After World War I, Indiana decided to build a memorial to the Hoosiers who gave their lives, and to all men and women who served during the Great War. In 1920, the Indiana General Assembly created the Indiana World War Memorial and the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District. Closely related to this plan was the effort to bring the American Legion National Headquarters to Indianapolis.
The Legion considered many cities including Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Kansas City, and Detroit, but the proposed War Memorial and five-block War Memorial Plaza gave Indianapolis the advantage. Architects Frank B. Walker and Harry E. Weeks of Walker and Weeks in Cleveland, Ohio, designed the Plaza, including the Indiana War Memorial, in 1923.
The War Memorial Plaza, with its grand monumental scale, displays the urban planning concepts of the City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century, and contains the city’s most significant grouping of neoclassical architecture. The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District is truly one of America’s most impressive public settings and the site of one of the nation’s most outstanding war memorials.
Indianapolis devotes more public space to honoring the service and sacrifice of veterans of the armed forces than any other U.S. city. Only Washington, D.C., includes more veterans’ monuments. Historic District features American Legion headquarters facilities, Monument Circle’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA 35) Memorial, and the Indiana War Memorial.