Why are Indiana residents called “Hoosiers”?

Why are Indiana residents called “Hoosiers”?


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A little more than a decade after Indiana joined the Union on December 11, 1816, newspapers began to refer to the residents of the newly admitted state as “Hoosiers.” (Alternate spellings included “Hooshers” and “Hooshores.”) The unusual nickname appeared in print as early as 1832 and gained popular usage the following year after publication of Indiana resident John Finley’s poem “The Hoosier’s Nest.” It appears the term, like “Yankee,” was first used mockingly before it was adopted by Indiana residents with pride. The Pittsburg Statesman reported in the summer of 1833 that Indiana’s citizens had “been called Hoosiers for some time past at home and abroad, sometimes honorably and sometimes the reverse.”

According to the Indiana Historical Bureau, the exact origin of the state’s official demonym is unknown, but there are several theories. One is that a contractor named Samuel Hoosier preferred to hire laborers from Indiana rather than neighboring Kentucky to construct the Louisville and Portland Canal along the Ohio River in the 1820s. The Indiana workers were called “Hoosier’s men,” later shortened to “Hoosiers.” No record of a Hoosier or a similar name can be found in canal records, however.

The 1833 Pittsburg Statesman article gave an alternate etymology, positing that the word sprang from surveyors mapping the state who encountered so many squatters on public land that they would call out “Who’s here?” as soon as they spotted cabins with smoke rising from them. The question echoed so frequently on the Indiana frontier that it was shortened and altered to “hooshere” and finally “hoosier.” Perhaps the most plausible theory was put forward by historian Jacob Piatt Dunn Jr. in his 1907 book “The Word Hoosier.” Noting that numerous immigrants from the Cumberland region of England settled in the southern mountains of Indiana, Dunn traced the nickname for those highland dwellers back to the word “hoozer” in the Cumbrian dialect, which derived from the Old English “hoo,” meaning “high” and “hill.”


Why are Indiana residents called “Hoosiers”? - HISTORY


Is the name of the championship team really the Hickory High Huskers?
No. The championship team on which the Hoosiers true story is based is actually the Milan High School Indians. There is no town of Hickory in Indiana.

played by Gene Hackman who was 55 when the movie was being filmed. Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo said the following about keeping the Coach in the movie the same age as his real life counterpart, "I wrote it that way and the movie didn't work. If he had failed, he still had the rest of his life. I went back and made the character older, a guy with a last chance." At the time of the actual championship, Coach Marvin Wood had been a recent graduate of Butler University, where he played both baseball and basketball. At Butler, Marvin played on two Hoosier Classic championship teams (1947-48 and 1948-49) when Butler defeated both Indiana and Purdue in the same tournament.

Was the Coach really hired to replace a former Coach who had died?
No. In the film, Coach Norman Dale is hired to replace a well-liked Coach who dies. The team's star player, Jimmy Chitwood, refuses to play for part of the season because he's so upset. In real life, Coach Marvin Wood was hired the previous season to replace Coach Herman "Snort" Grinstead, who was fired for ordering new uniforms against the superintendent's orders. In an ESPN interview, Bobby Plump (the real Jimmy Chitwood) said that Coach Grinstead was "the most popular coach in Milan's history."

Was it really the Coach's first season with the team?
No. As stated above, it was Coach Wood's second season with the Milan Indians. He actually took them to the semi-finals the previous year. During his second year, which is what the film depicts, the town was no longer skeptical of his new strategies for offense and defense. The town was behind him. This is opposite to what is shown in the movie, where a community referendum is held to determine the Coach's fate.

Did the team's star player really sit out half the season, upset over the previous coach's death?
No. The Milan Indians star basketball player, Bobby Plump, played the entire season. Although the former Coach was well liked, he did not sulk over the firing (not death) of the previous coach, Herman "Snort" Grinstead.

Did a romance really develop between the Coach and a teacher?
No. In the movie Hoosiers, a budding romance forms between Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) and teacher Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey). In real life, Coach Marvin Wood was married with two children (pictured left). He was not romantically involved with a teacher from the school. Coach Wood's wife, Mary Lou, often worried aloud, "If a basketball and I were placed at half-court, which one would he choose?" Rick Paridaen, a friend of the family, believes the answer would easily have been Mary Lou, the real love of Marvin's life. The film's romance was an element of fiction added by screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, whose other work includes the script for the 1993 football drama Rudy , also based on a true story.

Was Dennis Hopper's character based on a real life assistant coach?
No. Dennis Hopper's character of "Shooter", who is the town drunk and father to one of the players, is entirely fictional. It is a little ironic (or maybe not so ironic) that this fiction-based performance resulted in an Oscar nomination for Hopper, which was the only acting nomination that the film received (Hoosiers was also nominated for Best Original Score). In real life, Marc Combs and Clarence Kelly were the assistant coaches. Neither of them were drunks.

Did the real Coach wear a shirt and tie to practice?
No. In the movie, Gene Hackman's Coach Dale is a hardliner who runs his drills in a shirt and tie. Coach Marvin Wood was much more soft-spoken and often suited up and played with the team during practices.

Had the real life Coach been previously fired from coaching for punching one of his players?
No. The somewhat volatile Coach Dale in the movie had been fired from coaching on the collegiate level for punching one of his players. In real life, Coach Marvin Wood had never been fired for punching a player. Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo based Gene Hackman's outspoken Coach Dale partially on Indiana University's legendary coach, Bobby Knight. "I wondered what would happen if Knight punched a player," says Pizzo. Many who knew the real Coach have stated that Coach Marvin Wood was much more soft-spoken than his onscreen counterpart. Coach Wood often said of his championship squad, "God was coaching that team, not me."

Was the real school so small that it could only field six players for the team?
Not entirely. Similar to the fictional Hickory High in the film, it's true that there were only 161 students enrolled at the real school (Milan High). However, unlike in the movie, 58 of the 73 boys at the school tried out for the basketball team. There were 10 players on the Milan team in 1954, not six.

Did the real-life Coach practice the philosophy of four passes before a shot?
No. Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo based this fictional element on Indiana University's coach, Bobby Knight. "I utilized Knight's offensive philosophy: four passes before a shot," says Pizzo.

Did the team's manager really hit two free throws to win a game in the semi-finals?
No. The movie shows the team's manager, "Ollie," coming on to the court to hit two free throws to win a semi-final game. Milan's manager, Oliver Jones, stayed on the sidelines and never shot any game winning baskets. The only real similarity with the movie's character is the name.

