Ever marvel at how easy it is to navigate the streets of Indianapolis? Learn about the man behind the design, Alexander Ralston, Wednesday, April 14 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis downtown. As one of the co-architects who designed the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, Ralston’s legacy is alive and well in our streets. Learn about his life and designs for FREE at the Indiana State Library in an Indianapolis education event. The lecture gets underway at 10:00 am on Wednesday morning.
Alexander Ralston was born in Scotland in 1771. He cut his professional teeth as an engineer, working on the estate of Baron of Roslin. After the American Revolution, he emigrated the United States, where he became an assistant to French architect Pierre L’Enfant. He assisted L’Enfant in his designs fro Washington, DC. Sometime before 1815, Ralston moved West to Indiana, settling in a homestead in Southern Indiana. Little did he know that he would soon become an important fixture of Indianapolis history.
In 1820, the state commissioner overseeing the survey of Indianapolis, Christopher Harrison, hired Ralston to help with the large job. Later he and his co-surveyor, Elias Pym Fordham, were commissioned by the Indiana General Assembly to make a city plan for the soon to be Indiana State Capitol. His original plan called for a city that was only one square mile, with a Governor’s Circle, a large circular commons and the original site of the Governor’s Mansion all at the very center of the Circle City. The Governor’s Mansion he helped to envision was demolished in 1857 and replaced by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument that now fills Monument Circle. Ralston’s designs for the city borrowed heavily from the city plan of Washington DC.
Alexander Ralston died in 1827, before his plan was fully implemented by 1850. Despite this and Indianapolis’ expansive nature, Indianapolis downtown varies little from Ralston’s original concept. He was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in 1827, but his remains were moved to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis downtown in 1874. His grave stone is easily recognizable as it is engraved with an image of his plat of the city’s initial design.
Learn more about Alexander Ralston, and his original plans for the city of Indianapolis at the Indiana State Library this Wednesday, April 14. After the 10:00 am session, grab lunch at any of the many Indianapolis restaurants in Indianapolis downtown. Stay tuned to Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City Finder.com. We cover Indianapolis arts to Indianapolis sports and everything in between. Get out in Indy and find some fun!
Alexander Ralston: Architect of Indianapolis
Wednesday, April 14 at 10:00 am
Indiana State Library
315 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202