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Archives - 2011

Population shifts across Indiana

(Dec. 31, 2011 - encore presentation) -When the U.S. Census Bureau released results this year from 2010, many news accounts focused on the fact that the state's fastest-growing counties were in the Indy metro area. Other accounts reported shifts in Indiana's ethnic and racial makeup.

Hoosier History Live! puts the results in historic context and explores population declines in such cities as Gary, South Bend, Evansville and Hammond in this encore broadcast of a popular show from our archives. (Its original air date was March 13, 2011.)

This map shows Indiana’s population changes, 2000 to 2010. Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau.Nelson is joined in studio by Indiana University demographer Matt Kinghorn, who was quoted in many of the news accounts about the census results. He's an analyst with the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business.

With Matt as our guide, we explore Indiana's overall population increase. It's up 6.6 percent from 10 years prior, a growth rate that topped those of neighboring Illinois (3.3 percent) and Ohio (1.6 percent).; Michigan's population actually dropped, declining by .6 percent.

Matt recommends a look at this interactive map from the Census Bureau. Although Matt points out that Indiana still remains less diverse than the nation, the population of Hispanics in the Hoosier state grew 82 percent. (In Illinois, Hispanics have become the largest minority group, exceeding blacks, according to an account in USA Today.)

Overall, nearly 60 percent of the growth in Indiana came in Indianapolis (Marion County) and surrounding counties; the population of Carmel and Fishers has more than doubled since 2000.

That may not sound startling, but perhaps it's a bit surprising that only two of the state's largest cities, Indy and Fort Wayne, gained people. The largest decrease (22 percent) was in Gary, with South Bend and Evansville chalking up 6.1 and 3.4 percent losses, respectively.

As part of our effort to put the results in historic context, Matt and Nelson explore how, despite Indiana's reputation as an agricultural state, by far the majority of residents have not lived on farms or in small towns for many generations. The latest census results reinforce the longstanding trend of urban and suburban living.

With the 6.6 percent growth, the state's population totaled 6,483,802 people.

Some other results of the data: Suburban communities and counties reported noticeable increases in black residents. And third-place in terms of growth among the sizable cities, after Carmel and Fishers, was Noblesville.

Matt Kinghorn.Matt Kinghorn, our guest, has served as one of Indiana's representatives to the Census Bureau's Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates; he also is a member of the Indiana Geographic Information Council. His work includes population projections for Indiana – so, in this case, our history show takes a future peek as well.

A sampling of his projections:

  • During the next 35 years, the 10-county Indianapolis metro area will account for 54 percent of the state's growth.
  • Also during that period, the number of Hoosiers ages 65 and older will increase 90 percent. "An aging population is not unique to Indiana, of course, but is a national trend," Matt writes in a recent article about the population projections. "In fact, when compared to the rest of the nation, Indiana is relatively young, with a median age of 36.3 years, which ranks in the bottom third of all states."
  • The state's population with Hispanic or Latino roots will double over the next 25 years, increasing by 285,000 residents.
  • The Asian population also is expected to grow significantly, with Hamilton County experiencing the strongest growth. (The number of Asians in Hamilton County nearly doubled between 2000 and 2005.)

Inter-church history in Indy

Pictured is a 1960 bean supper at Bethel AME church in Indianapolis, one of the oldest African-American churches in the state. Image courtesy Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis.(Dec. 17, 2011) - Nearly 100 years ago, about 40 congregations gathered in downtown Indianapolis. Worried about gambling, alcohol trafficking and prostitution in 1912, the congregations formed one of the country's first church federations.

In the beginning, black churches could not join the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis. As the organization prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2012, its executive director is Rev. Angelique Walker-Smith, the first African-American and the first woman to serve in the top post.

To share insights about the history of the church federation - which has evolved from being an exclusively white and Protestant organization to one that includes Catholics, blacks and an array of other ethnic groups - Angelique joins Nelson in studio.

So does Marion County historian David Vanderstel. He's helping put together a history of the church federation, which quickly became an advocate for civil rights. During the 1920s, the federation opposed the Ku Klux Klan and its sway over city and state officials. During the 1920s, the Church Federation opposed Ku Klux Klan activities in Indiana. Pictured here is a 1922 Klan parade in New Castle, Ind. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.The federation also inspired other church councils across the nation and helped fund the launch of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.

Among several events and projects marking its centennial in 2012, the church federation will partner with Habit for Humanity to build 10 homes in Indy. Other partners for the Habit for Humanity homes include Martindale-Brightwood Community Development.

The first home will be unveiled in June, which will be 100 years from the month when the 40 churches gathered in 1912. Back then, the congregations were alarmed at a decline in public morality that included "automobiles speed contests." A morals committee investigated the one-year-old Indianapolis 500, which just finished celebrating its own centennial era.

1904 picture of Roberts Park Methodist Church. Image courtesy Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis and Indiana Historical Society.According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, the new inter-church organization was one of only about six church federations in the nation in 1912, so it served as a model for others across the country. Among the local congregations, early concerns focused on crime and the prevalence of saloons.

By the 1920s, though, the church federation was a vocal opponent of the KKK, which was peaking in power across the state. The federation objected to plans by Indianapolis city officials, including the mayor, to accept only applicants endorsed by the KKK for jobs in the department of public works. Also during the 1920s, white and black preachers had a pulpit exchange program.

During the 1940s, the Indy church federation fought racial discrimination at the U.S. Defense Department. Although generally advocating "peace and goodwill," the federation helped support chaplains for the military during World War II.

Over several decades, the federation also established chaplains at jails and hospitals in Indy. In addition, the organization helped recruit and supervise chaplains for what's now the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, as well as chaplains at Indianapolis International Airport.

Angelique Walker-Smith.Eventually, Catholic parishes began joining the federation. So did Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal and independent congregations.

The diversity will be reflected in several events marking the centennial during 2012. They will include a "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" series Jan. 16-21. Speakers will include Rev. Boniface Hardin (who will share insights about the life of the late Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter) and former Mayor William Hudnut, who was a Presbyterian minister before entering political life.

David Vanderstel.Angelique Walker-Smith has been the church federation's executive director since 1995, the same year she became a volunteer chaplain at the Indiana Women's Prison. She is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and has lived in three African countries.

Since assuming the top post at the church federation, Angelique has initiated a prayer vigil ministry that has been nationally recognized. Clergy of many faiths join civic leaders in prayer at the sites of violent crimes in Indianapolis and at the homes of victims and their families.

David Vanderstel, our other guest, has several affiliations in addition to being Marion County's official historian. He also is the executive director of advancement at Martin University. And David was our studio guest on Hoosier History Live! in March for a show about the Irish in Indiana.

A soldiers parade on Monument Circle in Indianapolis shows, in the background, Christ Church Cathedral, a charter member of the Church Federation, which was active in welcoming soldiers back from World War I. Image courtesy Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis.Other facts:

  • Baby boomers and Gen Xers may recall Time for Timothy, a children's program produced by the church federation beginning in 1957. The series, which was broadcast on Channel 13, focused on a church mouse and often featured puppets interacting with live adults and children. Time for Timothy, which usually focused on Bible stories, stopped production in the early 1990s, although reruns continued several more years.
  • During school desegregation in Indianapolis in the 1970s and '80s, the church federation trained chaplains to help ease tensions. The federation supported busing to achieve integration.
  • Although the first of the 10 Habitat for Humanity houses will be unveiled in June, construction of the others will continue through next October. The 10 "centennial" houses will represent one for each decade of the church federation's history.

Roadtrip: Vintage film showing at Garfield Park

A Christmas Carol movie poster featuring Fredric March and Basil Rathbone.It doesn't get much better than Fredric March as Ebenezer Scrooge and Basil Rathbone as Jacob Marley. Our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA, tells us that the best heritage Roadtrip this week is the Vintage Film Night Series at Garfield Park Arts Center on the south side of Indianapolis.

If you're missing that "whirr" of the film projector (or even that "snap" of the film breaking!), head to Garfield Park this Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. The series will present a rare 1954 television version of A Christmas Carol. Yes, it's a 1950s version of the classic play by Charles Dickens, complete with music by Alfred Hitchcock!

Additionally, expect some lively vintage holiday shorts to be presented that evening by your host, film historian Eric Grayson, and his trusty elf assistant, public historian Glory-June Greiff.

Tickets are only $3, and popcorn and other concessions are available. The Garfield Park Arts Center has plenty of free parking and is located at 2432 Conservatory Drive in Garfield Park. Yes, here's an opportunity to lose that "Bah humbug!" feeling, should you happen to be afflicted with it.

History Mystery

Along with several cities across the country, Indianapolis sometimes has been called "the City of Churches." Renaissance Hotel in Carmel, Ind.But another city in Indiana, one of the largest in the state, is associated even more frequently with that nickname.

For many generations, this city has been a regional hub for Lutherans, Catholics and Episcopalians. It also has a cluster of historic churches with tall steeples in its downtown. The city was the site of early organizational meetings for what became the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.

Question: What is the Indiana city?

The prize was an overnight stay at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel in Carmel, courtesy of the ICVA.

Holiday seasons with Indiana's only First Family

(Dec. 10, 2011) - Television viewers have been treated to peeks at the White House during the holiday seasons of modern presidential administrations. What went on, though, during yuletide when the White House was occupied by the family of the only U.S. president elected from Indiana?

Period decorations adorn the Christmas tree in the front parlor of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Benjamin Harrison and his wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, were in residence along with, periodically, their grown children and grandchildren.

Did you know the Harrisons were the first "First Family" to have a decorated Christmas tree in the White House? The Harrisons also were the first to enjoy the new invention of electricity in the White House.

To explore how the holidays were celebrated there - and also at the Harrisons' home in Indianapolis, which now is known as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site - Nelson is joined in studio by Jennifer Capps, the curator of the site at 1230 N. Delaware St.

According to Jennifer, President Harrison (who, of course, had a natural beard) portrayed Santa Claus for his grandchildren at the White House in December 1891.

"We intend to make it a happy day at the White House," President Harrison wrote to a New York-based journalist. "I am an ardent believer in the duty we owe ourselves, as Christians, to make merry for children at Christmas time, and we shall have an old-fashioned Christmas tree for the grandchildren upstairs; I shall be their Santa Claus myself."

During his administration, a reporter counted the plants displayed in the East Room - and came up with a whopping total of 5,000, including 40 heads of poinsettias.

Feather tree.The Harrisons also were partial to feather trees, which, according to Jennifer, are made of dyed goose feathers and originated in Germany. A feather tree, adorned with hand-blown glass ornaments, currently is displayed at the Harrison Home.

So are Victorian-era toys, many of them originally owned by the Harrison family. Most of the original toys are dolls. They are displayed under the Christmas tree and in the nursery at the Harrison Home.

During the Christmas season of 1888 - one month after Harrison won election, but before he took occupancy of the White House - the president-elect and his wife received a fake spider web at their Indianapolis home as a surprise gift from a friend in Oregon. The web, made of fine wire and featuring a spider and a fly, came with instructions for hanging in the parlor door with the note, "When you walk into my parlor, said the Spider to the Fly. ..."

According to Jennifer's research, an artificial spider and web often were included in the decorations of Ukrainian holiday trees. A spider web found on Christmas morning was considered to be good luck.

So why were the Harrisons the first "First Family" to have a decorated Christmas tree in the White House? According to cultural historians, early Victorians generally adorned their holiday trees only with candles, not ornaments or other decorations. The candles on various branches were lit in the evenings when families gathered around their trees. A family member, often one of the youngest children, was given a water bucket and was entrusted with quickly dousing a candle if its flame threatened to set the tree ablaze.

At the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in downtown Indianapolis, a holiday table shows decor for celebration.By the late 1880s, when the Harrisons moved into the White House, decorations on holiday trees often included wooden soldiers, cotton batting ornaments and hand-blown glass figures.

The Harrisons' children, Russell and Mary, were in their 30s during the family's White House years. Mary's young children (Benjamin and Caroline's grandchildren) even kept a pet goat in the stables at the White House.

The Christmas tree for 1889 in the White House was described as "a large, gorgeous tree trimmed by the president, his family and staff," according to Jennifer. "It carried toys not only for the children of the family, but for everyone attached to the White House and their families."

Sadly, Caroline Scott Harrison did not live to see the yuletide season of 1892, her husband's final year as president. She died in the White House of tuberculosis. (Thousands of Indianapolis residents watched the First Lady's funeral procession to Crown Hill Cemetery.) Two weeks after he lost his wife, Benjamin Harrison lost his bid for re-election.

Then he returned to live at the home on North Delaware Street in Indianapolis. Four years later, he married his second wife, Mary. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was born when her father was 63 years old. She had celebrated four yuletide seasons with her father when he died in 1901.

Upcoming events include:

  • On Saturday (Dec. 10), the same day Jennifer will join Nelson in studio, the Harrison Home will offer special Christmas tours (with re-enactors of the 1888 season) designed for families. The tours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Harrison Home will be among five historic mansions included in "A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street," a progressive walking tour on Dec. 28.

Roadtrip: The NFL Experience at Indiana Convention Center

The NFL Experience will open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4.Does everyone know that our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA, is our own "insider's guru" for all the news about that big game coming to Indy in February? Chris will give us the latest updates on The NFL Experience, the pro football interactive theme park for young and old alike that will be taking over the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m.!

The action will include participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kids' football clinics, free autograph sessions and the largest football memorabilia show ever.

After its Jan. 27 opening, The NFL Experience will run daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Feb. 4. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children under 12.

History Mystery

An outdoor symbol of the yuletide season in downtown Indianapolis made its first appearance in 1947. Holiday wreath of evergreen with red ribbon, circular.The whimsical symbol, which appeared on Thanksgiving Eve, was noticed by thousands of holiday shoppers during the next month, becoming instantly popular. It has been a fixture ever since, except for a brief period in the early 1990s.

Question: Name this seasonal symbol in downtown Indy that made its debut in 1947.

Hint: It is not the decorated Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which became known as the "World's Largest Christmas Tree." The decorative lighting of the monument - during an event now called "The Celebration of Lights" - did not begin until 1962.

The prize was an overnight stay at the Westin Indianapolis, including valet parking and Shula's buffet breakfast, as well as two tickets to the Indiana State Museum. These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

Live from the Holiday Author Fair

Hoosiers behind the scenes, girls hoops stars, Indiana poets and dirt roads

(Dec. 3, 2011) - For the fourth year, Hoosier History Live! broadcast from a remote (non-studio) location: the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, which bustled and abounded with captivating interviewees, as about 70 authors with Indiana connections gathered for the 9th Annual Holiday Author Fair.

Nelson conducted round-robin chats with a range of fellow authors. Our show features several prominent Indiana authors.

The Making of Hoosiers book cover.Gayle Johnson is the author of The Making of Hoosiers, a book of behind-the-scenes stories about the film released in 1986 that's been heralded as the best sports movie ever made.

Gayle, an Indianapolis-based editor and writer, shares insights about how the Indiana towns that served as filming sites - including Knightstown, Nineveh and New Richmond - have been changed as a result. The 1920s-era gym in Knightstown served as the home court for the fictional Hickory Huskers. Fun facts:

  • In her book, Gayle notes that in the initial script, the team was called the Cornhuskers.
  • Gayle will be signing books Dec. 28 during high school basketball games at the Knightstown gym, which today is called the Hoosier Gym.
  • Nineveh Elementary School was chosen for interior scenes of the fictional high school in Hoosiers.
  • And the downtown of New Richmond (pop.: 400) in northern Montgomery County was the set for the fictional downtown.

During our show, Gayle explains how Indiana became a national "test market" for Hoosiers, which was released here before anywhere else. If box office results were not impressive, national release would have been sharply curtailed.

Another fun fact: Film distributors disliked the movie's title, preferring The Last Shot.

During the Holiday Author Fair, Gayle offered a presentation for the public about the making of Hoosiers as part of the 25th anniversary of its release. She spoke along with the movie's screenwriter, Angelo Pizzo, who was a studio guest on our show this past summer when he was named a Living Legend by the Historical Society. Angelo signed DVDs of the film.

We Live the Game book cover.Dick Denny is a former sportswriter for The Indianapolis News who has written a book that profiles 30 of the greatest stars of girls high school basketball in Indiana. His new book, We Live the Game: Legends of Indiana Women’s Basketball (Blue River Press/Cardinal Publishing Group), features interviews with former Perry Meridian High School great Katie Douglas, who currently plays with the Indiana Fever. Others include former Seeger High School star Stephanie White (now an assistant coach for the Fever), as well as Jennifer Jacoby, who used the movie Hoosiers as an inspirational tool when she was an outstanding player at Rossville High School.

In We Live the Game, Dick describes how Jennifer would re-watch the fictional Hickory Huskers' run for the state tournament title as motivation before her big games. After her success at Rossville High, Jennifer became a star at Purdue, where she helped the Lady Boilermakers reach the NCAA Final Four for the first time. Coincidentally, Jennifer currently is the athletic director at Knightstown High School.

Of the 30 women profiled in We Live the Game, 11 were named Miss Indiana Basketball, the honor given to the state's top high school player. They include two players who were on the Warsaw High School team in 1976 that won the state's first sanctioned girls' hoops tournament. We Live The Game also includes a profile of Lin Dunn, the Indiana Fever's current coach.

And Know This Place - Poetry of Indiana book cover.Jenny Kander is co-editor of And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press), an anthology featuring great poets who have had Hoosier connections. Jenny, who is based in Bloomington, has included poetry from such writers as James Whitcomb Riley, Jessamyn West and Etheridge Knight.

Jenny and her co-editor, C.E. Greer, write that they have chosen poems that cover the spectrum of the state "in settings from city streets to wilderness tracks (and) ... from Goshen in the north to Floyd's Knobs by the Ohio River."

Nelson asks Jenny how she selected the poets to feature in And Know This Place, which is being touted as the first anthology in more than 100 years that spans vast eras of Indiana poetry.

In addition to poems by historic figures such as Riley (1840-1916) and West (1902-1984), And Know This Place features the work of contemporary figures such as Jared Carter and Norbert Krapf, Indiana's former poet laureate. (Fun fact: Norbert was a Hoosier History Live! guest for a show about our state's German heritage. Norbert grew up in a German community in Jasper.)

In addition to serving as co-editor of And Know This Place, Jenny has been the host of several poetry programs on Bloomington-based radio stations. Her poems have appeared in such publications as Southern Indiana Review.

Nelson plans to ask her whether the styles of Hoosier poets have differed based on their eras or their regions of the state.

Just Fine the Way They Are book cover.Also up for an interview is Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, the author of a new illustrated book for children titled Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates (Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press).

Connie, who lives in Richmond, explains for her young readers how people have reacted with each change in our land transportation system's evolution, beginning with the dirt roads of the early 1800s.

Characters include the keeper of a tavern in the early 1800s who objects to the creation of the Old National Road, as well as owners of railroads who express concerns about the first Model-T in 1908. Other characters complain about the development of the interstate system that bypasses so many small towns.

Also explored in Just Fine the Way They Are: the introduction of stage coaches, bicycles and high-speed rail.

Written in a style that one reviewer called "folksy but panoramic," the book also includes profiles of historic landmarks and places for children to visit with their families. Fun facts:

  • A section of the Old National Road, which eventually became U.S. 40, runs near Connie's home in Richmond.
  • Connie, who became the mother of four children, once worked as a flight attendant for a major airline.

History Mystery

The town of Santa Claus in far-southwestern Indiana always gets a lot of attention this time of year. Holiday Author Fair graphic - image of three Christmas ornaments with book text on them.In addition to its seasonal claims to fame, though, the town has another reason to be proud. A quarterback currently playing for an NFL team was born in Santa Claus.

Question: Who is he?

The prizes this week include tickets to Conner Prairie, tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum, tickets to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, a one-night stay at the Marriott East, and a one-night stay at the James Inn. These prizes are all courtesy of the ICVA.

New rules this week because of the live on-location show. No, all the prizes will not go to one winner! There are no phone calls to the show this week. To win a prize, you must come down in person to the Holiday Author Fair, find Nelson Price and quietly tell Nelson the answer. Please don't try to win a prize if you have won anything on WICR within the last two months.

The Holiday Author Fair, again, is Saturday, Dec. 3, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. We're also including a picture of Nelson so you can more easily identify him. Please don’t interrupt him while he is on the air between 11:30 a.m. and noon; he'll be concentrating on interviewing four authors.

Tee Pee and other drive-ins, bygone or surviving

Frisch’s Big Boy on 25th Street in Columbus, Ind., is shown in the late 1960s. Cruising in Columbus during this era often involved driving a loop between Frisch’s and Jerry’s Drive In on National Road. Both restaurants are now closed.(Nov. 26, 2011) - Among all of the hang-outs that thrived across the country during the "cruising" craze of the 1950s, did any city have a drive-in more beloved than the Tee Pee Restaurant in Indianapolis?

Actually, the Hoosier capital spawned two Tee Pees. The first, which opened in the 1930s and initially was called the Wigwam, enjoyed a high-visibility site next to the Indiana State Fairgrounds off busy Fall Creek Parkway. Years later, a second Tee Pee opened on the Southside.

To explore the distinctive-looking Tee Pees and other Hoosier drive-ins, both those that are bygone and the smattering that remain, Nelson will be joined in studio by two guests with special connections to them:

  • Public historian and preservationist Glory-June Greiff spearheaded a much-publicized (but, alas, unsuccessful) crusade to save the Tee Pee from the wrecking ball in the 1980s. Its site is now overflow parking for the fairgrounds.
  • Retired WRTV-Channel 6 cameraman Dick Baldwin was one of the Tee Pee's most loyal customers, beginning in the 1950s. As the only news photographer at Channel 6 (then known as WFBM) when he started in 1957, Dick says he preferred to patronize drive-ins because he could zip away quickly if his ever-present police scanner stared crackling with news about an emergency.

Glory-June, Dick and Nelson won't confine their drive-in focus to the Tee Pees. Nelson will share insights about Knobby's Restaurants in Indy, popular drive-ins patronized by his family during the 1960s and '70s.

The Tee Pee drive-in restaurant was a cruising mainstay for many years. Located by the Indiana State Fairgrounds, it is pictured here in 1957. Image courtesy Bass Photo Co. collection, Indiana Historical Society.Glory, who grew up in northern Indiana, will dish about Bonnie Doon Drive-Ins of South Bend and Mishawaka. Some Bonnie Doon locations - the source of Glory's fondness for choco-mint sodas - continue to thrive today.

Although the Tee Pee was his fave, Dick also patronized the bygone Pole, a popular drive-in at Lafayette Road and West 16th Street in Indy.

Nor will we forget the Ron-D-Vu near the Butler University campus, the North Pole at Illinois and 56th streets, and Al Green's Famous Food Drive-In on the eastside.

Then there's Don Hall's Hollywood Drive-In in Fort Wayne, which also survives today. Its promotions assure customers "the fabulous '50s will live on forever" there.

Also going strong amid so many drive-in casualties are the Mug n Bun on the westside of Indy and The Suds Drive-In in Greenwood, which opened as the Dog n' Suds in 1957.

According to The American Drive-In (Motorbooks International, 1994) by Michael Witzel, many of the beloved restaurants - once settings for "some of the most spontaneously enjoyable diversions" for young people and families alike - suffered an "astonishingly sudden fall from grace" because of the booming popularity of fast-food chains, particularly when drive-through windows became common.

The Bonny Doon in South Bend, Ind., remains open for business."Waiting for a carhop to serve a meal and remove the dishes became a luxury of another era," Witzel writes.

Of course, for many enthusiasts of drive-ins, the food almost was beside the point - no matter how scrumptious the burgers, French fries, milkshakes and tenderloins.

Many drive-ins became ideal for cruising, including the Tee Pee, which was nearly surrounded by pavement because of the nearby fairgrounds and East 38th Street. Not only were high school and college students drawn to the landmark for decades, demand for a southside location eventually resulted in the opening of the second Tee Pee on Madison Avenue.

Although the Tee Pees were known for fare such as Big Chief burgers, Dick Baldwin, a member of Tech High School's class of '54, says many folks have forgotten that "wonderful" prawns and a special salad dressing also were served.

The small, locally owned Knobby's chain served milkshakes that Nelson recalls as delicious. The longest-lasting Knobby's, located at 52nd and Keystone Avenue, had long since ceased being a drive-in when it closed. The interior of Knobby’s restaurant, at Keystone Avenue and 52nd Street in Indianapolis, is shown in the late 1950s.That was in early 2002, by which point Knobby's had been serving up "food and memories" (as The Indianapolis Recorder once put it) for more than 50 years, having opened in 1951. Tune in to our show to hear Nelson explain the intriguing origin of the Knobby's name.

And we will have Glory-June share memories about her crusade to save the beloved Tee Pee. The focus of TV news coverage and other media accounts during her campaign, Glory practically stood in front of bulldozers to try to stop the demolition.

She was a studio guest on Hoosier History Live! last year for a show about the history of state parks in connection with her book People, Parks and Perceptions (Trafford Publishing, 2010). Glory also is the author of Remembrance, Faith and Fancy (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2005), a look at outdoor sculpture across the state.

This time around, park yourself at the radio and tune in as we savor the culture of cruising and the drive-ins that served as its epicenter.

History Mystery

The Ron-D-Vu, a drive-in restaurant near the Butler University campus, was popular during the 1950s. A vintage free-Coke card from the Ron-D-Vu, a drive-in diner near Butler University in Indy.It also is mentioned frequently in a novel, a national bestseller by an Indianapolis writer who graduated from Shortridge High School. The novel was published in 1970 and was made into a movie more than 25 years after that, but the setting is the 1950s.

Question: What is the name of the best-selling novel that includes frequent references to the Ron-D-Vu?

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is an overnight stay at the Hilton Indianapolis North, courtesy of the ICVA, as well as a pair of tickets to a mid-December Victorian Tea at the Morris- Butler House, courtesy of Indiana Landmarks.

Roadtrip: Gene Stratton-Porter cabin near Rome City

This secluded cabin near Rome City, Ind., was home to author Gene Stratton-Porter.Our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA, suggests we take the Roadtrip to the Cabin in the Wildflower Woods near Rome City, Ind. Lesser known than her Limberlost cabin near Geneva, the Rome City cabin was author Gene Stratton-Porter's second adult home. It was built in 1913 beside a vast, undeveloped forest that provided inspiration for her writing, nature studies and photography.

Furnishings in the home are arranged and maintained to reflect, as authentically as possible, the author's lifestyle, and the graves of both Gene Stratton-Porter and her daughter Jeannette are located here.

Both of the author's homes are state historic sites.

Vincennes history with Lorene Burkhart

Street scene in Vincennes, Ind., circa 1890s. Courtesy Bass Photo Co. collection, Indiana Historical Society.(Nov. 19, 2011) - Indiana's oldest city already had a colorful history when ancestors of Lorene Burkhart arrived about 1800. That also was about when the frontier town of Vincennes, which had been founded by a French-Canadian fur trader in 1732, became the capital of the new Indiana Territory. From a girlhood on a family farm located on the high point between the Wabash and White rivers near Vincennes, Lorene went on to become one of the best-known civic leaders in Indianapolis.

To share insights about her hometown and about her personal journey, which has included careers as a business executive and as a TV personality who shared home-oriented tips such as (to use her phrase) "an early Martha Stewart," Lorene will join Nelson in studio.

Her ancestors, the McCormicks, have been influential in the Vincennes area ever since George McCormick ran a blacksmith shop in the early 1800s. Lorene's father, Clarence McCormick (1902-1983), started out as an Indiana farm boy who initially traveled to high school by horse and buggy; he eventually became under secretary of agriculture President Harry Truman.

This image from a 1909 postcard shows the St. Xavier Cathedral and Library in Vincennes, Ind. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society.As Lorene notes in her book An Accidental Pioneer: A Farm Girl's Drive to the Finish (Hawthorne Publishing), the town of Vincennes was laid out with a design that "in typical French fashion, starts from the river."

Not only has the French flag flown over the town, so has the Union Jack. During the Revolutionary War, the British seized Vincennes and renamed it Fort Sackville. In a significant triumph for the fledgling Americans in 1779, frontier fighter George Rogers Clark and his ragtag troops liberated the town from the British by deceiving them into thinking their forces were much greater than in reality.

The massive George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. The McCormicks attended the ceremony, with infant Lorene in tow.

Her family's farm was seven miles from town. Lorene writes that her chores included plucking feathers off chickens after her mother killed them, an image that may seem jarring to those who know her as an elegant philanthropist whose awards have included honorary doctorates from Purdue University (her alma mater) and the University of Indianapolis, where she has served on the board of trustees.

A former board member for organizations such as Girls Inc., Meals on Wheels and the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Lorene now lives in a penthouse apartment in Indy that has served as the setting for scores of fund-raisers and civic galas.

"At heart, she has remained a farm girl," according to the author's bio in An Accidental Pioneer. Her roots obviously run deep, both to the farm and to Knox County, where Vincennes is the hub. Consider some nuggets from her book:

  • Book cover of An Accidental Pioneer, by Lorene Burkhart.Her maternal grandfather, a dairy farmer, died in 1932 after being attacked by an angry bull.
  • Lorene's grandmother was the first woman in Knox County to have a home sewing machine. According to An Accidental Pioneer, farm wives traveled for miles to see it.
  • Her ancestors settled in Vincennes after traveling north from Kentucky by following a "buffalo trace." Lorene notes that a buffalo trace was "a wide path made by migrations of buffalo, with their heavy bodies and small feet."

Buffalo traces may have made for traditional paths to Vincennes in the beginning. The McCormick farm in the 1930s and '40s, though, was overseen in a non-traditional way. As Lorene's father took on increasingly significant roles in agricultural affairs, her mother ran the farm almost single-handedly.

Her parents' commuter marriage, highly unusual for the era, remained strong even when Clarence McCormick was based in Washington, D.C., after being appointed under secretary of agriculture in 1950. (He had been an original board member of the Indiana Farm Bureau in Indianapolis.)

Back in Vincennes, his appointment was huge news. Lorene was 16 years old; her social life, according to An Accidental Pioneer, focused primarily on 4-H activities. She planned to teach home economics.

Instead, Lorene became an executive with companies such as Jenn-Air and Borden Inc. In the 1970s, she offered tips as a home economist on Channel 13 in Indianapolis (during the era when David Letterman was the TV station's weatherman) and on various radio stations.

An Accidental Pioneer includes recipes, many for dishes served at family gatherings in Vincennes. Lorene's book also describes landmarks in her hometown, including the oldest Catholic church in the state. Built in 1826 and often referred to as the "Old Cathedral," the formal name of this historic church is the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier.

Some other nuggets:

  • Lorene Burkhart.In recent years, Lorene has been an active volunteer at School 43 (James Whitcomb Riley School) in the Indianapolis Public Schools system.
  • Her late husband, John Burkhart, was a prominent Indianapolis business leader. He founded College Life Insurance Co., built the distinctive-looking office complex known as "the Pyramids" on the northwest side of Indy and owned the Indianapolis Business Journal.
  • Lorene will sign copies of An Accidental Pioneer during the Holiday Author Fair on Dec. 3. The event at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center will feature more than 70 authors with Indiana connections, and Hoosier History Live!will be broadcast live from the author fair in our regular time slot.

History Mystery

William Henry Harrison was named the first governor of the Indiana Territory in 1800. Three years later, he began building a grand home in Vincennes for his large family. William Henry Harrison.Harrison, who had grown up on a plantation in Virginia, modeled his Vincennes home after the mansion of his boyhood. His Federal-style mansion in Vincennes is thought to be the first brick house built in Indiana. The historic mansion, which has been preserved through the efforts of the DAR, is now a popular tour destination.

The mansion in Vincennes has a distinctive name.

Question: What is it?

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is two tickets from the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library to the documentary film The Cats of Mirikitani and director's discussion at the Athenaeum in downtown Indianapolis at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.