Did Milan really win every game in the tournament with a final second shot?
No. In the movie, Hickory barely squeaks by its opponents in the state tournament, winning each game with a last second shot. In real life, Milan won seven of its first eight tournament games by double-digit margins. Milan's 1954 tournament record is posted below. They were 19-2 in the regular season.

In real life, did the Coach really measure the height of the hoop where the state finals were going to be played?
Yes. Coach Marvin Wood measured the height of the hoop at Butler University's enormous Hinkle Field House, where the 1954 state finals were played (and where Wood himself played in college). Coach Wood did this to "cast out their fear" by illustrating to his players that although the field house was much larger than their hometown gymnasium, everything about playing basketball was the same. Rev. Daniel Motto spoke of this moment at Wood's funeral in October of 1999, saying that when he saw this scene in the movie Hoosiers, it was then that he realized the film was truly inspired by Wood.

Were the final game scenes in the movie shot at the actual field house?
Yes. The scenes for the final game in the movie were shot at Butler University's Hinkle Field House, which was where the real life events behind the Hoosiers true story unfolded. The filmmakers could not find enough extras to fill the field house. Therefore, in order to give the large arena the appearance it was full, 1,000 extras had to be moved around the arena. Filling Hinkle Field House was not a problem for the actual 1954 game. The arena was filled to the rafters, and tickets were being scalped outside for as much as fifty dollars.

Is the announcer at the final game in the movie the real 1954 announcer?
Yes. The announcer at the championship game in the movie, Hillard Gates, is the real life announcer who did the 1954 championship game.

Did the team really win the championship in 1952, coming out of nowhere?
No. In the movie Hoosiers, the Hickory Huskers emerge from nowhere to win the title. In real life, the Milan Indians won the title in 1954 not 1952, with a 19-2 regular season record. The Indians had made it to the semi-finals of the state tournament the year before, after the 1952-53 regular season. They were however, often considered underdogs because of their small school size of 161 students.

Was the championship game won 42-40 against the South Bend Central Bears?
No. The real championship game was won 32-30 against the Muncie Central Bearcats. Like South Bend from the movie, the Muncie Central Bearcats were a powerhouse team from a much bigger school.

How much of the championship game played in the movie is accurate?
Not much. In real life, Coach Wood ordered a stall twice during the final quarter. Milan's star player, Bobby Plump, literally held on to the ball, without moving, for 4 minutes, 13 seconds, before taking a shot (and missing) with a few minutes still left on the clock. On Milan's next possession, Plump again stood stationary with the ball as the clock ticked down from 1:18 to 0:18. In 1987, Milan star Bobby Plump told the Saturday Evening Post, "The final 18 seconds were the only thing factual in the movie about the Milan-Central game. From the time the ball was in bounds after the final timeout, the movie was accurate." This includes Plumps thrilling game-winning shot.

Did the star player really convince the Coach that he should take the final shot?
No. During the final timeout, with the score tied near the end of the movie, Hickory's star player, Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis), is told by the Coach that he'll be a decoy while the team runs its "picket fence" play, where a fellow teammate will take the last shot. The teammate, who is uncertain of himself, looks to Jimmy, prompting Jimmy to say with confidence to his Coach, "I'll make it." In reality, Coach Wood told Bobby Plump to take the final shot all along. "I was a very shy kid," Bobby Plump told the Washington Post in 1995. "I never would have said, 'I'll make it.' " Pictured at left is a photo of Plump's famous shot going through the basket at Hinkle Field House.

What is a Hoosier exactly?
Hoosiers is the nickname of Indiana University athletic teams. Webster's dictionary defines the word Hoosier as "a native or inhabitant of Indiana". In 1919, historian J.P. Dunn revealed that the word Hoosier came from the Cumberland dialectical term hoozer, which means something large or big, literally a big hill. This origin is referenced in Webster's, but it is believed by some to be false, since Hoozer did not appear in a Cumberland dialect word list until 1899. This is well after the first recorded usage of the word Hoosier in the US. In 1826, the word Hoosier appears in the June 2 edition of the Chicago Tribune: "The Indiana hoosiers that came out last fall is settled from 2 to 4 milds [sic] of us." This early usage suggests that the term may have been used to describe an uneducated, rural yokel, a rustic. The word was later adapted to mean someone from the state of Indiana. In Europe, the movie was renamed Best Shot, because most Europeans were unaware of the word Hoosier and its relation to Indiana and Indiana athletics.

Who was the producers' original choice to play Coach Norman Dale?
The original choice for Norman Dale was Jack Nicholson. He backed out due to a scheduling conflict, telling the producers that if they couldn't find another actor to play Dale, he would do it the following year. Robert Duvall also passed on playing Coach Dale. Gene Hackman then stepped in to take on the role.

Did all of the actors on the team have high school basketball experience?
Not quite. Surprisingly, actor Maris Valainis, who portrayed the movie's star player, Jimmy Chitwood, was the only actor on the Hickory team who hadn't played basketball in high school. Valainis was only 5-foot-6 as a teenager, and he got cut three straight years from his high school basketball team. For the scene where his character Jimmy shoots baskets while he listens to Coach Dale (Gene Hackman), Maris Valainis said that he "wasn't even listening to him. I was just concentrating on making them and I made one and they kept going in." Today, the Hoosiers actor is a golf pro at Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course in Irvine, California. He has a 1-handicap.

What happened to the Coach after winning the championship?
Marvin Wood continued to coach basketball until 1999, the year of his death. At the time of his resignation, the 70-year-old Wood had been busy coaching his granddaughter's seventh-grade basketball team. He stopped after he learned that bone cancer, which had been in remission for more than seven years, had returned. Wood is survived by his wife Mary Lou, their daughter, Deidra, and three grandchildren. He was elected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

What became of Milan star Bobby Plump?
After high school, Milan star Bobby Plump (Jimmy Chitwood in the movie) played basketball for Butler University where he became a 4-year letter-winner, MVP his junior and senior years, and one of the NCAA's best free throw shooters of all-time. After graduating from college, he played three years for Phillips 66 of the National Industrial Basketball League. Plump eventually took on a career operating a life insurance and financial consulting business for nearly forty years. He opened a restaurant called Plump's Last Shot, located in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis. It is filled with memorabilia from the 1954 state championship team. His book, Last of the Small Town Heroes , was published in 1997. It is available on the right.

