The city of Indianapolis was founded in January 1821, when the need for a centrally located government headquarters became apparent. The area where the city is located today was once home to the Lenape (nation of Delaware), a native tribe that lived along the White River. The diary of Calvin Fletcher, one of the first prominent residents of Indianapolis, provides us with details of the city's early history. Indianapolis has been closely associated with politics since its election as the seat of the Indiana government in the 1820s. It also became a major railroad transportation hub for the region and a center for civic and cultural affairs.
In the 1820s, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists established the first religious congregations in Indianapolis. Other groups, including Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Lutherans, Catholics, Congregationalists, Quakers, Universalists, Unitarians, and Jewish congregations were established in Indianapolis before the Civil War. The Indiana State Fair has been held annually in Indianapolis since 1852 and the Indianapolis 500 race was first held in 1911. The Indianapolis Torngemeinde (185 or Turners) merged with other German clubs and became known as the Indianapolis Social Turnverein. In order to consolidate the city and county's budgetary functions, an act was passed by the Indiana General Assembly. This act allowed for the City-County Council to vote to consolidate the Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff's Department.
It also allowed for consolidation of the Indianapolis Fire Department with the fire departments of the individual municipalities based on approval from affected parties. Today, Indianapolis is a modern city with a long and fascinating history. From its humble beginnings as a government headquarters to its current status as a transportation hub and center for civic and cultural affairs, Indianapolis has come a long way since its early days as home to a native tribe.