Hoosier History Live! features host Nelson Price, Saturdays at noon on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis.

New time! ... Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM.
And always online at hoosierhistorylive.org!

Nov. 10 show - web-only encore presentation

Enjoy 'encore' return of Tee Pee and other drive-ins


Note: Because of WICR-FM's live coverage of University of Indianapolis football, Hoosier History Live! will be pre-empted on the air Saturday. As a treat for our listeners, though, we are offering an encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our archives.


Listen to the show!

Listen to the show!


The show (original air date: Nov. 27, 2011) explores the distinctive-looking Tee Pee Restaurant in Indianapolis, a favorite hang-out during the "cruising" craze of the 1950s, as well as other drive-ins, bygone and surviving. Nelson is joined in studio by two enthusiasts of the eateries. 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.His guests are public historian and preservationist Glory-June Greiff and retired WRTV-Channel 6 cameraman Dick Baldwin, one of the Tee Pee's most loyal customers.

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.

Glory-June spearheaded a much-publicized (but, alas, unsuccessful) crusade to save the first Tee Pee from the wrecking ball in the 1980s. Its site is now overflow parking for the fairgrounds.

The Bonny Doon in South Bend, Ind., remains open for business.Although the Tee Pee was the favorite drive-in of Dick, our other guest, he also patronized the bygone Pole, a popular drive-in at Lafayette Road and West 16th Street in Indy.

During the show, Glory, who grew up in northern Indiana, dishes about Bonnie Doon Drive-Ins in South Bend and Mishawaka. Some Bonnie Doon locations continue to thrive today.

Nelson shares insights about the bygone Knobby's Restaurants in Indy, popular drive-ins patronized by his family during the 1960s and '70s.

According to The American Drive-In (Motorbooks International, 1994) by Michael Witzel, many of the beloved restaurants were once settings for "some of the most enjoyable diversions" for young people and families alike. The interior of Knobby’s restaurant, at Keystone Avenue and 52nd Street in Indianapolis, is shown in the late 1950s.They suffered an "astonishingly sudden fall from grace," Witzel writes, because of the booming popularity of fast-food chains, particularly when drive-through windows became common.

"Waiting for a carhop to serve a meal and remove the dishes became a luxury of another era," Witzel notes.

Even so, 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) are still going strong amid so many drive-in casualties. So is Don Hall's Hollywood Drive-In in Fort Wayne. Its promotions assure customers "the fabulous '50s will live on forever" there.

Not only do Nelson and his guests share insights about those eateries, they explore the bygone 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.

A vintage free-Coke card from the Ron-D-Vu, a drive-in diner near Butler University in Indy.Although the Tee Pees were known as a hub for cruising and for fare such as Big Chief burgers, our guest 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. During our show, Glory reveals which current restaurant in Indy continues to serve salads with the Tee Pee's special dressing.

She also reflects on her crusade to save the cherished Tee Pee, which was patronized for decades by high school and college students. She practically stood in front of bulldozers to try to stop the demolition of the northside landmark.

The southside Tee Pee, which was located on Madison Avenue, also has been torn down.

But we invite you to tune in to our "encore" show and savor, once again, the culture of cruising and the drive-ins that served as its epicenter.

Roadtrip: International Festival, and 'still-around' Indiana drive-ins

Tenderloin sandwich from Edwards Drive-In in Indianapolis.The International Festival, in its 36th year, will be at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Nov. 16-18. This year the festival will feature a traditional Punch and Judy show, a Celtic heritage night with the Indy Ceili Band and the Richens-Timm Irish Dancers, and the world-renowned Polish dance ensemble Polonia. You also can watch hundreds of immigrants become U.S. citizens at the Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m.

Also, we thought we'd let you know about drive-ins around Indiana that are still in operation. Getting a mention on the show were Don Hall's Hollywood Drive-In in Fort Wayne, The Lemon Drop in Anderson, The Flagpole in Rochester, Bonnie Doon in Mishawaka, Edwards in Indianapolis at Raymond and Sherman, Mug n Bun in Speedway, and The Suds in Greenwood, complete with active Hot Rod Club.

Check before cruising to these venerable establishments to see if they are open in winter. If you stop in, tell them you learned about them on Hoosier History Live! Here is also a list of Indiana drive-ins still in operation from Dine.com.

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


Indiana Historical Society logo.

Story InnConner Prairie logo.

Aesop's Tables logo.Lucas Oil

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | Conner Prairie | Indiana Historical Society | Lucas Oil | Story Inn.

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities, Visit Indy, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo & Research Services, 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. We do not receive any government funding. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.

Nov. 17 show

Colombian and Venezuelan immigration to Indiana

Their percent of the Indiana population is still relatively small, but immigrants from Colombia and Venezuela have grown explosively here - and across the country - during the last 20 years.

Carmen DeRusha. Photo by Denis Ryan Kelly Jr.So Hoosier History Live! will explore immigration from the two South American countries during the next show in our rotating series about the ethnic heritage of the Hoosier state, which has included looks at German, Irish, Scottish and Greek immigration here. During our nearly five years on the air, we also have focused on the arrival of Italian stonecutters in Indiana, our Cuban and Brazilian heritages and even the growing Sikh community here.

Colombia native Carmen DeRusha, a well-known civic leader in Indianapolis, will join Nelson in studio, as will Marco Dominguez, a native Venezuelan who co-anchors the Spanish-language news webcast launched this summer by WTHR-TV/Channel 13 in Indianapolis.

Nelson's guests also will include Danny Lopez, executive director of the Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. Danny, who is of Cuban heritage, joined Nelson last May for our show about Cuban immigration to Indiana; because of his statewide position, he has informed perspectives about an array of Hispanic communities.

"In all, there are three times as many Colombians as Venezuelans in Indiana," Danny reports. He notes that Colombian immigrants are most heavily concentrated in Lake County and Marion County, whereas their Venezuelan counterparts have tended to settle in north-central Indiana and in Hamilton County.

Danny Lopez.Our guest Carmen DeRusha, an extension educator in economic and community development for Purdue University's cooperative extension service in Marion County, came to the United States in 1986. A board member and former president of Fiesta Indianapolis, Inc., she served as executive director of La Plaza and as interim director of the Hispanic Center.

Marco Dominguez immigrated from Venezuela to Indiana twice, beginning in the 1980s to study at Vincennes University, then at Butler University. He is former station manager for Univision in Indianapolis.

According to information supplied by Danny, much of the Venezuelan immigration has occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, almost 75 percent of Venezuelans living in Indiana came during that period, a trend that many analysts link to the ascendancy of Hugo Chavez, the controversial president of Venezuela.

Venezuelan immigration, in fact, is said to mirror (on a smaller scale) earlier waves of Cubans, with both groups having higher-than-average levels of education and financial resources.

Statistics supplied by Danny indicate about 3,890 people who describe themselves as Colombian live in Indiana. However, he notes wide discrepancies between estimates about immigrants from the Colombian and American governments.

The average Colombian in this country, according to Danny’s information, is 34 years old; for the overall Latino population here, the average age is 27.

In addition to exploring immigration patterns, Nelson and his guests will share insights about the culture, impact, contributions and challenges of Colombian and Venezuelans here. He also will ask Carmen and Marco to share their personal stories about coming to the Hoosier state.

© 2012 Hoosier History Live! All rights reserved.

Hoosier History Live!
c/o WICR at University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 927-9101