Did any members of the original team have cameos in the movie Hoosiers?
Yes. 1954 Milan Indian Guard, Ray Craft, has two cameos in the movie. He is the person who greets the Hickory Huskers when they arrive at the state finals. He is also the person who tells Coach Dale (Gene Hackman) before the state final, that it is time for his team to take the court. In real life, Ray grew up to become the assistant commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

Why was there so much fiction injected into the movie Hoosiers?
Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo summed up the film's heavy dose of fictionalization by saying that the added drama was necessary, "because their lives were not dramatic enough. The guys were too nice, the team had no real conflict." Angelo Pizzo is a Bloomington, Indiana native and the college roommate of fellow Indianian and Hoosiers director David Anspaugh. The two had often talked about making a movie "about the meaning of basketball to people in Indiana."


1954 Milan Indians Team Photo:
The photo below opens in a separate window. The following text identifies the individuals in the team photo. Front row, from left: team manager Oliver Jones cheerleaders Marjorie Ent, Virginia Voss, and Patty Bohlke and team manager Fred Busching. Middle row: Assistant Coach Clarence Kelly, Roger Schroder, Bill Jordan, Gene White, Bobby Plump, Ken Delap, Ray Craft, Coach Marvin Wood. Top row: Principal Cale Hudson, Assistant Coach Marc Combs, Ken Wendlman, Bob Wichman, Ronnie Truitt, Glenn Butte, Rollin Cutter, Bob Engle, Superintendent Willard Green.


What Is a Hoosier?

It’s safe to conclude the Hoosher and Hoosier nickname adopted by Indiana residents and for them by their nearby neighbors was derived from the dialect term (probably traceable from England) not uncommon among southern immigrants to Indiana and the Ohio Valley several years before [John] Finley arrived and penned his famous poem [The Hoosier’s Nest].

Although the term implied a frontier roughness just beyond the most recently settled and “civilized” regions (which of course were always moving west), its subsequent widespread acceptance in the 1830s and 1840s was definitely good-natured, if not independent-minded, in meaning then and thereafter.

It is also safe to discount several factually unsupported theories, thoughts of local immaculate conceptions, and variations thereof as folklore or urban legends: Hoosa Hoose Hoosier’s men, food, or customers Houssieres, Husher (probably the phonetic “Hoosher” pronunciation of Hoosier) Hussar Huzur Huzzah Who’s yer/here Who’s ear etc.

Although the old double-sense meaning still occasionally surfaces (usually among newcomers or visitors, linguistic researchers, or those who may enjoy making fun of Indiana residents), it remains embraced in its modern appellation as primarily positive. Moreover, the word is a regional nickname, like many others whose precise origins do not necessarily burden the modern, continued appellations.

Perhaps one of the more eloquent conclusions was offered by Walter Havinghurst in The Heartland (1962) when he observed: “Whatever its origin, the name of Hoosier has had a lasting appeal for Indiana people and has acquired a quite enviable aura. For more than 100 years, it has continued to mean friendliness, neighborliness, an idyllic contentment with Indiana landscape and life.”

It appears that [researcher] George Blakey’s observation still holds that Finley’s creative effort “helped define Indiana identity” and contributed to a “stereotype that the state has accepted affectionately, if not realistically – that of a rustic, rugged, individualistic land.”

Excerpted from “The Meanings of Hoosier – 175 Years and Counting,” an article by Steve Haller, senior director, IHS Collections, which appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Traces.


13 Things You Should Know About Indiana History

1. The Indiana Territory, which contained present-day Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota, was formed in 1800 from the Northwest Territory. Indiana means “Land of the Indians.”

2. We moved our capital twice. Vincennes was the first capital of the Indiana Territory. It was moved to Corydon in 1813. Indianapolis became the state capital in 1825 nine years after Indiana was admitted as the 19th state.

3. Abraham Lincoln spent his younger days in Indiana – 14 years of it from the time he was 7 until 21. Abe called Indiana as unpoetical as any spot of the earth,? but we forgive him for that.

4. Nearly 210,000 Hoosiers 15 percent of the state’s population and much above its quota fought for the Union in the Civil War. In fact, so many volunteered in the first call that thousands were turned away.

5. Play ball! The first game between two professional baseball teams was in Fort Wayne in 1871. And the first night baseball game under artificial lights took place in Fort Wayne in 1883.

6. We’ve had some notorious citizens. “Public Enemy No. 1” John Dillinger allegedly escaped Crown Point Prison with a wooden “gun” blackened with shoe polish. The first train robbery in the U.S. was in Indiana in 1866 when the Reno Brothers stopped an Ohio and Mississippi train in Jackson County. Their take was $13,000.

7. Union Gen. Lew Wallace, born in Brookville, was not only the governor of the New Mexico Territory, he wrote one of the best-selling books of all time, Ben-Hur.

8. Hoosiers Levi and Catherine Coffin helped more than 2,000 runaway slaves travel north to freedom.

9. Indiana is both backward and forward: Indiana passed statewide prohibition three years before the federal government ban on alcohol, but segregation was outlawed in Indiana schools in 1949 five years before Brown v. Board of Education.

10. The first running of the Indianapolis 500 was in 1911 and won by Ray Harroun in 6 hours and 42 minutes with an average speed of 75 miles per hour. Since then, the Indianapolis 500 has been held every year except during World Wars I and II.

11. Madame C.J. Walker, who built her beauty and hair care business in Indianapolis, was the first female self-made millionaire in the U.S.

12. Indianapolis was the site of both Carole Lombard’s last public appearance and Elvis’s last performance.

13. And our favorite: The Colts left Baltimore for Indianapolis in the dead of night in 1984 in a fleet of Mayflower moving trucks.

Kim Easton is communications director at IHS. She enjoys great books, good wine and bad television.


Why Is Indiana Called the Hoosier State? (with picture)

Since Indiana officially adopted the Hoosier State motto in the early 1830s, much debate has surrounded the reasons and the origins of the term without a definite answer as to why they chose it. Some citizens suggest that the state’s motto stems from a famous ship or a poem, and others prefer to believe in taller tales about barroom brawls and mispronounced phrases. Historians performed extensive studies of the word to determine the origin, and theories suggest that it is a derogatory, Anglo-Saxon word used to describe uneducated, backwoods people. Early settlers and modern-day citizens of Indiana believe the word describes a body of brave and courageous people. Whatever the reason, Indiana displays the motto proudly throughout the state.

