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Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is the heart of the "Purple Valley" of Indiana. It has hosted six conventions and Ekklesiai. The 1872, 1878, 1883, 1890, and 1912 all have ties to the same location (albeit two different hotels). The Beta Graduate Chapter, second oldest in Phi Gamma Delta, still thrives in Indianapolis.

John W. Kern, Jr. (Washington and Lee 1920) defeated Walter Pritchard (Indiana 1908) to serve as mayor of Indianapolis from 1935 to 1937. Until his 2004 death in office, the state's governor was Frank L. O'Bannon (Indiana 1952). Also of interest is the 94-acre Holliday Park, donated in 1916 by the founder of The Indianapolis News, John H. Holliday (Hanover 1864), and the 64-acre Christian Park, donated in 1921 by Dr. and Mrs. Wilmer F. Christian (Wabash 1892).

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Indiana Statehouse c. 1840, from the Statehouse website 

Indiana Statehouse

1872 Convention

The 1872 Convention met in the Indiana Senate's chambers on the second floor of the old statehouse. This building was completed in 1835 and demolished in 1877.

Its replacement, the current statehouse, exists today on the same location. Construction began in 1878. The cornerstone was laid in 1880; the building was finally completed eight years later.

200 West Washington Street

Bates House,
from the cover of the novel Bates House

Bates House (site only)

1872, 1878, 1883, and 1891 Conventions

Bates House hotel hosted numerous Fiji gatherings. The 10th Convention lodged here in 1872. Meetings for that event occurred in the State Capitol building (see above).

The 1878 Convention met here, and determined to found The Phi Gamma Delta magazine. The chapters of Indiana held many annual State Days at Bates House; that tradition continues today. The entire fraternity returned in 1883 and 1890 for the 14th and 19th Conventions.

This fine hotel was built in 1852; Lincoln spoke from a balcony on the way to his inauguration in 1861. Bates House was demolished in 1901 to make way for the Claypool Hotel (see below).

Corner of Illinois and Washington Streets

Claypool Hotel,
from a postcard

Claypool Hotel (site only)

1912 Ekklesia

Built on the site of the Bates House, the Claypool Hotel hosted the 64th Ekklesia in December, 1912. The attendance of 501 set a new record for Phi Gamma Delta conventions.

The Claypool Hotel was demolished in 1969. It is now the site of Claypool Court, a retail mall.

Incidentally, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity was founded at the Claypool Hotel in 1908.

Corner of Illinois and Washington Street

Frank Hering Plaque

Frank E. Hering Mothers' Day Plaque

This plaque honors Frank E. Hering (Bucknell 1897), known as "The Father of Mother's Day." It was unveiled on May 10, 1931 at the English Opera House. It reads:

On this site, Sunday February 7, 1904, the first known public plea for a nation-wide observance of Mothers' Day was made by Frank E. Hering, teacher, orator, humanitarian, in commemoration of Mothers' Day and in honor of its beloved founder, the Fraternal Order of Eagles erects this tablet May 10, 1931.

The English Opera House was demolished to make room for the J. C. Penny Building. Later tenant Blue Cross-Blue Shield had the Fraternal Order of Eagles remove the monument. It now stands in the clubhouse of Indianapolis Aerie #211.

Hering was editor of Eagles magazine. Incidentally, he was Notre Dame's first full-time football coach in the late 1890s.

Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #211
4220 East 10th Street

Marshal and Fairbanks Crypts (JL Durall, Find A Grave

Crown Hill Cemetery

Founded in 1863 and listed to the National Register of Historic Places one hundred years later, Crown Hill Cemetery boasts the graves of several Phi Gam luminaries:

  • Thomas Riley Marshall (Wabash 1879), Indiana Governor, US Vice President. Section 72, Lot 1
  • Charles Warren Fairbanks (Ohio Wesleyan 1879), US Senator from Indiana, US Vice President. Section 24, Lot 3
  • Meredith Nicholson, Novelist and US Minister to Paraguay, Venezuela, Nicaragua. Section 4, Lot 6
  • Benjamin O. Haugh (Wabash 1881), manufacturer. Section 8, Lot 30
  • John W. Kern, Jr. (Washington and Lee 1920), Indianapolis mayor. Father was a Senate majority leader and 1908 candidate for US Vice President. Section 104, Lot 237

The cemetery is just north of downtown Indianapolis.

700 West 38th Street

Medal of Honor Memorial
(WL Barrett,
Find A Grave)

Medal of Honor Memorial

Located in White River State Park, downtown Indianapolis, the Medal of Honor Memorial was dedicated in 1999. Twenty-seven glass panels list over 3,400 names of Medal of Honor recipients, including five Phi Gamma Deltas:

Tedford H. Cann (New York 1920) - World War One
Joseph H. Thompson (Pittsburgh 1905) - World War One
Marcellus H. Chiles * (Colorado College 1916) - World War One
George H. "Bud" Ramer * (Bucknell 1950) - Korea
J. Robert Kerrey (Nebraska 1965) - Vietnam
* indicates posthumous awards

South side of Military Park, fronting the canal
Corner of New York Street and West Street


Indianapolis Marriott Downtown

Hosted the 166th Ekklesia in July, 2014. It featured an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Built in 2001, it was the largest hotel in the state for ten years.

350 West Maryland Street

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