Roadtrip: Portland Arch Nature Preserve near Covington

Portland Arch Nature Preserve.Our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA, suggests we take the Roadtrip to the Portland Arch Nature Preserve near Covington in western Indiana.

This Roadtrip is recommended by Glory-June Greiff, who says it's a great hike, and you'll find some massive rock formations that are rather surprising for Indiana.

Stop by nearby Williamsport and you will see, at the right time of the year, a huge waterfall that's right in the middle of "downtown" Williamsport!

Across the Wabash River is Attica, with its fabulous Art Deco movie theater, the Devon, and the historic 1850 Hotel Attica, which is very much open for business and also has a nice restaurant.

Nov. 5 show - encore presentation

He's visited every Indiana town on the map

Interior of Gary 1930s art deco post office. Photo by John Bower.John Bower is an award-winning, Bloomington-based photographer with a rare distinction. He has visited, as he puts it, "every city and town on the map of Indiana."

As a result, John has a silo-high stack of anecdotes and stories about towns he never had heard of until he visited, such as Merom, where he says there's "an amazing spiral staircase in an attic" and West Terre Haute, where he discovered an abandoned brick and tile factory.

To share observations from his travels, John joins Nelson in studio during an encore broadcast from this popular show in our Hoosier History Live! archives. (This show originally aired Jan. 22, 2011. Because this is an encore broadcast, there won't be an opportunity for call-in from listeners or the Trivia Mystery.)

During one of John's trips to Alexandria, he photographed a factory where rock wool, a precursor of fiberglass, was invented and manufactured.

This hulking factory ruin in Alexandria, Ind., is where rock wool insulation, a predecessor to fiberglass, was first manufactured. Photo by John Bower."While our society values the newest, the costliest and the flashiest, I'm motivated to rediscover that which has been ignored, forgotten, or cast aside," John says. "By using the inherent drama of black-and-white photography, I'm able to capture the essence - the elan vital - of these subjects."

John, who owns Studio Indiana with his artist wife Lynn, estimates he has traveled more than 100,000 miles to visit every city and town (a total of 2,099 localities) on the Indiana highway map.

His seven books include:

  • Lingering Spirit (2003), which he calls "a tribute to Indiana's fading, forgotten and forlorn places."
  • After the Harvest (2007), which features images of Indiana's historic grain elevators and feed mills.
  • The Common Good (2010), which includes photos in Gary of the former main post office, a once-grand, now-abandoned art deco structure built in the 1930s.

His new book includes photos of the former main post office in Gary, a once-grand, now-abandoned Art Deco structure built in the 1930s. Also in Gary, he photographed City Methodist Church, which was built in 1925 for a "staggering" $650,000.

This former hardware store in Hovey, Ind., also once was a combination tavern and post office. Photo by John Bower."With a towering belfry, large auditorium, multiple classrooms, inspiring leaded-glass windows, huge limestone columns and oak-paneled sanctuary, it was a landmark all of Gary must have been proud of," according to The Common Good. After a devastating fire and rampant vandalism, the historic church now is a symbol of "decaying glory" with dangerous debris, a leaky roof and roosting pigeons.

John explains his motivation this way: "I’ve come to believe that each rusted vehicle, each battered machine, each deserted building (especially a school or church) is an integral part of our collective past."

John and Lynn, who writes most of the text, met as teachers more than 35 years ago in Kendallville. After school, they would climb into the car and take off down a route they'd never traveled before.

Earlier this year, both John and Lynn were honored as Distinguished Hoosiers by Gov. Mitch Daniels. They were given the award, one of the highest tributes given to Indiana residents, for preserving the state's vanishing historical heritage on film and in books.

When he explores the state's back roads, John says, he is fascinated by hand-made objects ("an oak balustrade, a marble cemetery statue, a forged iron gate") and by abandoned homes that may not have been inhabited for 50 years, yet "there are still clothes hanging in the closets."

In the town of Merom, Ind., in Sullivan County, photographer John Bower discovered this staircase in an attic. Photo by John Bower.In the town of Hovey, he photographed a shuttered hardware store that once had been a popular tavern.

He estimates more than 20 percent of the buildings in his first photo book no longer exist since its 2003 publication.

His other books include Guardians of the Soul (2004), which features photos of cemetery sculpture across Indiana.

As this is an encore presentation, we will not be answering a History Mystery question live on the air.

Just $1 per visit

Access Pass makes visiting museums more affordable

Several of Hoosier History Live's marketing partners have joined forces to make family learning more affordable in central Indiana. Families who participate in state assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Hoosier Healthwise Insurance can now visit the Indiana Historical Society, Children's Museum, Conner Prairie, Eiteljorg Museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions for only $1 per family member per visit. To apply, visit one of participating venues in person, or apply online.

Making the show

Behind the scenes at Hoosier History Live!

Your intrepid host, Nelson Price, cannot do it alone. A radio show and web publication take a cast of ... well, several! Here are some photographs of guests and recent shows at the Hoosier History Live! studio on the campus of UIndy.

Hoosier History Live! host Nelson Price chats with UIndy engineer Tyson Conrady and guest Margaret Smith, past president of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society, in the WICR studios immediately following the Oct. 22, 2011 show, Covered Bridges in Indiana.

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Maxine Brown of Corydon displays a poster for the historic Leora Brown Colored School in Corydon, named in her aunt’s honor. She was photographed summer 2011 at Aesop’s Tables in downtown Indianapolis. Brown appeared Aug. 9, 2008 on Hoosier History Live! to discuss racially segregated schools in Indiana.

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Our Irvington history show on Sept. 17, 2011 featured guests Paul Diebold, senior architectural historian for the Indiana DNR and author of Greater Irvington, along with Steve Barnett, executive director of the Irvington Historical Society, and Amandula Henry, executive director of the Irvington Development Organization. They described the boundaries of Irvington as “a state of mind,” rather than actual physical boundaries. Hoosier History Live! photo.

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Longtime newsroom colleagues Nelson Price and Gary Varvel worked together at both The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star. Price, the host of Hoosier History Live!, interviewed Varvel in an Aug. 13, 2011 show on political cartoon heritage in Indiana.

Trees, trees and trees

In June of 1816, Indiana’s founding fathers wrote the state’s first constitution under this tree in Corydon because of cramped conditions and summer heat inside the Harrison County Courthouse. Known as the Constitution Elm, the tree died of Dutch elm disease in 1925. Image courtesy Heritage Photo & Research Services.(Oct. 29, 2011) - According to folklore about early Indiana, a squirrel could have jumped from Ohio all the way to Illinois - that is, the critter could have crossed the width of the Hoosier state - without touching ground.

That's an indication about the density of the woodland forest here 300 years ago, before the massive clear-cutting of trees by settlers that made the Indiana landscape almost resemble a prairie.

To explore our tree canopy, as well as an array of other aspects related to our towering friends, Nelson will be joined in studio by David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., known as KIB.

David and his volunteer-based organization have been reaping attention for endeavors that included partnering with Eli Lilly and Co. for an employee service day earlier this month that involved planting more than 3,000 trees across the Hoosier capital.

The Kile oak in Irvington on the eastside is the oldest tree in Indianapolis.Expect David and Nelson to share details about the city's oldest tree, a bur oak in Irvington estimated to be about 400 years old.

According to Steve Barnett of the Irvington Historical Society (who, by the way, was a studio guest last month for a Hoosier History Live! show about his neighborhood), the tree, known as the "Kile Oak," also is one of the largest bur oaks in the state.

It's commonly referred to as the "Kile oak" because about 110 years ago a family named Kile owned the property on which the tree stands at 5939 Beechwood Ave. The majestic tree and its lot currently are owned by the Irvington Historic Landmarks Foundation, which also owns the neighborhood's historic Benton House. (According to Steve, the Kile Oak property is maintained by the Irvington Garden Club.)

During our show, David Forsell promises to identify the tree in Indy that he considers, as he puts it, "the most beautiful tree I've ever seen."

Indiana trees appear in reflection on Harrison Lake in western Bartholomew County, Ind., from the dock of William Mihay. Hoosier History Live! 2011 photo.His organization, headquartered in a renovated abandoned warehouse in Indy's Fountain Square neighborhood, has planted hundreds of trees in that neighborhood alone by partnering with Friends of Fountain Square, the North Square Neighborhood Association and other community groups, according to the Urban Times monthly newspaper.

Click here for an application form to receive free trees from the organization.

Urban Times notes that KIB (which has a goal of eventually planting 100,000 trees in Indy) developed a map to identify areas in the city where trees would provide the most benefit in terms of "environmental and socio-economic factors."

Volunteers with Dow AgroSciences plant trees with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful along East Washington Street on May 18 in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.In addition to volunteers who water and mulch the newly planted trees, KIB employs high school students and other young people to care for those trees that "need sustenance through other means."

According to the book 101 Trees of Indiana (Indiana University Press) by Marion T. Jackson, in the "pre-settlement" era, the state was dominated by forests that consisted of American beech and sugar maple trees (50 percent); various species of oak and hickory (30 percent) and a mixed forest "of Appalachian origin" (more than 7 percent).

David and Nelson also expect to share insights about Indiana's official state tree. It's the tulip tree, sometimes called the yellow poplar.

"No tree species could be more appropriate as Indiana's state tree," according to 101 Trees of Indiana. "Native to nearly all areas of the state, ancient in lineage, majestic in form, impressive in dimensions, beautiful in all seasons, it truly graces the Indiana landscape, either as a forest monarch or as a handsome ornamental."

The book notes that the tulip tree once was the prime timber for log cabins in Indiana. It's also been widely used for furniture and cabinetry.

Fun facts:

  • David's wife is Shannon Forsell, an acclaimed singer who is managing director of the Cabaret at the Columbia Club. They live in the Watson-McCord neighborhood near 38th Street and College Avenue. Built in 1926, the Forsell's Tudor Revival-style bungalow was recently featured in the Indianapolis Business Journal and other publications. Their home is surrounded by - no surprise - tall, shady trees.
  • David Forsell.The sycamore is prominently mentioned in our state song "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" (and the subsequent, knock-off version, "Back Home Again in Indiana"). According to 101 Trees of Indiana, the sycamore grows widely on "rich bottomlands of creeks and rivers, around lakes and ponds, and invades old fields." Although a delightful shade tree, the sycamore tends to be "messy due to shedding of bark, branches, leaves and fruits." (The fruit, known as a "sycamore ball," hangs from a drooping stem.)
  • Among Indiana trees known for fall coloration, the sugar maple wins much praise. Its dense crowns are known for turning brilliant shades of orange and red.
  • 101 Trees of Indiana features an observation from literary great Willa Cather: "Today I stood taller from walking among the trees."

"The Stubborn Oak" appears in Greencastle Road in northern Vigo County, two miles north of Fontanet, Ind. Photo by Hoosier History Live!Roadtripper: 'Stubborn Oak' of Vigo County and more

In keeping with our "Trees, trees, and trees" topic, Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take a Roadtrip to see the "Stubborn Oak" in Nevins Township in northern Vigo County that has been saved by countless generations of "tree huggers" long before there was such a term.

Legend has it that a lone farmer stood decades ago with a shotgun to protect the tree from "the men from the county" who sought to remove the tree with a cross-cut saw. The oak had been on his farm for decades, and he objected to it being cut down for the sake of "progress."

Somewhat like the true origin of the word "Hoosier," the actual story may be lost to time, but the tree does remain triumphant.

When in the area, you also can check out the Thorpe Ford Covered Bridge near Rosedale in southern Parke County. Alas, you can't see nearby Jeffries Ford Bridge because it was destroyed by arson in 2002.

History Mystery

The fruit from this type of tree is often called the "Indiana banana." This tree is on the small side, but it has extremely large leaves with smooth edges. The Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie, north of Indy, is frightening fun for all ages.The tree grows throughout Indiana, particularly along streams and in woods and thickets with rich, moist soils. In fact, it often grows in colonies that are referred to as "patches.

Question: What is the tree?

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is a an overnight stay at Hilton Indianapolis North and a pair of tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of the ICVA.

Covered bridges across Indiana

The Medora Bridge, in Jackson County, Ind., appears during its restoration in 2010. Photo by Margaret Smith.(Oct. 22, 2011) - Our state was a land of wooden, covered bridges from 1820 to 1922. That's when more than 600 covered bridges were built across Indiana.

Today, about 90 of these historic gems remain.

To explore them, Nelson will be joined in studio by Margaret Smith of Indianapolis, past president of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society, and Larry Stout of Rush County, who helped spearhead the restoration of the historic Moscow Covered Bridge, which had been demolished by a tornado.

Some fun facts, courtesy of Margaret:

  • The Medora Covered Bridge in Jackson County is, at 434 feet, the longest covered bridge in the nation.
  • The Edna Collins Covered Bridge in Putnam County - the last covered bridge built in the state - is said to be haunted. Constructed in 1922, the bridge, which crosses Little Walnut Creek, is haunted by the ghost of a little girl, according to folklore. In the 1920s, she is said to have enjoyed swimming in the creek, but she drowned while doing so at night.
  • The Stockheughter Bridge is in Franklin County. Photo by Margaret Smith.The Ramp Covered Bridge at the north entrance to Brown County State Park is the only two-lane covered bridge in Indiana. This bridge, which crosses Salt Creek, has another claim to fame: It's the oldest covered bridge still standing in Indiana. In 1838, the bridge was built in Putnam County. During the 1930s, it was moved with the creation of the state park in Brown County.

The heyday of covered-bridge construction was the 1880s; bridges were covered to protect their flooring and interior from the elements.

Parke County, which is known as the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World," has 31 covered bridges that remain. And Sunday (Oct. 23) is the last day of the annual Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, which began Oct. 14.

In Rush County, a tornado that roared through in 2008 tossed the Moscow bridge (built in 1886) into the Flatrock River.Reconstructed using 30 percent of its original wood, the Moscow Covered Bridge reopened with a community celebration in September 2010.

Old and new wood was used in the reconstruction of the Moscow bridge.Indiana Landmarks recently honored our guest Larry Stout, president of Rush County Heritage and a resident of the village of Gowdy, with the Servaas Award for lifetime achievement. His preservation efforts extend far beyond covered bridges, but his county - as well as Parke and Putnam counties is particularly known for them.

Why those counties? Although there were several builders of covered bridges across Indiana, the three generally considered to have been the most significant were two historic bridge builders based in Rockville in Parke County (the businesses of J.J. Daniels and Joseph A. Britton), as well as the firm run by A.M. Kennedy (and later by his sons and grandsons) in Rushville.

In fact, the Moscow Covered Bridge reconstructed after the tornado was originally built by the Kennedy family. The longest historic covered bridge in America still standing is the Medora Bridge in Jackson County, Ind., which appears here before its reconstruction.Larry Stout lives two miles north of it and two miles west of the Forsythe Covered Bridge, which also was built by the Kennedys.

In total, Rush County has five covered bridges, all still in use. (Some of the other covered bridges across the state no longer carry traffic. They have been bypassed by modern roads or preserved in parks.)

"The bridges are located in many out-of-the-way places today, but they once were hubs of commerce," Margaret notes. "Many were railroad bridges. Often, they were the largest covered areas in a community."

That meant, she adds, that they frequently served as the settings for "political rallies, community gatherings and revival meetings - even weddings."

More fun facts, again courtesy of Margaret:

  • Many covered bridges were painted red. The Kennedys, though, favored white.
  • Franklin County once had more than 20 wooden covered bridges. Four remain.
  • Of about two dozen covered bridges once in Hamilton County, the only original that remains is Potter's Ford Covered Bridge on the west fork of the White River, two miles north of Noblesville. Larry Stout.(At Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, the Cedar Chapel Covered Bridge was not originally in Hamilton County. Built in Dekalb County, it was moved to Conner Prairie in the 1970s.)

According to Margaret, the restoration of Potter's Ford is "one of the true success stories of covered-bridge preservation."

She says Potter's Ford, which originally opened to 1871, now even has a sprinkler system to prevent arson and a coating of special paint to resist graffiti. Arson and graffiti have plagued other covered bridges across the state.

Hoosier History Live! fun fact: There is a footpath going north from Potter's Ford Bridge Park that leads to a great swing that has a spectacular view of the White River.


Apple Works image of basket full of apples in a field.Our Roadtrip suggestion for a crisp and cool autumn adventure is to head south from Indianapolis to The Apple Works, near Trafalgar.

The Apple Works is a privately owned orchard that was started in 1989 by owners Rick and Sarah Brown when they began planting apple trees on their land. They've now grown into many acres of fun for adults and children alike, and they are open to the public seven days a week.

The Apple Works has a country store, as well as offerings for the kids, including train rides, apple shots (which appear to be large sling shots for pitching apples), pony rides, a corn maze and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch.

Do visit the provided web link for directions to this off-the-beaten-track Roadtrip!

History Mystery

A modern, steel bridge - not a wooden, covered bridge - in southern Indiana has made headlines this fall. The double-deck bridge spanning the Ohio River from the Hoosier state to Kentucky was shut down in early September by Gov. Mitch Daniels after construction crews found cracks in the structure. This has caused major traffic disruptions because the bridge is heavily used by motorists traveling between New Albany and Louisville.

The bridge, which has eye-catching arches rising above it, is named after the first Indiana native to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He had been born to a hard-scrabble farmer's family in southern Indiana near the Ohio River.

Question: Name the bridge.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is a an overnight stay at University Place Conference Center & Hotel on the IUPUI campus, courtesy of the ICVA, as well as two tickets to "Vonnegut on the Body", a Spirit & Place literary discussion featuring Hoosier author Dan Wakefield, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 11-11-11 (Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday) at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. These tickets are courtesy of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

Your support keeps us going!

Special thanks to Lucas Oil, Indiana Historical Society and G. Marlyne Sexton

Our little independently produced show would not be able to stay on the air, or maintain its website, were it not for these recent supporters who either renewed their underwriting commitments or made a contribution.

We believe that a show about Indiana history can indeed have some brains and personality! We truly hope to be able to fully develop our website and audio archives at some point in time. Meanwhile, our "Mystery Volunteer" continues to work on our grant-writing project.

Visit "Support the show" on our website to learn more.

Street names history in Indy

Alexander Ralston created the original plat map of Indianapolis in 1820. (Oct. 15, 2011) - Amid the controversy surrounding the proposals to rename Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis, have you been wondering how streets across the city got their names? And why some have been changed over the years?

Hoosier History Live! explores the heritage of street names with local historian Joan Hostetler, who initiated the crusade to keep the 190-year-old name on Georgia Street with a campaign that began on Facebook.

Joan and Nelson also are joined by Steve Campbell, a former Indy deputy mayor who has been working on a book about street names.

Some were changed because of landmarks such as the Indiana Statehouse. Its construction resulted in Tennessee Street being renamed Capitol Avenue in the 1890s.

Other street names were changed because of anti-German sentiment after World War I. On the west side of town, for example, Bismarck Avenue became Pershing Avenue.

This 1889 land-owners map of Indianapolis shows many former names such as Excelsior, Monroe, Albemarle, Brookland and Eureka. Image from the collection of Heritage Photo & Research Services.As the city began numbering thoroughfares at 9th Street, other names changed. Did you know East 10th Street once was known as Clifford Avenue?

To get around state legislation prohibiting taverns on alleys, the Indianapolis City Council changed alleys to streets in the downtown area. This also affected street names, according to Joan, co-owner of Heritage Photo & Research Services. She specializes in local history research and preserving, digitizing and archiving historic photographs.

Curiosity about the city's heritage of naming streets has been intensified by the debates about renaming three blocks of Georgia Street, which is undergoing a $12 million transformation into a covered, pedestrian-friendly mall in time for the Big Ten Football Championship on Dec. 3 and the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Sprinkled throughout the older neighborhoods of Indianapolis are a few remaining old blue sidewalk tiles naming the nearby streets. This Brookside Parkway marker was photographed by Joan Hostetler in 2006.Initial suggestions to rename the three blocks "Hospitality Boulevard" or "Championship Way" (the stretch of Georgia Street connects the Indiana Convention Center with Conseco Fieldhouse) drew objections from the public.

With subsequent revelations that pillars along the reconfigured thoroughfare will honor famous Hoosiers, one letter-writer to The Indianapolis Star suggested tweaking the street name to "Georgia on My Mind Street."That was a nod to composer Hoagy Carmichael, a Bloomington native whose hits included "Georgia on My Mind."

The name Georgia Street dates to 1821. That's when city planner Alexander Ralston created the original plat for Indianapolis. He named 22 streets for states. Think of Pennsylvania Street, Ohio Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Or of Delaware Street, Virginia Avenue and Illinois Street.

As Indianapolis grew beyond the original mile square, individual additions took on unique naming and numbering systems. Streets often were named after original property owners and their family members. To make the inconsistent hodge-podge of streets less confusing, Indianapolis embarked on a large project in 1897 to remove duplicate street names, prevent different names for the same street, and renumber buildings. Note the old and new house numbers on this late 1890s photograph of a southside cottage. Photo courtesy Indiana Historical Society.As the city grew, streets were named for various reasons, including as a way to honor people. They also were renamed for various reasons.

According to Joan, an African-American city councilman in the 1890s pushed to change the name of Mississippi Street. It was renamed Senate Avenue in 1895.

An example of a renaming in more recent times: A stretch of Fall Creek Boulevard on the northeastside was renamed Binford Boulevard to honor civic leader Tom Binford (1924-1999).

In addition to the Bismarck-to-Pershing switch because of anti-German sentiment, Joan notes another westside street also was affected. Belleview Place once was called Germania.

Intrigued? Tune in for more insights and historical tidbits from Steve Campbell, who was deputy mayor from 2005 to 2007 during the Bart Peterson administration, and Joan, who collaborated with Nelson and photographer Garry Chilluffo on the Indianapolis Then and Now visual history book.

Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo & Research Services at table with artifacts.According to Steve, the street naming process in Indy can be divided into two distinct categories: Names in the "old city" (pre-Unigov city limits) and names in suburban neighborhoods that were developed later.

"The old city naming process was pretty standard and orderly," he says. "The townships developed a little bit by common lore and local usage. I haven't found the answers to every street name, but I'm probably at about 80 to 90 percent."

A history lover, Steve has served on the boards of many civic and historical organizations, including the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and the Marion County Historical Society. He's the founder of Campbell Strategies, an Indy-based consulting firm.

At Heritage Photo & Research Services, Joan has worked with clients including the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Indiana Historical Society, where she formerly was a photo archivist and exhibits coordinator.

Roadtripper report: What to expect on Georgia Street!

As our Roadtripper's day job is that of being the vice president of marketing and communications for the ICVA, and as he's also on the Super Bowl Host Committee, and as he has a bird's-eye view of what's going on downtown, we thought we'd take the opportunity to have Chris Gahl report on what we can expect the new pedestrian mall downtown to look like! Thanks, Chris.

History Mystery

Storytellers Riverhouse Bed and Breakfast faces the Ohio River in the “original” Indiana town of Bethlehem in Clark County. Streets aren't the only places on Indiana maps that have undergone name changes. When a city in central Indiana was laid out as a small village in the 1830s, it was called Bethlehem. The initial plat for Bethlehem in 1837 consisted of 14 lots. When a post office was established in the village in 1846, residents were notified by the U.S. Post Office that another town in Indiana (in the far southern part of the state) already had been named Bethlehem.

As a result, the village in central Indiana - now a thriving city - took a new name.

Question: Name the city.

The prize wais a gift certificate to dine at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis, courtesy of the ICVA.

The real-life Little Orphant Annie

(Oct. 1, 2011) - "The goblins will git you - if you don't watch out!"

Mary Alice Smith Gray (in black dress and hat) revisited the Riley home in Greenfield, Ind., in 1922. It had been 60 years. Courtesy jameswhitcombriley.com.So goes the ominous warning from a fictional, orphaned storyteller in one of the most famous children's poems written by James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier who became nationally known for his verse.

Historians have long identified a real Hoosier as the inspiration for "Little Orphant Annie," but her life has been shrouded in mystery, folklore and misinformation.

During the winter of 1861-62, young Mary Alice Smith was taken in as a boarder at the Greenfield home of the future poet and his parents. Mary Alice probably was 11 years old, making her slightly younger than Jim Riley (1849-1916), but the Riley family initially may have been misled into assuming she was about 14 years old.

Was she really an orphan? Did her uncle bring her to the Rileys to help with the housework? Did she then proceed to tell frightening tales about goblins and other creatures to Jim and his younger siblings?

Riley’s poem inspired a daily American comic strip created by Harold Gray, which ran from 1924 until 2010. To share insights and new information about the mysterious boarder, who later in life married and became Mary Alice Gray, Nelson is joined in studio by historian Brigette Jones, a docent at the James Whitcomb Riley Old Home & Museum in Greenfield, and writer-historian Al Hunter, a popular columnist for the Eastside Voice weekly newspaper.

Brigette, president of the Hancock County Historical Society, lives in rural Greenfield. After years of historical detective work for an upcoming biography of Mary Alice Smith Gray, Brigette reports she has uncovered information that contradicts or clarifies long-established myths about the mysterious boarder.

Al, who conducts walking tours in communities along the Old National Road (including Greenfield and Irvington), has written columns about Mary Alice's life.

"She made such a deep impression on Riley that he never forgot her," writes Elizabeth Van Allen in her biography James Whitcomb Riley: A Life (IU Press).

Did the nationally renowned "Hoosier poet" and his muse ever re-meet as adults? At what point did Mary Alice, who became a farm wife in the Hancock County town of Philadelphia, realize she was the inspiration for the famous "Orphant Annie"?

Brigette, Al and Nelson tackle those questions and myriad others about the Hoosier whose legacy almost lived on in even unexpected ways.

Mary Alice Gray was the real-life inspiration for the James Whitcomb Riley poem "Little Orphant Annie." Photo courtesy Alan E. Hunter Collection."The original working title of what became Riley Hospital for Children was Little Orphant Annie Hospital," Brigette says. She has examined early plans for the acclaimed hospital in Indianapolis that was established by the poet's friends in the early 1920s as a posthumous tribute to him.

In fact, Mary Alice Smith Gray attended the laying of the cornerstone for the hospital before her own death in 1924, according to Brigette.

In her 70s, Mary Alice also embarked on a Midwestern tour during which she answered audiences' questions. Brigette has tracked down letters written by Mary Alice to the promoter who conceived the tour; she also has obtained Mary Alice's private correspondence from great-grandchildren.

Our show came just before the Riley Festival, one of the largest crafts festivals in Indiana. The 42nd annual Riley Festival, which includes a parade, a breakfast, decorated pumpkin shows and many other events, will be Oct. 6-9 in downtown Greenfield.

The public also is invited to Brigette's presentation, "Who Was the Real Little Orphant Annie?", at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13. The free presentation will be at the New Castle Public Library.

Thanks to his poems written in Hoosier dialect - including "Little Orphant Annie" - Riley became a national celebrity. Pictured is the grave of Mary Alice Gray, inspiration for the famous poem "Little Orphant Annie,” by James Whitcomb Riley. Photo by Rhonda Hunter.By the way, "Little Orphant Annie," which was first published in 1880, wasn't his only poem inspired by his family's young boarder. He also wrote a poem titled "Where Is Mary Alice Smith?" in which he depicts the little orphan girl falling in love with a soldier boy who was killed. Then she dies of grief.

In truth, Mary Alice went to work in a tavern on the National Road in the town of Philadelphia, where she met her husband, John Wesley Gray. Their marriage produced seven children.

And there are many more intriguing aspects of her colorful life, both as a child before she met young Jim Riley and after she parted ways with his family in Greenfield.

According to a column by our guest Al Hunter, a board member of the Indiana National Road Association, Riley resorted to extensive efforts in his final years to track down Mary Alice. He took out advertisements in newspapers across the Midwest seeking information about her - even though, as both Brigette and Al have documented, she spent less than a year living with his family, not the seven or eight years mentioned in some accounts.

According to Brigette, some of the confusion can be traced to the "muse" herself. Once she found herself in the spotlight, Mary Alice Smith Gray gave conflicting accounts of her life. Click here to see Brigette's personal collection of photos.

Tune into Hoosier History Live! as we reveal more about her.

Roadtrip: Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary near Connersville

Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.This Roadtrip pick is named for another Hoosier woman named Mary Gray, and there is no known connection to Mary Alice Smith Gray. However, if you're headed east from Indianapolis through Greenfield for the Riley Festival, you can keep going east and visit the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, which is owned and operated by the Indiana Audubon Society.

Alice Green Gray gave the initial 264-acre property to the Audubon Society in 1943 as a living memorial to her daughter Mary, who preceded her in death.

This idyllic spot, now with more than 700 acres for hiking and bird watching, is open to everyone, and there is no charge, although you can certainly make a donation. Our Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests you use the map on the provided web link to find the place, which is pretty remote! Again, great autumn vistas in a relaxing setting.

History Mystery

After achieving national fame as a poet, James Whitcomb Riley became a permanent guest in a house owned by friends in downtown Indianapolis. While living in the house, now the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, the poet had a dog as a pet. Children surround poet James Whitcomb Riley on the lawn of his Indianapolis home.The dog, a white poodle, was seen in some photos with him.

They include a classic picture of James Whitcomb Riley surrounded by Hoosier children that was taken in 1916, a few months before the poet's death; the poodle sits on his master's lap in the photo. You can also watch a silent film taken the same day.

Riley had given his beloved dog a name associated with one of his residences.

Question: What was the name of James Whitcomb Riley's dog?

The prize was an overnight stay at the Comfort Suites Indianapolis City Centre in downtown Indianapolis, as well as two tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum. These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

Catholic Youth Organization heritage

(Sept 24, 2011) - Summer camps, movie nights, sports competitions, hobby shows and science fairs. All have figured in the lives of thousands of Hoosier teenagers and children since the late 1930s because of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), which will be the focus of our show just before a related national gathering in Indy.

Young adults gather for an outdoor pitch-in at a Senior CYO gathering at the home of Jim Shaver in Indianapolis during the 1960s. Photo courtesy Loretta (Dalton) Miller.According to a new book, The CYO in Indianapolis & Central Indiana (The History Press), the first CYO event in the Hoosier capital was a dance in 1939 at Cathedral High School (then located downtown on North Meridian Street) that drew more than 1,000 teenagers from every parish in the city.

"The movement exploded locally in the 1950s and '60s with numerous activities,” reports Julie Young, the book's author, who joins Nelson in studio to explore the heritage and impact of the CYO across Indiana.

Nelson also is joined by Ed Tinder, executive director of the CYO in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Launched in Chicago as a way to offer spiritual, social, athletic and cultural programming for young people, the CYO immediately created a major impact in Indiana. Some youths even met their future spouses at the array of events, according to Julie's book. A parade car with Eastside Senior CYO members rolls past Hotel English (now demolished) near Monument Circle in Indianapolis in the 1960s. Photo courtesy Jim Shaver.She credits the late Cardinal John Ritter (namesake of Ritter High School on the westside) with bringing the CYO to the Indianapolis area.

"Before Facebook, MySpace and Twitter gave everyone the chance to connect and update one another with life-altering news, young people had to congregate in order to catch up," she writes. For young people who were Catholic, the CYO provided the opportunities, which ranged from movie nights in parish basements to dances and sports.

The first CYO football championship in the Indianapolis archdiocese was a game in 1939 between undefeated teams representing the Little Flower and St. Catherine parishes. The game, which Julie calls "the Super Bowl of CYO match-ups," drew nearly 10,000 spectators to Christian Park on the eastside.

In 1959, the CYO established girls track competitions and girls softball leagues in the Indy metro area.

Hobby show competitions flourished almost from the beginning. In her book, Julie describes her first CYO experience as a 9-year-old. She made an apple pie for a hobby show - and was astounded when she won first place. Her baking hobby triumphed over baseball card and coin collections of other parish youngsters.