There are several false stories concerning the word "Hoosier" and its application to the Hoosier State. One false tale describes how nosy woodsmen would call out, “Who’s here,” running the words together so that they eventually sounded like Hoosier. Other false theories concerning the mispronunciation of phrases include running the words “who’s your relative" together so that it sounds like the word Hoosier. The theory that word Hoosier stems from the Indian word hoosa, which means corn or maize, is also a false claim. Another false report gives credit for the phrase to an Indiana contractor named Hoosier who called his men “Hoosier’s men.”

While there are many false stories and tall tales about the origins of the motto Hoosier State, several plausible reasons exist. Perhaps the most likely explanation that the Hoosier State calls itself by that name is due to John Finley’s poem “The Hoosier’s Nest.” In this poem, the word describes a group of independent, brave people. Early settlers seemed to believe the term had a similar meaning to that of the poem and proudly used it to refer to themselves. Another possible reason is that a business man, G.L. Murdoch, offered to call his ship the “Indiana Hoosier” for business privileges in a letter he wrote to General John Tipton in February of 1831.

While these stories are entertaining, etymologists and historians agree that the phrase Hoosier describes others in a contemptuous manner. The derogatory term applied to individuals in the same context as the words redneck or hick. The term first described the peoples living in the Ohio Valley and then spread through to Southern Indiana. Over the years, the term came to include all inhabitants of Indiana and it lost the negative connotations of the original meaning.


Here's why 'hoosier' is an insult in StL (updated! Pic gallery)

The word "hoosier" means drastically different things in St. Louis and Indiana. (Photo: Jim Galovski)

ST LOUIS- Anyone in St. Louis knows you don't want anyone to think you're a "hoosier". A well-known put down and derogatory term used to describe someone who looks like a country bumpkin, backwoods "hick", or even worse. A mullet hairstyle and jean shorts ("jorts") come to mind.

And yet, in Indiana, a "hoosier" is the official state mascot. A source of pride! The title for the best basketball movie ever made!

So how has the meaning of "hoosier" come to mean two different things in two midwestern states?

"It goes back to the 1930's and union struggles," explains Dr. Avis Meyer, longtime journalism professor at Saint Louis University.

Long ago a friend of Dr. Meyer's, who worked for years at Anheuser-Busch, told him the brewery hired non-union workers from Indiana during a labor strike at AB.

"So 'hoosier' came to mean a country bumpkin who screwed up your job," Dr. Meyer added.

The unions at that time were very strong in St. Louis and in Illinois, so it's believed the brewery had to import workers from Indiana.

A similar phenomenon is said to have happened at the now closed Chrysler plant in Fenton, Missouri.

After a Chrysler plant shut down in Indiana, many of the Indiana car makers relocated to Fenton, which at that time was considered the extreme "boonies" of the St. Louis area.

And, as you might suspect, some locals in our area didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for the newcomers from Indiana with decent paying jobs at the Chrysler plant.

It's possible the new hires from Indiana looked slightly different than their St. Louis cohorts (we couldn't find any file photos of mullets or jorts at the Chrysler plant in 1960's).

So, once again, explains local historian and author Dr. John Oldani, people who looked a little "rustic" or "country" eventually were referred to as "hoosiers".

Whether or not they came from Indiana or had anything to do with the Chrysler plant.

A spokesperson for Chrysler said they do not have any records from the 1950's, 60's, and 70's to back up theories of a mass exodus of Indiana workers moving here.

"I remember it well," said Al Casey at the Fenton Historical Society. Casey worked at the Chrysler plant in the 1970's and recalls a steady influx of new Chrysler workers from "the Hoosier state".

Casey, however, does not remember anyone derisively referring to the newcomers as "hoosiers".

However the word came to be a slur in St. Louis, this much is true.

Here in St. Louis, no one wants to be called a "hoosier".

Full disclosure: during my college years at Saint Louis University in the 1990's, I occasionally rocked a hairstyle that friends said looked a little "hoosier". Not full-out mullet. But dangerously close. You be the judge (photo circa 1991).

I was a teenage hoosier (according to some).At the tender age of 19, freshman year at SLU, I rocked a style friends said looked a bit "hoosier", in the St. Louis sense. I know the sting of being called a "hoosier". (Photo: McGonigle, Pat)

So how do the real "Hoosiers", the proud folks in Indiana, feel about St. Louis co-opting their state mascot as a cutting put-down here in St. Louis?

"I don't want to speak for all Hoosiers," said Mark Land, a spokesperson for Indiana University. "But I can say that we don't offend easily and that although the origin of the term is murky, people from Indiana take pride in being known for ourHoosier hospitality and warmth."

"You should hear what we call people from Missouri around these parts," Land jokes (jokes!).

Scroll through our "Stl hoosier" gallery to view locals who proudly identify as hoosiers:


Contents

In 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, the territory that would become Indiana was annexed to the United States. Slavery was already a present institution – the French who had controlled the area only 20 years earlier, and their allies among the Native American population, had been practicing slavery in the region for at least one hundred and fifty years before the Americans took control. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, first began explorations in Indiana in the late 1660s. He was accompanied by a Shawnee slave on several of his expeditions. [1] In 1787, Congress organized the territory under the Northwest Ordinance, which prohibited slavery by stating "that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory". It would later be decided that anyone who purchased a slave outside of the territory could enter and reside there with their slaves. The Ordinance also allowed for preexisting French–Indian slave arrangements. [2]

Many Virginian natives living in the territory interpreted the Ordinance as allowing them to have slaves. The Ordinance stated that the Virginians "shall have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties." Many decided to keep slaves. Fear of French rebellion kept the courts from acting against slavery, as did the violent actions of those who would kidnap escaped slaves. A court ruling in the Michigan Territory in 1807 stated that preexisting slavery could still exist under the Northwest Ordinance, validating Hoosier slaveholding in the opinions of the slaveholders. [2]

Southern influence Edit

Many of the territory's early settlers came from the South. Southern immigrants who were anti-slavery settled in Ohio, where a strong anti-slavery movement was underway. The immigrants in favor of slavery generally moved to Indiana, where the government was friendly to slaveholders. [3] When they relocated to the Indiana Territory, they brought what few slaves they owned with them. An 1810 census recorded 393 free blacks and 237 slaves in the Indiana Territory. [4] Knox County, where the territorial capital of Indiana, Vincennes, was located, was the center of Indiana slavery. A young Army officer named Charles Larrabee, who was serving in Governor William Henry Harrison's army, summed the Vincennes populace as "chiefly from Kentucky and Virginia . slavery is tolerated here." [5]

Most of the initial immigration was attributed to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. After the Revolutionary War, George Rogers Clark and his soldiers, all Virginians, were given land grants in southern Indiana. Many settled in Indiana, bringing Southern habits and ideas with them. After the War of 1812, many veterans of the Western theater were granted land in central Indiana. These soldiers were mostly from Kentucky and the South. They also moved into Indiana, bringing more Southern influence to the state.

