Never Forget the Reason for the Season, and Never Forget Our Veterans
The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument was built from 1889 to 1901 at a cost of $598,000. (With inflation, today that would be more than a Big $12 Million, and estimates say that constructing it now might cost $500 million!) It was dedicated to the state’s veterans of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War.
The basement of the monument houses the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, a history and education center.
The monument was designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz and is over 284 feet tall, made of oolitic limestone and bronze, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For comparison, New York‘s Statue of Liberty is just 15 feet taller!
Every winter since 1962, the monument has been transformed into the World’s Largest Christmas Tree, which today is lit by over 5 thousand LED lights!
In 2012, the city held the 50th annual celebration of Lighting Up the Big Christmas Tree, which included the filling of a time capsule.
Each December, there are various related activities with a holiday theme near the Big Christmas Tree, such as hot cocoa and horse-drawn carriage rides, and a free ice skating rink.
Photos: Lit for Christmas (above) by Paul Everett, The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument (below-left) by Paul Sableman, Observation deck view (below-right) by Jeffrey Sherman
Any child who visits can also drop off his or her letter to Santa Claus at a special U.S. Post Office set up nearby the World’s Largest Christmas Tree!
If mailed to the North Pole at least 10 days before Christmas, he or she will even get a letter back from the World’s Largest Jolly Old Elf!
You can find the World’s Largest Christmas Tree (or, during the rest of the year, the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument) on Monument Circle in the heart of Indianapolis. Check online or call the Lilly Civil War Museum, because when open, you can park your rental car and climb a 331-step staircase to the monument’s observation deck for a beautiful view of the Big City of Indianapolis. There’s also an elevator that takes people almost to the top, for a charge of $2 per person.