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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 Indiana. 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.
Nine interstates - five of them slicing through Indianapolis
- provide boring but fast ways of traversing Indiana. Greyhound
runs frequent services, particularly on I-65 between Chicago
and Louisville and I-70 between the East and St Louis. Indianapolis,
Michigan City and South Bend are the major stops on the three
different Amtrak routes that cut through the state. Flights
from most Midwestern and Eastern cities land at Indianapolis
International Airport .
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