Located just south of the Indiana War Memorial between Vermont Street and New York Street, University Park is the oldest part of the plaza.
Located in the heart of downtown in Monument Circle, it was originally designed to honor Indiana’s Civil War veterans. It now commemorates the valor of Hoosier veterans who served in all wars prior to WWI, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars and the Spanish-American War. One of the most popular parts of the monument is the observation deck with a 360-degree view of the city skyline from 275 feet up.
Today, it is a popular downtown green space that features several monuments to honor important state and national figures, including:
At the center of the park is the Depew Fountain, a five-level fountain built in 1919 to honor Dr. Richard Johnson Depew, a former physician, and his wife. Additionally, Syrinx the wood nymph and Pan the satyr call the park home.
Schuyler Colfax was a Hoosier who was Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant. The Schuyler Colfax statue was the first to be placed in the park.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, lived in Indiana from the age of 7 to 21.
Benjamin Harrison, Indiana’s only president.
The land was originally designated for a state university that was never built. From 1833 through 1860, the land was used to house a seminary, several churches and the city’s first high school—all in the same building. In 1860, the land was used by Union troops for drilling exercises. After the war, Indianapolis citizens established a fund to develop the land into the park that stands today.
Original design of the Depew Fountain
The original design of the Depew Fountain was created by Karl Bitter, who was killed in a traffic accident in 1915 before the work could be completed. Following Bitter’s overall design, Alexander Stirling Calder created the bronze figures and the fountain. Henry Bacon, a well-known landscape architect, designed the fountain’s setting.
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