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									                   Lesson Plan: Urbanization in Indiana, 1900-1930
                                   Twelfth Grade

Purpose of Lesson: This lesson (1) introduces students to the concept of urbanization
and (2) demonstrates the geographic and cultural processes of urbanization in early
20th-century Indiana


At the end of the lesson, students should be able to:
     Interpret first-person historical text
     Apply historical text to visual documentation for a greater understanding of urban
       change in early 20th-century Indiana

Correlation to Indiana Standards

Social Studies

USH.2.11 Consider different perspectives on industrial development and social
problems expressed in primary documents.

USH 4.5 Investigate the ways life was changing on the farm and in the city in the
United States generally and in Indiana during the 1920s due to technological
development, with particular emphasis on the automobile industry.

USH 9.1 Locate and analyze primary and secondary sources presenting different
perspectives on events and issues of the past.

USH 9.2 Locate and use sources found at local and state libraries, archival collections,
museums, historic sites, and electronic sites.

Historical and Methodological Context for the Lesson:

       Like the nation as a whole, Indiana saw a shift in its population from rural areas
to the city, and then from city to suburbs, during the course of the twentieth century.
The primary factor drawing people into towns and cities was work. The growth of urban
workplaces, in turn, came from transportation and technological improvements that
supported economies of scale and that concentrated facilities in centralized areas
where goods and services could be easily exchanged. Until the Great Depression,
urbanization was a spiraling cycle: more opportunities brought more workers; more
people created more money and more opportunities. As this cycle continued, the face
of cities changed, too: as land became more productive, it became more valuable; as it
grew more valuable it had to be made more productive in order to cover its ever-rising
        With the economic revival that followed World War II, existing tendencies toward
dispersal from central cities became dominant. Automobiles, federally subsidized road-
building, improvements in production techniques, and changing forms of home financing
pulled more and more people from the centers of Indiana's large cities to their suburban
        Indianapolis remained the state's largest city through the century. Behind it, Ft.
Wayne, Evansville, Terre Haute, South Bend, Gary, and Muncie all filled a niche as
small industrial cities. Hoosiers prided themselves on the "typical American" quality of
these manageable cities, an image enforced by the "Middletown" studies of the 1920s
and 1930s. A still broader network of large towns—places like Madison, Richmond,
Marion, and Kokomo—supported these small cities, bringing the amenities of the town
in close reach to almost all Indianans. In all, Indiana saw neither the extremes of rural
isolation or of urban gigantism that typified many other states.
        With the arrival of steam railroads in the mid-1800s and then of electrical power
in the 1890s, Indianapolis grew beyond its role as a large mercantile town to become a
complex industrial city. While Indianapolis remained much smaller than other big
midwestern cities, Hoosiers were ambivalent about the changes that took place there.
Writer Booth Tarkington grew up in the city, left it for Europe at the turn of the century,
and returned to live there in 1913. He often used the city (which he called “Midland
City”) as the setting for his famous novels, and he wrote perceptively about its changes
in his 1928 autobiography, The World Does Move.


Excerpt, Booth Tarkington, The World Does Move (1928)

Selected photographs of Indianapolis, 1900-1930, taken from Indiana Historical Society
      (IHS) online digital image collections, http://www.indianahistory.org/library/
Lesson Activities:

These materials can be used in several ways to emphasize different learning skills. For

1) Vocabulary and reading comprehension: Divide students into teams. Have each
team underline eight to ten significant descriptive phrases in Tarkington's writing. The
students should look up any unfamiliar words and then decide what they think each
phrase contibutes to Tarkington's portrait of the city. Finally, the students should put all
of their analyses together and create a one-page presentation on Tarkington's view of

2) Comprehension and Visual Analysis: Have students create a poster illustrating
one or more processes of urbanization. They may use the attached photographs but
should also be encouraged to find more photographs from the collections listed below.
Each photograph should be captioned with an appropriate passage from the reading

3) Creative Writing: Have each student write an essay about coming back to their
own home town in 15 years. What will have changed? What remains the same?

Other Resources:

1)   Allen County Community Album:

 The Historic Photos and Fort Wayne/Allen County History collections cover a wide
spectrum of Fort Wayne's history.

2)   Harry Lemen Photograph Collection:

 Photos from 1927 to 1950 cover buildings, transportation, and other topics in Madison
and Hanover, Indiana, history.

3)   Indiana Historical Society Digital Image Collections:

 The Bass Photo, Recorder, Madam C. J. Walker, and O. James Fox collections all
contain photos of Indianapolis throughout the 20th century.
4)   Middletown Digital Archives:

 The Swift, Spurgeon-Green, and Sellers collections, as well as the Other Side of
Middletown collection, contain hundreds of photographs of everyday Muncie, focusing
on the 1910s through the 1940s.

