Crazy Laws in the State of Indiana and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in the State of Indiana and Fun Facts
You won’t believe the first two crazy laws I discovered that were enacted in the state of Indiana. What were those legislators thinking? Or drinking? Or smoking?
Crazy Laws in the State of Indiana
• It is illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public.
OMG … there is a crazy law prohibiting EVERYTHING!
• Oral sex is illegal.
Told ya … there is a crazy law prohibiting everything!
• Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March.
Visitors take note. Forewarned is forearmed.
• Mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans.
But this crazy law fails to mention whether the bearer in question is male … or female ... or even human?
• Pedestrians crossing the highway at night are prohibited from wearing tail lights.
I dunno. In Sterling, Colorado, the crazy tail light law applies to cats. Were pedestrians in Indiana actually wearing tail lights at night?
• A man over the age of 18 may be arrested for statutory rape if the passenger in his car is not wearing her socks and shoes, and is under the age of 17.
What if the passenger is his small daughter? And she keeps taking off her socks and shoes?
• If any person has a puppet show, wire dancing or tumbling act in the state of Indiana and receives money for it, they will be fined $3 under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices.
So … putting on a puppet show … dancing on a wire … or tumbling on a mat … for pay are immoral? Who knew?
• Indiana has strict guidelines for fishing. It is illegal to catch a fish ‘from waters of the state’ with dynamite, a trap, a firearm, a crossbow … or your hands!
I have watched a bear catch a fish with its paws, but a person? No way!
• You cannot pull your car backwards into a parking spot since it prevents police from seeing your license plate.
If I tried to pull my car backwards into a parking spot, it wouldn’t move an inch. Could I just put it in reverse?
• Hotel sheets must be exactly 99 inches long and 81 inches wide.
Your hotel room is bound to cost you more since made-to-order bedsheets, 99x81 inches, must be used. The standard size for a store-bought full-size bed sheet is 96x81.
• The bars are not allowed to give drinks away on the house!
Make those drunken bums pay for every shot.
• A $3 fine per pack will be imposed on anyone playing cards in Indiana under the Act for the Prevention of Gaming.
There goes my weekly card game of ‘Fish’ with the kids.
• The value of Pi is redefined as 3.2. (actual value - 3.14159)
This bill was proposed in the 1897 session of the Indiana General Assembly (House Bill No. 246). Although the bill was passed in the House of Representatives, it was indefinitely postponed in the Senate. That status remains today.
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Indiana
• In Beech Grove – one may not eat watermelon in the parks.
This one kind of takes all the fun out of a picnic in the park.
• In Elkhart – it is unlawful for barbers to threaten to cut kids’ ears off.
A threat is less harmful than the deed I always say.
• In Evansville – you cannot have your car lights on when driving down Main Street.
That ought to eliminate pedestrian traffic … one way or another.
Hint: I think the law was meant to cover dome lights and/or other internal automobile lights.
• In Gary – it is illegal to eat garlic and go to a movie house, theatre or ride on a public streetcar within four hours of eating said garlic.
It must be tough to solicit volunteers for the Gary Garlic Patrol.
• In Indianapolis – it shall be unlawful for any person to throw any stone or other missile at any bird or any animal, except in self-defense.
That mocking bird just mocked me, Officer.
• Horses must stop at traffic lights and not exceed a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour.
Is that with or without a rider?
• In Terre Haute – spitting on the sidewalk is forbidden.
Take a short trip to Freeport, Illinois where you can spit from the first floor with no penalty.
• In Warsaw – it is forbidden to throw your couch, computer, light or television across streets, alleys, sidewalks and other public places.
What is this preoccupation with couches on the part of our legislators? Remember the law in Cape Coral City, Florida forbidding your couch to sit on your porch?
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Indiana
• The first inhabitants in what is now Indiana were the Paleo-Indians who arrived about 8000 B.C. after the melting of the glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. In small groups, these nomads hunted mastodons and glyptodons.
Note: The glyptodon was a large armored animal related to the armadillo.
• In the 1700s, the first non-native American settlements in Indiana were the French forts of Ouiatenon, Ft. Miami, and Ft. Vincennes. The French presence in Indiana lasted almost 100 years.
• After the British won the French and Indian War, upon the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the French surrendered their claims to the lower Great Lakes region.
• Indiana was part of the huge Northwest Territory, which included present day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, which were ceded to the United States by the British at the end of the Revolutionary war.
• In the 1870s, citizens of Greensburg noticed a small branch growing out of the corner of their courthouse tower.
Somehow a tree had taken root in the crevices of the roof about 110 feet above the ground. Two trees have now been there for over a century.
Greensburg’s nickname is ‘Tree City.’
• The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871 between the Kekionga club of Ft. Wayne and the visiting Forest City club of Cleveland. The home team won 2-0.
