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. We invite you to visit our website!


May 8 show

State parks history


McCormick's Creek State Park, in Owen County, features this waterfall.With nature in full bloom, Indiana's state parks not only beckon as serene retreats, they practically beg to be the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show. Responding to the call, we will explore their history, covering as much turf as possible with Nelson's guest, public historian Glory-June Greiff, author of People, Parks and Perceptions: A History and Appreciation of Indiana State Parks (Trafford Publishing).


With Glory-June, a preservation activist, as our guide, we will dig in to the creation of our state parks. We also will explore the major impact of German-born conservationist Richard Lieber (1869-1944), who is known as the "Father of Indiana State Parks," as well as the impact of the New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps. And expect Glory-June and Nelson to explore the creation and evolution of state parks ranging from Turkey Run and Clifty Falls to Pokagon, Spring Mill and Fort Harrison.


Crusades to protect scenic areas of the state gained momentum in 1915 when, according to People, Parks and Perceptions, the sandstone canyons of Turkey Run in Parke County came up for sale. "The Hoosier Veneer Company coveted the heavily forested site in order to harvest its massive hardwoods," Glory-June writes. Glory-June Greiff giving an Indiana Landmarks walking tour of downtown Indianapolis public monuments in 2008. Photo by Molly Head.As a result, the survival of the "relatively pristine area was seriously in doubt." Lieber and others led a public outcry and convinced the scenic area's new owners to sell it to the state in late 1916.


By that point, McCormick's Creek in Owen County already had been established as Indiana's first state park. Almost immediately after World War I, unexpectedly large crowds flocked to both Turkey Run and McCormick's Creek.  Fun fact: Turkey Run, which includes Sugar Creek, derives its distinctive name, Glory-June writes, because of "the great flocks of wild turkeys that once sought shelter within the stream's canyon walls."


Her book describes the ways state parks became cherished by, among other Hoosiers, modest-income families as destinations for their annual vacations. Book cover of People, Parks and Perceptions by Glory-June Greiff.In the 1950s, family camping boomed, as did the clamor for the creation of more state parks.


Among the most recently created of them, there's a distinctive history with Fort Harrison State Park; it was established in 1996 after the closing of the military installation on northeast Marion County. "The property was virtually ready to go, once the park boundaries were determined, because the military installation had established large green spaces around its borders," Glory-June writes. "There were trails, artificial lakes, and even an 18-hole golf course, the first (and only) one in a state park."


Glory-June also is the author of: Remembrance, Faith and Fancy: Outdoor Public Sculpture in Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2005)


Bonus: She will offer a free presentation, "The New Deal in Indiana State Parks," at Hancock County Library in Greenfield at 7 p.m. on June 7.


History Mystery question


One of Indiana's state parks became the site of the first annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) reunion in the country. The park's CCC reunion began in 1953 and continued for 50 years. It became the longest-running CCC reunion.


Question: Name the Indiana state park. Note: This Trivia Mystery was suggested by listener Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne.


The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a pair of tickets to the 40th Broad Ripple Art Fair on the weekend of May 15 and 16, courtesy of the ICVA.



Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we head to Vincennes on the weekend of  May 29 & 30  for the 34th annual Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous.


British surrender at Vincennes in 1779.At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, 1779, British Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton surrendered to the Americans and French Canadians after a siege at Vincennes. The victor, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark, had led an army of 170 Americans and French-Canadians across the flooded area of present-day southern Illinois in a march to Vincennes.


This event is one of the premier Revolutionary War reenactments, and it attracts 400 to 500 re-enactors, along with an estimated 35,000 visitors.


The Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous is designed to bring back to life the sights, sounds and smells of late 18th-century and early 19th-century Vincennes.


What's new with Hoosier History Live!


Thanks to a couple of new sponsors, the Indiana Historical Society and the Fadely Trust, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. We'd also like to thank Louellen Test Hesse, the daughter of Skiles Test, owner of the legendary House of Blue Lights, for a contribution. She appreciated the piece we did on the House of Blue Lights with guest Mike Ahern, who in the 1950s was one of the many teenagers who ventured onto the property. Image of a speaker.That show can currently be heard on the House of Blue Lights website, which is owned and operated by the Louellen Test Hesse family. We hope to receive adequate funding to be able to audio archive all of our shows at some point in time.


Visits to the Hoosier History Live! website continue to grow rapidly, so thanks for clicking in. If you want to stroll down memory lane, scroll down on the Archives page of our website. We're also on Facebook.


Coming up: more opportunities to sponsor the fully developed Internet version of the show, including the full audio of our more than 100 past shows. Richard Sullivan, our web and tech director, is leading this project. Look forward also to being able to hear more of Nelson's great interviews online, complete with show descriptions, visuals and informative web links for more learning. Stay tuned, or visit "Support the show" at our 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

Lucas OilIndiana Historical Society logo.

Dan Ripley's Antique HelperThe Fadely Trust. A fund of the Indianapolis Foundation.

Indiana Landmarks logo.Story Inn

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Indiana Landmarks, The Fadely Trust, Indiana Historical Society, Antique Helper, 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.


May 15 encore show

Donner Party tragedy, Indiana links & lessons learned


It's been called one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Westward migration. The Donner Party tragedy's most gruesome aspects occurred in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the brutal winter of 1846-47, but there are some Hoosier links with the ill-fated wagon train. Donner Party memorial statue in California's Tahoe National Forest.Nelson's studio guest not only will explain the Indiana connection, he will share lessons derived (in conflict resolution, leadership selection and group decision-making) from the tragedy that involved stranded, California-bound pioneers, some of whom eventually resorted to cannibalism.


Although group leader George Donner was born in North Carolina and, as a 62-year-old farmer, was based in Springfield, Ill., when the expedition headed west, he had lived for several years in Greensburg, Indiana. In fact, Nelson's guest, Hoosier business consultant and speaker Karl Ahlrichs, is a descendant of George Donner, one of whose wives is buried in Indiana. (A subsequent wife, Donner's third, accompanied the California-bound group.)


The "Donner" name not only is on sites in California (including what is now known as Donner Pass, where some of the more than 40 deaths occurred), it also is on parks and buildings in southern Indiana because of the influence of the extended family in this state, including Donner Park in Columbus.


After researching what happened with the Donner Party and why, Karl will explain how he uses this historic episode to enhance decision-making and critical thinking skills. Note: This is an encore of a show originally broadcast in September 2009, so we won't have a History Mystery or phone calls from listeners.


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