5)   U.S. Steel Gary Digital Photograph Collection:

 More than 2,000 photographs of Gary and the U.S. Steel Works, many from the first
two decades of the city's existence. The site also includes a Teacher's Guide section
with a brief city history, lesson plans for 4th, 8th, and 12th grades, and links to useful
primary sources on Gary's early history.
An Excerpt from The World Does Move , Booth Tarkington (1928)

[The following excerpt describes Booth Tarkington’s return to his native
Indianapolis in 1913]

       New York, however, was not my destination, being but a way station on this
decisive journey to the verdant plain that had for me the persistent claim of native soil
calling always, however faintly, to its wandering sons, "Come home!" A stranger,
looking forth from his sleeping-car after a night of curving among the hills, might
wonder why anybody should come home to this level monotony of landscape and the
reiterating shabby back ends of wood and brick country towns, all alike. Moreover, a
native son might himself feel a qualm or two of that same wonder, especially if he had
been living in Paris. The flat lands were bleaker than they had been aforetime; the
ground was dark and fertile, but great stretches of forest were gone, leaving only
clumps of woodland here and there. The old bosky "snake fences" had disappeared,
replaced by unamiable wire; and sometimes there would be a glimpse of a country
road whereon an efficient, ugly little automobile bounced viciously into sudden
distance, leaving the farmers' buggies and wagons, as it passed, enveiled and
strangled in its long thick tail of dust. And sometimes, too, racing with the train, a
demon of an interurban trolley-car would tear shrieking across the landscape.
       Something of what had been the wistful charm of the long and wide flatness
seemed to have disappeared; something of its old-time sleepy peacefulness
seemed to be gone with the deep woods and rail fences. Nevertheless, it still had a
voice and still could seem to murmur in its old-fashioned way, "Yes, this is home. It
always will be home for those who were born in it. You have come home." And
when I actually had reached home again, "old Charlie", the trolley-car conductor,
who always remembered anybody that had ever lived on his "line", was warm in his
congratulations. To him it seemed that any absence from his town must be
unwilling, a hardship enforced. "You are certainly mighty lucky to get back to God's
country again!" he said.
       At first it did not appear to me that the Midland city had changed a great
deal. It had grown, of course, because it was alive; and it was obviously not so
clean as it had been. Almost into the Twentieth Century, natural gas had made it
speckless, except for the ordinary dustiness of summer; and when the gas failed,
anthracite helped to keep the air clear. There were not many factories in what was
essentially a market town, the capital of an agricultural state, and what smoke there
had been came principally from the railroad engines. Now, however, one was
conscious sometimes of soft-coal smoke in the air, particularly at nightfall; but the
traces were comparatively faint, far from unendurable.
       The same pleasant old "principal residence streets" stretched serenely
northward; the same green arches of joining branches shaded them; and the same
solid, big old houses stood among the sun-and-shade-flecked green lawns; the
same people lived in those houses. Two or three new buildings downtown had
replaced old ones for offices and business; but the new ones were not veritable
sky-scrapers--the tallest building in town was of twelve stories--and although the
first apartment house was now more than ten years old, not more than half a dozen
others had been built. One could stroll everywhere about the town, and, except for
the automobiles, find only here and there a noticeable change….

       [But] although most things "looked about the same" to the returned native, and
the same old people and houses and trees and lawns and saloons appeared to be but
slightly altered, principally by seeming a little older, there were tokens of a stirring, of
something moving underneath, of unknown powers at work to produce a new kind of
growing; but at first these hints were faint and not insistent. One felt that the town had
somehow become more "citified"; it had become not only larger, that is to say, but more
formal. Downtown there were traffic officers at several corners, and you couldn't drive
just where and how you pleased, as in the easy-going old days of a little while before. In
fact, one felt that the easy-going old days were gone forever. In this larger town young
people wouldn't dance on a platform in somebody's yard by the light of paper lanterns;
romantic gentlemen wouldn't pile an orchestra into "express wagons" and go midnight
serenading; never again would a pretty young lady light the gas to show a bright window
for the young Dons with fiddles, flutes and a harp upon the lawn below.
There was a great deal more asphalt and there were a great many more automobiles. A
few "family carriages" were still to be seen on the streets, with a victoria or two and one
or two broughams and coupes; "hired hacks" were still to be had at livery stables and
horse cabs at the station; but the red-wheeled runabout had disappeared forever; the
town's jeunesse doree (in the phrasing loved by the fin de siecle) now shot itself out to
the country club with gas; the "fast trotter", that willing and faithful friend of youth, was
gone with the red wheels, and so was the bicycle as the friend of pleasure. The little
bells chimed no more above the darting lamps along the highways of a summer
evening: there were too many automobiles.
   Some of the streets had lengthened surprisingly and appeared to contemplate even
more surprising extensions; asphalt and cement were stretching far into suburban
territory, through what had been "picnic woods", not so very long before.

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