• The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was organized in Terre Haute in 1881.
• Crawfordsville is the home of the only known working rotary jail in the United States. The jail with its rotating cellblock was built in 1882 and served as the Montgomery County jail until 1972. It is now a museum.
The jail architects believed their patented design would help maintain strict Victorian social order by limiting personal contact between inmate and jailer. By rotating a hand crank on which the two-tiered turntable pivoted, a jailer could bring one of 16 pie-shaped cells to the opening, allowing one prisoner in or out.
• Although Indiana means ‘Land of the Indians,’ there are fewer than 8,000 Native Americans living in the state today.
• A person from Indiana is often called a Hoosier – the term first appeared in the 1830s. But no one seems to know the exact origin of the word. The leading theory has ‘Hoosier’ originating as a term for a backwoodsman or country bumpkin.
• At one time Studebaker Company of South Bend was the nation's largest producer of horse-drawn wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.
John Studebaker, Sr. taught his five sons – Henry, Clement, John Mohler, Peter Everst and Jacob Franklin – how to make wagons.
By 1857 they had built their first ‘horseless carriage.
Studebaker later became a multi-million dollar auto manufacturer.
• At one time 12 different stagecoach lines ran through Indiana on the National Road – now U.S. Interstate 40.
• True to its motto, ‘Cross Roads of America,’ Indiana has more miles of Interstate Highway per square mile than any other state.
• From 1900 to 1920 more than 200 different makes of cars were produced in the Hoosier State.
Auburns, Duesenbergs, Maxwells, and Stutzes are prize antiques today.
• 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster. Auburn was founded in Auburn in 1874. The Speedster had a maximum speed of 100 mph.
• 1923 Duesenberg Model A Touring car. Duesenberg was founded in Des Moines in 1913. This car cost $6,500 - very expensive for its time. Two celebrities who purchased it were Tom Mix and Rudolph Valentino.
• 1911 Maxwell Mascotte Touring car. After a fire destroyed its Tarrytown, NY factory, Maxwell built the largest auto factory in the world in New Castle, a suburb of Indianapolis.
A running joke on comedian Jack Benny’s radio and television show was the car he drove – a 1919 Maxwell Model 25 Touring car because he was too cheap to buy a new one.
•1927 Stutz Vertical Eight AA Limousine. Stutz was founded in Indianapolis in 1911. Some celebs who owned a Stutz were Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Sammy Davis.
Can you tell I am an avid admirer of ancient automobiles?
• In1885, Sylvanus Freelove Bowser (1854-1938) of Fort Wayne invented and sold the world's first practical automobile fuel pump.
At first, the pump was not used for automobiles since they had not been invented yet. Instead it was used for kerosene lamps and stoves.
The word, ‘bowser,’ became a generic term for fuel dispensers and the term is still used in Australia.
• The first long-distance auto race in the U. S. was held May 30, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ray Harroun was the driver who won the first Indianapolis 500 in 6 hours, 41 minutes and 8 seconds. He won the first place prize of $14,000.
• The Indianapolis 500 race is held every Memorial Day weekend in the Hoosier capital city. The race is 200 laps or 500 miles long. Most recently, the purse was $2.49 million.
No, the actual trophy is not given to the winner. It is made of sterling silver and weighs about 153 pounds.
It remains at the Hall of Fame Museum on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The winning driver is given an 18-inch replica of the trophy nicknamed the ‘Baby Borg.’
• Theme parks were invented in Indiana. The world's first theme park, Santa Claus Land, opened on August 3, 1946, in Santa Claus, Indiana – nine years before Walt Disney opened Disneyland in California.
• Santa Claus, Indiana (population 2,500) receives more than 500,000 ‘Dear Santa’ letters at Christmas time every year.
• In 1852, Berne was settled by Mennonite immigrants from Switzerland who named the community for the capital of Switzerland. The clock tower built in 2010 was named after the Zytglogge, the original medieval clock tower.
• In 1894, Indianapolis grocer Gilbert VanCamp discovered his customers enjoyed an old family recipe for pork and beans in tomato sauce. He opened up a canning company and Van Camp's Pork and Beans became an American staple.
• Peru Indiana was once known as the ‘Circus Capital of America.’ It was the winter headquarters for several famous circuses. In 1981, the circus artifacts from the defunct Circus Hall of Fame in Sarasota, Florida were brought to Peru.
• Residents usually pronounce the name of the city like the South American country. Older Hoosiers usually call their city, Peer-oo.
• In 1862, Richard Jordan Gatling, of Indianapolis, invented the rapid-fire machine gun, the Gatling gun.
Note: Gatling also invented a screw propeller, a wheat drill (planting device), a steam-driven tractor, and a motor-driven tractor/plow.
