purchase of important manuscripts, relics, fossils, or artwork for the museum. The fund also could serve to supply prize money for essay contests that would promote the Centennial across the state.
To the committee this was Indiana's opportunity to outshine similar events in New York City and Quebec, to welcome all Hoosiers back to the state of their nativity, and to observe in a patriotic fashion how far the development of the State had come in 100 years.
Caption: Welcome Home! in 1916. Drawn by Frank Bowers.
Source: Suggestive Plans for a Historical and Educational Celebration in Indiana in 1916. Prepared by the Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, 1912. Page 126.
Caption: Proposed Plaza to the west of the State House in which it was suggested that Indiana, Indianapolis and Marion County should bear a proportionate expense, to the end that the splendid Capitol Building should be protected from objectionable environmental structures, and ample ground be provided for future extension of the State's buildings.
Source: Suggestive Plans for a Historical and Educational Celebration in Indiana in 1916. Prepared by the Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, 1912. Page 86.