Southerners of all classes migrated to Indiana. William Henry Harrison, longtime Indiana Territory governor and future United States President, was from the long-established aristocratic class of the lowland and coastal South. His class supported slavery. From the non-slaveholding class of the Upland South were migrants such as Abraham Lincoln, whose family is representative of the migration to Indiana from Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of his social class, while not owning slaves, typically condoned the institution. Lincoln's father worked as a slave catcher and the family of Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd, owned slaves. But others immigrated to Indiana such as Levi Coffin, a North Carolina Quaker who was an outspoken abolitionist.

The first recorded slaves in Indiana were owned by the French traders who entered the region and introduced the practice to the native tribes. Jesuit priests encouraged the tribes they lived among to adopt slavery as an alternative to executing their prisoners in war. [6] According to some classical historians, the decline of cannibalism among the tribes was a direct result of the rise of slavery. [7] Early slaves were often Native Americans who were sold to pay debts. The early slaves typically performed manual labor, helping the traders transport their goods and to build forts and trading posts. [8] While part of new France, laws were enacted to give slaves some protection from their masters. Torture and mutilation of slaves was forbidden, and families were prevented from being forcibly broken up. Other laws allowed slaves to be seized by creditors as payment. [9] Other laws required that if a master had children by a slave, the slave and her children were then to be freed. Their status under the French laws was similar to that of minors. [10]

As the territory developed, their tasks changed slaves also served as household servants and farm workers, as in the case of William Henry Harrison's slaves. [11] George Rogers Clark's two slaves assisted him in running a gristmill in Clarksville. [12] While the pro-slavery faction was in power, laws were passed permitting anyone to seize and return slaves who were more than ten miles from their home, and a one hundred dollar fine was placed on anyone who helped a slave escape. [13] Some slaves, like "Aunt Fannie", who belonged to Dennis Pennington, refused to be set free. Pennington had freed all his slaves when he left Virginia, but Fannie did not want to be left behind and continued on as a free household servant for the rest of her life. She was buried in the Pennington family cemetery in Corydon, Indiana. [14] Others were not so fortunate as in the case of another black woman who also lived in Corydon. When she tried to escape from her masters she was run down in the street, beaten, and carried back home. The men threatened death to anyone in the town, which was strongly anti-slavery, who interfered. [15]

The slaves did not have a large impact on Indiana's economy as they never became a large percentage of the population and large scale plantation style farms, that were common in the southern states, never developed in Indiana. In 1820, the year all the state's slaves were freed, the census only counted 192 out of a population over 65,000. Many slaves had already been freed by that time and there over 1200 free blacks in the state during the same census. [16]

Slavery in the Indiana Territory was supported by Governors William Henry Harrison and his successor Thomas Posey, who both sought to legalize it in the territory. Both men were appointed by the President of the United States while the office was held by southern slaveholders. Although slavery was not legal under Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance, Harrison recognized the existing customs of slavery and indenture in the territory, Both men's slavery positions were resisted by the territory's population. In a gesture to the residents who lived in the territory before the Northwest Ordinance, Harrison organized a public meeting in 1802 which called for a 10-year moratorium on the slavery ban. [17] Harrison and Posey were strongly opposed by Jonathan Jennings, Dennis Pennington, and other prominent men who would eventually take over the territorial legislature.

Indiana courts never ruled on the Ordinance/slavery issue during the territorial period. When the issue of slavery was in the courts, it "was always treated as an existing institution and its legality went unchallenged." [18] [19] Early Hoosiers, including William Henry Harrison, wanted to have slavery legalized in the new territory. Harrison may have been motivated by the need to appease existing slaveowners, the need for labor in a developing territory, or the desire to attract immigrants from southern colonies. [17] They sought passage of a new law to override the Northwest Ordinance's ban on slavery. Harrison succeeded in getting permission from Congress for the territory to decide for itself whether slavery should be legalized. Harrison and his party sought to gradually legalize slavery three times (1803, 1807, and 1809) but all three efforts ultimately failed. [20] [21] Harrison succeeded, however, in passing laws that established forms of indentured servitude. [22]

Harrison was particularly interested in having slavery legalized. He maintained a plantation style home in Vincennes called Grouseland. Harrison was also in the process of constructing another plantation style farm called Harrison Valley near Corydon in 1807, the same year he was pushing for slavery to be legalized. [23]

In 1803 Harrison asked Congress to suspend the anti-slavery clause of the Northwest Ordinance for ten years. Harrison claimed it was necessary to increase the territory's population more quickly and attract new settlers. Congress wanted the territory to become economically viable so that the federal government would not longer have to financially support it. In 1803 the entire territory's population numbered less than 5,000. That year the legislature—which was appointed by Harrison—passed legislation reintroducing indentured servitude. [24]

In 1805 the Territory was granted representation in Congress. Pro-slavery Benjamin Parke was elected and supported Harrison's request to have Congress suspend the ban on slavery in the territory. Parke submitted legislation to outright legalize slavery, but no action was taken on it. The same year, Congress suspended Article Six of the Northwest Ordinance for ten years, and granted the territories covered by it the right to choose for themselves to legalize slavery. [25] By the same act, Congress removed the legislative power from the General Court of the territory and created a Legislative Council that would was to be popularly elected. When the election was complete Davis Floyd was the only anti-slavery member elected slavery had not yet become a major issue in the state. [26] That year Harrison persuaded the legislature to begin the debate to legalize slavery. The bill was narrowly defeated because many of the slaveholders in the council wanted a concession from Harrison, namely to recommend creating the Illinois Territory, a concession which he refused to make. [14]