• Speaking of guns, in 1934, Chicago Gangster John Dillinger escaped the Lake Country Jail in Crown Point by using a fake pistol he had carved from a wooden block.
• During Prohibition, the John Dillinger an Al Brady gangs were patrons of The Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis, one of Indiana’s oldest bars, established in 1850.
The gangs used the rear building (originally the horse stable) for target practice. Today, several bullets remain embedded in the lower east wall.
• Historic Parke County has 31 covered bridges and is the ‘Covered Bridge Capital’ of the world.
• More than 100 species of trees are native to Indiana. Before the pioneers arrived, more than 80% of Indiana was covered with forest. Now only 17% of the state is considered forested.
Perhaps they could have used less of that forest for the covered bridges. Just sayin'.
• Indiana University's greatest swimmer was Mark Spitz, who won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
Note: This achievement was surpassed by Michael Phelps who won 8 gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
• Five men from Indiana have been elected vice president: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle.
They earned Indiana the nickname, ‘Mother of Vice Presidents.’
• Wabash, Indiana was the first city in the U.S. to have electric street lights in 1880.
The total cost per year to light the entire city was $712.
• Frank Sinatra made his singing debut at the Lyric Theatre in Indianapolis on February 2, 1940 with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra.
Frank once said he got his unique singing style by trying to imitate Dorsey’s trombone with his voice.
• Elkhart is known as the ‘Band Instrument Capital of the World’ and the ‘RV Capital of the World’ for two major industries: musical instruments and recreational vehicles (RVs).
• The Wabash River, 475 miles long, is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. The river has been the subject of several songs, such as ‘Back Home Again in Indiana,’ ‘On the Banks of the Wabash,’ and ‘The Wabash Cannonball.’
Johnny Cash singing 'The Wabash Cannonball'
• Mount Baldy, the largest of the sand dunes, 126 feet tall, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan is a living dune that moves away from shore a few feet each year.
The Dunes region provides habitats for many unusual plants, including prickly pear cactus, lichen mosses, bearberry and more than 20 varieties of orchids.
• In June 1972, Lowell Elliot of Peru found $500,000 in cash in a bag on his farm. It appeared as if the money had fallen from the sky.
And in fact, it did! A skyjacker parachuting out of a plane had dropped his money over Elliot’s farm. Elliot returned the money to the FBI.
* Note: Limestone is made of fossilized shells of tiny marine animals that sank to the bottom of the sea that once covered Indiana.
It is mined from quarries and used in constructing buildings.
• The first successful goldfish farm in the U.S. was opened in Martinsville in 1899 by Eugene Shireman who turned his swamp land into fish farms.
Once dubbed the ‘Goldfish Capital of the World,’ Martinsville today has several large fisheries that sell fish to many parts of the world.
• John Barton Gruelle, an author and illustrator of Indianapolis, created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1915 for his daughter, Marcella.
• Indiana and Nebraska combined produce more than 55% of the United States’ popcorn supply.
• Orville Clarence Redenbacher, born in Brazil, Indiana, launched his popping corn in 1970.
• Nickname – Hoosier State
• State flower – Peony
• State tree – Tulip tree (also known as the yellow poplar)
• State bird – Cardinal
• State song – ‘On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away’ by Paul Dresser in 1897
• State motto – ‘The Crossroads of America’
• State river – the Wabash (the name comes from a Native American word for limestone)
• State rock – limestone
• James Dean, a popular movie star of the 1950s in such movies as ‘East of Eden,’ ‘Rebel without a Cause,’ and ‘Giant’ was born February 8, 1931, in Marion. He died in an auto crash at age 24 in 1955.
• Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana when he was 7 years old in 1816. He lived most of his boyhood life in Spencer County with his parents Thomas and Nancy.
• Florence Henderson, the youngest of ten children, who was Mrs. Brady on TV’s ‘The Brady Bunch’ is a Hoosier born in Dale, Indiana in 1934.
• Comedian Red Skelton, who created such characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, and Freddie the Freeloader, was born in Vincennes. (1913-1997)
• The Poet Laureate of Indiana, James Whitcomb Riley was born in Greenfield. He glorified his rural Indiana childhood in such poems as ‘The Old Swimmin' Hole,’ ‘Little Orphant Annie,’ and ‘The Raggedy Man.’ (1849-1916)
• David Letterman, host of television's ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ was born April 12, 1947, in Indianapolis.
• Albert Beveridge, a U.S. Senator from Indiana, won the Pulitzer Prize in biography for ‘The Life of John Marshall’ in 1920.
• Harold Urey, born in Walkerton, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of deuterium in 1934.
• Ernie Pyle, born in Dana, won the Pulitzer Prize in foreign correspondence in 1944.
• Paul Samuelson, born in Gary, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1970.
Here is another favorite one-liner: "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." - Mark Twain
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."