Julie Young, author.Today, some CYO members are the fourth generation of their families to be involved. For many years, several chapters also flourished of Senior CYO, which provided faith-based social opportunities for people in their late teens and 20s. In Indy during the 1960s, the Eastside Senior CYO was particularly active, offering card parties, picnics, bowling, potluck suppers and pickup games of volleyball.

In 1946, the CYO opened a summer camp in Brown County. Called Rancho Framasa, it has become known as "the Ranch" to scores of Catholic youth. They continue to visit today for, as Julie puts it, "adventures in the great outdoors." Teachers also bring students to "the Ranch" for nature studies.

Julie's book describes how the amphitheater at the Ranch was built by the National Guard unit of a former camper. Determined to "give back" to the camp he cherished as a boy, he offered to have his unit construct the facility at Rancho Framasa.

Book cover for The CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana, by Julie Young.A second, more rugged, CYO camp, Camp Christina, also was established in Brown County. According to Julie's book, Camp Christina became a refuge in the early 1960s for Cuban girls attending Ladywood Academy (later merged with Cathedral); their families had escaped the Castro regime in their homeland. Camp Christina closed in the early 1990s to curb the expenses of operating two camps under the CYO banner.

Some related facts:

  • The patron saint of the CYO is St. John Bosco (1815-1888) of Italy. He opened a school for "youth of the streets" in Turin.
  • More than 20,000 people are expected Nov. 17-19 to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference at the Indiana Convention Center. The conference is titled "Called to Glory."
  • Julie has visited Hoosier History Live! in connection with some of her other books. They include A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin (Indiana Historical Society Press) and Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History (The History Press).

Roadtrip: Stream Cliff Herb Farm in Jennings County

Stream Cliff Herb Farm is located near Commiskey, Ind. Picture of house surrounded by lush herbs and greenery.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head to southern Jennings County to visit Indiana's oldest herb farm, the Stream Cliff Herb Farm near Commiskey. The farm is owned by Betty and Gerald Manning and has been in the family for more than 100 years. It sits near a small "cliff" on Graham Creek and has the distinction of having been visited by Morgan's Raiders during the Civil War.

The farm now consists of four shops filled with handmade traditional crafts and garden related items, a tea room and an extensive offering of herbs and flowers. Check the farm's website for hours and location, or call (812) 346-5859.

While in Jennings County you also can visit the historic town of Vernon, as well as the Selmier State Forest. Jennings County was the setting for Jessamyn West's book, The Friendly Persuasion.

"Jennings County offers great leaf peeping without the crowds," says our Roadtripper.

History Mystery

The History Mystery is a carry-over from the previous week's show, when there wasn't a correct answer. The question concerns a top Indianapolis civic leader for the first half of the 20th century who lived in Irvington.

The Indianapolis News building, at 30 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis.In 1880, when Butler University was located in the neighborhood, he was president of his senior class. Five years later, at age 25, he became the youngest person ever elected to Butler's board of trustees. As a business leader, he had a 77-year career at the Indianapolis News newspaper, working his way up from reporter to editor to top executive. In Irvington, he served as the president of civic and school boards. He died in 1958.

Question: Name the civic and business leader.

Hints: He was not John Atherton, Booth Tarkington or George Clowes; they were incorrect guesses from listeners last week.

The prize was a gift certificate for dinner for two at the Mystery Café at the Milano Inn in downtown Indianapolis, the nation's original murder mystery theater. For all of your October spookery! This prize is courtesy of the ICVA.

Irvington neighborhood history in Indy

This 1910 postcard shows houses at 26 to 52 North Irvington Ave. Several of these properties were built as duplexes. More photos are available online at Vintage Irvington at http://vintageirvington.blogspot.com.(Sept. 17, 2011) - A historic neighborhood on the eastside of Indy that dates to the 1870s, Irvington has a past as colorful as its leafy, towering trees. But there's also fresh activity under way in this neighborhood, which has been home to artists and civic leaders, as well as to Butler University until the 1920s.

To explore the neighborhood, which has residences ranging from Queen Anne-style and Second Empire houses to Sears kit homes and bungalows, Nelson is joined in studio by Irvington resident Paul Diebold, senior architectural historian for the State DNR and author of Greater Irvington.

Our guests also include Irvington native Steve Barnett, a graduate of Howe High School (one of the neighborhood's landmarks), who is executive director of the Irvington Historical Society.

This photo from What You Love the Most: An Irvington Memoir shows friends and family of Arthur and Eva Wilson in the back yard of what they called “The Big House” at 282 S. Ritter Ave. on the eastside of Indianapolis, circa 1906. Nelson also is joined by Amandula Henry, executive director of the Irvington Development Organization. She shares insights about new initiatives in the former town, which was annexed into Indy in 1902.

Irvington's founders named the neighborhood in honor of their favorite author, Washington Irving. Ever notice many Irvington streets also are named for authors, such as Hawthorne (Nathaniel) and Emerson (Ralph Waldo) avenues?

Boundary streets, though, are difficult to identify. Irvington is so beloved that many eastside residents want to consider themselves part of it. Our guest Paul Diebold, who has lived in Irvington for 24 years, reports a favorite saying: "Irvington has no boundaries, but is a state of mind."

This painting by H.F. Pressnall, titled “Ellenberger Park,” is dated 1931. The Historic Irvington Community Council represents an area defined by Emerson on the west, Edmondson Avenue on the east, 10th Street on the north and Brookville Road on the south.

Our show was broadcast on the eve of the Irvington Home Tour, which is set for Sunday (Sept. 18) from noon to 5 p.m.

And 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening as a cultural/arts center of the Bona Thompson Memorial Center, which was built in the early 1900s as Butler's library. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the $1 million restoration, a series of events will be held throughout Irvington.

Other neighborhood landmarks include the Irving Theater; sprawling Ellenberger Park, which opened in 1911; and the Benton House, which was built in 1873 and became the home of Butler faculty members, including a president.

Our Irvington history show on Sept. 17, 2011 featured guests Paul Diebold, senior architectural historian for the Indiana DNR and author of Greater Irvington, along with Steve Barnett, executive director of the Irvington Historical Society, and Amandula Henry, executive director of the Irvington Development Organization. They described the boundaries of Irvington as “a state of mind,” rather than actual physical boundaries. With the presence of Butler, which moved to the neighborhood in 1875 from its initial location on College Avenue in the Old Northside, Irvington flourished as a cultural hub of the city.

Notable residents included artist William Forsyth, a member of the renowned Hoosier Group of painters (his artwork periodically depicted scenic Pleasant Run Creek, another landmark) and cartoonist Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard, creator of the iconic Abe Martin character.

Notorious residents included D.C. Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s. His imposing home, which he modeled after the Klan's headquarters in Atlanta, still stands and is privately owned.

Forsyth and various artists also have identified themselves as the Irvington Group. Our guest Steve Barnett has served as curator for their exhibits, as well as many others at the Bona Thompson Center. He also has tracked down the histories of more than 1,600 homes in areas of Irvington listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Irvington Gardens, Pleasanton and Emerson Addition.

Built in 1903 as Butler’s library, the Bona Thompson Memorial Center now serves as a cultural and arts facility. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, more than 78 percent of Irvington homes were built before 1960. The IBJ estimates the population of the Irvington area as about 11,460.

In recent years, Irvington has become known for its locally owned restaurants, coffee shops and small businesses. Aside from marketing initiatives such as "Celebrate Irvington" and "Shop Irvington," the neighborhood also has carved out a distinct identity for its celebrations and festivals during Halloween season, including popular "ghost" tours through the neighborhood.

In addition to his book Greater Irvington, our guest Paul Diebold is the author of The History and Architecture of Meridian-Kessler; they are considered Indy's first neighborhood-based architectural history books.

The eastside Indianapolis neighborhood of Irvington includes many winding boulevards. Pictured here is a spot in the 5200 block of Pleasant Run Parkway. Image courtesy Paul Diebold, Indiana DNR.Even Nelson, our host, has gotten into the Irvington act. He penned the foreword for What You Love the Most: An Irvington Memoir, written by Indianapolis author Carol Faenzi. It is a memoir about the building of a spacious, historic home by Arthur Wilson, an early neighborhood resident.

Beginning with its founding along the Old National Road (East Washington Street), Irvington was known for its restrictions on alcohol sales. According to some sources, one of Irvington's founders, Jacob Julian, a former prosecutor, was a teetotaler.

Speaking of the Old National Road: Many streets in Irvington, particularly those south of Washington Street, are known for being curvy and narrow. That's because many were built for travel by horse, not car.

James Dean movie poster for Rebel Without a Cause.Roadtrip: James Dean Festival in Fairmount

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head to Fairmount, hometown of the late film actor James Dean, for the 36th annual James Dean Festival, to be held Sept. 23-25. James Dean's untimely death occurred 56 years ago.

The festival includes screenings of all three of James Dean's films: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. All festival events are free.

This is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy our refreshing autumn weather.

History Mystery

A top civic leader for the first half of the 20th century - before his death in 1958 - lived in Irvington. In 1880, when Butler University was located in the neighborhood, he was president of his senior class. The Indianapolis News building, at 30 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis.Five years later, at age 25, he became the youngest person ever elected to Butler's board of trustees. As a business leader, he had a 77-year career at the Indianapolis News newspaper, working his way up from reporter to editor to top executive. In Irvington, he served as the president of civic and school boards. Buildings are named in his honor, both in the neighborhood and at Butler's current location.

Question: Name the civic and business leader.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is a gift certificate for dinner for two at the Mystery Café at the Milano Inn in downtown Indianapolis, the nation's original murder mystery theater. Just in time for Halloween! This prize is courtesy of the ICVA.

Butler basketball heritage

(Sept. 10, 2011) - At the thrilling climax of the 2009-10 basketball season, Butler University became the smallest school in 40 years to reach the NCAA Championship game. Last April, the Butler Bulldogs did it again.

Butler Fieldhouse, as seen in the 1929 "Drift" Butler Yearbook, was renamed in 1966 to honor Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle (1899–1992). Image courtesy Heritage Photo and Research Services.With the country captivated by the underdog teams guided by a values-based approach known as "the Butler Way," how many folks recall that during the 1970s and '80s, the Butler basketball program was, as David Woods puts it, in a "sorry state"?

The Bulldogs were on the ropes even though their rich tradition dated to the 1920s, when legendary coach Tony Hinkle took command.

In 1928, the arena now known as Hinkle Fieldhouse opened with the largest seating capacity of any basketball stadium in the country. Now a National Historic Landmark, the fieldhouse is talked about, in David's words, "with a reverence associated with places of worship."

He adds: "When the court is lit by sunlight filtering in from tall windows above, nothing is missing but the choir."

At the end of the 1928-29 season, the Bulldogs' first in their fieldhouse, Butler was named national champion.

Butler stars Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward defend Evansville’s Kaylon Williams in 2008 in Indianapolis. So why did the once-glorious basketball program hit the skids, before rebounding in such spectacular style?

David Woods, the acclaimed Butler basketball reporter for The Indianapolis Star, will join Nelson in studio to explore that question and many others. David is the author of two books that have described the ups and downs of Butler basketball and analyzed its spectacular resurgence: Underdawgs (Scribner, 2010) and The Butler Way (Blue River Press, 2009).

Key figures range from Tony Hinkle, who is credited during the late 1950s with suggesting orange as the ideal color for basketballs (before that, they were muddy brown) to clean-cut Brad Stevens, the current coach who was just 33 years old during the first of his team's back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Championship game. Played in Butler's hometown of Indy, that tournament title game was, to quote Indianapolis Business Journal sports columnist Bill Benner, "the feel-good story of a lifetime."

The five principles of The Butler Way, as outlined by Butler athletics director Barry Collier, are humility, passion, unity, servant-hood and thankfulness. According to Underdawgs, Collier came up with the principles during a summer retreat in 1995 when he was Butler's coach. However, his successor as coach, Thad Mattta, is credited with coining the phrase "The Butler Way."

The Butler Way: The Best of Butler Basketball book cover, by David Woods.Genesis of the principles is said to stretch much further back - to beloved Tony Hinkle, who nurtured an unselfish, team-oriented style of play. A folk hero on campus during his 41 seasons as basketball coach, Hinkle (1898-1992) was the seventh-winningest coach in college basketball history when he resigned in 1970. At Butler, he also periodically coached football and baseball.

According to David's reporting in Underdawgs and The Butler Way, Hinkle didn't really want to step down as coach in 1970. University administrators at the time pushed him to do so, David writes, because they envied his popularity.

After Hinkle resigned as coach, Butler managed just five winning seasons out of the next 19. In his books, David emphasizes the two-decade stagnancy at Butler stretched beyond basketball.

The rebounds captivated the country, particularly Butler's unexpected run to the NCAA Championship game in 2010.

"A college version of Milan" is David's phrase in The Butler Way, a reference to the fabled 1954 state basketball tournament won by tiny Milan High School, thanks to a buzzer-beating shot by Bobby Plump. Lest anyone has forgotten: After his triumph at Milan, Plump was a star player at Butler, becoming the university's leading scorer in history until that time.

David Woods, here with the Butler bulldog, is a longtime Indianapolis sports reporter. The major difference between the "Milan Miracle" and Butler's appearance in the 2010 NCAA Championship game: The buzzer-beating shot by Butler player Gordon Hayward bounced off the rim, resulting in a win for perennial powerhouse Duke University.

Even so, the small-town Indiana comparisons extend to the personal stories of many Butler players. Matt Howard, the humble star of the 2010-11 team, grew up in Connersville as the eighth of 10 children. When Matt was born, the family lived in a house with one bathroom, according to Underdawgs. (Matt's father is a mail carrier.) For a portion of the interview with David, Nelson will be joined by Roadtripper correspondent Chris Gahl, a Butler alum who even has been known to commandeer Hinkle Fieldhouse for pickup hoops games. Regular listeners will recall he phoned in his Roadtrip report during such a game awhile back.

You can watch a video about the history of Indiana basketball and the iconic Hinkle Fieldhouse. This video excerpt, produced by Michael Husain of Indianapolis-based GoodVibesMedia, features interviews with Bill Benner, David Halberstam, Bobby Plump, Bob "Slick" Leonard and Angelo Pizzo, and it has great historic black-and-white footage of the 1954 Milan victory in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Watch the video of CBS Sports' first national coverage of Butler Bulldogs in December of 2010 here.

Butler University’s Holcomb Gardens include a pond and carillon bell tower.Roadtrip: Holcomb Gardens at Butler University

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests a spot for quiet reflection right in the middle of Indianapolis's north side, Holcomb Gardens. The gardens are on the campus of Butler University at 4600 Sunset Ave., just southwest of Hinkle Fieldhouse, and are free and open to the public.

Nestled along the Central Canal on 20 acres of prime real estate, the Holcomb Gardens include a pond, a statue of the Greek goddess Persephone, a carillon tower, an observatory and plenty of places to stroll, sit and relax. More information about tours is available by calling (317) 940-8000.

History Mystery

Blue II is the Butler bulldog. The bulldog mascot at Butler University was nothing new to a well-known player or former player on the basketball team. The player, who competed on at least one of the teams that made the NCAA championship final games during the last two years, had attended an Indiana high school that also has a bulldog mascot.

Question: Name the player and his high school alma mater.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. The prize is a gift certificate to Eddie Merlot's on the north side of Indianapolis, courtesy of the ICVA.

Sept. 11 tragedy and Hoosier rescuers

Team member Ian Marano appears outside one of the Indiana Task Force One buses in New York City in September 2011. (Sept. 3, 2011) - Most Americans never will forget where they were on 9-11-01 and how their lives have changed since the terrorist attacks 10 years ago. Sixty-two professional rescuers from Indiana and their 12-member support crew have firsthand insights about the tragedy because they searched for survivors on Ground Zero in the aftermath that left the Twin Towers in New York City as still-smoldering ruins when they arrived.

Indiana Task Force One, one of 28 elite rescue teams across the country designed to quickly assemble and respond to catastrophes, consisted of Hoosier firefighters, emergency medical technicians, engineers, search-dog handlers and other highly trained specialists. Nelson's studio guests will be two Hoosiers who were at Ground Zero with the rescuers.

Tom Spalding, then the public safety reporter for The Indianapolis Star, filed daily dispatches as he accompanied the Indiana task force for "up-close and personal" looks at their overwhelming mission.

An American flag emerged from the ruins of the World Trade Center towers. Image by Mpozi Mshale Tolbert/ Indianapolis Star.Anne McCurdy managed what Tom has described as the "most popular component" of the task force: the search-and-rescue dogs. In addition to being the training director and manager of the K-9 unit for Indiana Task Force One, Anne is manager of research for Methodist Hospital/IU Health in Indianapolis.

"The air was smoky from still-smoldering underground fires, but it was no longer 'snowing' - the term I'd come up with to describe the floating bits of ash," Tom wrote in a subsequent account in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, the Indiana Historical Society's magazine.

He arrived with a night-shift crew (the rescue work was continuing 24-7 at that point) in gear that included a helmet, mask, goggles and steel-toed boots.

In addition to Anne, who lives in Fountaintown, Indiana Task Force One members on the scene included dog handlers from South Bend, Newburgh and Lebanon, as well as firefighters from Pike, Washington, Warren and Decatur townships in Indianapolis. Some barely escaped being burned alive when a 50-foot wall of fire shot up during an underground search.

Many listeners will recall that Indiana Task Force One rescuers were greeted by a cheering crowd of 3,000 on Monument Circle when they returned after their 10-day assignment.

In the days immediately after the 9-11 attacks, Anne McCurdy and other Indiana Task Force One team members lived in tents by the Javits Center in New York City.Some of the Indiana Task Force One members had been among the first "boots on the ground" from across the country at Ground Zero after the twin suicide hijackings of airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center's 110-story towers.

Not only does this month mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, it is the 20th anniversary of the formation of Indiana Task Force One. In September 1991, the Indiana force was designated by the federal government as one of the first teams set up to respond to catastrophic events.

Later this month in downtown Indianapolis, a permanent memorial to the 9-11 victims will be dedicated. Topped by a 450-pound bronze eagle sculpted by an Indianapolis firefighter, the memorial will include engraved granite tablets flanked by steel beams from the World Trade Center. The memorial, which will be dedicated on Sept. 11, will be at 421 W. Ohio St., overlooking the downtown canal.

When Indiana Task Force One responded to the 9-11 tragedy, it was the team's first mission in two years. Tom Spalding. Photo courtesy Tom Spalding.Anne McCurdy participated in the task force's first deployment, a mission to Lafayette in 1994 in response to a tornado that struck a trailer park. She also has been deployed to hurricanes Floyd, Isabel, Katrina and Rita. Her search-and-rescue dog, Mercedes, is certified at the highest level by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

As the task force of Hoosiers searched for survivors at Ground Zero, some members, including a Pike Township firefighter, were burned during flare-ups in the underground ruins. In his Traces article, Tom described how other Hoosier firefighters could have been "burned alive" during the search. They survived because they found a protective air pocket in which to hide.

When Tom accompanied a night shift to Ground Zero four days after the tragedy, the team encountered, as he puts it, "two unrecognizable skyscrapers that were coated with an eerie, bland, tan-and-gray dust."

Amid the rubble, Tom noticed remnants of office cubicles adorned with photos that depicted smiling people with their arms around each other.

Search-and-rescue dogs, including those overseen by Anne, are trained to climb atop debris that is, as Tom put it, "unstable and hot" as the K-9 units hunt for survivors.

On Sept. 13, 2001, Hoosier search-and-rescue team members – including search dogs - were on the scene near World Trade Center Tower No. 7, which had collapsed late in the day on Sept. 11 because of damage caused by the taller towers.Video footage of the rescue work by Indiana Task Force One has been used to train firefighters across the state, according to Tom's article.

"In the subsequent year, I thought the (Hoosier) task force members would become celebrities, but they did not," Tom added. "They simply returned to the old jobs they had left."

Earlier this year, Tom left The Star to become a public relations executive in Indy. He has stayed in regular contact with many of the task force members, including Anne. She is the editor of DogTalk, the unofficial newsletter for FEMA dog handlers.

In New York City, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum will open Sept. 12 on the site of the World Trade Center. The memorial will include one-acre reflecting pools in the footprints of the leveled towers, as well as bronze panels inscribed with the names of victims.

Roadtrip: National Road Heritage Site in Cambridge City

On U.S. 40 near Cambridge City, Ind., the Huddleston Farmhouse museum features a major exhibit on the Old National Road. Photo courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head east from Indianapolis along the Old National Road, U.S. 40 (or, well, you can take the interstate) to the grand opening of the National Road Heritage Site in Cambridge City at Indiana Landmarks' 1841 Huddleston Farmhouse.

The grand opening at the site will be Saturday, Sept. 10 with a free open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and in conjunction with the Cambridge City Canal Days festival.

The Huddleston Farmhouse has been closed for two years in preparation for the new exhibits, which tell the 200-year story of the National Road from its start in Cumberland, Md., in 1806 through Indiana in mid-1820s, to its end in Vandalia, Ill. Visitors will be able to hear from a covered-wagon traveler about the conditions on the road, the food they ate and where they found lodging. More information at www.indianalandmarks.org.

History Mystery

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis was built to honor Hoosiers lost in the Civil War, although for many it has come to symbolize people from Indiana who have sacrificed in all wars. Since the monument's dedication in 1902, it has been topped by a bronze sculpture known as Victory, or Miss Indiana.

The very top of Miss Indiana, aka Victory, rests on a pallet during a 2011 restoration. The sculpture, which holds a torch and a sword, has been down for repairs since April, but she was recently returned for public display on Monument Circle. Victory is scheduled to be hoisted to her usual position atop the monument on Sept. 6 (Tuesday), where she has always faced a certain direction.

Question: Has Victory faced north, south, east or west? And what is the symbolic reason it faces that direction?

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency downtown Indianapolis, as well as a gift certificate to Wheel Fun Rentals down along the canal. The prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

'Ask Nelson'

(Aug. 27, 2011) - Our host, author/historian Nelson Price, calls himself a "garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia." He's the first to concede he doesn't have all the answers and that he easily can be stumped. Nelson’s collaborators on “Indianapolis Then and Now” included Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo & Research Services (for the “Then”) and Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography (for the “Now”).But because Nelson's career has been devoted to interviewing famous Hoosiers, researching historic Indiana figures and exploring the state's heritage, he is a trove of anecdotes and insights - and he loves to share them.

Wonder what it was like to interview David Letterman, Kurt Vonnegut or Florence Henderson? Or to live next door to Reggie Miller? (The former Indiana Pacers superstar was Nelson's next-door neighbor in downtown Indy for about four years.)

This show was a caller opportunity to phone Nelson, turn the tables, and interview him, our "connoisseur of all things Hoosier," about any Indiana-related topic.

A fifth-generation Hoosier who grew up in Indianapolis (his family lived two blocks from the home of a rising star in local media, Jane Pauley), Nelson particularly welcomes questions about the heritage of his hometown, as well as of famous people from across the state.

For this show, Hoosier History Live! opened the phone lines so listeners could call the WICR-FM studio and ask Nelson any burning (or even slow-simmering) questions.

Indiana Legends book cover.He's the author of several books, including Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing), which features profiles and vignettes of more than 160 notables. They range from frontier characters to entrepreneurs such as Madam Walker and popcorn king Orville Redenbacher to notorious figures, including John Dillinger.

Among famous Hoosiers also are astronauts, Olympic athletes, movie stars and politicians - not to mention spiritual leaders such as Mother Theodore Guerin, a pioneer Catholic nun who was named Indiana's first saint.

Nelson's books also include Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a visual history of the Hoosier capital. The book, a collaboration with photo historian Joan Hostetler and photographer Garry Chilluffo, features historic and contemporary images of about 70 sites in Indy. Before-and-after histories abound, from Broad Ripple, Beech Grove and Speedway to Monument Circle, Woodruff Place and Fort Harrison.

Nelson Price is host of Hoosier History Live!Other images in the book include historic Camp Morton (a Union Army training center and Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War) and the beloved Tee Pee Restaurant, a popular "cruising" destination near the Indiana State Fairgounds that was demolished in the late 1980s.

Ever wonder what was on the site of the former RCA Dome in the early 1900s? Or who lived on Monument Circle in the mid-1800s, when it was known as Governor's Circle and consisted almost entirely of private residences and churches?

And are you curious about why Indiana governors and their families absolutely refused to move into the residence built for them on the current site of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument?

In addition to writing Indiana-focused books, Nelson has been a commentator for years on tours across the state. So he's full of anecdotes about Hoosier landmarks, ranging from Culver Military Academy (Nelson has taken his "crew" of travelers aboard the Ledbetter, a three-mast ship used to train Culver cadets to sail) to the Slippery Noodle Inn in Indianapolis (dating to 1850, "the Noodle" is the state's oldest tavern operating on its original location) and sites in New Harmony associated with the two waves of Utopia seekers in the early 1800s.

Some fun facts that may inspire some questions:

  • Nelson interviewed the final surviving person to have personally known Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. Beginning when Agnes Search Bridgford was 92 years old, Nelson met with her over a period of several years before her death. Mrs. Bridgford grew up in the Lockerbie neighborhood of Indy; her father ran a general store where Mr. Riley (1849-1916) bought his cigars and chewing gum. Nelson also interviewed the cousin of Cole Porter and others who knew the legendary composer.
  • Nelson Price (left) hosted editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel on the Aug. 13, 2011 Hoosier History Live! show.In part because his father attended high school in Upland and probably played basketball against James Dean from the rival town of Fairmount, Nelson took an interest during his teen years in the life of the movie icon. He befriended the drama coach who mentored "Jimmy" at the former Fairmount High School and has interviewed dozens of Hoosiers who knew the intriguing star, who was killed at age 24 in a tragic car crash.
  • Whom do you consider the 10 greatest Hoosiers of the 20th century? At The Indianapolis Star, where Nelson was a feature writer/columnist for many years, he oversaw a massive reader participation contest at the end of 1999 in which thousands of Hoosiers voted for their "picks." Call in and ask him to describe and analyze the results. They differed markedly from a similar, century-ending contest at The Chicago Sun-Times, where readers voted for Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey as the "greatest" figures associated with the Windy City during the 20th century.

Chris Gahl.Roadtrip: Abraham Lincoln, Hoosier hero at Fringe 2011

Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us that it's not too late to take in a Fringe Festival show about one of Indiana's most distinguished citizens: Abraham Lincoln. Our 16th president lived in Indiana from the age of 7 to 21. His character was shaped by his formative Hoosier years! Danny Russell's play may be seen the weekend of Aug. 26-27 at the Phoenix Theatre. Visit the Fringe website for more info.

And, a big Hoosier History Live! congratulations to Chris for his promotion to vice president of marketing and communications at the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association!

History Mystery

Earlier this summer, a well-known Hoosier appeared as a guest on Hoosier History Live! shortly before being named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society. He or she is featured in host Nelson Price's book, Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman, and was named a Living Legend, along with a longtime professional collaborator.

Question: Name the Legend-to-be who was a studio guest this summer.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

The prize is an overnight stay at the Embassy Suites, Indianapolis North, including two hours of complimentary cocktails at the evening Manager's Reception, and cooked-to-order breakfast the following morning. The prize is courtesy of the ICVA.

Theater history in Indy with Howard Caldwell

The English Theater and Opera House on Monument Circle in Indianapolis, pictured here in 1911, opened in the 1880s. Bass Photo Co. Collection, Indiana Historical Society.(Aug. 20, 2011 - encore presentation) - In 1934, an 8-year-old boy who lived in Irvington - and who would grow up to become one of the best-known TV news anchors in Indianapolis history - patronized a theater for the first time. It was Loew's Palace at 35 N. Pennsylvania St., where young Howard Caldwell was captivated by a movie, which was followed by a stage show.

Although Loew’s Palace is long gone, its essence is captured in a book by Howard, who became a familiar face - and often was described as "Indiana's Walter Cronkite" - during his long career at WRTV-Channel 6.

His book, The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters (IU Press), not only explores the city's majestic theaters, many of them bygone or renovated for other uses, it also analyzes the Hoosier capital's theater-going heritage.

Howard Caldwell.Howard joins Nelson in studio to delve into the colorful history that was kicked off in September 1858 when the Metropolitan, the city's first theater, opened at 148 W. Washington St. with a seating capacity of more than 1,700. The Metropolitan later became known as the Park, then as the Capitol when it was a burlesque house as it declined before closing in the 1930s.

Loew’s Palace, at 35 N. Pennsylvania St. in Indianapolis, is shown here in 1963. Bass Photo Co. Collection, Indiana Historical SocietyIn the 1860s, famous actors who performed at "the Met" included none other than John Wilkes Booth. That's chilling, but details associated with other theaters evoke other emotions, as described in Howard's book.

The lavish English Theater and Opera House on Monument Circle (along with an ornate, adjoining hotel) became an Indy landmark for decades. In 1902, a production at the English of Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur featured "eight horses pulling two chariots on treadmills, powered by electricity," creating a sensation.

Howard's book also features insights about the Circle Theater (now called the Hilbert Circle Theatre), the Murat, which opened in 1910 with a revolving stage considered a national innovation, and the Walker Theatre, which was planned by entrepreneur Madam Walker and opened in the 1920s after her death.

The Lyric Theater in Indianapolis hosted notable performers for decades, including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. This photo is from 1955.Howard and Nelson explore those, as well as the theaters that did not survive, such as Loew's Palace and the Lyric on North Illinois Street, which presented three vaudeville shows a day when it opened in 1912.

Although Howard is a lifelong theater lover, he forever will be associated with broadcasting. The anchor on WRTV's evening news for its debut in 1959, he has won countless awards and been inducted into several halls of fame. This summer, Howard was honored with the Golden Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (watch video here). Cited for lifetime achievement, Howard is one of only six people to receive the honor in the 42-year history of the academy's Lower Great Lakes chapter.

This show is an encore broadcast of a popular program in our Hoosier History Live! archives. (The original broadcast date was July 31, 2010.) So there won’t be an opportunity for call-in questions from listeners. But that opportunity will return Aug. 27 with a brand new Hoosier History Live! show.

Political cartoon heritage with Gary Varvel

Pictured is a signed 1911 Abe Martin cartoon by Indianapolis-based humorist Kin Hubbard.(Aug. 13, 2011) - Whether creating visual commentary about tragedies such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks (the 10th anniversary of which is a month away) or creating mythical characters such as Brown County's cracker-barrel philosopher Abe Martin and whimsical Raggedy Ann, Hoosier political cartoonists have been at the cultural epicenter.

By the way, did you know that other iconic images created by political cartoonists (albeit non-Hoosiers) include Uncle Sam and Santa Claus?

To explore the rich heritage of political cartooning - including images that range from lighthearted to poignant to controversial - Nelson will be joined in studio by Gary Varvel, the award-winning political cartoonist for The Indianapolis Star. Gary, whose work is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers through Creators Syndicate, has created dozens of images that have made readers' blood boil, provoked them to laugh or inspired them to think.

But probably his best-known cartoon was drawn in reaction to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. A depiction of a weeping Uncle Sam holding a limp firefighter while the smoldering skyline of New York City crumbles in the background, the cartoon resulted in requests for copies from thousands of readers.

Born in 1957, Gary grew up in Danville. He joined the former Indianapolis News in the late 1970s, then became The Star's political cartoonist in 1994, replacing Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Charlie Werner.

The Indianapolis Star printed Gary Varvel's 9-11 cartoon as a poster and sold it to raise money for the relief effort in New York. The poster raised $130,000. Courtesy Gary Varvel.Gary plans to share insights about the cartoons of Werner (who last April was inducted posthumously into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame), along with insights about his own work. It recently has included a compelling "eye-for-an-eye" image when al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in May by Navy SEALs after being discovered in Pakistan.

Nelson and Gary also will explore the impact of Abe Martin, the fictional character (sample quip: "You can take a voter to the polls, but you can't make him think") created in 1904 by Indianapolis News cartoonist Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard (1868-1930). His homespun wisdom became enormously popular across the country.

