Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our new listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show.
March 13 show
Traveling in time down the White River
March is Women's History Month, and as Nelson is off in New York City tripping the light fantastic on a well-deserved break, we'll have a pair of not-so-well-behaved women guest-hosting the show. One grew up along the banks of the White River picking up Indian artifacts, and the other is an oft-canoeist of many rivers in Indiana. Per writer Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's words, "well-behaved women seldom make history."
Jim Willaert, guest experience general manager at Conner Prairie, will take us on a tour in time down the west fork of the White River in Central Indiana. Bereft of mountains and seashores (although you will incorrectly see mountains in the 1956 movie Friendly Persuasion starring Gary Cooper, set in Indiana during the Civil War), the Wahehani once boasted 12 or more Delaware settlements along the river between what is now 96th Street in Indianapolis and Muncie.
Beyond the Native American connection to the river, Jim will take us through the progression of European settlers arriving in flatboats. He will tell us a bit about the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836, which provided for making rivers more navigable, as well as for construction of canals, roads and railroads, but it also nearly drove the state bankrupt. And did you know that much of the proud early citizenry of Indianapolis, from the 1820s right up until after the Civil War, firmly believed that Indianapolis could be a thriving river port? They thought White River could handle steamboat and barge traffic coming up from the Wabash. We'll hear about a couple of accidents and disasters.
In the early 1900s, resort areas for swimming and boating sprung up along the White River in what is now Broad Ripple and Ravenswood in Indianapolis.The White City Park (now Broad Ripple Park, owned by the city) built the second-largest swimming pool in the country there in 1908. In 1922, the National Swimming Event took place in the Broad Ripple pool, and, in 1924, the Olympic tryouts were there. At this meet, Johnny Weissmuller won the 100-meter freestyle and later went on to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
More recently, the White River fish kill downstream from Anderson in December of 1999 brought further attention to the need to preserve and protect one of Central Indiana's most precious natural resources, the White River. Tune in and call in on Saturday to share your questions and thoughts.
Some more White River resources:
As Chris Gahl of the ICVA will be deep in Big Ten action this Saturday, Amy Lamb of the Indiana Historical Society will be checking in with a special preview of the Indiana Experience, opening to the public on March 20 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. This ongoing interactive and high-tech exhibit allows the IHS to showcase its archival holdings, including 1.6 million photographs, in engaging new ways. This is not your grandfather's history museum exhibit, apparently!
According to Amy, ongoing elements of the Indiana Experience will include:
- You Are There experiences, three-dimensionally recreated historic photographs that include trained first-person interpreters who interact with visitors.
- Destination Indiana, a facilitated, interactive opportunity for visitors to "travel through time" using innovative digital technology, touch screens and immersive displays of historic images and documents.
- The Fortune History Lab, a hands-on demonstration lab that allows visitors to learn and participate in conservation and preservation activities.
- The Cole Porter Room, an intimate multimedia space with a performer/facilitator and original materials dedicated to the interpretation of Cole Porter's life and work.
History Mystery question
This town lies along not the White River, but along the Big Blue River in Indiana. The popular hymn Bringing in the Sheaves was written there by evangelical preacher and composer Knowles Shaw (1834-1878). More recently, this town's main street was the original location of contemporary business The Best Chocolate in Town, owned by Elizabeth Garber, now with a retail location on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.
Question: What is the name of the town?
The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is gift certificate to The Best Chocolate in Town, courtesy of The Best Chocolate in Town.
Your friends in Hoosierdom,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Richard Sullivan, tech and web director
Garry Chilluffo, online editor
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Lucas Oil, Indiana Authors Award and Story Inn.
Acknowledgments to Scott Keller Fine Art and Antiques Appraisals, Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.
March 20 show
Indiana's only First Lady
As Hoosier History Live! salutes Women's History Month, we will explore the life of Caroline Scott Harrison, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison and, so far, the only Hoosier to have served as First Lady. Although many accounts focus on Mrs. Harrison's gentle nature and tragic illness – she died of tuberculosis in the White House in 1892, throwing the country (and her adopted hometown of Indianapolis) into deep mourning – Mrs. Harrison initiated many accomplishments and often stood firmly on principle, sometimes on issues particularly appropriate for exploration during Women's History Month.
When the influential Johns Hopkins Medical School asked Mrs. Harrison, as First Lady, to help raise funds, she agreed, with major conditions: She demanded that the medical center begin admitting women students, and do so in the same way men were being admitted. Mrs. Harrison also founded the Daughters of the American Revolution and served as its first president general.
Nelson will be joined in studio by Jennifer Capps, curator of the President Benjamin Harrison Home. Like her husband, Mrs. Harrison was born in Ohio (in 1832) and became a civic leader after moving to Indianapolis. Talented in the creative arts, she painted with watercolors, played the piano, grew orchids and started the White House china collection that continues to this day. (A stunning, nearly life-sized portrait painting of Mrs. Harrison hangs today near the China Room in the White House as a tribute to her.)
The Harrisons were the first family to live in the White House with electricity, beginning in 1890. Her death occurred two weeks before her husband lost his bid for re-election. Thousands of Indianapolis residents watched her funeral procession to Crown Hill Cemetery.
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