Indiana State Library and Historical Building, 1934

140 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Architect: Pierre @ Wright


The Indiana State Library is an excellent example of the neo-classical revival style which was popular for civic buildings during the 1920s and 30s. In addition to the neo-classical style, Pierre & Wright also included art deco detailing on the exterior as well as the interior. With nine bays and three stories, the Indiana State Library is symmetrically balanced, which aids in its eloquence and grandeur. Above the large front entrance is an owl, the symbol of learning and wisdom, with the engraving “Indiana State Library and Historical Building.” Throughout the façade there are reliefs by Leon Hermant which depict the story of Indiana from Native American tribes to modern day students. The interior features murals and stained glass windows by J. Scott William depicting scenes of Indiana’s settlement through agriculture and education.


The Indiana State Library is the most significant structure designed by Pierre & Wright, who were a prominent Indianapolis architecture firm. The structure was completed using all material, contractors and craftsmen from Indiana whenever possible in order to increase civic pride and enthusiasm. The need for public works projects spurred the construction of the library and enabled federal funds to be used for the one million dollar building.


National Register of Historic Places (1995)

Style: Neo-Classical Revival

Owner (past/present): State of Indiana

Materials: Indiana Limestone

Additions and/or changes with date: Archives and storage addition, 1976

Historic use/current use: State Library

Is building open to the public?: Yes

Condition: Excellent

Website and/or sources for further information:

Indiana State Library website:

Research sources:

Indiana State Library and Historical Building, Pierre & Wright Collection, The Drawing and Documents Archive, Ball State University.

National Register of Historic Places, Indiana State Library and Historical Building, Indianapolis, Marion, IN, 19950303. 1995.


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