More than 50 years after Hubbard's death, Abe Martin cartoons continued to be reprinted in The News during the 1980s. By that point, Gary Varvel was on the staff of the afternoon newspaper as chief artist. He had been recommended for the job by Jerry Barnett, the editorial cartoonist for The News, whose work Gary also will discuss during our show. In addition, he will share insights about the work of former News cartoonist Robbie Robinson.

Gary Varvel.Gary studied at the Herron School of Art at IUPUI, worked at The News for 16 years and then became editorial cartoonist at The Star.

His 9/11 cartoon, which The Star printed as a poster for sale, raised $130,000 for relief efforts in New York.

His cartoons - created from the perspective of a political conservative - have appeared on CNN and in publications ranging from Newsweek, Time and The New York Times to the National Review and Sports Illustrated. Gary lives in Brownsburg with his wife and three children.

His predecessor Charlie Werner (1909-1997) lampooned everyone from presidents and popes to Hoosier mayors and civic leaders. President Lyndon Johnson, a frequent target, was said to be so impressed he requested that 14 original Werner cartoons be preserved with his presidential papers.

Indianapolis Star editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel drew this the day after Osama bin Laden was killed. He tried to depict the look of terror in the eye of bin Laden when Navy SEALs found him. Image courtesy Gary Varvel.As for Raggedy Ann: The book series and dolls were created by former Indianapolis Star cartoonist Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938), who grew up near the Lockerbie neighborhood in Indianapolis. Names and traits of his famous creation were inspired by blending two of his favorite James Whitcomb Riley poems: "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie."

As an adult, Gruelle created the Raggedy Ann character for bedside stories he told to his 13-year-old daughter, Marcella, to distract her from a mysterious illness, perhaps a reaction to an infected vaccination she had received at school. Marcella Gruelle died in 1915; three years later, the first book of adventures, The Raggedy Ann Stories, made its debut. The floppy rag dolls were side products to promote the books, but they quickly created a sensation.

So did the Abe Martin cartoons. Hubbard, who lived in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis for most of his career, placed the bumpkin philosopher in hilly Brown County because it was considered the state's poorest, most isolated county 100 years ago. The idea of folk wisdom emanating from the county was considered humorous by itself. (At one point, Hubbard was reluctant to visit Brown County because he feared resentful locals would harass him.) When Hubbard died at the peak of his national fame in 1930, no less than Will Rogers called him "America's greatest humorist."

The Bonneyville Mill near Bristol, Ind., is one of the attractions along the Amish Country Heritage Trail. It was established in 1932 and is Indiana’s oldest continually operating grist mill.Roadtrip: Amish country in Elkhart County

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests that you head north from Indianapolis to visit Amish Country in Elkhart County, where you can take a self-guided tour on Elkhart County's nationally recognized Heritage Trail. Stop by the visitor's center in Elkhart to pick up a complimentary map and audio CD that guides you, at your own pace, through Wakarusa, Nappanee, Goshen, Shipshewana, Middlebury and Elkhart. Or you can download tour audio and a map.

The Amish Country Heritage Trail was USA Today's Readers Choice top heritage trail pick in 2010. More information at www.amishcountry.org or (800) 860-5949.

History Mystery

The Raggedy Ann Stories book cover.Raggedy Ann dolls initially were spin-off products created to promote a series of books, beginning with Raggedy Ann Stories in 1918, written and illustrated by former Indianapolis Star cartoonist Johnny Gruelle. The floppy rag dolls, which at first were hand-made by Gruelle family members, became immediate sensations.

Many of the early Raggedy Ann dolls were created with a special feature sewn into them. It was made of cardboard in some cases, candy in others.

Question: What was this special feature?

Hint: It could be felt by children when they hugged their Raggedy Ann dolls.

The prize was two tickets to the Indy Fringe Festival, Aug. 19-28, courtesy of IndyFringe, as well as an overnight stay for two at the Hilton Indianapolis in downtown Indy, courtesy of the ICVA.

Cowboy Bob: pioneers of children's TV in Indy, Part 2

(Aug. 6, 2011) - In May, Hoosier History Live! focused on the hosts of two daily TV shows who became icons to thousands of Baby Boomer and Gen X children across central Indiana and beyond. Janie Woods Hodge, known on the air as simply "Janie" during her spectacular run on WTTV-Channel 4, joined Nelson in studio. So did civic leader Pat Garrett Rooney, who was the host of Kindergarten College on Channel 13 (then an ABC affiliate) during the mid-1960s.

Cowboy Bob appears with his dog Tumbleweed, and puppets, circa 1970s. Image courtesy cowboybobscorral.com.Despite their incalculable impact - Janie's show, initially called Popeye and Janie, then just Janie, was syndicated to TV markets from Illinois to West Virginia - our earlier guests weren't the only icons of children's TV to have been based in Indy.

Another icon even made an album of Christmas songs with Janie that has been re-mastered and is available as a CD. He also sang campfire songs, shared safety and exercise tips, had a dog sidekick named Tumbleweed and rode a horse named Skye.

Of course, we're talking about Bob Glaze, far better known as Cowboy Bob to thousands of Hoosier fans of his series - initially called Chuckwagon Theatre, then Cowboy Bob's Corral - which aired on WTTV from 1969 to the late 1980s.

To join Nelson in studio as we follow up our earlier show about children's TV history, Cowboy Bob briefly said farewell to his beloved abode, which is about as close as a Hoosier can get to a ranch: Bob and his wife, Gail, a pilot for United Airlines, live in a sprawling, rustic house on more than six acres in Morgan County near Martinsville. (Tumbleweed, who died in 1983, is buried on the property.)

A lifelong fitness enthusiast and music lover, Cowboy Bob was born in 1942 and is a proud grad of Culver Military Academy (class of 1960) in northern Indiana. In fact, his current endeavors include being the key organizer (or wrangler?) of the Culver Club of the Indianapolis Rowing Team, a group of Culver alums and their friends who train at Eagle Creek Reservoir. Cowboy Bob and Gail also are avid scuba divers.

Cowboy Bob’s show also featured the “Helping Hand” puppet, played by Tom Elliott, who called Cowboy Bob “out of the blue” in the mid-’70s about coming on the show and turning the red "Helping Hand" symbol (used at that time to designate a "safe house" for children) into a costumed "safety" character. He was supposed to be a one-time guest, but he continued until 1989. Image courtesy cowboybobscorral.com.During the early 1960s - before his big break in TV, which he credits to Janie - Bob gained attention for his singing and toured with the Chad Mitchell Trio as a warm-up act.

He started at WTTV as a camera operator in 1966, eventually joining Janie on-camera in commercials. Initially seen only in silhouette, Bob sang a jingle with her that touted a soft drink; in fact, his on-air handle was "Mountain Dew Bob" before the cowboy gig came his way by happy accident. (Nelson will ask him to share details during the show.)

In addition to Tumbleweed and Skye, Cowboy Bob's shows featured a puppet named Sourdough the Singing Biscuit.

A hit on the nostalgia circuit now, Cowboy Bob and Janie often appear in parades and at festivals across Indiana. Songs that Cowboy Bob recorded several years ago during the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival - along with an assortment of other tunes, including original recordings he made as an Indiana University student in the early 1960s - are featured on a CD titled Bridges. For more info about it, the Christmas album and other Cowboy Bob memorabilia, including boot-shaped mugs, visit cowboybobscorral.com.

Cowboy Bob appears on stage in the early 1970s with other WTTV Channel 4 personalities, both human and canine.  From left are Cowboy Bob, his dog Tumbleweed, Sally Jo (Fridle) of “Sally Jo and Friends,” her dog Tootsie, and Janie (Hodge) of “Popeye and Janie.”  Suffice it to say that anecdotes abound from Cowboy Bob's long run as a children's TV icon. During our show, he shares, for instance, an incident involving a buffalo at the Indiana State Fair that unfolded on live TV.

Some fun facts:

  • During his stint with the Chad Mitchell Trio early in his career, Bob nearly became a permanent member of the singing group. He was edged out by none other than John Denver.
  • Bob's sister, Tammy Glaze, was Miss Indiana of 1960. She went on to compete in the Miss America pageant.
  • Tumbleweed the dog was named as a result of a contest from TV viewers. A beloved tan-and-black German shepherd mix, Tumbleweed achieved a bit of notoriety for chewing a hole in Cinderella's gown during a Chuckwagon Theatre episode.
  • Those who enjoyed WFYI-TV's recent Indy in the '60s documentary - which featured interviews with Cowboy Bob, Janie and Nelson - are in for a treat. So are all listeners curious about the TV personalities who shaped generations of young Hoosiers.

Watch videos of Cowboy Bob here:

Horseback riders take a break at Rawhide Ranch.Roadtrip: Rawhide Ranch in Brown County

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests that you visit a western-style dude ranch located in the hills of southern Brown County: the Rawhide Ranch! It's a place where Cowboy Bob could ease right into the saddle.

The Rawhide Ranch is located on State Road 135 south of Nashville, just before you get to the picturesque village of Story. The ranch offers public horseback rides seven days a week, every hour on the hour, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You also can stay overnight in one of the 11 motel rooms over the barn. Happy trails!

History Mystery

In addition to Cowboy Bob and Janie, WTTV-Channel 4's lineup of popular personalities during the 1960s and '70s included horror film host Sammy Terry. Channel 4 also featured Bob Carter as ghoulish “Sammy Terry,” which sounds like “cemetery.”His show, originally called "Shock Theater" and then "Nightmare Theater," became a camp classic for thousands of Hoosier viewers.

During most shows, ghoulish Sammy Terry (whose real name was Bob Carter) would emerge from a coffin. Then he often bantered with a sidekick, a spider who sometimes seemed to float. Other times, the spider dangled from a string.

Question: What was the name of the spider sidekick on Sammy Terry's show?

The prize was two tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of the ICVA, as well as two tickets to the Indy Fringe Festival, Aug. 19-28, courtesy IndyFringe.

City hall 'museum' in Indy

(July 30, 2011) - City hall "museum" may overstate it a bit.

But the University of Indianapolis is planning to preserve "the Indianapolis story" - that is, the unfolding of the city's modern history, including the creation of Unigov, the arrival of the Indianapolis Colts and the development of Circle Centre Mall - by creating an archive for papers and artifacts from a parade of mayors stretching back more than 30 years.

At the event "Five Mayors: An Evening of Insight and Vision," former Indianapolis mayors shared their insights into running the city. Appearing at the March 11, 2011 event on the University of Indianapolis campus were Bill Hudnut (1976-92), Steve Goldsmith (1992-2000) and Bart Peterson (2000-08). Photo courtesy University of Indianapolis.A trio of distinguished guests, including UIndy president Beverley Pitts, join Nelson in studio to share details about the Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives under way on campus.

The archives are an ever-evolving collection of documents, speeches, audiotapes and photos from mayors, including Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith and Bart Peterson. The collection currently consists of more than 450 boxes stored at Krannert Memorial Library.

"Clearly this historical treasure trove should not merely be safeguarded, but also must be made accessible to the researchers, students and rising community leaders - in Indianapolis and elsewhere - who can put the lessons to use," Michael O'Connor, former chief deputy mayor in the Bart Peterson administration, wrote in a recent column in The Indianapolis Star.

Beverley Pitts.By "lessons," Mike, who long has been identified as Peterson's closest advisor, was referring to the city's transformation from a sleepy Hoosier capital nicknamed "Naptown" to a metro area known for its rejuvenated downtown and an array of other changes since the late 1960s.

A Democrat, Mike is now director of state government affairs for Eli Lilly & Co., where he again works with his longtime boss Peterson, now a Lilly executive; he joins Nelson and Dr. Pitts in studio.

So does Robert Vane, a Republican and former deputy chief of staff/communications director for Mayor Greg Ballard. Emphasizing the bipartisan nature of the "museum" or archives - as well as other mayoral initiatives at UIndy - Mayor Ballard participated last spring in a historic "community conversation" on campus with Lugar, Hudnut, Goldsmith and Peterson.

Guest Robert Vane is pictured between two Republican friends, P.E. MacAllister (left) and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard at right.Former staffers for the one-time mayors, including Mike O’Connor and Anne Shane, mayoral chief of staff in the Goldsmith administration, serve on a steering committee to raise funds for the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives. According to UIndy, the $7.5 million capital campaign is designed to fund several initiatives, including cataloguing and digitizing the trove of archives in storage.

The involvement of the University of Indianapolis with former mayors stretches back at least to Lugar. Indiana's senior U.S. senator briefly taught at UIndy after serving two terms as mayor (1968-1976) and overseeing the creation of Unigov, which merged many aspects of Marion County and city governments.

The UIndy campus also is the setting for the Lugar Center for Tomorrow's Leaders. Since 1977, Lugar has invited high school juniors from across Indiana to participate in a symposium for future leaders.

All five Indianapolis mayors from the Unigov era appeared at the March 2011 forum at the University of Indianapolis. After the conversation, the mayors spontaneously joined hands to acknowledge the applause. From left are Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut, Steve Goldsmith, Bart Peterson and Greg Ballard. Image courtesy UIndy.Dr. Pitts was named UIndy's president in July 2005, but her Indiana roots extend much further back. Before coming to UIndy, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ball State University; she even served as acting president of Ball State in 2004.

An accomplished journalist, she once was a writer and communications director for the National Football League (NFL) Players Association in Washington D.C.

Speaking of pro football, the luring of the city's first NFL team in 1984 - a dramatic development that created an enormous impact, with the Colts moving to the then-Hoosier Dome under the cover of darkness - is among the episodes discussed in the trove of archival material from former mayors.

The Colts' arrival occurred during Hudnut's record-breaking four terms. Hudnut occupied the top city office - located on the 25th floor of the City-County Building - from 1976 to 1992.

Other insights:

  • Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut greets the Colts moving van, March 30, 1984.There's much common ground - including a shared love of the Irvington neighborhood - with our two partisan guests. Mike O'Connor, former Marion County Democratic Party chairman, and Robert Vane, who once was communications director for the Indiana Republican Party, both have strong ties to the historic Eastside neighborhood. Although Mike grew up in Greenfield (where he was a classmate and friendly rival of Dave Arland, future press secretary for Hudnut), Mike has lived with his wife, Anne, and two daughters in an Irvington home for many years. Robert, an alum of Howe High School, grew up in Irvington.
  • After leaving the Ballard administration last November, Robert started Veteran Strategies Inc, a strategic communications and consulting firm. A military veteran, Robert was public affairs officers for the Army from 1987 to 1990 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
  • Peterson currently serves on UIndy's board of trustees. Lugar, Hudnut and Goldsmith are former board members.

Roadtrip: Lost River in southern Indiana

The “Orangeville Rise” is one of several locations in the Lost River ecosystem where water returns to the surface.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head south to the Lost River in Washington and Orange counties in southern Indiana. The Lost River starts out as a normal river and suddenly becomes "lost" by gurgling underground and making its secret course beneath the surface for about eight miles before rising to the surface again. Sinkholes are also in abundance near the unusual river.

The Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club says that the Lost River is one of the most complex hydrological systems in the world.

This Roadtrip was recommended by Hoosier History Live! listener Daina Chamness. The Lost River Conservation Association believes that "Indiana's Lost River Karst Aquifer System" must be viewed in the context of the total river system to be fully appreciated. It offers free tours open to the public, and the tours are done in your own car. For more information about the tours, click here.

History Mystery

A distinctive item of apparel frequently worn by Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut during the notorious Blizzard of 1978 became locally famous. Amid the blizzard that's generally considered the worst in Indianapolis history, Mayor Hudnut wore the item of apparel while riding with the city's snow plows, appearing on TV news and guiding the Hoosier capital through what he later called "the most important political event of my life."

Heidelberg Haus on Indy’s east side is shown during the blizzard of 1978.Note: Hoosier History Live! aired a show about the Blizzard of 1978 on Jan. 19, 2008, with guests Craig Widener of the Red Cross and Peggy Rode, who started to go into labor during the blizzard. This was our historic second show, and three and a half years later we are still "making history!"

Question: Name the distinctive clothing item associated with Mayor Hudnut during the Blizzard of 1978.

The prize was an overnight stay at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel in downtown Indy at 850 W. Michigan St., as well as two tickets to the nearby Indianapolis Zoo. These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

County fairs and Hoosier culture

County fair participants from throughout the state appear in Fair Culture: Images from Indiana Fairs. Photo by Harold Lee Miller.(July 23, 2011) - It's a summer ritual thousands of Hoosiers crow about from Elkhart County to Delaware, Dubois and Jackson counties: participating in - or flocking to attend - the county fair.

How have these annual celebrations affected our culture across Indiana? What does "fair culture" reveal about those who participate? And do Hoosiers (as well as other Midwesterners) approach our county fairs with different expectations and enthusiasm than our counterparts in other regions of America?

Join us as we gnaw on (or savor) these questions and a cauldron of other aspects related to the fairs in Indiana's 92 counties. Nelson is joined in studio by the collaborators on an upcoming visual history book titled Fair Culture: Images from Indiana Fairs (Indiana Historical Society Press).

Our guests include Harold Lee Miller, an Indianapolis photographer who began taking pictures of 4-H participants at the poultry and rabbit barns of the Indiana State Fair. Then Harold "branched out" to photograph people and activities at county fairs across the state. Fair Culture features more than 100 of his images; they depict everything from sheep and cattle to antics on the midways.

Jonathan Faulkner stands atop the stock car he drove in the demolition derby at the 2008 Monroe County Fair. Photo by Harold Lee Miller.Nelson and Harold are joined by Gerald Waite, a lecturer emeritus at Ball State University who was an anthropology instructor. Gerry's essay accompanies Harold's photos in Fair Culture and explores the history of fairs from the Middle Ages to contemporary times; it also delves into the growth of Indiana county fairs.

So what's the current popularity of our county fairs? Reports seem to be as different as chili recipes.

According to Fair Culture, the Elkhart County Fair in northern Indiana remains one of the largest in the entire country. It's second in size only to a fair in Orange County, Calif., Gerry notes. Carylnn Diersing, as seen at the Marion County Fair, appears with her mandolin in the book Fair Culture: Images from Indiana Fairs. Photo by Harold Lee Miller.At the 2008 fair in Elkhart County, he reports, there were 1,000 "non-breathing" entries submitted for judging; they ranged from art projects to photos. (Harold's photos of the Elkhart County Fair include an image of a jeans-clad exhibitor cooling down his two hogs by squirting them with a mister as they are routed through a maze of gates.)

But hold your horses. An Associated Press report last week indicated some aspects of Hoosier county fairs are struggling.

"County fairs across Indiana are seeing interest wane in a staple of the events," the AP noted. Several of the state's 92 counties, for example, reported sharp declines in contestants in their queen pageants, with the Monroe County Fair indicating the least interest in 30 years.

"Mixed" certainly describes the attractions at county fairs. For generations, the attractions have ranged from apple pie contests, farm equipment displays and swine barns to demolition derbies and midway enticements some consider a bit lurid.

"Entertainment said to be frivolous, seedy, vulgar, or sometimes characterized as 'downright immoral' has been a part of the fair scene since at least the middle of the 19th Century," Gerry writes in Fair Culture.

He adds that such entertainment often has been "seen as a necessity by promoters of the fairs. ... Even the word 'concessions' was said to have originated as a concession to the lower classes."

At the county fair in Delaware County, Drew Smith was captured in an image that appears in Fair Culture: Images from Indiana Fairs. Photo by Harold Lee Miller.In describing his photographic approach to county fairs, Harold indicates he sought to avoid a nostalgic or romantic approach, Instead, he describes his array of color images as "documentational."

Nelson asks how he was able to convince an array of multi-colored roosters and chickens to stand still for some striking images. The cover of Fair Culture features Harold's photo of a teenage boy exhibiting a white rooster at the Indiana State Fair.

Other photos depict harness racer Bob Morrow at the Jay County Fair, a plate of elephant ears (natch) at the state fair, the winner of the "Miss Backyard Sugar Shack" contest at the Elkhart County Fair, and Monroe County resident Jonathan Faulkner standing on the roof of his red, white and blue muscle car.

A bushel of fun facts:

  • Indiana's earliest fair, according to Fair Culture, was the Knox County Fair in 1809.
  • The first Indiana State Fair marching band contest was held in 1947, also according to Fair Culture.
  • During the early 1950s, attendance dropped at some county fairs because of the polio epidemic.
  • The 2010 Marion County Fair queen, Jordan McHenry, appears with her court.This year's Marion County Fair kicked off Thursday, July 21.

Roadtrip: Marion County Fair

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests the Marion County Fair this week as a Roadtrip pick. The fair is located in the southeastern corner of Marion County, near the intersection of I-465 and I-74 and runs through Saturday, July 30.

Events on Saturday, July 23, include the Battle of the Bands from 5 to 9 p.m., motorcycle races at 7 p.m., and the Queen and Princess pageant at 8 p.m. A printable Marion County Fair map is available to guide you toward the fun!

History Mystery

A frequent entry in pie contests at county fairs across Indiana, it was named the state's official pie in 2009. The world's largest maker of it is Wick's Pies in Randolph County. According to food historians, this type of pie has a heritage associated with Hoosier farms because its ingredients primarily include staples almost always on hand in rural kitchens.

Pie drawing.Question: What kind of pie, long associated with farm life, is now the official state pie of Indiana?

The prize was four tickets to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of the ICVA.

Negro Leagues baseball and Indy

Indianapolis Clowns players Manuel Godines, Reinaldo Verde and Andres Mesa stand by the team bus in 1947. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.(July 16, 2011) - Step up to the plate for some historic baseball questions and insights. Did you know that in 1920 the very first game in the newly organized Negro Leagues was played in Indianapolis?

Were you aware that one of the greatest stars of the Negro Leagues - a slugger often called "the black Babe Ruth" - was an Indy native?

During an era when major league baseball was segregated, the Indianapolis Clowns and predecessor team the Indianapolis ABCs (which, as an independent team, was even competing in the early 1900s) had a huge impact.

To explore the heritage of Negro Leagues baseball in the Hoosier state, Nelson is joined in studio by Geri Strecker, a Ball State University professor who is writing a biography of Indy native Oscar Charleston (1896-1954), an outfielder considered one of the greatest players - and, eventually, managers - in the Negro Leagues.

Nelson also is joined by Indy native Cliff Robinson, who from ages 10 through about 14 was a batboy for the Indianapolis Clowns. Traveling with the team during the 1940s, Cliff visited nearly every major league ballpark in the country and has a mound of anecdotes.

Oscar Charleston played with the Indianapolis ABCs early in his career and later managed the Indianapolis Clowns. Image courtesy Indianapolis Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society.Eventually leaving the road to attend Attucks High School (class of '53) and then college, Cliff became an educator, coach and administrator at several schools before ending his career as human resources director at IUPUI.

Our show with Cliff and Geri (who also has put together a documentary with her Ball State students about black baseball in Indiana) aired just before the 14th annual Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference met in Indy, beginning July 21.

During the conference, a historical marker was placed on the site of the first organized Negro Leagues game, which involved the Indianapolis ABCs; the site was in the former West Washington Street Park, now part of the Indianapolis Zoo. (Oscar Charleston played center field during that game.) A program for the Negro Leagues features the Indianapolis Clowns team. The former West Washington Street Park is not to be confused with Washington Park on the eastside of Indy, which, ironically, was the site of the city's former zoo.

Cliff Robinson.The first game in the Negro Leagues was held in Indy partially because of the influence of Indianapolis ABCs manager (and later owner) C.I. Taylor. According to the Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum, Taylor had "stocked the team with players of major leagues talent in 1914, and it immediately became one of the best in black baseball."

Born in North Carolina, Taylor had managed a team in West Baden, Indiana; it was named the Sprudels after the mineral water at the famous hotel in the Orange County town.

In 1914, the baseball team relocated to Indianapolis and took the name ABCs in honor of its sponsor, the American Brewing Company. Cliff Robinson poses with mother Willa May Fossett and sister Rose Fossett, circa 1939. Image courtesy Cliff Robinson.According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, Taylor insisted his players wear "collars, ties and shirts when not in uniform." The ABCs players became role models for many young Hoosiers.

Oscar Charleston joined the team in 1915 and spent more than 30 seasons playing for or managing the ABCs or various other teams in the Negro Leagues. Some experts have called him one of the greatest (albeit unheralded) baseball players who ever lived.

Because record keeping was sketchy for the early Negro Leagues teams, comparisons are difficult. According to some accounts, though, Charleston played more than 1,000 games with a batting average of about .350. Geri says spectators even would throw money at Charleston after he made one of his spectacular plays.

Yet he died in near obscurity and was buried in Floral Park Cemetery on the Westside of Indy in 1954.

By then, the glory years of the Indianapolis Clowns also were over. The team had moved to Indy from Cincinnati during the mid-1940s. As many baseball enthusiasts know, future legend Henry Aaron made his debut with the Negro Leagues during the early 1950s with the Clowns.

As a young batboy, our guest Cliff was a roommate on the road of the flashy Clowns player “Goose” Tatum (real name: Reece Tatum), who went on to much greater fame in basketball as a Harlem Globetrotter. This 1922 funeral flier was for C. I. Taylor, owner of the Indianapolis ABCs. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Cliff, meanwhile, grew up to become an educator, coach and administrator - and, during the late 1950s, even was an assistant trainer for the legendary Chicago Bears football team.

History Mystery question

He was born in North Carolina in 1956, an era when Negro Leagues baseball was fading. So he never played in the Negro Leagues, and his career in Major League baseball was not particularly significant. However, his impact in Indianapolis was spectacular. During the 1980s, he arguably became the most popular player in Indianapolis Indians history. He led the Indians to five regular-season titles in the American Association and spent a total of nine seasons with the team.

His popularity was so great that in 2006, when he was managing the Charlotte Knights, he was hailed at Victory Field with a special night designated in his honor - highly unusual for someone affiliated with an opposing team.

Question: Who is he?Indianapolis Indians 125 seasons badge.

The prize was four tickets to an Indianapolis Indians game, courtesy of the Indians, as well as a one-night stay at the Omni Severin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtrip: Wabash & Erie Canal Park in Delphi

Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head northwest from Indianapolis to the city of Delphi, which is northeast of Lafayette in Carroll County. A canal boat navigates its way through Wabash & Erie Canal Park in Delphi, Ind. The canal once was the country’s longest.The Wabash and Erie Canal was built between 1832 and 1853 and was the country's longest canal, connecting Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio, with the Ohio River at Evansville, In.

Delphi boasts the only watered section of the canal in Indiana. Over the past several decades the area's citizens seem to have taken their local history very seriously; creating the Wabash & Erie Canal Park. The park features more than 7.5 miles of hiking trails and an interpretive center that is open Thursday, Friday, Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the interpretive center is free, and more information is available at (765) 564-2870.

Three National Register sites are located in the canal park, including an Irish workers construction campsite; Lock #33 and lockkeeper's house site; and the Harley & Hubbard Lime Kilns. Canal boat rides are also available during the summer months. Additionally, a large Wabash and Erie canal artifact from Allen County, the Gronauer Lock, is on display at the Indiana State Museum. The largely intact wooden lock was discovered by construction crews in 1991 as I-469 around Ft. Wayne was being built.

Amusement park history in Indy

(July 9, 2011) - Diving horses, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, bumper cars, dunk tanks, fun houses, landscaped gardens, shoot-the-chutes and waterslides. All were on the summer menu - along with cotton candy and Coney dogs - for generations of Hoosiers who patronized three popular amusement parks in Indianapolis.

This postcard image shows Wonderland, the eastside Indianapolis amusement park, circa 1906. Courtesy Connie Zeigler.All three are bygone and had some dark chapters in their histories, including - in some cases - raging fires, racial discrimination, neighborhood objections over plans to serve alcohol and as many financial ups and downs as a wild ride.

To explore the heritage of three major amusement parks that opened more than 100 years ago, Nelson is joined in studio by historic preservationist Connie Zeigler, president and owner of C. Resources Inc.

A writer and historian, Connie has researched the beginnings - during the amusement park craze that swept the country in the early 1900s - of Riverside Amusement Park, the wildly popular attraction on the westside of Indy that flourished until the early 1970s. It's where generations of Hoosier children experienced the thrills of their first ride on a Ferris wheel and roller coaster.

Connie Zeigler.Connie, a regular columnist for Urban Times, the monthly newspaper serving historic neighborhoods in Indy, also has researched Wonderland Amusement Park, a lavish entertainment center on East Washington and Gray streets with a short (1906-1911) but spectacular and colorful life. When illuminated at night, Wonderland's 125-foot central tower was said to be visible for miles. Thousands of Hoosiers flocked to the amusement park, which featured an artificial lake, landscaped gardens and diving horses. (The latter included a mare named Queenie who became a crowd favorite.)

The third major amusement park in Indy was located in Broad Ripple and had a series of lives. Known as White City Amusement Park when it opened in 1906, the entertainment center was named after the "white city" architecture featured at the legendary 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. White City burned to the ground in 1908 in a fire that started in its "Mystic Cave" attraction.

White City amusement park, located in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis, is pictured in a 1906 postcard. Courtesy Connie Zeigler.Wonderland also succumbed to flames (ironically, its attractions included a stunning reenactment of the 1889 Johnstown, Pa., flood), destroyed by a roaring nighttime blaze in 1911 that, as Connie put it in an Urban Times column, left the once-lavish amusement park "a soaked, smoldering ruin."

During its brief life, Wonderland not only drew thousands to its attractions such as a hydrogen-powered dirigible Connie says was "as big as two streetcars." The amusement park also drew protests from temperance advocates, including many residents of nearby Irvington, with plans for a German beer garden. (The garden eventually opened, sans beer.)

"In the early 1900s, amusement parks were considered 'edgy' places," according to Connie, who does a paid visual presentation about Riverside, Wonderland and White City. (The amusement parks also were the focus of her master's thesis.)

The country’s largest outdoor swimming pool, at the time, was in Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis, c. 1925."Amusement parks were located on the edges of town," says Connie, "and they tolerated behavior considered on the edges of what was socially proper then."

After the devastating fire at White City, a new entertainment center, known as Broad Ripple Amusement Park or similar names, held forth at the site into the 1940s. Except for certain features - most notably, the country's largest outdoor swimming pool, which served as the site of the 1924 Olympic Trials won by Johnny Weissmuller - Broad Ripple Amusement Park did not match its White City predecessor in terms of inspiring awe.

Instead, Riverside was king of the heap in Central Indiana for decades. Beginning with just a toboggan run at its opening in 1903 on farmland near the White River, Riverside evolved into a sprawling amusement park that included a miniature railroad, a dance hall, a roller skating rink and a trove of rides. According to some estimates, more than 1 million visitors flocked to Riverside in 1952, one of its peak years. Currently there is a Facebook page for those who share their Riverside memories and photos.

Pictured is a ride at Riverside Amusement Park before World War II. Riverside, however, was not beloved in every aspect. The amusement park outraged many Hoosiers by persisting with a "whites only" admission policy even into the 1960s, even as its surrounding neighborhood became increasingly diverse. African-Americans were permitted to visit only on "Colored Weekends," which were far from frequent.

There also were controversies about possible histoplasmosis and the deterioration of the attractions. By some accounts, Riverside was losing more than $30,000 annually when it closed after the 1970 season.

So what developed on the sites of these once-popular amusement parks?

Riverside: Since 2000, subdivisions of homes, townhouses and condos, including River's Edge, have been built on the site.

Wonderland: The factory plant of P.R. Mallory and Co., an Indy-based electrical components manufacturer, employed hundreds of workers before it, too, closed.

White City: According to Connie, the lavish initial amusement park was located on what today is Broad Ripple's dog park, which opened as Indy's first "bark park" (where dogs can frolic off-leash) in 1999.

History Mystery question

For several decades before Riverside Amusement Park in Indianapolis closed in the early 1970s, its attractions included two major roller coasters. One of the roller coasters at Riverside Amusement Park in Indianapolis.Showcased almost as dueling attractions, the two roller coasters sparked continual debates among patrons, particularly teenagers and children, about which was more terrifying to ride.

