“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downtown in Indianapolis in Marion County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Andrew Carnegie

(November 23, 1835 - August 11, 1919)

Andrew Carnegie Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 20, 2019
1. Andrew Carnegie Marker
Inscription.  Although Andrew Carnegie's family lacked material wealth, he grew up among an abundance of cultural and political enlightenment. Largely self-educated, Carnegie loved learning which was encouraged by his family. From modest beginnings as a factory worker and telegraph operator, he gradually built investments in railroad-related industries into a world-dominating empire based on steel. By the 1860's he was wealthy; by the 1870's, he built Carnegie Steel, a company he later sold for $480 million, which is comparable to $120 billion in the 21st century. In his later years, his focus turned to philanthropy. The many educational and cultural institutions which bear his name are a testament to his lifeline commitment to learning and culture.

Scottish-born Carnegie and his family immigrated to the United States. Just 13 years old, he worked six days a week in a cotton mill, changing spools of thread 12 hours a day.

As a messenger boy for the Ohio Telegraph Company, Carnegie delivered telegrams to theaters and often talked his way into the audience.

Carnegie became
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a secretary and telegraph operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad and advanced quickly through the railroad to become superintendent of the Pittsburg Division.

Without even $50 to his name, Carnegie made his first investment when his mother mortgaged $500 out of their $700 home so he could buy ten shares of the Adams Express Company.

During the Civil War, Carnegie excelled as superintendent of the Military Railways and the Union's eastern telegraph lines, managing the successful military transportation and communication networks. After the war, he focused on the iron industry.

Carnegie married Louise Whitfield. During the late 1880s, Carnegie Steel was the world's largest manufacturer of pig iron and iron products.

Watershed Moment

Andrew Carnegie amassed a fortune in the steel industry through vertical integration, a method in which he controlled the manufacturing process from raw materials through distribution. At the height of his business career, he was the second richest man in the United States. He sold his steel interests in 1901 to J.P. Morgan for a sum of $480 million, making him the richest man in the world. $480 million in 1901 is equal to $120 billion by early 21st century standards. This acquired wealth funded his philanthropic interests in building and
Andrew Carnegie Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 20, 2019
2. Andrew Carnegie Marker
supporting libraries and educational and cultural institutions across the nation.
Erected by Cultural Trail Indianapolis.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkCommunicationsIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Indiana, Cultural Trail Indianapolis series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1848.
Location. 39° 46.61′ N, 86° 9.592′ W. Marker is in Indianapolis, Indiana, in Marion County. It is in Downtown. Marker is on West Walnut Street west of North Illinois Street, in the median. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 702 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis IN 46204, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wilbur and Orville Wright (a few steps from this marker); Albert Einstein (within shouting distance of this marker); Booker T. Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Edison (within shouting distance of this marker); Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt (within shouting distance of this marker); Mark Twain (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jonas Salk (about 300 feet away); Susan B. Anthony (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Indianapolis.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 4, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 141 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 27, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 30, 2023