Historic Indianapolis marker destroyed, fund established for replacement

INDIANAPOLIS -- A marker on the Monon Trail honoring the legacy of one of Indianapolis' best athletes was recently destroyed, but some dedicated fans are trying to get it back.

The marker for Marshall "Major" Taylor was knocked down sometime last month. The marker was located at 38th Street and the Monon Trail, near the Indiana State Fairgrounds. 

Chandler Lighty, the director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, said nobody is quite sure what happened to it but it would be difficult for it to be knocked off the stand.

Taylor was a cyclist born in Indianapolis in the late 1800s. He set many world records throughout his career. He won U.S. circuit titles in 1899 and 1900 while facing discrimination as the sport's first African-American champion, according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

The bureau is trying to get a new marker made to replace the broken one -- there's just a matter of cost. Lighty said it would cost about $2,200 for a replacement.

The Major Taylor Association, an organization based in Massachusetts in Taylor's memory, will hold its annual bike race next week. It's the group's signature fundraiser. Usually, the proceeds from the race would go toward the organization. But this year, they will go to the replacement of the marker in Indianapolis.

"We're happy to help keep the history of Major Taylor in Indianapolis," Lynne Tolman, the organization's president, said. "We're just glad the historical bureau is keeping Major Taylor's memory alive."

As of Wednesday morning, the Indiana Historical Bureau has received a donation of $100, Lighty said. 

"It's a priority for us to get it back," he said. "It's just a matter of raising the funds."

If you would like to help get a replacement marker on the Monon Trail, call the Indiana Historical Bureau at 317-232-2535.

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