In 1941, a controversy erupted over the correct name for residents of Indianapolis when a native of Louisville (a “Louisvillian”?) queried The Indianapolis Star as to whether Indy residents should be called “Indianapolitans,” Indianapolisans,” or “Indianapolites.”
The Star consulted with the head of the Indianapolis Public Library and the director of the Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau, and both experts agreed that “Indianapolitan” was the correct nomenclature.
Indeed, by 1941 the term “Indianapolitan” had been around for more than a century and was widely accepted. For example, a Star story from October 17, 1903 noted that “Indianapolitans” were not quite up to speed in their knowledge of imported cheeses.
Although the headline from the 1903 article still rings true today (“Much Cheese is Eaten Here”), the term “Indianapolitan” has long since fallen from favor. In fact, the last time it appeared in print in The Indianapolis Star was on November 12, 2000. And that’s fine with me, because the word “Indianapolitan” is so tongue-twisting that there is even an instructional video on YouTube on how to pronounce it.
A few years ago, I wrote an article in HistoricIndianapolis.com about the longstanding use of the terms "Indianan" for Hoosiers and "Indianapolitan" for residents of Indianapolis. At the time, I suggested that Indianapolitan be replaced with the more user-friendly term "Indypolitan." Or failing that, a mixologist at a local hipster bar should invent a cocktail dubbed the Indypolitan.
To date, no one has taken me up on either suggestion. That's the bad news. The good news, the complete obscurity of the term "Indypolitan" guaranteed that it was available as a domain name for my website about the people -- the Indypolitans, if you will -- who have shaped our city for the past 200 years.