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500 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225

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“The Syrian Quarter” State Historical Marker

To Be Dedicated in Indianapolis, Indiana

A public dedication ceremony for an Indiana state historical marker commemorating the history and contributions of the Syrian immigrant community in Indianapolis is scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2024 in Marion County. The program will begin at 6:00 pm on the northeast corner of Lucas Oil Stadium at 500 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225. Metered and lot parking is available nearby.

The text follows for the state marker entitled “The Syrian Quarter”:

Arabic-speaking Syrian immigrants settled here on Willard St. by 1893 in small, crowded multiple-family row homes. They created a vibrant neighborhood alongside Black Americans and European immigrants. Searching for economic opportunities in the United States, many Syrians worked as peddlers or in local factories, shifting to the grocery store business after WWI. Syrian immigrants and their families faced xenophobia, racism, and debates over their "whiteness" while fighting for naturalized citizenship in the early 1900s. Mostly Christians, they celebrated holidays here with traditional Arab foods and folk music. By 1920, they moved from this area and began establishing Arab cultural institutions in other parts of Indianapolis.

The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremony for this historical marker that commemorates Syrian immigration to the city in the late nineteenth century, part of a larger movement of Middle Easterners to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean settled in many cities throughout Indiana and the U.S. The new marker examines the community they built and their cultural contributions to the state. This marker was made possible thanks to the Arab Indianapolis Foundation and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. For a listing of other markers in the county, see: https://www.in.gov/history/state-historical-markers/find-a-marker/find-historical-markers-by-county/indiana-historical-markers-by-county/#marion.

State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history. These markers help communities throughout the state promote, preserve, and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages. For over 100 years the Indiana Historical Bureau, a division of the Indiana State Library, has been marking Indiana history. Since 1946, the marker format has been the large roadside marker, which has the familiar dark blue background with gold lettering and the outline of the state of Indiana at the top. Over 750 of these markers have been installed over the years.

For more information about the Indiana Historical Marker Program, including details on this marker, a listing of other markers in the state, or other resources about Indiana, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website at http://www.IN.gov/history or call (317) 232-2535. For more information on the dedication, contact Dr. Edward Curtis at [email protected].

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