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

Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM.
And always online at hoosierhistorylive.org!

You can listen to Hoosier History Live! live on the air each Saturday, or listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast on any computer with speakers, anywhere, or on a smartphone. We invite you to visit our website!

Sept. 1 show

Architecture around Indy with Jonathan Hess

At least as much as anyone during the last 25 years, Jonathan Hess has left his fingerprints on landmark Indianapolis buildings. And he's about to do it again by designing the International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Jonathan Hess, architect.Jonathan first made headlines in the 1980s when, as a young architect, he was selected by octogenarian Hoosier industrialist Harrison Eiteljorg to design the $14 million museum that would exhibit his vast art collection. Years later, Jonathan oversaw the renovation of his own work with the expansion of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in 2005. Also that year, he designed the expansion of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

So Jonathan, president of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, will be our in-studio guide as he shares architectural insights about Indy landmarks, both those he did not design and those he did.

The latter include the towering Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the current Herron School of Art, which opened in 2005 in a building that once housed the law school on the IUPUI campus; and an addition to the Children's Museum.

Is it any wonder The Indianapolis Star once referred to Jonathan Hess as "the rock star" of Indy architects?

The Pagoda tower at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was designed by architect Jonathan Hess."Kids have this innate desire to make things," Jonathan, who dreamed of an architectural career as boy, once told Nelson, our host.

Nelson has interviewed Jonathan several times over the years in connection with the blockbuster debuts of his various projects. The list includes a renovation at St. Luke's United Methodist Church (the state's largest Methodist congregation) and Lilly Hall at Butler University.

Even though he's primarily known for his extensive work in Indy, Jonathan also has had an impact elsewhere in Hoosierland. He was the architect for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, for example.

Indy, by the way, is his adopted hometown. Jonathan grew up in Normal, Ill., and studied architecture at the University of Illinois. In reference to that, here's another quote from an interview with Nelson more than 20 years ago:

"Most of my college friends in architecture went to Chicago or other large markets. When I told them I was coming here, they said, 'Indianapolis? Architecture? Good luck.'"

Now that Jonathan has had such a major impact on Indy - and is about to design the atrium that will be the epicenter of the world's largest center for orangutans, the endangered ape species - it's an ideal time to ask the architect to share his insights.

Artist rendering of the International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo.The $20 million orangutan center, which will include a climate-controlled 90-foot-high atrium, is scheduled to open in 2014. Jonathan has been spending hours observing orangutans (their natural habitat is the rain forests of Sumatra and Boreno) to analyze their needs in terms of, well, creature comforts.

The exhibit will include indoor as well as outdoor vantage points for observing orangutans and a tower stretching 150 feet high. Orangutans will be able to illuminate the tower themselves at night by activating a switch, according to news accounts.

At the Speedway, the Pagoda designed by Jonathan (at the request of owner Tony George) pays tribute to the racetrack's heritage. Beginning in the 1920s, an eye-catching, Japanese-style pagoda was a landmark at the Speedway for decades.

Painted green and white, the first was built of wood and burned to the ground in 1925 on the day after the Indianapolis 500. Herron School of Art and Design, on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis, was designed by architect Jonathan Hess.Although a second pagoda was erected, the Speedway began to take on a modern look in the mid-1950s, with aluminum and steel seats replacing wooden ones. So the modernistic Tower Terrace was built and became a fixture until the debut of the Pagoda (which is 153 feet tall) designed by Jonathan.

His career was fast-tracked in 1985 when Jonathan, then in his 20s, was chosen by Harrison Eiteljorg to design his namesake museum. Nelson will ask Jonathan to share details about the trips the two men took to the Southwest in search of inspiration for the museum, which opened in 1989 and helps anchor White River State Park.

For the expansion and renovation of  the IMA, which was unveiled in 2005, Jonathan designed, among other aspects, a new Entrance Pavilion. According to an Indianapolis Star account, he had an epiphany about the pavilion's design and placement while watching his children draw with chalk on the family's driveway. Filled with sudden inspiration, Jonathan grabbed a piece of chalk and sketched the Entrance Pavilion to the art museum.

Jonathan and his wife, Jody, are the parents of three children.

History Mystery

In 1903, construction began of a Neoclassical building in downtown Indianapolis. Its grand architectural style combines elements of Greek, Roman and Renaissance classicism. In addition, the massive building is lined on all sides by Doric columns.

Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain, is an example of neoclassical architecture.The building started a trend in the architecture for large public structures in Indy. Other buildings influenced by it included the initial Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, a portion that's now known as the Cret Building.

Question: Name the large public structure that influenced architecture after it was built in the early 1900s. Hint: The historic building is still in use.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show and be willing to be placed on the air. 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.

This week's prize is a gift certificate to Lorenzo's Ristorante in downtown Indianapolis at 15 E. Maryland St., and pair of tickets to the Indianapolis Zoo, courtesy of Visit Indy (formerly ICVA).