Question: Name one of the two large roller coasters at Riverside.

The prize was a one-night stay for two at the Canterbury Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, as well as a Yellow Rose Carriage Ride. These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtrip: Angel Mounds near Evansville

Angel Mounds park, near Evansville, Ind. Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head southwest from Indianapolis to Angel Mounds near Evansville. This state historic site was once a palisaded Middle Mississippian Indian village from about 1050 A.D. to 1450 A.D., when it was abandoned. It is estimated that about 1,000 Native Americans lived here, and the 450-acre site includes 11 man-made mounds, a town plaza and a village area.

Angel Mounds was purchased by the Indiana Historical Society in 1938 with financial assistance from Eli Lilly II, and in 1947 the Indiana Historical Society transferred ownership to the state of Indiana.

Fall Creek Massacre

Book cover of Murder in Their Hearts, by David Thomas Murphy.(July 2, 2011 - encore show) - When white men were found guilty by a jury and executed for the slaughter of nine Native Americans in March 1824, it was a milestone in American history. Following what became known as the Fall Creek Massacre, whites for the first time were convicted and executed for the murders of Indians under American law.

To explore all aspects of the brutal crimes in the swampy woods of Madison County, where Native Americans (including three women and four children) were gruesomely murdered, Nelson is joined in studio by David Thomas Murphy, author of Murder in Their Hearts: The Fall Creek Massacre (Indiana Historical Society Press).

A professor of history at Anderson University, David has spent four years researching the massacre, trial and subsequent developments, including the social history of pioneer Hoosiers (Indiana only had been a state for about seven years at the time of the massacre) and of the Native Americans in the region.

David says he struggled to reconcile conflicting accounts of the events (the tribal origins of some of the victims remains unclear) as well as the motivations involved.

"The slaughter in the soggy Indiana creek bottoms created a short-lived but serious national security crisis," David writes, referring to concerns across the country that warfare would erupt across newly developing states. Noting that tensions had been brewing between whites and Native Americans for weeks prior to the massacre, David says the attitudes of many white settlers toward Indians were complex and nuanced, mixing respect, fear, tolerance and suspicion.

This stone marker, commemorating the Fall Creek Massacre, sits in what is now Falls Park along Fall Creek in Pendleton, Ind. The text on the marker reads, "Three white men were hung here in 1825 for killing Indians."Even though the carnage of the Fall Creek Massacre drew national attention at the time, the slaughter and judicial outcome often are not mentioned in accounts of white-Native American relations, David says.

An exception involved the late author Jessamyn West, an Indiana native, who wrote a best-selling novel, The Massacre at Fall Creek (1975), about the shocking episode in Hoosier history.

This show is an encore broadcast of a popular program in our Hoosier History Live! archives. (The original broadcast date was Sept. 11, 2010.) So there won’t be an opportunity for call-in questions from listeners. But that opportunity will return July 9 with a brand-new Hoosier History Live! show.

Prohibition in Indiana

(June 25, 2011) - Speakeasies, moonshine and bootleggers are associated with an era across the country that spanned about 14 years - actually, a bit longer in Indiana because the state went "dry" in 1918, nearly two years before the nation.

A 1920 Indianapolis news photo shows police displaying a large still and 38 gallons of “white mule” whiskey confiscated from the New Bethel raid. The “Busted: Prohibition Enforced” exhibit was created from this photograph.And for several years before Prohibition, some Indiana counties such as LaGrange and Randolph already had prohibited the manufacturing, sale and transportation of alcohol, according to a new exhibit at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. Titled "Busted: Prohibition Enforced," the exhibit depicts an arrest based on a raid in 1920 of a major bootlegger operating out of a barn near New Bethel (now known as Wanamaker) in far-southeastern Marion County.

To explore this colorful era, Nelson is joined in studio by Marc Carmichael of the Indiana Beverage Alliance and Clay Pendleton of the Indiana Historical Society. They share Indiana-specific insights about Prohibition, ranging from the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and Quakers to some unexpected outcomes, including the fact that per capita consumption of alcohol actually increased during the 1920s, the opposite of the intended effect.

Another development: In 1923, during the height of Prohibition, Indiana lawmakers passed the state's first drunk-driving law.

At the Indiana Historical Society’s “You Are There” exhibit, a young perpetrator, Nathan, gets booked. Marc, a former state legislator from Muncie, has researched Prohibition, which ended in 1933. Clay not only helped research the "Busted: Prohibition Enforced" exhibit, he is a re-enactor who portrays the bootlegger, a New Bethel resident named Roy Taylor who was operating a lucrative still selling homemade liquor for $5 to $6 a gallon. When Taylor's still in a rented barn was raided by police in December 1920, it was considered the largest bootlegging bust in the Midwest since Prohibition began.

Advocates for Prohibition included the WCTU, which argued that women and children were frequent, innocent victims of alcohol abuse, and Quakers, who often practiced temperance although drinking alcohol was not forbidden by the church. According to several sources, the influence of Quakers was particularly persuasive in Randolph County and other parts of far-eastern Indiana.

On a national level, Prohibition was set in motion in 1919, when state legislatures ratified the 18th Amendment; it took effect in January 1920 and banned the manufacturing, sale and transportation (but not the consumption) of alcohol.

In 1921, though, the Indiana legislature made mere possession of alcohol illegal. According to an article in the Historical Society's magazine, Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Hoosier lawmakers even banned the sale of products such as hair tonics if they contained alcohol that could be used for "beverage purposes."

Lickety-split, as soon as Prohibition began alcoholic drinks were sold at speakeasies and other underground retailers. According to "Busted: Prohibition Enforced," pickpockets and other petty criminals often became moonshine-makers or bootleggers because it was so lucrative. ("Moonshiners" made the alcohol, while "bootleggers" transported it.)

Some facts to whet your appetite for this show:

  • From the “You Are There” exhibit at the Indiana Historical Society, show guest Clay Pendleton is pictured portraying Roy Taylor, whose still in New Bethel was raided in 1920.In April 1918, when Indiana went "dry" nearly two years before the country, about 30 breweries and more than 2,580 saloons across the state closed their doors, according to A History of Alcohol and Politics in Indiana, a publication by Marc Carmichael, one of our guests, and Harold Freightner.
  • Indianapolis Brewing Company survived the era by selling malt extracts and legal medicinal tonics, according to the Historical Society. The brewing company had been formed in 1897 by merging three local breweries.
  • "Prohibition brought unforeseen health risks," according to Traces magazine. "Bootleggers made their alcohol using whatever was available, sometimes unwittingly producing a poisonous mixture." Many consumers of illegal alcohol lost their vision (hence the slang term "blind tigers" for establishments that served bootleg alcohol), suffered paralysis or even died.
  • When the Indiana legislature made drunk driving a crime in 1923, the punishment was $500 and a jail sentence of up to six months. Repeat offenders faced prison terms as long as five years.
  • In the recent bestseller Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner, 2010), author Daniel Okrent identifies Detroit as the country's "wettest city." Noting that Detroit was dubbed "the city on a still," Okrent reports the illegal alcohol business employed 50,000 people there and became the city's second-largest industry, eclipsed only by auto-making.
  • Prohibition, which became known as a "noble experiment," ended in 1933.

History Mystery question

In the early 1900s - before Prohibition - one of the country's largest brewers was located in an Indiana city. In this city - not Indianapolis - the biggest brewery consisted of a five-story complex. Beer ad.It included a bottling plant and a stable with more than 55 Clydesdale and Belgian horses used to draw wagons that delivered the beer, according to the book True Brew, by Rita Kohn.

Like Indianapolis, this Indiana city has a significant German heritage. The city's beer-making tradition continued long after Prohibition. A beer called Champagne Velvet brewed in the city was nationally popular during the 1940s and '50s.

Question: Name the Indiana city.

The prize was a one-year household membership to the Indiana Historical Society, which includes free admission for all to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Roadtrip: Underground Railroad research workshop in Pendleton

Painting of Harriet Tubman escorting freed slaves into Canada.Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head northeast to historic Pendleton, Ind., for a one-day workshop on Thursday, July 11, for Underground Railroad history researchers at the Pendleton Public Library. The workshop is administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation & Archeology, and is presented by Dr. Paul Finkelman of the Albany Law School.

While in Pendleton, be sure to visit historic Falls Park along Fall Creek, which has a series of hiking trails and a history museum. The falls there served as a community focal point for centuries and is also the site where three white settlers were executed by hanging in 1825 for their massacre of a group of nine Native Americans near that spot in what is now known as the Fall Creek Massacre. Their execution is significant in that it represents the first time in American history that whites were tried, convicted and executed for murdering Native Americans.

Angelo Pizzo on 'Hoosiers,' 'Rudy' and a new movie

Nelson interviews Angelo Pizzo in November of 1992 on the Notre Dame campus during the filming of "Rudy." Photo by Rich Miller.(June 18, 2011) - If you are the screenwriter of a film named "best sports movie of all time" by the likes of ESPN and USA Today, is it any wonder you would be named a Living Legend? Before Hoosiers (1986) filmmaker Angelo Pizzo of Bloomington receives that accolade from the Indiana Historical Society next month, he will join Nelson in studio.

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Angelo is renowned for his screenplays inspired by true Indiana sports stories. In addition to Hoosiers, which was inspired by the 1954 upset victory of tiny Milan High School in the state basketball tournament, Angelo wrote the screenplay for Rudy (1993), which focused on a University of Notre Dame football story.

For both of those movies, Angelo collaborated with his Indiana University classmate, director David Anspaugh, who also will be named an Indiana Living Legend at the gala on July 29.

Hoosiers movie poster.As Sigma Nu fraternity brothers at IU in the late 1960s, David and Angelo made experimental 16mm films around campus, but few cared. Today their movies are shown around the world; coaches of sports teams as far away as Russia have said they screen Hoosiers as a motivational tool for their athletes.

During our show, Angelo also will share news and details about a current movie project that has come his way unexpectedly. It's a film based on a true episode in NASCAR history. Although that project doesn’t have an Indiana setting, Angelo has been renowned for his allegiance to the Hoosier state, both professionally and personally. After living in southern California for decades, he moved back to Bloomington in 2004 because he wanted to raise his two young sons in his hometown.

The eldest of seven siblings, Angelo was born in 1948 and grew up in a family active in civic and political life. His father, Dr. Anthony Pizzo, a pathologist, served as Monroe County's coroner, the director of laboratories at Bloomington Hospital, and as a Democratic state legislator.

As a boy in Bloomington, Angelo shared some of those interests, but they were trumped by another passion.

"Even as a kid who wanted to be in politics, I was passionate about movies," Angelo told Nelson in an interview during the filming of Rudy.

Actor Dennis Hopper and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo chat on the set of “Hoosiers.”After IU, Angelo attended the film school at the University of Southern California. In addition to writing the screenplays for Hoosiers and Rudy and serving as a co-producer on both movies, Angelo wrote the screenplay for The Game of Their Lives (2005). It's a movie about the unexpected triumph of an American soccer team in 1950 over Great Britain, the world champion.

Among his various endeavors, Angelo serves on the board of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. Some fun facts:

  • Hoosiers almost wasn't filmed in Indiana - until Angelo insisted. Nelson will ask him to share details about where the movie could have been shot.
  • The role of the coach in Hoosiers (memorably played by Gene Hackman) almost was offered to Burt Reynolds, but there was a major deal-breaker.
  • Not only did Angelo and David Anspaugh have to beg for extras to fill gym seats for scenes in Hoosiers, even after the success of that sleeper hit they had to resort to special measures to fill Notre Dame's football stadium for Rudy.
  • The NASCAR-themed movie, Angelo's current project, focuses on a true story involving famous drivers Michael Waltrip, the late Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • In addition to Angelo and David, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian and Joyce Sommers, the former president of the Indianapolis Arts Center, will be named Living Legends. For more info about the event, call (317)233-5658.

History Mystery question

David Anspaugh behind camera.For three movies - "Hoosiers" (1986), "Rudy" (1993) and "The Game of Their Lives" (2005) - screenwriter Angelo Pizzo collaborated with David Anspaugh, the director of the films. Angelo had been a fraternity brother at Indiana University with David, who also grew up in the Hoosier state. David Anspaugh was born and raised in a northern Indiana town where his father was a photographer.

Question: Name director David Anspaugh's hometown.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The prize is a gift certificate to Tavern on South, next to Lucas Oil Stadium, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and a pair of tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Ernie Pyle home reopened by private group

A directional sign points to the Ernie Pyle Home in Dana, Ind.Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head west along U.S. 36 to visit the newly reopened Ernie Pyle Museum Home near Dana.

After being closed by the state for a couple of years as a tax-saving measure, the childhood home of the famed WWII journalist has been taken over by a private non-profit group called the Friends of Ernie Pyle.

Ernie Pyle won a Pulitzer in 1944 for his columns about the Depression and World War II. He was killed by a Japanese sniper in April of 1945. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., and also by appointment. According to Cynthia Myers, president of Friends of Ernie Pyle, the state is in the process of turning over the deed to the property to their group. More information is available at (765) 665-3633.

Brazilian immigration with artist Artur Silva

Artur Silva. Image courtesy Artur Silva.(June 11, 2011) - According to folklore, the west-central Indiana town of Brazil derives its name only indirectly from the South American nation. The town took the name of a nearby farm called Brazil that, in turn, appropriated it merely because the country had been in the news frequently during the 1840s.

More than 160 years later, though, Brazilian immigrants and visitors are creating a splash in many ways on Hoosier soil. Among the wave makers is acclaimed Indianapolis artist, clothing designer and cultural organizer Artur Silva, who joins Nelson in studio to share insights about immigration from his colorful homeland.

A recipient of the prestigious Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship for 2010-11, Artur has been a co-organizer during recent pre-Lenten seasons of Indy Brazilian Carnaval, including a festive celebration in March that was the largest in the city's history, with about 600 attendees. The Indianapolis Star, in fact, dubbed it "the hottest party" of the Mardi Gras season in the metro area.

Nelson Price with June 11, 2011 guest Artur Silva, Brazilian artist. Photo by Molly Head.Artur, 35, is a native of Belo Horizonte City (translation: "beautiful horizon"), a city in southeastern Brazil that's surrounded by mountains. His artwork (Artur creates in several media, including painting, sculpture, digital media and photographic collages) has been seen by thousands of Hoosiers. It includes installations in White River State Park and, for about a year, the sparkling "MASS" letters that stood at the gateway to the Massachusetts Avenue arts district in Indy.

"My work focuses on the American experience," says Artur, who moved to Indy in 2001 after a few years in New York City. "Brazilians have come here in recent years for no one single reason, but to pursue all walks of life. I know Brazilians who work for Lilly and Rolls Royce, I know people who do cleaning work and babysitting, and I know artists and musicians."

Artur's studio is at the Harrison Center for the Arts in the Old Northside neighborhood of Indy. Coincidentally, the Harrison Center, 1505 N. Delaware St., will be the setting on June 11 for the Independent Music and Art Festival, beginning at noon, right when Hoosier History Live! with Artur signs off, and lasting until 8 p.m. For more info about the festival, visit harrisoncenter.org.

Artur Silva’s “MASS” sculpture stood for a time on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.Artur's website is at www.artursilva.com. His artwork has been exhibited across the country and overseas - everywhere, in fact, from the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to galleries in Chicago, Los Angeles, the Netherlands and his native Brazil.

He tries to return once per year to his homeland and estimates about 1,000 people with Brazilian heritage now live in the Indy metro area. Obviously, then, scores of non-Brazilians attended the Indy Brazilian Carnaval that he organized with a business partner, Indianapolis radio disc jockey Kyle Long.

"The idea with Carnaval is for Brazilians to invite the rest of the world to share our culture and joy," Artur says of the festival, which featured samba music and dancing. "Carnaval was brought to Brazil in the 1600s by the Portuguese, but it really became popular when people from other cultures joined the celebration."

The Chafariz dos Contos fountain was a gift from the nation of Brazil to the city of Brazil, Ind. It was dedicated in 1956. It is a replica of the original fountain built in 1745 in Ouro, Brazil. Image courtesy Geocaching.Also with Kyle Long, Artur has created Cultural Cannibals, a line of street wear and other apparel.

In addition to the Efroymson fellowship, Artur is a 2011 recipient of the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant. He plans to use some of the fellowship awards to study historic cemeteries - specifically, tombstones - as inspiration for his artwork.

Artur, who is in the process of becoming an American citizen, says "the buzz" is increasing in his homeland about the Indianapolis 500 because of the steady presence of Brazilian drivers in the race, including four of the 33 in the most recent field: Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira and Ana Beatriz. Race enthusiasts will recall there almost was a fifth. Bruno Junqueira - who, like Artur, is a native of Belo Horizonte - qualified among the 33 fastest drivers but was replaced days before the race in a controversial deal among car owners.

"It's taken awhile for (the Indy 500) to get a lot of attention in Brazil because the racing heritage was with Formula One," Artur says. "Now, though, there is much more buzz."

This detail shows part of artwork titled "Pancadão - The Culture of Baile Funk," by Artur Silva. The piece is permanently installed at the Rhythm Discovery Center in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy Artur Silva.And, even though the Clay County city of Brazil derived its name indirectly from the country, the town for many decades has had a sister-city relationship with a city in southern Brazil. In fact, Forest Park in Brazil, Ind., features a large granite fountain that was a gift from the country. The fountain is a replica of Chafariz Dos Contos Fountain, a historic fountain in the South American nation.

During our show, Artur will explain his reasons for immigrating to America, his initial reactions to Indianapolis and his observations about the capital city's art scene. He also will share the Brazilian perspective on terms such as "Hispanic" and "Latino."

During our recent show about populations shifts, Indiana University demographer Matt Kinghorn noted the state's Hispanic population grew 82 percent during the last decade. He also indicated the increase in Hoosier residents of Hispanic heritage accounted for 43 percent of the state's overall population growth.

History Mystery question

The History Mystery question is a carry-over from last week, when there wasn't a correct answer. The question concerns famous composer Hoagy Carmichael, who died in southern California in 1981. In accordance with his wishes, Hoagy is buried in Bloomington, Ind. Hoagy Carmichael tombstone.His grave is in a historic cemetery that also is the burial site of other notable Hoosiers. They include Ross Lockridge Jr., author of the classic novel "Raintree County," IU sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and Andrew Wylie, IU's first president.

Question: Name the historic cemetery in Bloomington.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The prize is a gift certificate to Tavern on South, next to Lucas Oil Stadium, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and a pair of tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: South Bend museums

Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head up north to South Bend to see two incredible museums that are side by side. "Get all your history in one place," says Chris.

This vintage ad shows the Studebaker Avanti. Image courtesy Studebaker Museum.The Center for History in South Bend includes the Joseph D. Oliver mansion, known as Copshaholm, as well as the mansion's historic gardens, a worker's home reflecting a Polish immigrant family in the 1930s, and an exhibit called Women Who Played Hard Ball, The Real League of their Own.

Right next door is the famed Studebaker Museum, with enough vintage cars to satisfy any automobile lover's appetite.

This Roadtrip was suggested by Joan Hostetler, originally of Kosciusko County, Indiana. She also recommends dining at the nearby Tippecanoe Place, which is in a mansion originally owned by the Studebaker family.

Randy Carmichael on his dad, Hoagy

Randy Carmichael poses with a portrait of his father, the late Hoagy Carmichael. Image courtesy Randy Carmichael.(June 4, 2011) - To the extent songs that become international standards make a composer immortal, Hoagy Carmichael, who grew up in Bloomington and Indianapolis, lives around the world whenever there's a gathering of jazz aficionados or lovers of music with a dreamy, almost surreal quality.

The list of Hoagy hits includes "Stardust," "Georgia On My Mind," "Up a Lazy River," "The Lamplighter's Serenade," "The Nearness of You" and even some Hoosier-specific tunes such as "Can't Get Indiana Off My Mind.

"It's people like Dad who, in my opinion, helped make Hoosiers feel comfortably at home in Indiana," Hoagy's youngest son, Randy Carmichael, told Nelson for his book Indiana Legends, which features Hoagy (1899-1981) among the assortment of famous Hoosiers on the cover.

An acclaimed pianist and vocalist, Randy Carmichael grew up in southern California while his dad was composing for movies and even acting in several, including classics such as To Have and Have Not (1944) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

As a composer, Hoagy won the Academy Award in 1951 for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," a tune featured in Here Comes the Groom, a movie that starred Bing Crosby. About 20 years later, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Image of "Stardust" record.The roster of famous musicians who have recorded Hoagy's music is astounding. Consider just "Georgia On My Mind," which eventually became the state song of Georgia; it continually has been revived by performers ranging from Ray Charles and Willie Nelson to Michael Bolton.

Randy Carmichael, who primarily has been based out of Florida in recent years, will share insights about his father - as Nelson’s guest by phone - just as plans are under way for a "Carmichael on Carmichael" concert in Wabash, Ind. As a highlight of the Charley Creek Arts Fest that will feature an array of events June 24-30, Randy will perform during a dinner show June 25 in the ballroom of the Charley Creek Inn, the award-winning, recently restored historic hotel in Wabash, Ind.

In total, Hoagy Carmichael composed about 650 songs, working with a variety of lyricists. In recent years, experts have concluded that Hoagy deserved more credit for the creation of his songs' lyrics. Nelson plans to ask Randy to describe his father's creative process when working with his lyricist collaborators, such as Johnny Mercer.

"Hoagy really was the precursor to today's singer-songwriters like Elton John and Billy Joel," the late music historian Richard Sudhalter, author of Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael (Oxford University Press), told Nelson when the biography was published in 2002.

Randy Carmichael will perform in the Charley Creek Inn on June 25, 2011, as part of the Charley Creek Artsfest.Because Hoagy never received formal music training, he primarily was influenced by informal instruction he received from two key figures. They were his mother, Lida, a pianist who was hired by Bloomington theaters to accompany silent films, and renowned Indianapolis ragtime musician Reggie DuValle, who taught young Hoagy how to improvise on the keyboard. (DuValle's piano is now at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.)

During Hoagy's boyhood and teen years, the Carmichaels shuttled between Bloomington and Indianapolis because his vagabond father, Howard "Cyclone" Carmichael, unsuccessfully attempted a series of jobs ranging from electrician to taxi driver.

Some fun facts:

  • As a young musician, Hoagy was fired from the swanky Columbia Club in Indianapolis. Nelson will ask Randy to explain why.
  • Hoagy graduated from the IU School of Law and briefly worked as an attorney in several places, including Indianapolis and Bloomington.
  • Randy has an older brother, Hoagy Bix Carmichael, who oversees an official website for their father. It's at www.hoagy.com.
  • Their aunt, Hoagy's younger sister Georgia Carmichael, always claimed the song "Georgia On My Mind," was about her. Hoagy, though, refused to identify the inspiration for the tune. It was designated the official state song of Georgia in 1979. Nelson plans to ask Randy for his insights about this.
  • Randy was nominated for a Grammy Award for his "Carmichael on Carmichael" CD. In Wabash, his performance during the Charley Creek Arts Fest will be part of a series of music concerts, gallery walks and theatrical performances.

History mystery question

Hoagy Carmichael tombstone.Even though Hoagy Carmichael died in southern California in 1981, the famous composer is buried in Bloomington. His grave is in a historic cemetery that also is the burial site of other notable Hoosiers. They include Ross Lockridge Jr., author of the classic novel "Raintree County"; IU sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and Andrew Wylie, IU's first president.

Question: Name the historic cemetery in Bloomington.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The prize is a gift certificate to Tavern on South in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.

Roadtrip: Beck's Mill near Salem

Beck's Mill, near Salem in southern Indiana, is pictured before and after its recent restoration.

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take a Roadtrip to the rolling hills of southern Indiana near Salem to see a recently restored gristmill, Beck's Mill. The mill is on one of the highest elevations in Indiana and was once an Indiana burial ground. George Beck arrived in the Indiana Territory in 1807 from North Carolina to settle the area and noticed a waterfall coming out of a cave; he decided that that location would be a perfect spot for a mill.

The current structure is the third mill on the spot and was most active from 1864 to 1890, running 24 hours a day. Eventually the more modern roller mills surpassed the capability of the gristmills, and Beck's Mill stopped operating in 1914.

This Roadtrip was recommended by listener Christine Lemley of Columbus, Ind., who listens to the show online at our website. Beck's Mill is seven miles southwest of Salem in Washington County on Beck's Mill Road and has hiking trails nearby. It is operated by Friends of Beck's Mill and is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $5. Beautiful Spring Mill State Park is also nearby.

Home-front life during the Civil War

This 1861 diary entry is by Marie Ester Brandt, a Quaker sabbath school teacher from Hanover, Ind., who also was the daughter of a local farmer and general store owner. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.(May 28, 2011) - As the country marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it's worth noting that more than 200,000 men and teenage boys from Indiana fought for the Union cause. In fact, almost 75 percent of Hoosier men of military age served in the Civil War. That means Indiana ranked second only to Delaware in the percentage of men who served.

With thousands of husbands, fathers and oldest sons off to battle, what was the impact on the Hoosier home front? How did wives and young children cope with physically demanding farm work? What about families in towns where the absent patriarchs ran general stores, banks and taverns?

And, with the absence from Indiana of so many supporters of the Union cause, did Confederate-sympathizing Hoosiers who stayed behind - so-called "Copperheads" and "Butternuts" - take advantage of the situation?

Hoosier History Live! will explore these and other compelling questions as Nelson is joined in studio by two distinguished guests from Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, which is opening a $4.3 million Civil War exhibit in June. The new exhibit will feature "immersion experiences" of various aspects of the Civil War, including opportunities for Conner Prairie visitors to take on the roles of civilian volunteers who helped defend the Hoosier state from a raid by Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his forces. You can see a Conner Prairie preview video about the Morgan's Raid re-enactment.

Hundreds of men joined the militia to defend Indiana against Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s raiders. Pictured are re-enactors at Conner Prairie. Courtesy Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.To explore the impact of the war (1861-65) on the home front's daily life, Tim Crumrin and Jim Willaert of Conner Prairie will join Nelson. They will share insights about everything from how rural families harvested crops and tended to farm animals (during an era when basic household chores alone, including cooking and doing laundry, could be all-consuming) to the impact on the schooling of children who undertook significant new responsibilities.

Tim, a senior historian who is Conner Prairie's experience delivery director, also will share insights about the demand for Hoosier agricultural products during the war. (He was the writer-director of Harvesting the Past, a PBS documentary focusing on Indiana's rural history.) The Civil War also increased the demand for Hoosier products such as wagons manufactured by the Studebaker Brothers of South Bend.

Jim, our other studio guest (and Conner Prairie's general manager of guest experience), is no stranger to Hoosier History Live! In previous appearances, he has shared insights about how early settlers and Native Americans survived harsh Indiana winters; he also has discussed the history of White River.

During this week's show, Tim and Jim will join Nelson in exploring how Hoosier families received pay from soldiers fighting in the Union Army. Furloughs for soldiers, Tim says, were far more extensive during the Civil War than many people realize.

An illustration in Harper’s Weekly in 1862 by Thomas Nast shows wife and husband thinking of each other on Christmas Eve. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society.He also will discuss the sporadic "Butternut raids" across Indiana in which Confederate sympathizers harassed recruitment agents for the Union Army. Decades after the Civil War, experts concluded reports of Copperheads in Indiana that prevailed at the time were exaggerated.

"Still, the perception was reality to many Hoosiers, who kept an eye out for treason and disloyalty among the neighbors," Tim notes.

Suffice it to say the Civil War altered thousands of lives on the Hoosier home front. Recent immigrants often found work as farm laborers hired by wives who suddenly had become single parents. Neighbors and children often pitched in to help harvest the crops of soldiers' families in ways that mirrored "community barn raisings," Tim says.

Tune in for what's certain to be a memorable show as we examine one of the most significant eras in Indiana's evolution.

History Mystery question

The History Mystery is a carryover from our show two weeks ago, when there wasn't a correct answer. The question concerns a massive replica of a mythical character that was displayed in the late 1940s at Union Station in Indianapolis. Pictured is a current-day view of Crowne Plaza Grand Hall in Union Station, Indianapolis.The replica of the folk character stood more than 50 feet tall, towered over the main concourse of the railroad station and was made of Styrofoam. Although the giant Styrofoam replica stood in Union Station for only a few seasons, it was such a hit that thousands of postcards bearing its likeness were distributed to travelers at the train station for several years.

Question: What mythical character was replicated in giant Styrofoam form during the 1940s in Union Station? Hint: It was not Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan, which were incorrect guesses from callers during our May 14 show.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The prize is a Family Fourpack for admission to Conner Prairie, courtesy of our guests from Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Civil War-era surgery in Wabash

Located in Wabash, Ind., the Dr. James Ford Historic Home dates to the Civil War era.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take a Roadtrip to Wabash, Ind., to see an excellent example of what a Civil War era home and surgery might look like. The Dr. James Ford Historic Home includes period décor and the opportunity to experience the daily lives of Dr. James Ford and his family during the mid-1800s.

The home includes a Victorian-era flower garden and vegetable and medicinal herb gardens and is open to the public limited hours Wednesday through Sunday. There's more online at www.jamesfordmuseum.org.

A good time to head to Wabash would be June 23-26, when the Charley Creek Artsfest takes place!

Janie Woods Hodge, Nelson Price and Pat Garrett Rooney discussed children’s TV shows in Indianapolis during the May 7, 2011 Hoosier History Live! show.Live in studio!

A lot of children's-TV history in one room

(May 14, 2011) - Sometimes in the course of chronicling history, you make a little bit of history, too. Our host, Nelson Price, was delighted to be joined in studio by two pioneers of children's television in Indianapolis: Janie Woods Hodge and Pat Garrett Rooney, who appeared on the May 7, 2011 Hoosier History Live! show.

On the May 7 show, Hodge and Rooney discussed their roles as Channel 4's "Janie" and as Channel 13's "Pat" on the show "Kindergarten College."

Encore presentation

French Lick and West Baden Springs hotels

(May 21, 2011) - With a heritage that includes mineral waters renowned for their supposed curative powers, an atrium with one of the largest free-standing domes anywhere (it was touted as the "Eighth Wonder of the World"), a series of colorful owners and a roster of distinguished guests for more than 100 years, the two lavishly restored hotels in French Lick and West Baden are troves for history lovers.

This memorial to Thomas Taggart, Indianapolis mayor and French Lick hotel proprietor, stands in Riverside Park in Indianapolis.To explore the rollicking history of the French Lick and West Baden Springs hotels, Nelson is joined in studio by a gem of a guest: distinguished Hoosier historian Jim Fadely, widely regarded as the ultimate expert on flamboyant Tom Taggart, the former Indianapolis mayor who purchased the French Lick hotel in the early 1900s and made it an international showplace.

A descendant of early Hoosier settlers (and, like Nelson, a board member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers), Jim is the author of Thomas Taggart: Public Servant, Political Boss 1856-1929 (Indiana Historical Society Press) and a top administrator at University High School near Carmel.

Jim and Nelson have rotated the microphone on tours of the historic hotels in Orange County, where illegal gambling flourished for decades and Taggart's masterful promoters touted a sulfur-based water they marketed as Pluto Water. At the rival West Baden Springs Hotel, mineral water was marketed as Sprudel Water.

Jim Fadely.Guests at the hotels during their heydays 100 years ago included Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. A self-made millionaire, Taggart was an Irish immigrant who, as mayor of Indianapolis, won praise for pushing for developing city parks, according to Jim. A few weeks ago, Indiana Landmarks announced that a memorial to Taggart in Riverside Park is among the historic sites on its "10 Most Endangered List."

After traveling to French Lick on a vacation, Taggart was impressed and bought an existing hotel at the site, where the first inn (known as the French Lick House) had gone up in the 1840s. Then came spectacular success, concurrent with the rise of the rival West Baden Springs.

Atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel.Both hotels underwent stunning restorations in recent years, spearheaded by the late Bloomington-based history preservationist Bill Cook and his wife Gayle. Indiana Landmarks initiated the renovation of West Baden, which had been closed as a hotel since the Great Depression. During the intervening years, West Baden Springs had served as a Jesuit seminary, then as a branch of Northwood Institute, a college that offered instruction in the culinary arts and other fields.

Since its ornate restoration, the French Lick Springs Hotel has 25 miles of hallways and the largest spa in the entire Midwest. One pavilion alone, the Pluto Pavilion, has $300,000 worth of gold leaf.

This show is an encore broadcast of a popular program in our Hoosier History Live! archives. (The original live broadcast date was June 12, 2010.) So there won't be an opportunity for call-in questions from listeners and a chance to answer the History Mystery question. But that opportunity will return on May 28 with a brand-new Hoosier History Live! show, as well as the e-newsletter, which will return on May 27, when Hoosier History Live! will explore Indiana Civil War life on the home front with two distinguished guests from Conner Prairie.

Thomas Edison's links to Indiana

Thomas Edison as a boy.(May 14, 2011) - Are you unaware that one of America's greatest inventors had connections to the Hoosier state? Well, Hoosier History Live! is about to share some, ahem, illuminating info about Thomas A. Edison thanks to a resident expert, Indianapolis-based playwright-performer Hank Fincken.

When the future icon was 17 years old in 1864, Thomas Edison lived in Indianapolis and worked at Union Depot, the forerunner of Union Station, as a telegraph operator. He invented an early machine while living in the Hoosier capital. And - fasten your seat belts - he eventually was fired from his job at Union Depot.

Before that, young Tom Edison had worked in Fort Wayne as a telegrapher. He was fired from that job, too.

What's the back-story about this tumultuous era in the life of Edison (1847-1931), who went on to hold more than 1,000 patents? Tune in as we explore Edison's connections to Indiana and other aspects of his colorful life with Hank, who performs one-man plays across the country "in character" as the famous inventor known for his independent spirit.

Thomas Edison with gramophone, 1888.Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Michigan. By the 1860s, when teenage Tom came to Indianapolis, the bustling town was nicknamed "Railroad City" because the depot served as a junction for so many train lines, according to the book Indianapolis Union Station, written in 2000 by James Hetherington. That meant the Western Union railroad telegraph office, where Edison worked, was "busy and important."

But Hank will share insights about why things didn't work out in Indy for the future inventor of the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph and so much else that became part of daily life.

"When the reasonable doesn’t work, try the unreasonable," Hank (as Edison) tells audiences.

Regular listeners will recall that Hank has been our guest before. Nearly two years ago, he shared insights about the life of John Chapman, who became a folk legend as Johnny Appleseed, another character in Hank's repertoire of historic figures and one-man shows. More info about Hank's plays and performances - including video excerpts of him in costume as Edison - is at hankfincken.com.

Some fun facts:

  • Hank Fincken as Thomas Edison.After being fired from his Union Depot job in Indianapolis, Tom Edison moved to Cincinnati, then to Louisville. The teenager was fired from jobs in various cities besides Indy and Fort Wayne. Hank will share insights about why young Edison was able to land new jobs despite a string of dismissals in his past.
  • "He learned early on that the real profit was not in the inventing, but in the manufacturing," Hank says.
  • Union Depot, which opened in the 1850s in Indianapolis, was the country's first truly "union" train station in which lines from different railroads converged on the same spot. Five competing railroad lines cooperated in building Union Depot, according to a "Culture Watch" column in the Indianapolis Star written by Jim Glass. (Jim was a guest on Hoosier History Live! for a show about another transportation artery, the Old National Road.)
  • In the 1880s, ever-increasing requests for accommodations from more railroad lines resulted in the replacement of Union Depot on the site with a massive new Union Station, which, of course, still stands today. Designed in Romanesque Revival architecture, the railroad station became the showplace of Indianapolis as "the Crossroads of America."
  • Later in life, Edison, who primarily became based out of New Jersey, enjoyed a romantic correspondence with an Indianapolis woman, according to Hank.
  • For most of his life, Edison was hearing-impaired. This didn't stop him from being an audio pioneer, with the phonograph being one of his most important inventions. According to Hank, the genius inventor resisted dabbling in the early radio industry because he was convinced listeners would want to select their own music rather than having it chosen for them by broadcast stations.
  • During the 1890s, Edison became a pioneer in early motion pictures. Although "flickers" were silent then, Hank says Edison always knew movies eventually would "talk."

History Mystery question

In the late 1940s, Union Station in Indianapolis became the setting for a massive replica of a mythical character. Pictured is a current-day view of Crowne Plaza Grand Hall in Union Station, Indianapolis.The replica of the folk character stood more than 50 feet tall, towered over the main concourse of the railroad station and was made of Styrofoam. Although the giant Styrofoam replica stood in Union Station for only a few seasons, it was such a hit that thousands of postcards bearing its likeness were distributed to travelers at the train station for several years.

Question: What mythical character was replicated in giant Styrofoam form during the 1940s at Union Station?

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The prize is the fabulous CD of Mr. Edison's Greatest Hits, a collection of old cylinder recordings from Thomas Edison's time, as well as the audio of a standup comedy routine of vaudevillian Cal Stewart. The prize is made possible courtesy of our guest, Hank Fincken.

Roadtrip: Mid-century modern tour in Columbus, Ind.

The Taylor-Hawkins/Morlock House, built in 1951, is one of the featured homes on the Columbus, Ind., mid-century modern tour. Photo by Garry Chilluffo for Indiana Landmarks.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take a look at five mid-century modern houses in Columbus, Ind., on Saturday, May 21. The tour is presented by Indiana Landmarks and takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Tour headquarters is the North Christian Church, 850 Tipton Lane in Columbus, a National Historic Landmark designed by Eero Saarinen.

You can even make it a weekend in this mecca of modernist architecture by attending a symposium on Columbus's legendary Miller House, hosted by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis, on Friday, May 20. Don’t forget to visit Zaharako's in downtown Columbus (although that is far from modernist; it's an original 1900 ice cream parlor), and you also can stop by the Columbus Area Visitors Center downtown.

Janie and Kindergarten College: pioneers of children's TV

(May 7, 2011) - To thousands of Baby Boomer and Gen X children across central Indiana and beyond, the hosts of two daily TV shows seemed more famous than Hollywood movie stars.

As the ukulele-playing, puppet-befriending and child-focused star of Popeye and Janie (later known as just Janie when her local popularity eclipsed that of the cartoon character), Janie Woods Hodge enjoyed a spectacular run on WTTV-Channel 4, appearing every weekday from 1963 to 1986. Janie, c. 1975.Her show, stuffed with everything from safety tips to a segment called "Janie's Tree House" that featured local Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Brownie troops, became so popular it was syndicated to TV markets across Indiana and as far away as Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia.

Not only does the indefatigable Janie join Nelson in studio, so does another perky pioneer of children's TV in Indiana.

His other guest is Indianapolis civic leader Pat Garrett Rooney, who, as Pat Garrett (or just "Pat," as she was known on the air to the rotating groups of children who joined her) was the host of Kindergarten College, a show seen daily on Channel 13 (then an ABC affiliate) from 1957 through 1973.

Pat previously had enjoyed a turn as the Fort Wayne host of Romper Room, a nationally syndicated show overseen by a local personality in each TV market. She was the host of Indianapolis-based Kindergarten College from 1963 until 1966, when she bowed out due to her pregnancy. (In that era, a pregnant woman was verboten on children's shows. Pat will share an anecdote about a curious boy who couldn't resist commenting on her appearance and wardrobe.)

Pat Garrett Rooney plays teacher "Pat" on Kindergarten College, mid 1960s. The local Indianapolis show featured four new children each week.So how do the grown-up Baby Boomers and Gen X fans - Nelson unabashedly counts himself among their legion - explain the impact and appeal of Janie to newbies to Indiana? Or to those too young to have enjoyed her effervescence?

Suffice it to say Popeye and Janie regularly beat NBC-TV's perennial juggernaut, The Today Show, in the ratings across central Indiana. And that Janie broadcast live from the Indiana State Fair during its run; popped into then-Mayor Richard Lugar's office ("Hi, Mr. Mayor!" her puppet sidekicks chirped), and interviewed celebrities such as Betty Ford when the then-first lady visited the Children's Museum.

And get this, kids: For most of the span that Janie was hosting a live, daily TV show, she also was working as a music teacher at Indianapolis Public Schools. Plus, she was the mother of two young children.

Similarly, Pat also had two young sons when she began Kindergarten College. Her on-air pregnancy involved Pat's third child, a daughter.

As many Hoosiers know, Janie gave a big leg up (or should we say a boot up?) to a young vocalist named Bob Glaze. As Cowboy Bob, he joined Janie on the air, cut a wildly popular album of Christmas songs with her in 1968, and then became the host of his own show on WTTV-Channel 4.

“Pat” chats with a bear and his trainer on the TV show Kindergarten College, mid 1960s.Janie's gigs include narrating Peter and the Wolf with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and performing at Lollipop Concerts attended by hundreds of captivated youngsters.

On Kindergarten College, young Hoosiers joined Pat for "Breakfast with Santa," "Breakfast at Easter" and other celebratory events. Her approach - as well as that of Pat's predecessor on the show, Barbara Kay Medlicott - was to emphasize what they called "creative play" with children. During the recent Indy in the '60s documentary broadcast on WFYI-Channel 20, Mrs. Medlicott described the concept of creative play. The documentary also featured appearances by Janie and Nelson.

Visitors from the Indianapolis Zoo, pet shops and other cultural or family-friendly businesses were frequent visitors to both Janie and Kindergarten College.

Some fun facts:

  • According to some accounts, Janie's show featured the first TV commercial shot in color in Indianapolis. Her program also was the first local show to make the transition from black-and-white to color.
  • Since her TV days, Pat has become one of Indy's best-known civic leaders. She has been a board member or key volunteer for cultural institutions and non-profits ranging from Conner Prairie, the Indianapolis Propylaeum and the Indiana Historical Society to Second Helpings.
  • Janie, an opera lover and avid player of contract bridge (she still teaches bridge lessons to adults), grew up in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School.
  • "I've always liked variety on my shows and in life," Janie told Nelson for a profile in The Indianapolis Star in 1999. "And variety I've had."

History Mystery question

During her long run on television in central Indiana, Janie was joined on the air by puppet sidekicks. (Although we have our own cute sidekick on Hoosier History Live!, the Roadtripper.) Janie is pictured with puppets, circa 1975.The popular puppets included a gopher named Gilroy as well as a snake. There also was a distinctive-looking puppet with a name that's a musical term.

Question: Name that puppet character.

Hint: His name, when used as a musical term, is a symbol that indicates pitch.

The prize was a one-night stay for two at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, as well as romantic gondola ride for two on the Central Canal. Celebrate spring! These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtrip: Three original 'Freedom Riders' at North Decatur High School

White racists bombed the Greyhound bus with freedom riders aboard in Anniston, Ala., on Mother's Day, May 14, 1961. The riders were protesting to abolish legalized segregation in interstate bus travel. Photo by AP/Anniston Star.Chris Gahl of the ICVA says "hats off!" to North Decatur Junior-Senior High School history teacher John Pratt (and a former Hoosier History Live! guest) for bringing in three of the original "Freedom Riders" to a Chautauqua at the school on Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13.

The Freedom Riders were a group of whites and blacks who rode buses into the then-segregated South in 1961 to test a Supreme Court decision that banned racial segregation at bus terminals. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961. The three Freedom Riders at the Chautauqua will be Dion Diamond and Reginald Green from Washington, D.C., and Joan Browning from West Virginia.

Also speaking will be John Stokes, one of the original plaintiffs in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case that heralded the beginning of the civil rights movement in the United States. Additionally there are opportunities to ride "Freedom Buses" with commentary by the original Freedom Riders to various parts of the county.

These four “Freedom Riders” were arrested in 1961.One destination will be the newly renovated African American Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery which was largely untouched for 150 years. "It's in the middle of the woods," says John. The old cemetery is in the heart of what was known as the Snelling Settlement in Decatur County, a community of more than 200 free blacks who also were part of the Underground Railroad.

All events take place or originate from North Decatur Junior-Senior High School just north of Greensburg at 3172 N. State Road 3. More information is available at

We rely on you!

You or your organization can financially support us

(May 2011) - Hoosier History Live! is independently produced and is responsible for its own fund raising.

We thank Louellen Test Hesse, Patricia Rooney, Loretta and Reid Duffy, Jennifer Smith, Barb and Steve Tegarden, Theresa and David Berghoff, The Fadely Trust - a fund of the Indianapolis Foundation, Gretchen Wolfram, Richard Vonnegut, Don Gorney, Ellen Lee, Joe Young, Dana Waddell and Clay Collins, and several anonymous granting organizations and individuals who have made tax-deductible donations to support the program by following the instructions on "Support the show" on the Hoosier History Live! website.

Hoosier History Live! three-year anniversary image."All of us who work on the show wear a lot of hats," says Molly Head, producer. "Much of our energy goes into putting out a good e-newsletter and a good show each week, and our fund-raising efforts could be stronger. We get very few inquiries about sponsorship and donations, even though the contact information is everywhere on our publications. Most of the sponsorship comes from our doing the asking, and many large organizations want a bigger 'media footprint' than our show currently offers.

"Meanwhile, we get many requests for full audio archiving of past shows on our website, but I'm loath to push our technical people to work even harder with minimal compensation. I know; our e-newsletter and website look very professional, but that's because Richard Sullivan of Monomedia puts them together.

"We are in the process of sending out several large grant applications to secure the financial future of Hoosier History Live! We would like to have adequate funding in place be able to catalog and archive the past shows on our website, and also to be able to edit the past shows in a way that other radio stations can easily broadcast the shows. Of course, with us being us, we enjoy doing things well. If you are aware of an organization or individual who might be interested in helping us, contact Nelson Price or Molly Head, the project's principals.

"Of course, we continue to seek all donations and sponsorships; at this point, every little bit helps. We think we have an innovative and engaging approach to history not experienced elsewhere. We think the show has a special voice, and we would like to be able to continue that voice."

Encore presentation

Your house has a history

(April 30, 2011) - If only your walls could talk, right? This is the ideal show for folks wondering how to track down the past "lives" of their houses. Nelson is joined in studio by two Indianapolis-based home history hunters who live in historic houses themselves and who know firsthand the challenges involved and resources available.

Joan Hostetler specializes in local history research, as well as preserving, digitizing and archiving historic photographs.With tips and advice galore, photo historian Joan Hostetler, owner of Heritage Photo & Research Services, and Tiffany Benedict Berkson, the "Home History Hunter," will offer guidance about how to get started, as well as the pitfalls to avoid.

The two house history "detectives" offer advice to help you:

  • Identify sources in local libraries (including city directories) and online help for unearthing your home's history.
  • Explore the challenges and curves you may encounter. For example, some streets in Indy were renamed years ago. Did you know a portion of East 10th Street once was known as Clifford Street? In addition, many residential addresses across town were changed as the city grew.
  • Offer guidance on using Sanborn maps, the Indiana State Library, the Indiana Historical Society and U.S. Census info as resources.
  • Share some special tips. "Did you know that the family most likely to have good photographs of your home lived across the street?" Joan says. "They usually positioned their children or family by the street and took a snapshot from the porch."

Joan is the owner of Heritage Photo & Research Services, which specializes in photographic preservation, archive management, digital imaging and photographic research. She lives and works in a home built in 1888 in the Cottage Home neighborhood by the legendary architectural firm of Vonnegut & Bohn. Active in neighborhood revitalization efforts, Joan collaborated with Nelson and photographer Garry Chilluffo on the Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press) visual history book.

Tiffany lives in a spacious, turreted Victorian house built in 1897 in Herron-Morton Place, where she is a past president of the neighborhood association. Tiffany Benedict-Berkson.An avid local history enthusiast with a particular interest in the Victorian era, she is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (Caroline Scott Harrison chapter) and a former volunteer at the President Benjamin Harrison Home.

The following "learn more" websites are recommended by our guests:

Also new is Your Historic Indianapolis, an interactive forum where people can post questions about an address or family; it will hopefully be a resource for those willing to explore or share their knowledge of Indianapolis.

This show is an encore broadcast of a popular program in our Hoosier History Live! archives. (The original live broadcast date was May 29, 2010.) So there won't be an opportunity for call-in questions from listeners. But that opportunity will return on May 7 with a brand-new Hoosier History Live! show, as well as the e-newsletter, which will return on May 6.

The five Ball brothers are pictured around the turn of the century.In the news ...

Nelson is interviewed for Ball brothers story in Investor's Business Daily

(April 30, 2011) - Nelson was recently interviewed by colleague Victor Reklaitis in the national daily business newspaper Investor's Business Daily in a story about the five Ball Brothers from Muncie. According to the article, the five brothers "manufactured can-do spirit in a jar."

In the article, Nelson says that Frank, one of the five brothers, would display his missing index figure when giving a speech. He had lost the finger in an accident but used that to his advantage when rousing a crowd. Certainly no one has more knowledge of Indiana anomalies than Nelson!

Kurt Vonnegut's childhood friend

(April 23, 2011) - They met as children and quickly became part of the same group of friends during the Great Depression in Indianapolis. Majie Failey and future literary sensation Kurt Vonnegut Jr. took dance lessons with their pals, spent summer weekends as teenagers at Lake Maxinkuckee and, while attending Shortridge High School, hung out at bygone haunts such as the North Pole drive-in and Eaton's Restaurant.

Majie and Vonnegut, a quipster (even then!) whose childhood nickname was "Kay," remained close friends until his death four years ago this month (April 2007) at age 84. He even told Majie - and several other people - that the major character in his play Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1970) was based on her father.

Kurt Vonnegut signed his picture in this page of the 1940 Shortridge High School yearbook; he was a finalist in the "Uglyman" contest. Note he signed his last name as "Vonnegoot" as a joke. Image courtesy Hawthorne Publishing.Now Majie, who became society editor of The Indianapolis News in the late 1940s, has written We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek (Hawthorne Publishing), an anecdote-filled book about her famous chum. Its title is derived from a note Vonnegut scribbled to her atop the sketch of one of his self-portraits, referring to the fact that, despite their friendship of nearly 75 years, the two never dated.

Majie - who eventually married Skip Failey, another Vonnegut crony - joins Nelson in studio to share insights about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of bestsellers such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) and Palm Sunday (1981). Majie writes that Vonnegut often told her he was "happier at Shortridge than anywhere else in his whole life."

His adult life included his capture during World War II by the Germans (as a POW, he witnessed the bombing of Dresden); the sudden death of his mother (Majie writes that she agrees with Vonnegut family members who dispute Kurt's conclusion it was a suicide), and the death of Kurt's beloved sister, Alice, from cancer. Lifelong friends Kurt Vonnegut and Majie Failey are pictured at her home in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Jim Gould.Tragically, Alice's husband was killed in a train accident within days of her death; Kurt promptly adopted her young, orphaned sons.

He raised them - as well as his three oldest children - with his first wife, Jane Cox Vonnegut, who was Majie's best friend as a young girl at Tudor Hall in Indianapolis. Subsequently, Majie persuaded her parents to let her attend Shortridge, where Vonnegut (class of '40) served as an editor of the legendary Echo, the country's first daily newspaper at a high school. We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek includes photos from yearbooks at Shortridge, where Kurt was a finalist in the "Uglyman" contest - which, despite its title, actually was a popularity contest.

"Trust me, Kurt was not ugly," Majie writes. "Girls wanted a date with him. ... As for Kurt's zany sense of humor, he was to all of us the prince of laughs. ... Kurt Vonnegut spoofed life while he was still trying to understand it."

Book cover of "We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek" by Majie Alford Failey.She notes that the two of them made for a "Mutt and Jeff" pairing, with Vonnegut eventually standing 6-feet-3 and tiny Majie barely 5 feet tall. Referring to Vonnegut's note about not dancing cheek-to-cheek, Majie writes, "I could not have reached his cheek, much less his vest buttons."

In her book, Majie also shares insights about the Vonnegut family's reversal of fortune during the Great Depression; Kurt Sr., an architect, was unable to secure commissions because business and residential construction halted. Because her close friendship with Vonnegut continued for so long - the Faileys were Kurt and Jane's house guests on the East Coast before and during the period he became a literary sensation in the late 1960s - Nelson has much to explore with her during our show.

Even during Vonnegut's final return visits to Indianapolis, he invariably settled on the leather sofa on the sun porch of Majie's home. That's where he often revised the memorable speeches he would deliver to Hoosier audiences.

Some notes:

  • Like Kurt, Majie also adored his older sister Alice, who apparently lit up rooms with her effervescence. "All of us in the childhood gang were in awe of Alice," Majie writes.
  • We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek includes observations about Kurt Vonnegut from others who were acquainted with him. They include Nelson, who interviewed him periodically.
  • Vonnegut fans are invited to a reception and book signing with Majie from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 5 at the Athenaeum, the Indianapolis landmark designed in 1894 by his grandfather, distinguished architect Bernard Vonnegut.
  • Her book is dedicated to yet another generation of Vonneguts: Kurt's son Mark and daughters Edie and Nanette, who also have been Majie's lifelong friends.

History Mystery question

Among the landmark buildings designed by prominent Indianapolis architect Bernard Vonnegut, the grandfather of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., was the flagship L.S. Ayres department store. The L.S. Ayres Building in downtown Indianapolis is pictured in 1905.It opened in 1905 at the corner of Meridian and Washington streets. However, one feature of the department store building was not designed until about 30 years later. In the mid-1930s, Bernard's son, Kurt Sr., designed this feature of the Ayres building.

Question: What was it?

The prize was two tickets to the premiere of If These Walls Could Tell, presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana on Friday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the new Indiana Landmarks Center. The inaugural performance, Hugged by These Walls, told by Sally Perkins, brings to life the people who made the Central Avenue Methodist Church, once the largest Methodist congregation in the state, a powerful contributor to the creation of the capital city. Tickets are courtesy of Indiana Landmarks.

Roadtrip: Redbud Trail Rendezvous near Rochester

The Bert Leedy Round Barn is a feature of the Fulton County Historical Museum, located near Rochester, Ind.Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head up north along U.S. 31 to Fulton County in the north central part of Indiana, an area also known for its abundance of round barns, and check out the Redbud Trail Rendezvous festival the weekend of April 30 and May 1.

The festival is named for the redbud trees along the Tippecanoe River, and it features historical re-enactors from a number of different periods of frontier Indiana, including western fur trade, French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. You'll also find cooking over open fires, music and dancing, and demonstrations of muzzle-loading rifles. The festival is $3 for adults but also includes free admission to the Fulton County Historical Museum for a look at that round barn.

While you're in the area, the Chief Menominee Memorial is right off the road near Plymouth; lest we forget that the infamous Potawatomi Trail of Death started out from this area in 1838.

Library history in Indy

The cornerstone for Indianapolis’ Central Library is laid in 1915.(April 16, 2011) - Chapter One was rather meager. It began in 1873 in a wing of a former private residence that also housed the public high school (a forerunner of Shortridge High School) in Indianapolis. By the late 1890s, though, several branches had opened of what today is the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.

For many years, the most popular branch in the system was the Haughville Branch, which served a large immigrant population that settled around the nearby Kingan & Company pork processing plant.Central Library, which opened in 1917, was designed by French architect Paul Phillipe Cret, who, according to folklore, even touched up his sketches in the foxholes of World War I while fighting on behalf of his homeland.

To explore these and other intriguing details about library history in the Hoosier capital, Nelson is joined in studio by S.L. "Skip" Berry, the author of Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, and Christopher Marshall, the team leader of the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianapolis-Special Indianapolis-Special Collections Room at Central Library.

A construction photograph from 1916 shows Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. “Even the masons are wearing white shirts and ties with their aprons,” notes Stacks author S.L. Berry. Image from the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library archives.Funded by private donations from the IMCPL Foundation, Stacks describes the ever-evolving relationship between the library system and the community for nearly 140 years. According to Skip, the former visual arts writer for The Indianapolis Star (and a Hoosier History Live! guest two years ago in connection with his pop history of the Indianapolis Museum of Art), the first director of the library was hired, fired, re-hired and then re-fired. The saga extended from the 1870s through 1892. His difficulties apparently involved an inability to compromise with the local school board, which then oversaw the library system.

Some fun facts:

  • The dedication of Central Library was Oct. 7, 1917, the birthday of James Whitcomb Riley. The famous poet had died the previous year. Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair, sits on land donated by Riley.
  • Paul Cret, the French architect who designed Central Library, wasn't present for the construction or opening of Central Library because of his World War I service in the French army. During the war - while "blue penciling" his designs in the trenches - he also served as an interpreter for Gen. John Pershing, who headed the U.S. forces in Europe.
  • Book cover of Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, by S.L. Berry.Cret returned from World War I to enjoy a distinguished career. He designed the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. Today, the original portion of Central Library is known as the "Cret Building" as a tribute to the architect. Built of Indiana limestone, the Cret Building was designed in Greek Doric style.
  • The Nora Branch sits on land at 86th Street and Guilford Avenue donated in the 1960s by the late Harrison Eiteljorg and his wife. Eiteljorg, of course, is primarily remembered for creating the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
  • In addition to library history written by Skip, Stacks includes contributions from local architectural historian Mary Ellen Gadski. Stacks is available for purchase from the IMCPL Foundation; call (317) 275-4700.


Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests that we take the Roadtrip to the much-awaited Wondrous Opening Weekend of the restored former Central Avenue Methodist Church at 12th Street and Central Avenue in downtown Indianapolis, which can be seen on the north side of I-70 in downtown Indianapolis. All of the excitement takes place this weekend, April 16 and 17, to celebrate the opening of the new Indiana Landmarks headquarters.

Exterior view of the new Indiana Landmarks Center, located at Central Avenue and 12th Street in downtown Indianapolis.The gala celebration on April 16, which includes a John Mellencamp performance, has been sold out, but there is a free Open House for all on Sunday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that includes music, family activities and free admission to the Morris-Butler House next door. Then there's a Classical Bash on Sunday evening for $75 per person with Grammy Award-winning singer Sylvia McNair, followed by a "Taste of Indiana Landmarks Center." Ticket information is available.

History Mystery question

Spades Park Library opened in 1912 on the near-Eastside of Indianapolis. It's known as a "Carnegie Library" because the Spades Park branch, along with many counterparts across the country, was constructed with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. Spades Park Branch library is on the eastside of Indianapolis.In addition to Spades Park, one other branch library in the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library system is a historic Carnegie Library."

Question: Name the branch library.

The prize was two "Original" hamburgers at Johnny Rockets in Circle Centre mall in downtown Indianapolis, and two tickets to Morty's Comedy Joint on the northeastside of Indianapolis, all courtesy of the ICVA.

Freedom seekers before the Underground Railroad

This unidentified Harrison County, Ind., woman had formerly been enslaved in Meade County, Ky. She is pictured with her children, date unknown.(April 9, 2011) - Tales about the Underground Railroad have captivated the public for generations. Did you know, though, that hundreds of African-Americans journeyed to freedom in the earliest days of Indiana - in some cases, several years before we achieved statehood in 1816? Many of these African-American freedom seekers were slaves who were brought from the South to Indiana, then set free. Others escaped and fled to Hoosier towns and rural areas.

To explore the intriguing but little-known details of "freedom seeking" before the Underground Railroad era (generally defined as beginning in the mid-1830s), Nelson is joined in studio by Maxine Brown, a Corydon-based historic preservationist. She shares the stories of pioneers to southern Indiana areas such as Clark County, Harrison County and Floyd County.

For example, in 1802 - when most of Indiana was still a wilderness - emancipated slaves from Kentucky named Ben and Venus McGee settled in Clark County. Maxine Brown.Maxine, who has a copy of their deed of emancipation, reports that a reconstruction of the McGees' small cabin is under way near the Lewis and Clark cabin in Clarksville; it will be a site on the Indiana African American Heritage Trail that's being developed.

During our show, Maxine also shares details about a free black man named Oswell Wright who came to Harrison County in the 1820s, then devoted himself to helping assist the escapes of slaves from Kentucky. Some accounts indicate these activities almost sparked a border war between Indiana and Kentucky.

Maxine, who is descended from early settlers in Corydon, was our guest two years ago for a show about her renovation of the Leora Brown School. It's a cultural center in her hometown that she created by restoring the historic Corydon Colored School, which closed with integration. A board member of Indiana Landmarks and the Society of Indiana Pioneers, Maxine is considered an expert on early African-American migration to the Hoosier state.

Reconstruction of the small Ben and Venus McGee cabin is under way near what is known as the Lewis and Clark cabin in Clarksville, Ind., which served as the departure point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition on Oct. 26, 1803.Details about freedom seekers before the Underground Railroad - as well as other eras in black history - will be the focus of "A Progressive Journey," a conference June 8-10 in Jeffersonville. If you'd like more information about the conference, click on the provided web link, or Maxine may be contacted directly at (502) 550-0484.

According to Maxine's research, many slaves who were brought to Indiana before statehood, then freed, were soon compelled to sign "indentured servitude" contracts with Hoosier families. These contracts were the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show last November that focused on an Indiana Supreme Court case in the 1820s involving challenges to the indenture practice, under which African-Americans often signed long-term contracts that provided room, board and clothing, but no pay.

“The Depot” in Jeffersonville, Ind., was originally a segregated rest room at an 18th-century U.S. Army facility. It is now the welcome center for the planned African American Heritage Trail in Southern Indiana. Standing in front is show guest Maxine Brown.The McGees were the indentured servants of the family of Revolutionary War-era frontiersman and military leader George Rogers Clark, for whom Clark County is named. (Before the Clarks moved to Indiana, the McGees had been their slaves in Kentucky.) The reconstruction of the McGees' cabin was begun last summer by the Indiana Youth Conservation Corps with many tools used in the 19th century. The small Indiana settlement that included the McGees' cabin was called Guinea Bottoms, Maxine reports.

She says Oswell Wright was brought to Indiana as a free man with the Bell family, who purchased a ferry service between Brandenburg, Ky., and Morvin's Landing in Harrison County. They lived on the Indiana side in a house overlooking the Ohio River. In 1857, Wright was arrested for allegedly assisting the escape of a slave from Brandenburg. He was tried and imprisoned for five years in Kentucky, then returned to Indiana. About two years ago, a historic marker honoring Wright was erected in Corydon, his adopted hometown.

Roadtrip: Indiana Artisan Marketplace

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggested that we take the Roadtrip to the inaugural Indiana Artisan Marketplace on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Expo Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Indiana Artisan logo.Chris promises "all eclectic things Indiana made" at this multi-sensory event, from sea salt pecan chews to chili-spiced fudge sauce to wearable fiber art.

Indiana Artisan was established in 2008 to identify and support the business development of Hoosier entrepreneurs who create high-quality arts, crafts and value-added foods (think salsa, not tomatoes; wine, not grapes). The first-time event will feature the work of approximately 90 artists and food artisans whose work has been juried into the prestigious Indiana Artisan program.

"This event is a chance to buy one-of-a-kind artwork and artisan food directly from the Hoosiers who make it," said Tom Prichard, chair of the Indiana Artisan Marketplace. Admission is $8, and parking is $3.

History Mystery question

In addition to the many African-Americans who gained their freedom by crossing the Ohio River into Clark County, Harrison County and other parts of southern Indiana, a small port along the Ohio River in Harrison County also served as the point of entry into Indiana of a famous person in 1863. Also in Mauckport are Squire Boone Caverns, which were used by Daniel Boone and his brother Squire as a hiding place from Indians in the late 1700s.He or she entered Indiana near the small river town of Mauckport in July of that year. The famous historic figure wasn’t an African-American – or even a Hoosier – but did have a major impact on the state during his or her stay.

Question: Name the historic figure who came to Indiana in 1863 through the town of Mauckport.