Fight to end slavery Edit

Harrison's move to legalize slavery was not taken lightly by President Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson was himself a slaveholder, he was opposed to the spread of slavery. Jefferson had been working with James Lemen since at least 1784 and used him as an agent in the Northwest to organize an anti-slavery movement. Lemen succeeded in helping to establish an anti-slavery Baptist church that drew many members. Jefferson sent Lemen to the Indiana territory again in 1807 with the mission to seek out and organize the anti-slavery men of the state and encourage them to take action. [27] Several prominent men had already been stirred by Harrison's moves to legalize slavery. Dennis Pennington, a former slave holder who had freed his slaves when he moved to Indiana, [14] was chief among the anti-slavery men. Jonathan Jennings, who also attended the meeting, would quickly grow into the party's leader. [28] Other prominent anti-slavery men included Richard Rue, John Paul, and General William Johnson, all veterans of the Revolution.

Later in 1807, at Lemen's urging, a mass meeting was held in Springville attended by many of the anti-slavery men within the state. [27] The meeting was held largely in response to Harrison's attempt to legalize slavery and the fact that he almost succeeded, and likely would soon unless a large anti-slavery faction came to power. The meeting was chaired by John Beggs, with Davis Floyd acting as secretary. Dennis Pennington and others put forth speeches, and resolved to stop the attempt to legalize slavery. They declared their intentions to end the "despised institution". [29] [30] Their resolution stated:

. a great number of citizens, in various parts of the United States, are preparing, and many have actually emigrated to this Territory, to get free from a Government which does tolerate slavery . And although it is contended by some, that, at this day, there is a great majority in favor of slavery, whilst the opposite opinion is held by others, the fact is certainly doubtful. But when we take into consideration the vast emigration into this Territory, and of citizens, too, decidedly opposed to the measure, we feel satisfied that, at all events, Congress will suspend any legislative act on this subject until we shall, by the constitution, be admitted into the Union, and have a right to adopt such a constitution, in this respect, as may comport with the wishes of a majority of the citizens. . The toleration of slavery is either right or wrong and if Congress should think, with us, that it is wrong, that it is inconsistent with the principles upon which our future constitution is to be formed, your memorialists will rest satisfied that, at least, this subject will not be by them taken up until the constitutional number of the citizens of this Territory shall assume that right. [31]

When the petition was signed and circulated, it gained six hundred more signatures than the petition circulated to request the legalization of slavery. [32] The same year, the abolitionists won their first victory over the Harrison faction. In the election for territorial delegate, Jesse B. Thomas, the anti-slavery factions candidate, defeated Harrison's candidate. [32]

By 1809 the territory's population had climbed to over 20,000. Congress passed legislation that allowed the Indiana Territory to elect a bicameral legislature and made the Legislative Council the upper house It also ordered Harrison to dissolve the existing one [33] and created the Illinois Territory. The effect of these actions, was to cut the pro-slavery faction remaining in the Indiana Territory in half. The election resulted in a sweeping victory for the anti-slavery party. The new assembly quickly passed legislation revoking the indentured servitude laws of 1803, and introduced legislation to prevent its reintroduction. They also passed laws aimed at preventing slave hunters from removing escaped slaves from the state. [34]

The repeal of the laws was met with resentment and violence in Vincennes. An effigy of Jesse Bright was burnt in the street, and Rice Jones, an opponent of Harrison, [35] was murdered. [36]

Abolitionist victory Edit

In 1809, Dennis Pennington, one of the most outspoken anti-slavery men and a friend of Henry Clay, was elected to the legislature as the representative from Harrison County, and became speaker of the assembly. His prominence allowed him to dominate the legislature. Before the constitutional convention in 1816, Pennington was quoted as saying "Let us be on our guard when our convention men are chosen that they be men opposed to slavery." [37] At the constitutional convention, the anti-slavery party was able to take control, electing Jennings as the president of the convention. It was by their actions that slavery was banned by the first constitution.

When Indiana sought statehood in 1816, there was talk of its entering as a slave state among the dwindling group of slavery supporters as illustrated in the March 2, 1816 edition of the (Vincennes) Western Sun, where a "citizen of Gibson" stated, "the best interests of humanity required the admission of slavery into the state." The eastern half of the state saw much debate over the slavery issue. While the state constitution did outlaw slavery and indentures, much of the population that had immigrated from the South were commoners and not landed slaveholders. Of the 43 men who wrote the constitution, 34 were either born or had once lived in the South, and the constitution was a near copy of the Kentucky constitution, save for the anti-slavery clause. [38]

During the first gubernatorial election, Jonathan Jennings's campaign motto was "No Slavery in Indiana". He easily defeated pro-slavery candidate Thomas Posey, and upon his victory he declared that Indiana was a "Free State". He also asked the legislature to pass laws that would stop the "unlawful attempts to seize and carry into bondage persons of color legally entitled to their freedom: and at the same time, as far as practical, to prevent those who rightfully owe service to the citizen of any other State of Territory, from seeking, within the limits of this State (Indiana), a refuge from the possession of their lawful masters." He stated that such laws would help secure the freedom of many. This request resulted in the creation of a Man Stealing Act aimed to prevent slave hunters from operating in the state. [39]

In 1818 Dennis Pennington, then a state senator, had three Kentuckians indicted for violating the Man Stealing Act when they forcibly took a black woman from a home in Harrison County and removed her to Kentucky. Governor Jennings requested the Kentucky Governor send the men to Indiana for trials after several years of correspondence the Kentucky governor refused on constitutional grounds. These events led Jennings to eventually have to reverse his position and request that the legislature pass laws to discourage runaway slaves from seeking refuge in Indiana. [40] Jennings said it was needed to "maintain harmony between the states". [41]

From 1810 to 1820, the number of free blacks in Indiana increased from 400 to 1200. [42] In 1820 the State Supreme Court case of Polly v. Lasselle ordered all slaves, except those held before the 1787 Northwest Territory Ordinance, to be freed. [42] The new ruling led to a sharp decline in the state's slave population. In 1820 the census recorded 190 slaves by the 1830 census there were only three. [16]

In 1823, when Ohio passed resolutions asking the Federal government for a national ban on slavery, at the urging of Governor William Hendricks, the Indiana General Assembly issued a resolution which was forwarded the Federal government stating:

Resolved, That it is expedient that such a system should be predicated upon the principle that the evil of slavery is a national one and that the people and the States of this Union ought mutually to participate in the duties and burdens of removing it Therefore,

Resolved, By the General Assembly of the State of Indiana that we do approve of and cordially concur in the aforesaid resolutions of the State of Ohio and that His Excellency the Governor be requested to communicate the same to the Executives of each of the several States in the Union and each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress requesting their cooperation in all national measures to effect the grand object therein embraced. [43]

Remnants of slavery Edit

Even with statehood, there was still slavery in Indiana. Despite slavery and indentures becoming illegal in 1816 due to the state constitution, the 1820 federal census listed 190 slaves in Indiana. Many Hoosier slaveholders felt that the 1816 constitution did not cover preexisting slavery others just did not care if it was illegal. In eastern Indiana nearly all slaveholders immediately freed their slaves. But the majority of slaveholders in western counties, especially in Knox, decided to keep their slaves. The Vincennes newspaper Western Sun had numerous times advertised "indentured Negroes and other slaves", a sign of the approval of slavery in the area. [44] "In Knox County, virtually all of the (slave) suits were denied by the County Court in 1817 and 1818." A black woman known as Polly was held slave by French trader Hyacinthe Lasselle of Vincennes. Polly sued in 1820 for her freedom, but was denied in the Knox County Court. She appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, who ruled in her favor that she should be free. But even after this decision, there was slavery in Indiana. The federal census of 1830 still showed three slaves in Indiana: one each in Orange County, Decatur County, and Warrick County. A separate local census in Knox County in 1830 showed the presence of 32 slaves. Even in 1840 there were three slaves listed in the federal census as being in Indiana: a girl in Putnam County and a man and girl in Rush County. [45] [46]

Views upon slavery Edit

A traveler from New York, Dr. Samuel Bernard Judah, described Vincennes in 1829 as having many blacks, making the observation of them being "generally poorly clad . poor miserable race". [47] Indiana Governor Noah Noble spoke with pride in December 1837 on how Indiana helped slaveholders recapture their escaped slaves. When Kentucky expressed displeasure at how some Hoosiers helped runaways, the Indiana legislature passed a resolution that stated acts by Northerners to interfere with the capture of runaways was "unpatriotic and injurious to the stability of the Union." [48]

In 1851 Indiana adopted a new constitution, and among its new clauses was one that prohibited blacks from immigrating to Indiana. The prohibition was intended to be a punishment to the slavery states. Like several other northern states, Indiana lawmakers believed the majority of free blacks were uneducated and ill-equipped to care for themselves. They believed since the South put them in that condition, they should be responsible for the "burden" of caring for them. This view, that the South should clean up its own mess, remained dominant even after the Civil War, and the clause in Indiana's constitution was not repealed until the 20th century. [49]

Abraham Lincoln Edit

Abraham Lincoln lived in Indiana from 1816 until 1830, age 7 to 21. It was during his late teen years that Lincoln first traveled by flatboat to New Orleans during the trip and in New Orleans proper, he first encountered slavery and began to form his opinions. Growing up in a climate where the state politics were run by men like Jennings and Pennington would have much influence on the development of Lincoln's views. [50]

Underground Railroad Edit

Many Indiana residents participated in the underground railroad. Two major arteries in the underground railroad traveled through Indiana. Tell City, Evansville, and Jeffersonville were gateways to the underground railroad. An important stopover was Westfield, where food and hiding places were provided to slaves trying to reach Canada. Other safe houses dotted Indiana, including one in Town Clock Church (pictured). Escaping slaves who entered Indiana would be ferried from safe house to safe house northward, usually into Michigan, where they could cross safely to Windsor, in Ontario, Canada. [51]

In one of the more famous events of the underground railroad, Eliza Harris, a slave from Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River one winter's night when it froze over. She was aided in her escape by Levi Coffin of Fountain City, and eventually escaped to Ontario after being guided by Hoosiers from safe house to safe house through Indiana. Her story was the inspiration for the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. Coffin and his wife would help as many as two thousand slaves escape the South. [52]


The Hoosier State

In an 1831 letter from G.L. Murdock to General Tom Tipton, Mr. Murdock states "Our Boat will [be] named the Indiana Hoosier." On January 1, 1833, the Indianapolis Journal used John Finley's poem, "The Hoosier's Nest" as their "Carriers' Address".

Indiana may have been referred to as "The Hoosier State" since the early 1830s. There are many explanations for this nickname, some of them quite illogical and humorous and others believable. Like many nicknames, Hoosier may have been used contemptuously to refer to the people in Indiana.

The Who's Here Story - This explanation builds on the story that Indianans were a nosey lot who called out "Who's here?" to every house they passed. A variation of this theory has the inhabitant of the house calling "Who's yere?" when a visitor knocked on the door. The story goes that "Who's here" or "Who's yere" eventually evolved into the word "Hoosier."

The Who's Ear Story - Another sound-alike story, this one perpetrated by James Whitcomb Riley, "The Hoosier Poet [Link to collected works]," facetiously suggests the term "Hoosier" was born of the unruly and pugnacious nature of the early settlers in Indiana. Early Indianans fought viciously during tavern brawls, gouging, scratching and sometimes biting off a nose or an ear. So common were these incidents that when a settler entering a tavern the next morning saw an ear on the floor, he would nudged it casually with his shoe and ask "Who's ear?"

The Fighting Indianans - One story asserts that the term Hoosier came from the bullying and rambunctious Indiana rivermen, always ready for a brawl, who were reputed to be quite successful in coming out on top, "hushing" their opponents. They became known as "Hushers" and eventually "Hoosiers."

Mr. Hoosier - It is said that a contractor named Hoosier liked to hire Indiana men for work on the Louisville and Portland Canal. These men became known as "Hoosier's men" and later, "Hoosiers."

The Indiana Historian - Jacob Piatt Dunn, Jr., Indiana historian and longtime secretary of the Indiana Historical Society found that the word, "hoosier" was used, in the south, to refer to woodsmen and rough hill people. Mr. Piatt traced this word back to England and the word "hoozer," meaning anything large in the Cumberland dialect. This was derived from the Anglo-Saxon "hoo" meaning high or hill. Mr. Pratt suggests that this word was brought from England and applied to people who lived in the southern mountains. This word then migrated north to the southern hills of Indiana. "Hoosier" is still sometimes used in the southern United States to characterize someone who is less then sophisticated, or more bluntly, an "ignorant rustic."

