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You Are There: Eli Lilly at the Beginning

Eli Lilly 1Colonel Eli Lilly began a new business in Indianapolis in 1876 manufacturing drugs for wholesale distribution – a business that became Indiana’s most successful start-up. A Civil War veteran who saw fierce combat and overcame deep personal loss, he applied his past experiences and entrepreneurial abilities to successfully establish Eli Lilly and Company with his son Josiah K. Lilly.

Visitors to You Are There: Eli Lilly at the Beginning step back in time to the colonel’s original laboratory on Pearl Street, then a small, locally owned business just getting off the ground. Learn about the life and past experiences of the colonel and the philanthropic values that would go on to shape today’s multinational corporation with more than 100 years of transformative charitable giving. Experience the Indianapolis wholesale district in the late 1800s and interact with Lilly’s first employees as they toil in the drug-making business.

Inside the space, meet Colonel Lilly himself, and possibly J.K. Lilly Sr., then a teenager helping in his father’s store. Augustus Keifer, an Indianapolis drug wholesaler who originally encouraged the colonel to go into business for himself, may be there as well as Caroline Krueger, one of the company’s first employees. In addition, you may catch a local newspaper reporter interviewing the colonel about his experiences during the Civil War that shaped his ideas on leadership and perseverance.

You’ll see artifacts on loan from Eli Lilly and Company, gain a greater knowledge about advances in the pharmaceutical industry, and learn the many ways Colonel Lilly overcame personal setbacks along his path to success. See how the colonel’s legacy lives on in the philanthropic and business communities in Indianapolis and around the world.

Presented by Eli Lilly and Company with support from Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly, II, and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nicholas

Family Day

Saturday, Oct. 1, noon to 4 p.m.

Be the first to explore our newest exhibit with interactive activities, behind-the-scenes tours and hands-on projects. You’ll even be able to meet Civil War soldiers from Colonel Lilly’s regiment. Free with admission to the Indiana Experience.

Presented by Franciscan St. Francis Health