The prize was two tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 30, courtesy of the Indiana Wine Fair, plus an overnight stay for two at the Westin Indianapolis with a 3 p.m. checkout, plus breakfast for two at Shula's, courtesy of the ICVA.

James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain on historical fiction

(April 2, 2011) - Acclaimed far and wide for the depth of his historic research - his novels have sold more than 2 million copies around the world - James Alexander Thom is the best-known author currently living on Indiana soil. James Alexander Thom.Not only is Nelson visited by this legendary Hoosier, who prefers to be called "Jim" (what would you expect from a nature lover who lives in a 19th-century log cabin that he moved and reconstructed himself on a ridge near a forest in Owen County?), they also are joined by Jim's wife, Dark Rain Thom, a Shawnee elder, tribal historian and fellow author.

Jim, whose novels have included Follow the River, which hit the New York Times bestseller list in 1981, and Panther in the Sky (1989), about the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh, shares insights and challenges about writing historical fiction. The Indiana Magazine of History calls him a "master of the form" in a review of Jim's newest book, The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction (Writer's Digest Books).

Dark Rain Thom.Dark Rain, who served on the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Planning Council, and Jim also are the co-authors of Warrior Woman (2004), a novelistic portrait of a real-life, female Shawnee leader of the 1770s. Drawing on their historical research, the Thoms describe the Shawnee "warrior woman," whose name was Nonhelema, as articulate, "imposing at more than six feet tall" and desirous of peace. Compelled to fight when her tribe's homes were threatened by thousands of Virginians, she rode into battle "covered in war paint" - and ultimately ended up, as the Thoms put it, "estranged from her own people - and betrayed by her white adversaries."

During this memorable show, Nelson talks with the husband-and-wife team about myths concerning the Shawnee, as well as their historic home. A native of Owen County, Jim did much of the salvage and reconstruction work himself on the cabin, reassembling it log by log, using material from the 1800s, and sleeping in a tent during the process. Book cover of Warrior woman, by James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom.(During that stretch, he wrote at night by kerosene light.) The westward view from his secluded cabin - a panorama of a valley - is said to be nearly identical to the view 200 years ago.

His bestseller Follow the River is a fictional account of the true story of a white woman's capture by the Shawnee in 1755 and her eventual escape, which took her 1,000 miles. Jim's other bestsellers have included Long Knife (1979), about the exploits of George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War, and Sign-Talker (2000), which focuses on a French-Shawnee scout who provided invaluable assistance to Lewis and Clark.

Book cover of Follow the River, by James Alexander Thom.After Jim and Dark Rain met at a Shawnee encampment in Ohio, the couple married in 1990. Before co-writing Warrior Woman with her husband, Dark Rain was the author of Kohkumthena's Grandchildren (1994), a history of the Shawnee. Fun fact: The artwork for her book's cover is an illustration of a Shawnee elder and a grandchild created by James Alexander Thom.

In addition to his creative and literary talents, Jim is known for going to great lengths to recreate the noises, smells and other sensations of the historic settings and experiences depicted in his books. According to several accounts, Jim fasted for so long while doing the research for Long Knife - he wanted to accurately and precisely describe the experience - that he nearly starved to death. For other book projects, Jim has waded through icy streams during winter.

James Alexander Thom and wife Dark Rain Thom sit under a 300-year-old oak outside their 170-year-old remote Brown County cabin.In The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, he explains that he finds doing the research "as exciting and fascinating as doing the writing." He has tracked down letters, journals, census reports and vintage newspapers, in addition to immersing himself in the sensory experiences of his characters.

His non-fiction books include The Spirit of the Place (1995), a celebration of Indiana's hill country that pairs Jim's descriptive prose with sweeping photos by acclaimed Indiana photographer Darryl Jones. The Indianapolis Star lauded Jim's text as "spare, yet evocative."

"I'm so glad that I grew up with the sense that the past isn't 'back there,'" Jim told Nuvo Newsweekly in 2009. "History isn't 'back there.' We're still in it. It's a river. Everything that goes into it affects everything else, and we're creating more of it."

Not only are the Thoms' admirers legion, we can't resist noting Jim won the inaugural Indiana Authors Award in 2009 given by the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation.


Selma and T.C. Steele are pictured here in the early 1900s at the House of the Singing Winds in Brown County.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggested we take a roadtrip to the one of the most spectacular hilltops in Brown County, the T.C. Steele State Historic Site just southwest of Nashville.

Famed "Hoosier Group" artist T.C. Steele's magnificently placed House of the Singing Winds will host Selma's Secret Garden Tea Party on Saturday, April 9 at 11 a.m.

Selma Steele was T.C. Steele's eclectic second wife, and the party will feature tea and goodies in Selma's garden, along with an opportunity to see the Arts and Crafts Moments exhibit in the house.

All ages are welcome, and registration is required. More information is available on the web link or at (812) 988-2785.

History Mystery question

In 1981, the historical novel Follow the River, by James Alexander Thom, spent several weeks in a row on The New York Times bestseller list. Follow the River focuses on a young Virginia woman captured by the Shawnee and her 1,000-mile escape. Follow the River was replaced on the bestseller list by a much different type of book, one that focused on a comic strip character with Hoosier connections.

Question: Name the comic strip character whose book replaced James Alexander Thom's Follow the River on the bestseller list in 1981.

The prize was two tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 30, courtesy of the Indiana Wine Fair, plus an overnight stay for two at the Conrad Indianapolis during the month of April, courtesy of the ICVA. The stay at the luxurious Conrad might be a special benefit for those who listened to the previous week's Hoosier History Live!; the show about Victorian women "behind closed doors" was a little steamy!

Victorian-era women: behind closed doors

Image of a man and woman in Victorian-era clothing.(March 26, 2011) - When the spotlight shines on Victorian-era women during Women's History Month, they typically are depicted as repressed, prim and obsessed with "proper" social behavior. The most famous Hoosier suffragette, educator and civic leader May right Sewall, caused a stir in the late 1800s by insisting that her ndianapolis Classical School for Girls include a gymnasium. (Physical education was not considered "proper" for girls.) Mrs. Sewall also wore her skirts at ankle length, a shocker in an era when women's dresses swept the ground.

Indeed, says Karen Lystra, there was a fixation during the Victorian era (1837-1901) with displaying "proper" behavior in public. In private, though, the Victorians were anything but prudish, enjoyed a bawdy sense of humor and have been inaccurately stereotyped for generations, Karen says.

A professor of American studies at California State University, Karen Lystra has been spending most of her time in Indianapolis in recent years and has tracked down, read and analyzed thousands of letters and diaries written during the Victorian era.

Victorian-era letter with envelope. Image courtesy Victoriana Magazine.She says wildly misleading folklore about Victorians emanates from a few incidents that robably never happened, including Queen Victoria's supposed advice to her granddaughter about her wedding night: "Lie still and think of the Empire." (In fact, Karen says, Queen Victoria's recollections of her own wedding night are joyful and, ahem, uninhibited.)

Rather than succumbing to loveless marriages as per stereotypes, Victorian-era people pioneered the concept of love as a basis for marriage, breaking from previous generations who placed sharp restrictions on who could wed whom, Karen says.

"Victorians didn’t invent love, of course, but they were revolutionary in the concept of love as a basis for marriage," she notes. "This also sets up divorce, because when you base marriage on feelings, you set up expectations."

Karen, the author of Searching the Heart: Women, Men and Romantic Love in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford University Press), is tracking down letters written by working-class Hoosiers during the Victorian era; she welcomes tips and may be contacted at klystra@fullerton.edu.

Karen Lystra.Meanwhile, Karen has been giving fascinating presentations around Indy - including to the Hoosier Chapter, Victorian Society of America - as she explains who created the myths about our Victorian ancestors and why they differed so much in private from their "proper" public personas.

Among the Victorian-era letters Karen has uncovered is a note written during the Civil War by future Indiana Supreme Court Justice John V. Hadley (1840-1915), a native of Hendricks County, to his secret fiancé. The missive, written in 1863, includes this passage:

"It was Sunday night when you wrote your last. And you say that you wished me there. Thanks for the honor you do me. And Heavens how my heart fluttered in responding Amen to your wish. ... May Wright Sewall.Oh how I did wish it were mine to step to your back and ... to have touched you gently on the shoulder and exclaimed 'I am here.' The ecstasy of the moment I believe would have been fully felt with grasping hands and touching lips. ... But such a time is coming Dear Mary, And we'll sit on the sofa. We'll draw nigh unto each other, we'll talk, we'll love."

Other letters written during the Victorian era by women to their lovers and husbands (or to their close friends and relatives, describing their passion for their lovers) are even steamier. Although Victorian-era women did not talk about sex in public because of the emphasis on "proper" appearances, Karen says they discussed it frankly in private.

During our show, she explains who created and perpetuated the inaccurate stereotypes of Victorians that persist to this day. Namely, that they were repressed; their marriages were loveless; courtship was chaperoned, and women were "raised to be passionless and men to seek fun and sexual release with prostitutes."

In fact, Karen says, Victorian-era courtships were not chaperoned after a certain stage in the relationship; courtships and marriages were full of erotic passion and romantic love.

Join us as we visit Victorian-era parlors and even sneak upstairs, all in the quest of accurate history.

Roadtripper: The Gospel According to James

Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take the Roadtrip to the Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indianapolis to see a play that explores one of the darkest episodes of our state's history, the infamous double lynching of two young black men by an angry mob in Marion, Indiana, on Aug. 7, 1930. Three young black men had been accused of murdering a white man, Claude Deeter, and of raping his female companion, Mary Ball, who had been parked along a lover's lane. Playbill for The Gospel According to James.The three accused were pulled from the jail the next evening by an angry mob. Two of the men were lynched, and the youngest of the three, James Cameron, was spared at the last minute by the crowd.

The Gospel According to James features two-time Tony-nominated actor André De Shields (The Full Monty and Play On!). The play focuses on an imagined meeting in 1980 between James Cameron and Mary Ball.

The Marion lynching was made famous by the iconic Lawrence Beitler black-and-white photograph of the incident. Andre DeShields.Beitler was in fact a professional photographer in Marion who spent the next 10 days reproducing copies of his photograph, which he sold as souvenirs for 50 cents. Horrifically, lynching photos at the time were often made into postcards as novelty items.

Indiana University historian James Madison, considered an authority on the Marion event and author of A Lynching in the Heartland (Palgrave McMillan, 2001), said in a 2010 NPR story, "We know that three young black men were at the scene of the crime. We know there was also a young white woman at the scene of the crime. Who pulled the trigger, who shot Claude Deeter, is not known. And I don't think really can be known."

You can listen to the NPR story here (contains graphic language and images). The IRT production runs through Sunday, April 10.

History Mystery question

On her wedding day to Prince Albert in 1840, Queen Victoria did something that eventually became a tradition for brides across America, including Indiana. It took many decades, however, for the tradition to firmly take hold for some brides in this country.

Question: What did Queen Victoria do on her wedding day that has become a tradition?

The prize was four tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 30, courtesy of the Indiana Wine Fair.

Irish in Indiana

Irish emigrants are depicted on shipboard in the River Mersey near Liverpool, U.K., about to embark for America, c. 1846.(March 19, 2011) - Hoosier History Live! tips our hat to the Irish among us by exploring when and why immigrants from the Emerald Isle came to the Hoosier state, where they settled, and their cultural and economic impact here.

Nelson is joined in studio by his longtime colleague John Shaughnessy, former columnist for The Indianapolis Star and author of The Irish Way of Life (Corby Publishing), an anthology of human-interest stories about Irish immigrants; John currently is assistant editor of The Criterion, the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Nelson and John are joined by the official historian for Marion County, David Vanderstel, an adjunct professor at IUPUI. According to an article about the Irish in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, they quickly became the Hoosier capital's second-largest ethnic heritage group from Europe. (They were exceeded only by residents of German heritage.)

Agents for the Wabash and Erie Canal in the early 1830s specifically recruited Irish immigrants to Indiana with advertisements for "canal hands" offering "$10 per month for sober and industrious men," according to David's account.

Hoosier Irish-American Edward Zane “Mack” McFadden (1922 to 2002) lived in rural Bartholomew County. This legendary soldier appeared in this iconic World War II photo; he is right above Eisenhower’s hand as the general is addressing Army Rangers who are about to parachute into Normandy behind enemy lines before D-Day.Others came to build roads, including the Old National Road. According to Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience (Indiana Historical Society Press), in 1900 six of the 10 Hoosier counties with the highest numbers of Irish immigrants were on the old Wabash and Erie Canal line or on the Old National Road: Allen, Cass, Marion, Tippecanoe, Vigo and Wayne counties.

Life here certainly wasn't a breeze for many of the immigrants. Although canal excavation offered a way to escape urban poverty in East Coast cities, it was hard, dirty and (in the summer) hot work, Peopling Indiana emphasizes. Canal diggers lived in "primitive and unsanitary shelters" and "moved in social circles that were conducive to rowdiness and heavy drinking." Conditions became so deplorable that Irish-American newspapers even started discouraging immigrants from taking jobs in canal construction.

Other challenges mounted. Funding for public works projects such as roads and canals often dried up, meaning the Irish found themselves unemployed "within a community unable to absorb them financially," according to an account by David Vanderstel, our guest.

Book cover of The Irish Way of Life, by John Shaughnessy.In Ireland, the potato famine that began in the 1840s resulted in a tidal wave of immigration. According to The Irish in America (Hyperion), one-fourth of the country's population had come to America by 1860. Conditions on the boats to America have been described as wretched; so many Irish died during the voyages that the boats became known, as The Irish in America puts it, as "coffin ships."

Is it any wonder the Irish often have turned to music as a diversion? John Shaughnessy's book includes insights about Irish folk tunes and the ways that love and loss frequently are intertwined. He also conveys a sense of the awe with which generations of Irish families have regarded the University of Norte Dame. Although Notre Dame was founded by a French priest, it quickly became an Irish Catholic bastion, with its sports teams known, of course, as the Fighting Irish.

During the 1850s, the Irish immigrant population tripled in Indianapolis and Terre Haute. In Indianapolis, the early waves of Irish immigrants tended to settle in two neighborhoods: the area that became known as "Irish Hill" on the near-Southside (it's generally considered to be bounded by Shelby Street and College Avenue) and Fountain Square on the near Southeastside.

So there is much Hoosier turf, or sod, for John, David and Nelson to explore. Rest assured, the show consists of more than just facts and trends. John, whose grandparents were Irish immigrants, shares anecdotes that convey, as he puts it, "the heart, humor and heritage" of the Irish among us. Along with his siblings and cousins, John has made certain his grandparents' names have been etched at Ellis Island on the American Immigrant Wall of Honor.

Roadtripper: Sassafras Tea Festival in Vernon

Civil War re-enactors gather at an encampment at the Sassafras Festival in Vernon, Ind.Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us to head to Vernon in southeastern Indiana on April 16-17 for the Sassafras Tea Festival, sponsored by the Jennings County Historical Society. You'll be able to see a Civil War reenactment of Morgan's Raiders passing through Vernon, which occurred in July of 1863. During that confrontation, Confederate General John Morgan demanded the surrender of the town and was met with resistance from Colonel Hugh Williams of the Indiana Legion, who said that Morgan "must take it by hard fighting." No real battle occurred, and Morgan's men headed south to Dupont in Jefferson County.

By the way, Jessamyn West's book The Friendly Persuasion was based on this historic incident and other stories told to her from her early Quaker childhood in Jennings County. Also, Conner Prairie's reenactment of Morgan's raid at Dupont will open on June 4 this summer.

If you travel to the Sassafras Tea Festival in Vernon in April, you'll also be able to visit a Civil War encampment, waltz at the Blue-Gray Ball and chow down on ham and beans, homemade pies and sweet breads - and also some sassafras tea.

History Mystery question

Irish immigrants founded the oldest Catholic church in Indianapolis. Origins of the parish date to the 1830s. Church interior.However, the current church building, the third for the parish, was constructed during the late 1860s and early 1870s. The parish rectory was built during the Civil War, then significantly enlarged.

Question: Name the historic Catholic church founded by Irish immigrants to Indianapolis. Hint: It was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show last fall.

The prize was a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, courtesy of the ICVA.

What's new

Nelson Price appears in Indy in the '60s

(March 19, 2011) - Our own Nelson Price, an expert on all things Hoosier, grew up in Indianapolis during the 1960s, a decade that began as a mild reflection of the complacent '50s. That decade later turned itself upside down with its social upheaval, spotlight on racial and social injustice, and opposition to the Vietnam War.

Indy in the '60s logo.Was Indianapolis still in a time warp during this period? If you watch public television's new documentary Indy in the '60s, you will see Nelson weigh in various topics, including downtown Indy at the time. He also talks about local television personalities, the House of Blue Lights, the Coliseum explosion in October of 1963, and his family's reaction to the JFK assassination, which occurred less than a month after the explosion.

Incidentally, visit the home page of our website to view a list of shows created over the past three years, many of which cover these topics in radio interview format.

Population shifts across Indiana

This map shows Indiana’s population changes, 2000 to 2010. Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau.(March 12, 2011) - "State's fastest-growing counties were in Indy metro area" was the headline on a recent Indianapolis Star story about the newly released U.S. Census Bureau results from 2010. Other news accounts reported shifts in Indiana's racial and ethnic makeup.

Hoosier History Live! will put the results in historic context - and explore population declines in such cities as Gary, South Bend, Evansville and Hammond - when Nelson is joined in studio by an Indiana University demographer quoted in many of these accounts about our state's population shifts. He is Matt Kinghorn, an analyst with the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business.

With Matt as our guide, we will explore Indiana's overall population increase; it's up 6.6 percent from 10 years prior, a growth rate that topped those of neighboring Illinois (3.3 percent) and Ohio (1.6 percent); Michigan's population actually dropped, declining by .6 percent.

Matt recommends a look at this interactive map from the Census Bureau.

Although Matt points out that Indiana still remains less diverse than the nation, the population of Hispanics in the Hoosier state grew 82 percent. (In Illinois, Hispanics have become the largest minority group, exceeding blacks, according to an account in USA Today.)

Overall, nearly 60 percent of the growth in Indiana came in Indianapolis (Marion County) and surrounding counties; the population of Carmel and Fishers has more than doubled since 2000. That may not be startling, but perhaps it's a bit surprising that only two of the state's largest cities, Indy and Fort Wayne, gained people. The largest decrease (22 percent) was in Gary, with South Bend and Evansville chalking up 6.1 and 3.4 percent losses, respectively.

Matt Kinghorn.As part of our effort to put the results in historic context, Matt and Nelson will explain how, despite Indiana's reputation as an agricultural state, by far the majority of residents have not lived on farms or in small towns for many generations. The latest census results reinforce the longstanding trend of urban and suburban living.

With the 6.6 percent growth, the state’s population totaled 6,483,802 people.

Some other results of the new data: Suburban communities and counties reported noticeable increases in black residents. And third-place in terms of growth among the most sizable cities, after Carmel and Fishers, was Noblesville.

Matt Kinghorn, our guest, has served as one of Indiana's representatives to the Census Bureau's Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates; he also is a member of the Indiana Geographic Council.

His work includes population projections for Indiana - so, in this case, our history show probably will be taking a future peek as well. A sampling of his projections:

  • During the next 35 years, the 10-county Indianapolis metro area will account for 54 percent of the state's growth.
  • Also during that period, the number of Hoosiers ages 65 and older will increase 90 percent. "An aging population is not unique to Indiana, of course, but is a national trend," Matt writes in a recent article about the population projections. "In fact, when compared to the rest of the nation, Indiana is relatively young, with a median age of 36.3 years, which ranks in the bottom third of all states."
  • The state's population with Hispanic or Latino roots will double over the next 25 years, increasing by 285,000 residents.
  • The Asian population also is expected to grow significantly, with Hamilton County experiencing the strongest growth. (The number of Asians in Hamilton County nearly doubled between 2000 and 2005.)


RFK addresses the crowd near 16th and College in what is now King Park. Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take the Roadtrip to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis to see a three-dimensional hologram of RFK addressing a stunned crowd near 16th Street and College Avenue in Indianapolis on the evening of April 4, 1968. That night, Kennedy let the crowd know that he had just learned that Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis. The speech may also be viewed on YouTube.

This new exhibit is part of the Indiana Experience, which is free for IHS members and $7 for adults who are not members.

Interesting Hoosier history fact: Only two days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, another major tragedy occurred in Indiana. A gas explosion in downtown Richmond killed 41 people and injured 150 on April 6, 1968. On the national news front, however, the MLK news eclipsed the Richmond tragedy.

History Mystery question

During the last 10 years, Fort Wayne has become the home of more refugees from a foreign country than any other American city. Nearly 5,000 refugees from the country, which is overseas, now live in Fort Wayne. About 800 refugees arrived just in one year (2008) alone. Assisted by Fort Wayne charitable organizations, the refugees began arriving in Indiana's second-largest city during the late 1980s after a military junta in their homeland began punishing people who advocated democracy.

Question: Name the foreign country from which so many refugees have settled in Fort Wayne.

The prize is a one-night stay at Hyatt Place Indianapolis at Keystone and a pair of tickets to Morty's Comedy Joint on East 96th Street in Indianapolis, courtesy of the ICVA.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. You may wish to email the answer, but that doesn't "count" in the contest. The prize is a one-night stay at Hyatt Place Indianapolis at Keystone and a pair of tickets to Morty's Comedy Joint on East 96th Street in Indianapolis.

Donald Davidson on the Speedway's 100 years

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(March 5, 2011) - During this "centennial era" of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - a celebration that began in 2009 to mark the 100th year of the opening of the world-famous racetrack and will continue through May with the 100th anniversary of the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 - it's not jumping the gun, or green flag, to roar into track history.

This commemorative “forever” stamp featuring Ray Harroun’s winning 1911 Marmon Wasp will be issued in May of 2011. It was created in the art deco style by artist John Mattos. Image courtesy U.S. Postal Service.Our guest should draw cheers from Hoosier History Live! listeners who have been clamoring for him to visit us during the centennial era. Speedway historian extraordinaire Donald Davidson, who enjoys international fame for his encyclopedic knowledge of all aspects of the Indy 500, joins Nelson in studio. A native of England who became obsessed with the Speedway as a boy overseas, Donald showed up at the track in 1964 and instantly wowed Hoosiers with the depth of his 500-Mile Race trivia. Donald Davidson.Having Donald Davidson in our studio was an ideal opportunity for listeners to call in and ask their most burning questions about racing folklore and fact.

Donald and Nelson share insights about their mutual friend, Tom Carnegie, the legendary "Voice of the Speedway," who died Feb. 11. During a memorial service for Carnegie, the track announcer since 1946, Donald said that with his booming voice and enthusiasm, "no single individual" had a greater impact on the growth of qualifications every May at the Speedway.

Of course, Donald Davidson, the author of the Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500 (CMG Publishing, 2006), has had an enormous impact as well. His legions of fans even have created a Facebook page: It's called the Donald Davidson Appreciation Society. Inducted last year into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Donald has hosted radio programs on various stations for more than 40 years, including "Talk of Gasoline Alley."

The 1955 running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race featured a much less developed race course, without the high-rising stands that today encircle the track. Photo courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway.On our show, Donald separates fact from myth about the controversial inaugural race in 1911 won by Ray Harroun in an Indianapolis-made Marmon Wasp.

Fun facts: Despite various controversies, the race was declared a spectacular success, with the crowd estimated at 80,000; officials at Union Station in downtown Indy announced it was the busiest day in the history of the railroad terminal.

By the way, Harroun's average speed during the historic race was 74.6 mph. It took his Marmon Wasp 6 hours and 42 minutes to complete the 500-mile journey, and that careens into a seldom-discussed issue Nelson intends to explore with Donald during the show: The unheralded but crucial role of relief drivers in the early Indianapolis 500s. Because even the best drivers needed breaks over such a prolonged period in excessive heat and other discomforts, they usually employed relief drivers who spelled them at the wheel.

Starting lineup of the 1911 Indianapolis 500. Courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway.According to a newspaper column Donald wrote in 1989 about the folks he called "unsung heroes," a fellow named Cyrus Patschke drove about 40 laps for Harroun during the 1911 race. The relief drivers received some pay, but almost never credit. (However, Donald noted even the unknown Cyrus Patschke had groupies who belatedly recognized his efforts. During the 1970s, he recalled, a Volkswagen bus used to show up on race day with a banner proclaiming its occupants as members of the "Cyrus Patschke Fan Club.") Were these relief drivers factory workers, engineers and other local folks who just wanted to pitch in and help the drivers? Did any of them resent their anonymity? Nelson expects to ask these questions of our Speedway history guru.

Even casual fans of "the 500" won't want to miss this show.

History Mystery question

Ray Harroun is surrounded by onlookers after winning the 1911 Indy 500. Photo courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway.According to Donald Davidson's book Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500, Ray Harroun, the winner of the inaugural 500-Mile Race in 1911, always regarded himself as more of an engineer and an inventor than a race-car driver. In fact, he has been credited with being the first person to use a certain device or feature on a car because he installed one on the Marmon Wasp that he drove to victory in the first 500. This device or implement is a crucial aspect on automobiles to this day.

Question: Name the device that Ray Harroun may have introduced on cars.

The prize was an Indy 500 Prize Pack, courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

History revelers celebrate show's third anniversary

Dana Waddell gets an earful from Thomas Edison, portrayed by Hank Fincken. Both were guests at the Hoosier History Live! third-anniversary soiree in February 2011.(Feb. 17, 2011) - The 1865 Morris Butler House came alive once again on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, as about 80 history fans celebrated the third anniversary of Hoosier History Live!

The soiree was once again hosted by our friends at Indiana Landmarks. Special thanks to Marsh Davis and Suzanne Stanis for the arrangements.

Thomas Edison was portrayed by Hank Fincken, and pioneer songs were performed by Janet Gilray and Leslie Gamero. Thanks to Lorraine Phillips Vavul and Sally Cook for bringing the birthday cakes. Thanks also to volunteers Michael Trudeau and Bill Holmes.

Police history in Indy

Emma Christy Baker.(Feb. 26, 2011) - With the recent tragic on-duty death of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer David Moore, community-wide grief over his passing, and various controversies surrounding other members of the force, the spotlight has been on the police recently. Hoosier History Live! is seizing the moment to explore the history of an organized police force in the Hoosier capital and how it has unfolded for more than 150 years.

Nelson's studio guests are Capt. Craig Fishburn, a 28-year veteran of the police force, and Sabrina Young, vice president of the Indianapolis Police Historical and Educational Foundation. Captain Fishburn, who is currently assigned to IMPD's east district, helped put together Indianapolis Police Department: A Proud Tradition of Service (Turner Publishing Co., 2000).

In connection with Black History Month, Capt. Fishburn and Ms. Young, who is a community volunteer for the force, will share insights about early African-American police officers - and women officers as well.

According to several accounts, the first African-American police detective in Indianapolis, Benjamin Thornton, was appointed to the force in 1875 and promoted to detective 10 years later. He was an escaped slave who had settled in Indianapolis.

Trail-blazers also included a well-known business and civic leader, Emma Christy Baker, who ran a laundry. In 1918, she became the first black female officer on what was then IPD. She patrolled a downtown beat. Despite her achievements, Officer Baker was buried in an unmarked grave at Crown Hill Cemetery, in part because she had no immediate survivors. Capt. Fishburn, our guest, attended the dedication in 2003 of a memorial headstone on Officer Baker's burial site after a fund-raising campaign led by a current IMPD officer, Marilyn Gurnell.

After some breakthroughs during the 1920s, when IPD employed the country's largest all-female unit, the department did not hire women for street patrol again until 1968. Nelson and his guests explore how this unfolded.

David Moore, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer.They also will time-travel much farther back, exploring perceptions during the 1840s and '50s that - because of the waves of immigrants, the arrival of railroads and battles over the propriety of alcohol consumption - the city "was in the grip of a crime wave," according to The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis.

These fears apparently resulted in a clamor for a paid city police force. It was launched in fits and starts during the 1850s and early '60s. (Before 1854, the peace in Indianapolis was maintained by a town marshal, a sheriff, a few deputies and various night watchmen. The night watchmen were volunteers.) Initially, officers were identified by only a silver star. They got blue uniforms in 1862. The first officers walked their beats. Bicycle units began in 1897. Horse patrols kicked off around the turn of the century.

"When needed," according to an IMPD history on the city of Indianapolis' website, "the department's first officers commandeered private (horse-drawn) wagons and conveyed drunks to the station in a wheelbarrow." The first police automobile in Indy was purchased in 1904.

Historic uniforms, badges and weapons, including nun chucks once used to subdue perpetrators, will be exhibited at a police history museum underway in a historic building at South Pennsylvania and Georgia streets near Conseco Fieldhouse. (Capt. Fishburn emphasizes that nun chucks have not been used by Indianapolis police for many decades.)

Sabrina Young is an organizer of the interactive museum, which will be known as Cop City and is being privately funded. She shares details about Cop City, which is slated to open in time for Super Bowl visitors next February.

Much of the focus at Cop City will be on the education of children about public safety. In addition to exhibits about IPD's history, Ms. Young says Cop City will spotlight the local heritage of other law enforcement officials such as sheriff's deputies and FBI agents.

Roadtripper: Maple Syrup Fest in Jackson County

Maple syrup is harvested from the trunks of certain types of maple trees in the spring.Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head down to Medora in Jackson County the first two weekends of March for the National Maple Syrup Festival. Just as maple-sugaring season gets under way, maple syrup producers from all over the country will be able to showcase their best recipes at this year's Sweet Victory Challenge. Historic re-enactors will show festival goers how Native Americans and, later, white settlers in southern Indiana learned to tap maple trees and produce the sweet stuff.

The festival includes a children's area and live bluegrass music, so plan to head down to John Mellencamp's native Jackson County for a taste of early spring out in the country!

History Mystery question

The largest residential robbery in American history occurred in 1977 at an Indianapolis home. More than $7 million had been hidden in the house by its owner, who had developed an intense distrust of banks. She had hidden money in sewing kits, headboards of beds and vacuum cleaner bags. A group of suspects was implicated in the robbery of the Northside home, during which its owner was killed. Some of the perpetrators later returned to steal more money and set the house on fire. Various law enforcement agencies quickly made a series of arrests in the crime, which drew worldwide attention.

Question: Who was the victim in the 1977 crime?

The prize, courtesy of Indiana Landmarks, was two tickets to "If These Walls Could Tell" at the new Indiana Landmarks Center at 1201 N. Central Avenue in Indianapolis on Friday, April 29.

Indianapolis City Market, then and now

The Tomlinson Tap Room opened at the Indianapolis City Market in November of 2010 and is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.(Feb. 19, 2011) - Does it seem as though evolving lifestyles and various renovations are continually upsetting the apple cart at Indianapolis City Market? With all sorts of changes brewing (or recently accomplished) - including the opening of what may be the first and only bar in the historic marketplace - Hoosier History Live! revisits the landmark, built in 1886.

Nelson is joined in studio by Jim Reilly, who became executive director of City Market in October 2008 and has overseen the opening of Tomlinson Tap Room, which serves up Indiana-brewed beers. The name of the bar, which is on the mezzanine level, is a historic salute to Tomlinson Hall, a massive civic building that adjoined City Market until it was destroyed by a raging fire in 1958.

Jim Reilly.Not only does Jim share insights about the historic fire (only Tomlinson Hall's doorway arch remains, serving as the entryway to City Market's courtyard), he also has dreams for the mysterious, long-unused catacombs beneath the marketplace. Would you believe that, according to Jim, the temperature in the catacombs never dips below 50 degrees, even during bone-chilling winters like we've been enduring?

As part of the show's "then/now" theme, Jim also shares updates on the $2.7 million renovation, which includes the $800,000 project that's planned to transform City Market's east wing into a bicycle hub with showers. He welcomes listener questions and understands the frustrations with the seemingly endless attempts to revive the historic marketplace that once bustled with generations of immigrant families who sold fresh fruit, vegetables, bakery goods, poultry and meat.