The Methodist Preacher - It was originally put forth by William Pearson in the June, 1995 issue of the "Indiana Magazine of History," that the term "Hoosier" was derived from the name of a southern, black Methodist preacher named Harry Hoosier. According to William Pearson, Hoosier served white ministers and preached when allowed. Harry Hoosier was an excellent speaker and one of the most dynamic preachers of his time.

According to Pierson, some were disturbed by an anti-slavery african-american man preaching to multiracial audiences and Hoosier was especially disliked by Virginia Baptists. Animosity toward "Black Harry Hoosier" may have caused a negative veil to settle on the name that may have eventually evolved to mean someone who was ignorant and/or uncouth. Of course, like many nicknames, originating as slurs, the negative conotation has been lost to history.

Crossroads of America

Indiana is sometimes as the "Crossroads of America." This is the Official State Motto of Indiana.


Why some Hoosiers call green peppers mangoes

IndyStar reporters Amy Bartner and Justin Mack stumble through a few commonly mispronounced Hoosier proper nouns.

Green pepper (aka mango in Indiana) (Photo: Rich Miller, Indianapolis Star)

My Illinois-bred co-worker Joe Tamborello was beside himself when he found out that some Hoosiers refer to green peppers as mangoes. The look on his face was that akin to finding out Santa wasn’t real.

This is not to say that all Hoosiers refer to them this way - it's a generational and even a geographic phenomenon. Grocery stores tried to appease both camps by advertising "green mango peppers."

Even as far back as the early 1900s, Hoosiers were flummoxed by the mango/green pepper duality. A 1903 Indianapolis Star article which explains quite nicely that Hoosiers aren’t total rubes.

Mangoes-what are they? At the market, an order for mangoes will be filled with green peppers, which are commonly called mango peppers, in Indiana at least.

In restaurants and on dining cars on the bills of fare frequently include mangoes or “pickled mangoes” and an order for these will bring a small pickled fruit about the size of an egg, stringy inside and full of seeds.

“What is a mango?” was asked of Mr. Faulkner, of the Faulkner-Webb Company, which makes a specialty of pickling mangoes. His statement was that a mango is a green pepper stuffed with cabbage and mixed, minced picket, highly spiced and whole pickled together.”

People were still in a culinary quandary in 1991. Indianapolis Star food writer Donna Segal set out on her own quest to answer the question: Why do we call green peppers mangoes?

Food historian Karen Hess and author of Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery told Segal that in 18th-century England there was a demand for Indian-style pickles like fruit mangos stuffed with spices and kept in a vinegar brine. Mangoes weren’t available in England so they used substitutes such as green peppers. By way of English cookbooks printed in America, the recipe for stuffed mangoes using peppers spread across America.

Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana use the dual name, possibly because of the large Amish settlements (fond of pickling) in those states. As time passed, even unstuffed peppers continued to be called mangoes.


Fun with Hoosiers

Hoosier cabinets, once the staple of the 1920s American kitchen are amazing pieces of architecture. They came in many shapes, sizes and colors but they all had one thing in common, they were incredibly efficient pieces of furniture.

An advertisement for the Hoosier cabinet circa 1920s

The name Hoosier came from the Hoosier Manufacturing Company based in Indiana, which is the Hoosier state. Why Indiana is called that is another story which maybe someone from Indiana can enlighten me about but for our purposes, we are talking about the name that became synonymous with an all-purpose cabinet that had everything the “modern” housewife of the post-civil war household would need at her fingertips. As houses became smaller and servants became more scarce, the housewife of the early 1900’s needed storage. During that time in our history, built-in cabinets were not plentiful. Many preserved items were kept in cellars or pantries which necessitated walking all over the place to get the job of cooking done. That is when the Hoosier cabinet began its climb in popularity.

Old wooden Hoosier with lower bins

According to Indiana Public Media, the Hoosier cabinet was generally 6 feet tall, made of wood, usually oak or pine, until the enameled version came out and had a range of gadgets that proved useful. Based on a baker’s bench, there were upper and lower storage areas that held a multitude of kitchen items all at your fingertips. There was usually a flour bin, a place for pots and pans, pull out bins for various spices and more. There was usually a counter-top that bisected the top and bottom storage areas which would extend your counter space. Some of these counters were fixed but some were able to be pulled out or pushed in when you were done.

I have always wanted one of these amazing pieces of American history. I haven’t managed to find the one I want just yet but I will. They come in so many shapes, sizes and materials that it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I want. I am partial to the red and white ones, though. Look at how streamlined these pieces were. Take a look at this old advertisement –

Aqua painted Hoosier with Pyrex bowls

That cabinet has space for pots and pans, flour, a spice rack, dishes and a ton more. That is why they became so popular. But as people began to “modernize” during the thirties and forties, these cabinets began to fall out of favor. People were able to buy canned and prepared foods. They didn’t can as much as they used to. It wasn’t necessary for a woman to be in the kitchen all day baking bread so the need for this piece of efficiency began to wane.

As women began to move into the work force, the Hoosier cabinet became a relic of a past era. But you can’t deny the beauty of the concept itself. Although I can understand not wanting the flour and sugar exposed to bugs and whatnot, as not all of these canisters were airtight having always lived where counter space was at a premium, I would love one of these in my kitchen. There were lots of items that were made for these cabinets, too which are highly sought after. There were jars and bins, canister sets and much more. You could make your Hoosier cabinet look very put together. Look here for a bunch of different items that you could outfit your Hoosier cabinet with.

As noted in this shout out to the Washington Post, as the Depression got into full swing, the production of these great workstations fell off and the materials that they were made from were needed for the war effort. By the 1950s some were made but lacked the innovations that made the Hoosier what it was.

Even so, there are a number of these old pieces still out there and some are in great shape. They are not cheap but are well worth the price if you find one in good condition and have the space. Hoosier cabinets are one of those marvels of architecture. Most have good bones, and are genuinely worth their weight in gold just being what they are. As we move into smaller and smaller places, and there are just not enough cabinets, we end up running all around the kitchen looking for this pan and that spice. At least I do. I would love to have it all right there where I can find it.



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