Roadtrip: New guided walking tour of downtown Columbus, Ind.

Interior of 301 Washington Street in downtown Columbus, Ind., former private office of J. Irwin Miller. Design by Alexander Girard. Photo by Don Nissen, courtesy Columbus Area Visitors Center.Chris Gahl of Visit Indy (formerly the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association) reminds us that, just as many New Yorkers have never been to the Statue of Liberty, many Hoosiers also have not taken the various architectural tours offered in modern architectural mecca of Columbus, Ind., just 50 minutes south of Indianapolis on I-65.

According to the Columbus Visitors Center, in addition to the guided Architectural Tour, which takes two hours by motorcoach, and the separate guided Miller Home and Garden tour, which takes 90 minutes, a new downtown guided Walking Tour of Columbus is offered every other Saturday.

One of the highlights of the Walking Tour includes the interior of 301 Washington St., the former office of Columbus industrialist and architectural aficionado J. Irwin Miller.

"It's like looking into a time capsule; a look at the Mad Men office architectural era," says Erin Hawkins of the Columbus Visitors Center.

For detailed info on all the tours, check the group's website.

Noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays

Hoosier History Live! will expand to one hour on Sept. 8

The nation's only live with call-in talk radio show about history, Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, will expand to a one-hour format beginning Sept. 8 in a new weekly time slot, noon to 1 p.m.

The show will continue to be heard over the air at WICR 88.7 FM in the central Indiana area, or online anywhere at www.hoosierhistorylive.org. We thank all of our sponsors and individual supporters who have helped us over the years. With so many forms of media disappearing or diminishing, and in particular locally focused content about history, we are pleased to still be around. 

Your Hoosier History Live! team,

Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Chris Gahl, Roadtripper
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director

Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, grant consultants
Joan Hostetler, photo historian
Dana Waddell, volunteer-at-large


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Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | AIA Indianapolis | Antique Helper | Indiana Historical Society | Indy Reads Books | Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library | Lucas Oil | The Society of Indiana Pioneers | Story Inn.

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo and Research Services, Conner Prairie, Derrick Lowhorn and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships, grants and through individual tax-deductible contributions through Indiana Humanities. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.

Sept. 8 show

Yearbooks: How to use in historical detective work

For the first show in our newly expanded format, Hoosier History Live! will go back to school.

High school, that is. On a treasure hunt. The trove will be yearbooks from across the state, including some that date back more than 100 years.

Our guest, Rachael Heger of the Indiana State Library, will share tips about using high school yearbooks across Indiana to discover historical insights about everything from local businesses to people, fashions, fads and community news.

Rachael Heger.The state library, where Rachael is director of the Indiana division, has a stash of yearbooks available for the public to use. They include several from long-closed schools such as St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic girls school, and Harry E. Wood High School, both in Indianapolis, as well as from small high schools in towns like Monticello, Logootee and Salem.

Not to mention yearbooks from Culver Military Academy in northern Indiana, Ben Davis High School in Indy, and Bedford High School in southern Indiana. And although Rachael says high schools mostly gave "birth" to yearbooks beginning in the early 1900s, the state library's collection even has some from the 1890s.

They include yearbooks from 1894 for Shortridge High School (then known as Indianapolis High School) and from 1897 for Wabash High School in Wabash, Ind. Other historic yearbooks include those from 1900 for Manual High School in Indy and from 1906 for Converse High School in Converse, Ind.

Fun fact: According to Rachael, a yearbook from the former Fairmount High School featuring future movie icon James Dean (class of '49) recently sold at an auction for $2,000.

"The ads in the back sections of yearbooks are an incredible resource about local businesses of the era, particularly those that marketed to teenagers," Rachael says. "You often see photos of their interiors, get a flavor of their products and pick up all kinds of other information."

Dig deeper, she urges, than just hunting up who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" and who may have been regarded as the class nerd. Consider the insights available about ancestors or acquaintances who worked as teachers or school administrators. Town histories also unfold in yearbooks because many feature accounts of local news ranging from blizzards to festivals.

Sometimes you don't even have to turn pages when embarking on a yearbook search. IUPUI has digitized yearbooks for Attucks High School, and the Indianapolis Public Library did the same for Shortridge High School.

Even ancestry.com, the genealogical website, features various Hoosier high school yearbooks, albeit spotty runs for them. For example, North Central High School yearbooks on ancestry.com include the volumes for 1957, several years in the 1960s and some in the mid-1970s.

The bottom line, according to our guest Rachael Heger: "Yearbooks can be used as a research tool for more than just nostalgia."

Rachael was our guest last January for a show about another area of her expertise: The Hoosier connections of Rev. Jim Jones, a native of Lynn, Ind., who founded his infamous Peoples Temple in Indy.

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