It seems like only yesterday - actually, it was 2007 - when City Market underwent a $2.5 million renovation. Vintage post card shows Tomlinson Hall and Market Place, circa 1900 (prior to the emergence of automobiles), on the site adjoining the Indianapolis City Market. Tomlinson Hall burned down in 1958.(Fun fact: In 1886, City Market was built for $29,225.) As Hoosier History Live! listeners learned when Dale Kenney, who served as market master in the 1970s, was our studio guest, its site on East Market Street was an outdoor marketplace at the very beginnings of the city in the 1820s, long predating the building's construction.

"As far as I know, the Tomlinson Tap Room is the first and only bar establishment to be located in the City Market, though," Jim Reilly says. "If any of your listeners have information to the contrary, I would love to know the details." Tomlinson Tap Room is a joint venture between City Market and the Brewers of Indiana Guild.

Meanwhile, the historic catacombs underneath the west plaza remain a source of intrigue. According to folklore - and a note Jim received from a city resident during the week before the show - the catacombs may have been used more than 100 years ago by the U.S. Army to store cannon balls and gun powder. Several local historians, however, doubt that. Jim and Nelson will explain why it's unlikely. Shoppers explore the current-day Indianapolis City Market.They also will welcome your "then and now" memories, insights and suggestions involving City Market during the show. Some aspects of the renovation plans for the landmark have been delayed, although new vendors are expected to open soon.

By the way, this is not Jim Reilly's first time at the rodeo. Although he wasn't at City Market during its previous renovation, he served as executive director from 1994 to 2001. A native of Pennsylvania, Jim moved to Indy in the 1970s to work for what's now Simon Property Group. He has visited urban marketplaces from Seattle to Boston.

History Mystery question

In 1886, the same year Indianapolis City Market was built, a family-owned retailer opened in downtown Indianapolis. Almost from the very beginning, the store specialized in hard-to-find sizes of the product it sold. Today, nearly 130 years later, the retailer is still open at its original site downtown. Owned and operated by descendants of its founder, the store claims to be the oldest continually operated retailer of its kind in the entire country.

Question: Name the store in downtown Indianapolis.

The was four tickets to the NCAA Hall of Champions, courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtripper: Indy Grand Prix at the Nat

Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA tells us that swimming stars from across the country will be making waves and returning to Indianapolis March 3-5, 2011 for the Indy Grand Prix at the Nat.

Olympian Michael Phelps will be in Indianapolis in MarchMichael Phelps will be diving in at the Indiana University Natatorium to compete in the USA Swimming Grand Prix Series against other past Olympians Ryan Lochte, Katie Hoff and Missy Franklin. Here's an opportunity to see up close the athletes we cheered to gold during the summer games.

The Indy Grand Prix is one stop on a seven-event series. Swimmers are competing for medals and a $20,000 cash prize awarded at the end of the series.

Tickets can be purchased at www.allgreatracers.com or on-site at the Natatorium box office.

Songs of our ancestors as they journeyed here

(Feb. 12, 2011) - They came here via the Ohio River, the Old National Road and the Cumberland Gap. As the early settlers rowed, walked and rode to Indiana, they often sang. Janet Gilray, an Indianapolis-based musician and teacher, researched the folk tunes of pioneers - and now has developed creative ways to teach American history to children by using the lyrics of the songs.

Janet Gilray.Janet - who sings, plays the guitar and has performed early American folk music at festivals across the state - joins Nelson in studio along with two Hoosier children who have performed with her and learned about history in the process. They are Alec Hurtubise, a 15-year-old banjo player who attends Heritage Builders Home School Association, and Leslie Gamero, a 10-year-old vocalist who is a student at Holy Cross Central School. As a special treat, Janet, Alec and Leslie perform excerpts from an early folk song titled A Hoosier That's True, as well as Across the Wide Missouri (Oh, Shenandoah).

Janet is a former sixth-grade teacher at Holy Cross, where her students included many Hispanic children from immigrant families. She also has taught children of migrant farm workers in California, experiences that propelled her to explore creative ways to teach American history.

Her new book, Janet Gilray's Voices in Time, features lesson plans about history derived from folk songs, as well as a companion music CD of the tunes cherished by pioneers. History, she says, is "embedded" in folk music.

"Songs are a reflection of ancestral thought and emotion, and also describe the environments of those living during the time," Janet writes in Voices in Time. "Song may be the most ancient form of transferring culture and lessons from one time period to another."

The Water Is Wide was an early American folk song.All of the folk songs featured in Voices in Time are more than 100 years old. They include Wabash Cannonball, a "train song" that became popular with the arrival of railroads. At towns with depots, the periodic arrival of trains "with mail, passengers and merchandise," as Janet writes, became an "event" that drew residents to the train station - and merited celebration in song.

Even though she grew up in Indianapolis, Janet says she was unaware of A Hoosier That's True, a now-obscure but once popular folk tune, until a musician in California told her about it.

Leslie Gamero, Janet Gilroy and Alec Hurtubise performed A Hoosier That's True on the Feb. 12, 2011 Hoosier History Live! show, prompting a flurry of phone calls and emails. Photo by Patrick McDonald."It's a classic example of a song that travels without borders," she notes.

And even though the lyrics of Oh Shenandoah! obviously focus on the Missouri River, she says the tune was sung by pioneers as they traveled on the Ohio River to Indiana as well as points west. "The Ohio River," she says, "was like the freeway of its time."

Janet will have a sing-along and Voices in Time book signing March 12 at Black Dog Books in Zionsville. She also is scheduled to perform American folk songs at the Pioneer Village during the Indiana State Fair.

And the young folks joining her on Hoosier History Live! already have amassed credits of their own. Alec, who took up the banjo at age 4, has performed at the annual bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom. Both Leslie and Alec have joined Janet for recordings at Renaissance Studios in Broad Ripple.

Update regarding the 'Songs of our ancestors' show

During our Feb. 12, 2011 show about "songs of our ancestors as they journeyed here," our trio of guests performed a folk tune that may have been titled A Hoosier That's True. The folk song has become at least somewhat obscure - neither Nelson nor teacher-musician Janet Gilray, author of Voices in Time - said they had heard the tune while growing up in Indiana. (Janet was alerted to the Hoosier song by a musician in California.)

However, it rang a bell with many of our listeners, including some who recalled singing the tune - perhaps with a different title - at summer camp more than 60 years ago. Our faithful listener Phil Brooks of Brownsburg even sent YouTube links to renditions of it by some disparate performers, including Rosemary Clooney and, believe it or not, Bugs Bunny.

Janet and her young musician accompanists, 15-year-old banjo player Alec Hurtubise and 10-year-old vocalist Leslie Gamero, would be grateful for any other info about the folk tune, including the identify of the composer. E-mail us, and we’ll pass along the info. Meanwhile, here are the YouTube links for your listening pleasure:



History Mystery question

Vintage Studebaker ad.During the 1800s, many pioneers who traveled to Indiana made their journey with a special type of covered wagon. Drawn by horses or oxen, the wagons had broad wheels and were designed to resemble boats. Sometimes they even were used to cross rivers. Although this type of covered wagon originally was made in Pennsylvania, by the late 1800s the largest manufacturer of them was Studebaker Brothers, based in South Bend.

Question: Name the type of covered wagon.

The prize was a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Home, courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtripper: Orchid Escape in Evansville

Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA recommends that we visit the tropics this weekend at the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Gardens in Evansville for the opening of a new special exhibit, Orchid Escape. Graphic for Amazonia's Orchid Escape, February through March 2011 in Evansville, Ind.Immerse yourself in hundreds of rare orchid flowers from South America, all in the 75 degree temperature of Amazonia, the Zoo's indoor rainforest. Orchid Escape will be open for only a short time, until March 12.

The Mesker Park Zoo is open all year, so be sure not to miss the zoo's other exhibits. Winter admission is $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for children. The zoo is open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jazz history in Indy with Chuck Workman

The Hampton Sisters (clockwise from left: Carmelita, Dawn, Aletra and Virtue) were an Indianapolis jazz institution, along with their brother “Slide” Hampton. The last remaining Hampton sister, Aletra, died in November of 2007.(Feb. 5, 2011) - To explore jazz heritage in the Hoosier capital - including the heyday of Indiana Avenue nightspots as Hoosier History Live! salutes Black History Month - who could be a better guest than a native son who lived through the fabled era and is renowned for talking and writing about local jazz, then and now?

We didn't need to search far to find this inductee into the Indianapolis Jazz Hall of Fame. Among his gigs as a multi-media connoisseur, Chuck Workman is the popular host of two shows on WICR-FM, Saturday Evening Jazz with Chuck Workman and Sunday Morning Jazz with Chuck Workman.

Chuck Workman.He also has been writing a Nuvo column about the Indy jazz scene for 18 years, almost since the inception of the newsweekly.

A true broadcasting pioneer, Chuck became the state's first African-American TV sports director, at WTTV/Channel 4 inn the 1970s. His accomplishments (which include organizing and promoting jazz concerts) are abundant, and Chuck will join Nelson in studio to share insights about how they all began and the history he has witnessed.

David Baker and Wes Montgomery, jazz musicians.He grew up in Lockefield Gardens and attended Cathedral High School (Class of '50) during the era when it was all-male, located downtown and when only about seven fellow students there were black. As a teenager, Chuck began patronizing the legendary clubs along Indiana Avenue and got to know the jazz greats associated with the scene, including the late Wes Montgomery and composer-musician-educator David Baker, who shared his own Indiana Avenue experiences with Hoosier History Live! listeners shortly after our debut three years ago.

"Indiana Avenue was a city within a city, a culture within a culture," Chuck says.

When Indiana Black Expo honored Chuck last summer, Nuvo called its jazz columnist - who also has been a TV sportscaster as well as a music director and host with various Indy radio stations - "the hardest-working man in showbiz, and other bizzes as well." Who won't be intrigued by this inexhaustible jazz enthusiast's riffs on history?

History Mystery question

A ragtime piano player in Indianapolis during the early 1900s mentored a teenager who grew up to be a legendary composer. Hoagy Carmichael.Even though young Hoagy Carmichael was white and most people had segregated social lives during the era, he was drawn to the ragtime and "hot jazz" rhythms of African-American musicians.

The ragtime piano player showed young Hoagy how to improvise on the keyboard and taught him complex rhythms. The black musician's piano, on which Hoagy enhanced his talent, today is at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

Question: Name the African-American ragtime musician who mentored young Hoagy Carmichael in Indianapolis.

The prize was a gift certificate to Harry & Izzy’s, courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtripper: Hamilton County Marketplace

Warmer weather may still be a few months away, but Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we visit the Hamilton County Winter Marketplace to check out the artists and craftsmen who sell their unique products during the summer and fall at art fairs, festivals and outdoor markets across the state.

Stop by the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5. This showcase of more than 90 Indiana vendors offers the jewelry, art, food and crafts that we see at our favorite local festivals and fairs during warmer months.

Admission is $1, and children under 12 are admitted free. If you can't make this Saturday, you still have one more marketplace date this season on Saturday, March 12.

Judy O'Bannon on historic preservation

Judy O'Bannon. Image courtesy WFYI.(Jan. 29, 2011) - For decades, Indiana's former First Lady Judy O'Bannon has been well-known for her advocacy of preserving historic landmarks and buildings. What sparked this passion? Mrs. O'Bannon, who was named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society in 2004, joins Nelson in studio to answer that question. She also shares insights about a range of history and preservation-related issues, as well as Judy O'Bannon’s Foreign Exchange, her periodic series on WFYI-TV/Channel 20 that takes Hoosier viewers to intriguing international sites. (Mrs. O’Bannon also recently returned from a trip to Romania, and last year she traveled down the Amazon River.)

She's also putting together a documentary about the restoration of the historic Central Avenue United Methodist Church as the new headquarters of Indiana Landmarks, where she has been a longtime board member. She currently is secretary emerita of the Indiana Landmarks board, as well as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Workers put the finishing touches on the painstakingly restored Grand Hall at the new Indiana Landmarks Center in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Many listeners will recall that before her late husband Frank O'Bannon served as Indiana's governor from 1997 to 2003, the O'Bannons lived in a historic home in the Old Northside neighborhood, in downtown Indianapolis, during his years as lieutenant governor. Their former home is barely a stone's throw from the new Indiana Landmarks Center, formerly Central Avenue United Methodist Church.

The O'Bannons met at Indiana University on a blind date in the 1950s and raised their three children in Corydon, Frank O’Bannon's hometown. Their son Jonathan is publisher and president of The Corydon Democrat, an award-winning weekly newspaper that has been owned for several generations by the O'Bannon family. The new Indiana Landmarks Center will feature a restored and upgraded performance space, to be named Cook Theater. Rendering by Conrad Schmitt Studios, courtesy Indiana Landmarks.(In addition to practicing law in Corydon before launching his political career, Frank O'Bannon wrote news and sports stories and took photos for The Corydon Democrat.) While serving his second term as governor, Frank O'Bannon died suddenly in 2003 at age 73.

During her husband's years as governor, Mrs. O'Bannon led delegations of Hoosiers to South Africa, Russia and other overseas destinations. Several of the trips were medical and humanitarian missions.

As the state's First Lady, Mrs. O'Bannon also initiated a renovation of the Governor's Mansion in Indianapolis, to make the historic North Meridian Street house accessible to the handicapped.

Judy O’Bannon traveled to Turkey, among other places, for an episode of Judy O’Bannon’s Foreign Exchange. Image courtesy WFYI.Judy O'Bannon - then Judy Asmus - grew up on the Northside of Indianapolis and graduated from Shortridge High School. At Indiana University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, Mrs. O'Bannon majored in social work. Then she became the first woman to attend the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Nelson asks her about that seminary experience, as well as a trove of preservation topics.

Mrs. O'Bannon's civic activities also have included involvement with the Indiana Main Street Council and the Indiana State Museum, where she served as a board member. Her Judy O'Bannon's Foreign Exchange program has taken Central Indiana television viewers to India, Jamaica, Turkey, Serbia and Moldova.

Today, Mrs. O'Bannon once again lives on the Northside of Indianapolis, and she has then/now insights about Broad Ripple and other neighborhoods she frequented during her childhood and teen years. Judy O’Bannon interviews Bill and Gayle Cook in November of 2010 at the Indiana Landmarks Center. Photo courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Please tune in and join us as we welcome one of the state's best-known women to Hoosier History Live!

History Mystery question

Judy O'Bannon’s alma mater, Shortridge High School, was attended by many other Hoosiers who have risen to prominence in politics or literature. Other Shortridge graduates include U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and novelist Dan Wakefield (both members of the Class of '50) and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the late literary icon, who graduated in 1940.

The Class of '49 included a future Hoosier politician. After Shortridge, he attended Indiana University and served in the Marines during the Korean War. Then he became a lawyer before embarking on a long career in politics. He retired in 1997 and has written several books.

Question: Name the Hoosier politician.

The prize was a one-night weekend stay in a deluxe room at the Marriott Indianapolis Downtown at 350 W. Maryland Street, courtesy of the ICVA.

Roadtripper: Week of Chocolate in Bloomington

Chris Gahl of the ICVA will tempt us to with a sweet Roadtrip this weekend to the Bloomington Week of Chocolate. Visit Sundaes on Saturday at the Monroe County History Center, and on Sunday visit the Indiana University Art Museum for The Art of Chocolate. This evening is filled with artwork from more than 34 artists, decadent hors d’oeuvres and drinks, live entertainment and chocolate creations by top chefs.

Other events later the week include Chocolate Bingo, the Inaugural Chocolate Luncheon, Chocolate Olympics, Death by Chocolate, Chocolate Prom and Wonka's Chocolate Carnival. Tell them the Roadtripper sent you!

He's visited every Indiana town on the map

This former hardware store in Hovey, Ind., also once was a combination tavern and post office. Photo by John Bower.(Jan. 22, 2011) - John Bower is an award-winning, Bloomington-based photographer with a rare distinction. He has visited, as he puts it, "every city and town on the map of Indiana." As a result, John has a silo-high stack of anecdotes and stories about towns he never had heard of until he visited, such as Merom in Sullivan County, where he says there's "an amazing spiral staircase in an attic" and West Terre Haute, where he discovered an abandoned brick and tile factory.

During one of his trips to Alexandria, he photographed a factory where rock wool, a precursor of fiberglass, was invented and manufactured.

"While our society values the newest, the costliest and the flashiest, I'm motivated to rediscover that which has been ignored, forgotten, or cast aside," John says. "By using the inherent drama of black-and-white photography, I'm able to capture the essence - the élan vital - of these subjects."

John, who owns Studio Indiana with his artist wife Lynn, estimates he has traveled 90,000 miles to visit every city and town (a total of 2,099 localities) on the Indiana Highway Map.

John Bower, photographer, with photographic equipment.His seven photo books include Lingering Spirit (2003), which he calls "a tribute to Indiana's fading, forlorn and forgotten places"; After the Harvest (2007), which features images of Indiana's historic grain elevators and feed mills, and his newest, The Common Good (2010), which looks at schools, churches, post offices and other buildings established for the common good.

His new book includes photos of the former main post office in Gary, a once-grand, now-abandoned Art Deco structure built in the 1930s. Also in Gary, he photographed City Methodist Church, which was built in 1925 for a "staggering" $650,000.

"With a towering belfry, large auditorium, multiple classrooms, inspiring leaded-glass windows, huge limestone columns and oak-paneled sanctuary, it was a landmark all of Gary must have been proud of," according to The Common Good. After a devastating fire and rampant vandalism, the historic church now is a symbol of "decaying glory" with dangerous debris, a leaky roof and roosting pigeons.

John explains his motivation this way: "I’ve come to believe that each rusted vehicle, each battered machine, each deserted building (especially a school or church) is an integral part of our collective past."

Book cover of The Common Good, by John Bower.In the town of Hovey, he photographed a shuttered hardware store that once had been a popular tavern. When he explores the state's back roads, John says, he is fascinated by hand-made objects ("an oak balustrade, a marble cemetery statue, a forged iron gate") and by abandoned homes that may not have been inhabited for 50 years, yet "there are still clothes hanging in the closets."

He estimates more than 20 percent of the buildings in his first photo book no longer exist since its 2003 publication. His other books include Guardians of the Soul (2004), which features photos of cemetery sculpture across Indiana.

John and Lynn, who writes most of the text, met as teachers more than 35 years ago in Kendallville. After school, they would climb into the car and take off down a route they'd never traveled before.

History Mystery question

A photo company founded more than 100 years ago became renowned for documenting downtown Indianapolis. In the early 1900s, the company's photographers took hundreds of pictures of street scenes, buildings and other landmarks. Particularly in its early years, the company specialized in commercial and industrial photography. The company remains in business today, but its historic photo collection is owned by the Indiana Historical Society.

Question: Name the photo company.

The prize was a DVD of the documentary Movers & Stakers, Stories Along the Indiana National Road, courtesy its producer/director, Nancy Carlson of Ball State University.


Michael Lewin.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests that we take the Roadtrip to "Chopin & Champagne" on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Mo's ... A Place for Steaks in downtown Indianapolis.

Enjoy an evening of champagne and elegant music presented the by American Pianists Association and be entertained by classical musicians as you are guided by a Champagne connoisseur through a selection of champagnes and food pairings. Doors open at 4 p.m., and music and champagne tastings begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by a piano performance by the 1983 American Pianists Association Classical Fellow, Michael Lewin.

Every two years, the American Pianists Association, headquartered in Indianapolis, produces either the Classical or Jazz Fellowship Awards. These seven-month-long competitions feature young American world-class pianists ages 18-30.

Hoosier humor with Dick Wolfsie

The Red Skelton Performing Arts Center and Museum opened on the campus of Vincennes University in 2006 as a tribute to the Hoosier native.(Jan. 15, 2011) - Ever wonder why some Hoosiers used to tell Kentuckian jokes? Interested in exploring the humor of Vincennes native Red Skelton or Herb Shriner of Fort Wayne, who was nationally known as "the Hoosier Humorist" during his heyday as a radio and TV star of the 1940s and '50s?

And what about cartoonist Kin Hubbard, who created the iconic Abe Martin character that was a hit in newspapers across the country during the early 1900s?

Well, to sift through the yuks and guide us as we explore Hoosier humor, we have called upon one of today's best-known contemporary humorists based in Indiana. Nelson is joined in studio by longtime Channel 8/WISH-TV personality Dick Wolfsie, who also writes a weekly humor column for 25 newspapers in Central Indiana.

Indiana native Red Skelton performs as “Clem Kadiddlehopper,” circa 1951.Dick is the author of 12 books, including Indiana Curiosities (Globe Pequot Press) - remember when he visited our show to share insights about his journeys to oddball sites across Indiana? - and Mornings with Barney (Sky Horse Publishing), which focused on his beloved, late canine companion who became a familiar face to TV viewers.

From the quips of Abe Martin (a folk philosopher who lived in Brown County) and Skelton's characters such as Clem Kadiddlehopper (see Skelton ad-lib admirably in a video clip from his Clem archives) and the "Mean Wittle Kid" to the monologues of Indianapolis native David Letterman, Indiana has been at the forefront of American humor almost ever since there was a good laugh to be had.

Abe Martin cartoon featuring character Kin Hubbard in front of "Little Gem Restaurant," featuring a sign saying, "We take big money."Shriner, who actually was born in Ohio in 1918 but moved to Fort Wayne as a 3-year-old with his mother, used to say, "I came to Indiana as soon as I heard about it." Dick, whose humorous essays also have been heard on WFYI-FM, helps us analyze commonalities in this full house of jokers Indiana has dealt to the rest of the land.

Our trove also has included the late Jean Shepherd of Hammond, who created the classic A Christmas Story and entertained millions for years as a late-night, New York-based radio personality who even occasionally did standup comedy.

Herb Shriner.Dick says he has a theory about why so many humorists have had Indiana connections. For more than 20 years, Dick has been a popular on-air presence at WISH-TV thanks to his live reports from across the state as well as his video essays. His travels around the state also spawned Indiana Curiosities, which became one of the biggest sellers ever in a state-by-state "curiosities" series produced by his publisher. So he's an ideal guest to weigh in on notable Hoosier humorists, including:

  • Skelton: In addition to radio and TV, the comedian (1913-1997) starred in movies and, earlier, in vaudeville and the circus. He quit school after the seventh grade in Vincennes to tour with traveling medicine shows and perform on showboats on the Ohio and Missouri rivers. His characters featured on the Red Skelton Show, which enjoyed a 20-year run on TV (1951-71), included Freddie the Freeloader, a hobo who never spoke.
  • Dick Wolfsie.Hubbard: The homespun wisdom of his crackerbarrel Abe Martin character (sample quip: "You can take a voter to th' polls, but you can’t make him think") resulted in national syndication for the cartoon as well as 26 books. At the peak of his success with Abe, who made his debut in 1904 in The Indianapolis News, Hubbard died of heart disease in 1930 at age 62.
  • Shriner: His folksy, easygoing style sometimes was compared to Will Rogers. During the 1940s and '50s, Shriner hosted variety and quiz shows on radio and TV. He was killed in a car accident in 1970. Shriner's twin sons, Wil and Kin, both have pursued show business careers. Fun fact: Kin was named for Kin Hubbard. (Upon the birth of his boys in 1953, Herb Shriner told TV audiences, he looked at the nearly identical babies and wisecracked, "Am I supposed to have a choice?")

No need to wipe that grin off your face when you tune in to this show!

History Mystery question

Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters starred in the movie The Jerk, 1979.Film and TV comedian Steve Martin isn't a Hoosier, but in the late 1970s he drew national attention to an Indiana city by referring to it as the most "nowhere" town in America.

Question: Name the Indiana city.

The prize was a pair of tickets to the Indiana Experience at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.


The toboggan run at Pokagon State Park has been up and running since 1935. Image courtesy Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources.Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests a wintry Roadtrip to the toboggan run at Pokagon State Park. The park was founded in 1925 and offers more than 1,200 acres dedicated to nature. Its toboggan run races down an icy track to speeds up to 40 mph and has been up and running since 1935. This Angola, Ind. staple attracts more than 90,000 visitors annually.

Sleds are rented on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to arrive early. Toboggans are $10 per hour and allow for four riders. The toboggan run is open this winter from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Encore presentation - originally broadcast Feb. 13, 2010

Medical treatments of early settlers

(Jan. 8, 2011) - To help cure a family member struggling with a disorder, would you serve a delicacy known as fried mice pie? Believe it or not, that was a treatment suggested to pioneers in the Old Northwest Territory, including early Indiana.

To find out what disorder the repulsive-sounding pie was supposed to cure, you will have to tune in to the show, which is an encore broadcast of one of our most popular programs from this past year. Nelson's studio guest is Hoosier storyteller Sue Grizzell, who has extensively researched medical "treatments" practiced during the late 1700s and early 1800s, often using archives at the Indiana Historical Society. Image of a "mad stone," found in the stomach of a cud-chewing animal and thought to have curative properties.In fact, the IHS and Storytelling Arts of Indiana commissioned Sue awhile back to put together a presentation she titled "Root Doctors, Midwives and Fried Mice Pie: Medicine in Early Indiana." She has uncovered the story of a so-called "root doctor," Dr. Joseph Burr, who was run out of early Connersville, for example.

According to Sue, many of the bizarre or crude early folk remedies were the result of desperation on the frontier.

"Early Hoosiers only occasionally had access to doctors. ... They mostly lived in isolation, faced economic uncertainty and practiced self-sufficiency as much as possible."

A lifelong storyteller, Sue has collaborated with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on various projects; in 2002, her story "Porch Swings and Prairie Wings" became part of the "Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories" series. You won't want to miss this fascinating show, during which Sue explains how our ancestors dealt with ailments and terrifying illnesses such as malaria and cholera.

Swamp lily root, also known as “Indian Turnip,” was used by early Hoosiers to make medicinal teas and poultices."Whether ill or injured, the inhabitants of the Old Northwest Territory and early Indiana were subjected to all manner of medical treatments," Sue says. "Ranging from the common-sensical to the bizarre, these treatments sometimes worked but could often be fatal."

She notes that Thomas Jefferson once remarked, referring to doctors during his era, that they "let loose upon the world, destroy more human life in one year than all the ... Cartouches (a murderous French bandit) and Macbeths do in a century."

Sue Grizzell.Families on the Indiana frontier typically ended up doing most of their own doctoring because contact with physicians was infrequent, Sue says. Hence the popularity of folk remedies. She points out that although pioneers had as many challenges surviving some of the "cures" as they did the initial illnesses, "modern science has proven some folk remedies effective."

All of this will be fodder for a show that will be as intriguing as Sue's popular, fact-based storytelling presentation about fried mice pie and root doctors.

Because this is an encore broadcast of a show that originally aired last Feb. 13, there won't be an opportunity for call-in questions or guesses for the History Mystery. All of that will return next week, though, with another live show.

Historic gyms across Indiana

The midcourt line at the College Corner gym is the Indiana-Ohio state line. The gym and school were built in 1925. Image courtesy History Press.(Jan. 1, 2011) - One historic high school gym is owned now by the Miami Nation of Indians. At least two others are private homes. In another small Indiana town, a high school gym built in 1925 is a fire station.

And then there's the historic gym that, thanks to its starring role in the classic movie Hoosiers (1986), has become a tourist attraction.

To explore these and other former gyms - which often served as "town halls," pulling basketball-crazed communities together on Friday nights from the 1920s through the '50s - Nelson is joined in studio by Indianapolis Star sportswriter Kyle Neddenriep, author of a new book, Historic Hoosier Gyms: Discovering Bygone Basketball Landmarks (The History Press).

The Little York gym in Washington County was built in 1936 and resembles a barn. Image courtesy History Press.The lavishly illustrated book spotlights 100 former gyms, most dating to an era when every town, no matter how small, had a high school. Kyle not only unearthed the colorful pasts of these "gym gems," he photographed them in their current uses, which include a church (that's in tiny Honeywell in far-northeastern Indiana, where a hoop and basket hang over the pews of the Eden Worship Center) and a flea market (that's in Sidney in southern Indiana).

To help put all of this in context, Kyle and Nelson are joined in studio by Chris May, executive director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, who shares insights about how current Hoosier high school gyms stack up against their counterparts across the country.

An interior look at the Knightstown gym, used in the movie Hoosiers. The Hoosier Reunion Classic, played every June, features the top boys and girls seniors in the state. Image courtesy History Press.Speaking of New Castle: The city in Henry County, as many Hoosiers know, houses the world's largest high school gym. The New Castle Fieldhouse opened in 1960, seats more than 9,320 and has been dubbed "the cathedral of high school basketball" by USA Today.

Did you know, though, that Martinsville once had top honors? Back in 1924 - just a few years before a player named Johnny Wooden would lead the team to glory, resulting in his first wave of fame - Martinsville opened a gym that accommodated more spectators (5,200) than the town's entire population at the time (4,800).

Book cover of Historic Hoosier Gyms, by Kyle Neddenriep. Image courtesy History Press.Not only was the Martinsville High School gym larger than Indiana and Purdue University's arenas then, it was featured in the nationally syndicated Ripley's Believe It or Not column.

The historic gym, which today is part of Martinsville West Middle School (although only the original gym's brick entryway remains), also is featured in Kyle's book. He says he had three parameters for including a community's former basketball gym among the 100 showcased in Historic Hoosier Gyms.

"It could no longer be used as a high school gym. It had to be still standing. And I had to be able to gain access to get inside to take a photo."

Kyle Neddenriep, author and sports reporter.Among those showcased in Historic Hoosier Gyms:

  • Peru: For the last 20 years, the historic basketball arena has been owned by the Miami Nation of Indians. The home court of Kyle Macy, 1975's Mr. Indiana Basketball, the former arena for Peru High School is used in various ways, including bingo night three times weekly, by the Miami.
  • Chili and Sandusky: In both of these small towns, historic gyms are now private homes. The former Sandusky High School gym was built in 1936 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), as were many Indiana high school basketball arenas during the era. FYI: Chili, like Peru, is in Miami County; Sandusky is north of Greensburg in Decatur County.
  • Chris May.Knightstown: Famous as the home gym of the fictional Hickory Huskers in Hoosiers, the arena built in 1922 is now known as the Historic Hoosier Gym, serves as the setting for family reunions and birthday parties and is, according to Kyle's book, "visited by thousands each year."
  • Greens Fork: It's in this small community in far-eastern Indiana (Wayne County, to be precise) where the historic gym built in 1925 has become a fire station.

As we spotlight high school gyms, we ask Chris to share folklore about some of the well-known current ones. Second in size only to the New Castle Fieldhouse (which turned into an overnight shelter for a visiting team and spectators when a blizzard roared through during the early 1960s) is the Wigwam in Anderson, which seats more than 8,990. The Wigwam has remained open even though the former Anderson High School, which used to be next to it, closed more than a dozen years ago and subsequently burned.

History Mystery question

Our History Mystery is a carry-over from two weeks previous, when there was no correct answer. The question focuses on one of the best-known Hoosier politicians during World War II.

Henry Frederick Schricker portrait.For most of the war, Indiana's popular governor was Henry Schricker, a maverick Democrat from North Judson. Gov. Schricker maintained a high public profile across the state after he was elected in 1941, appearing at war bond rallies on Monument Circle with glamorous movie star Carole Lombard and even running (unsuccessfully) for the U.S. Senate in 1944 while also serving as governor.

In his public appearances, including his speeches at war bond rallies, Gov. Schricker invariably wore a distinctive item of apparel that became his trademark.

Question: What article of clothing was identified with Gov. Henry Schricker? Callers during our previous show guessed "top hat," "string tie" and "bowler hat," none of which is the precise answer.

The prize was a gift card to Ambrosia Ristorante-Bar and two tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum, courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.


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