Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on 88.7 FM, WICR in Indianapolis.

Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our new listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show.


Feb. 27 show

Central State Hospital history


It opened as the Indiana Hospital for the Insane in 1848 as the state's first psychiatric hospital. The final chapter on what became known as Central State Hospital is scheduled to come later this year when most of its remaining buildings (located just west of downtown Indianapolis) are to be demolished.


Central State Hospital's "seven steeples" building, image from long-ago postcard.The hospital on West Washington Street housed more than 3,000 patients in 1928 when its name was changed to Central State. But it closed in 1994, and some of its most distinctive structures – including a stately, Victorian-era building often referred to as the "Seven Steeples" – were declared unsound and torn down clear back in the late 1970s.


To guide us through the dramatic history of the institution that became known to generations of Hoosiers as simply "Central State," Nelson will be joined in studio by Chuck Hazelrigg, a dentist and pharmacist who worked at Central State for 15 years beginning in 1970.


Eventually, Chuck became director of Central State's medical support services, supervising everything from radiology to security and the children's wards.  He also became fascinated with Central State's history, conducted a range of interviews with former patients and employees, and is regarded as its historian. (Today he teaches at the IU School of Dentistry and serves as vice president of the Carmel Clay Historical Society.)


Indiana Medical History Museum, on the grounds of the former Central State Hospital in Indianapolis. Image courtesy of the Indiana Medical History Museum.During the show, Chuck will share insights about the history of buildings, including the original structure (which eventually became known as the "men’s building"), the women's building and what was known as the Sick Hospital. Central State’s pathology building now houses the Indiana Medical History Museum.


In 2004, the city of Indianapolis took possession of the other former hospital buildings after purchasing the site from the state for $400,000. The city is exploring the possibilities for development such as commercial, residential or mixed uses.


Some facts:

  • When it opened in 1848, the Indiana Hospital for the Insane had just five patients.
  • To provide patients with a serene setting and relief from stress, the hospital complex for many years featured gardens, fountains and a chapel. Because of the belief during some eras that vigorous exercise could assist the mentally ill, the complex also included features such as a bowling alley.
  • Since 2000, Indianapolis-based USA Diving has leased one of the old dorm buildings, placed down mats, and used it for land training for top divers, including Olympians.



Chris Gahl of the ICVA will call in with a surprise Roadtrip.


History Mystery question


Although not truly a Hoosier, one of the most famous and influential psychologists of the 20th century lived in Bloomington during the 1940s. Pigeon.This person chaired the psychology department at Indiana University for several years during and after World War II and recruited several like-minded psychologists and researchers to join the faculty. This psychologist also conducted behavioral experiments with pigeons and rats while in the Hoosier state. In 1948, this psychologist left IU to teach at Harvard University.


Question: Name the influential psychologist.


The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a CD of Movers and Stakers, a documentary about the history of the National Road in Indiana, courtesy of producer/director Nancy Carlson of Ball State.


Second-anniversary soiree is a success


Hoosier History Live! birthday cake courtesy of Chef Maureen. Photo by Bill Holmes.We thank our friends, fans, donors, and sponsors for helping Hoosier History Live! to celebrate its second birthday at a Feb. 18 party at Morris-Butler House in Indianapolis, hosted by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Birthday cake courtesy of Chef Maureen!

Webmaster Richard Sullivan of Monomedia presented a slide show featuring some photos from the program's two-year history and some tidbits about the making of the show and the website.


Your friends in Hoosierdom,

Nelson Price, host and creative director

Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101

Richard Sullivan, tech and web director    

Garry Chilluffo, online editor

Dan Ripley's Antique HelperHistoric Landmarks logo.

Lucas OilStory Inn

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.


Acknowledgments to Scott Keller Fine Art and Antiques Appraisals, Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.


March 6 show

Danville town history


Danville, Indiana composite image.On Good Friday of 1948, the town was devastated by a tornado that flattened almost everything in its path. By that time, the Hendricks County town of Danville for generations had been the home of Central Normal College, which brought prestige to the community. Never heard of it? Unaware that Danville in 1878 "stole" the entire school – including equipment, faculty, students and baggage from the town of Ladoga?


Find out more during the next show in our rotating series about Indiana towns that already has explored Fort Wayne, Greensburg, Greenfield, Sheridan and many others. Nelson will be joined in studio by Danville lawyer and civic leader Jeff Baldwin, the author of Danville, a visual history published last year as part of Arcadia Books' Images of America series.


Central Normal College historical marker in Danville, Ind. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Bureau.A lifelong resident of the town founded in 1824 as the county seat of Hendricks County, Jeff points out Danville found itself in the national spotlight a few years ago when the mysterious "Danville Turkey" showed up in the middle of Main Street and stopped traffic by strutting back and forth for days. (The turkey could not be shot because it was not in season; as a protected animal, it also could not be adopted.) Needless to say, there’s much turf to cover as we explore the heritage of the town that once was home to perhaps the heaviest married couple in the country (they toured with P.T. Barnum's circus) as well as an Indiana governor during the 1890s who refused to relocate to Indianapolis and instead took a passenger train daily. Tune in to find out his justification for not moving from Danville.


Shows, we got shows


We currently have 105 shows available to be put on our website as audio files. We are doing this gradually, with some shows already published, but we sure could use some sponsorship assistance as we edit and publish audio for each archived show. Take a look at the master list on our home page (a sample of it appears below) and check out all the opportunities for sponsoring a slice of original Hoosier History Live! content on the Web.


Our master list includes more than 100 shows completed (this image shows just a few of the most recent programs aired).


No one else is doing anything quite like what we're doing. We are the nation's only live call-in radio program about history. We offer a permanent and growing archive of quality content, available for sponsorship opportunities.


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Hoosier History Live!, email or call Molly Head at (317) 927-9101 for more info.


© 2010 Hoosier History Live! All rights reserved.

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