Hoosier History Live! features host Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. 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!

Dec. 22 show

Lincoln's youth in Indiana and historic high school gyms: two classic shows

The new movie Lincoln - currently playing in theaters and generating widespread critical praise - focuses on the final era of the life of "The Great Emancipator." So how about a refresher about the character-shaping and life-impacting events that happened during his youth in the new Hoosier state?

Abe Lincoln's years in Indiana - he moved here from Kentucky with his family at age 7 in 1816 (the same year we became a state) - are often overlooked.

Many people associate the Hoosier state with high school basketball. Is it any surprise, then, that creative reuses have been found for historic high school gyms in towns across the state?

Those two topics - Lincoln's youth in Indiana and Historic gyms across Indiana - will be the focus of "encore" broadcasts of two popular Hoosier History Live! shows. Instead of a one-hour broadcast, you will be able to enjoy two back-to-back shows from our archives.

Lincoln's youth in Indiana

Andrea Neal.For the first classic show (original air date: Feb. 7, 2009), Nelson is joined in studio by two young people and their well-known teacher, who immersed themselves in Lincoln and Indiana lore.

His guests are Andrea Neal, a history teacher at St. Richard's Episcopal School (and Nelson's former colleague at the Indianapolis Star, where she was editor of the editorial pages and continues to write a column), as well as two of her outstanding students. They are Courtney Burke and Caroline Tucker, who were eighth-graders at St. Richard's when the show was originally broadcast.

Because Abe Lincoln and his family didn't move to Illinois until he was 21 years old, all of his "wonder years" were spent as a Hoosier. Young Abe, who was tall and gangly as a 7-year-old, helped his father clear the unbroken forest in southern Indiana so they could build the family's cabin.

Courtney Burke and Caroline Tucker visited the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., c. 2008.During our show, Andrea, Courtney and Caroline explain the dramatic changes in the Lincoln family - and in their Little Pigeon Forge settlement - that unfolded during the future president's boyhood.

They discuss his schooling, his tastes in reading (which became a lifelong passion during his Indiana years) and the influence of various adults during his youth. They included his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who is buried in Spencer County.

Nelson's guests also share insights about the Lincoln family's motivations for moving to Indiana - as well as explanations for why they eventually left to resettle in Illinois.

Historic gyms across Indiana

The Little York gym in Washington County was built in 1936 and resembles a barn. Image courtesy History Press.During the second classic show (original air date: Jan. 1, 2011), the focus is on the fates of former gyms, which often served as "town halls," pulling basketball-crazed communities together on Friday nights from the 1920s through the '50s.

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.

To explore these and other former gyms, Nelson is joined in studio by Indianapolis Star sportswriter Kyle Neddenriep, the author of Historic Hoosier Gyms: Discovering Bygone Basketball Landmarks (The History Press), and by Chris May, executive director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle.

Chris shares folklore about well-known current high school gyms across the state.
Kyle's lavishly illustrated book spotlights 100 former gyms; he photographed these "gym gems" 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.) A former gym in the southern Indiana town of Sidney now is a flea market.

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.In Peru, a former arena for Peru High School that was the home court of Kyle Macy, 1975's Mr. Indiana Basketball, has been owned for more than 20 years by the Miami Nation of Indians. They have used the gym in various ways, including as the setting for bingo night three times weekly.

In far-eastern Indiana, the Wayne County community of Greens Fork has turned its historic gym (built in 1925) into a fire station.

Tune in as we explore these and a hoops-high stack of other gyms, including the New Castle Fieldhouse, which opened in 1960. As many Hoosiers know, the Henry County landmark seats more than 9,320 spectators and is the world's largest high school gym.

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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For nearly five years, a team of hard-working journalists, researchers, historians and audio and web technicians have been bringing you a fresh new show and enewsletter each week. Holiday wreath of evergreen with red ribbon, circular.Help keep us going? You can either "click to donate" on the yellow button on our website:


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Mention "to benefit Hoosier History Live!" in the memo line of the check.

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Recent shows and events

Photo album!

Click any photo to visit the archived e-newsletter about it!

Brick Street Poets members Joyce Brinkman, Laurel Smith, Ben Rose and J. L Kato waxed poetic about their favorite Indiana landmarks on our Oct. 20, 2012 show "Landmarks and lyrics across Indiana."

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Author Donald Pitzer and photographer Darryl Jones (holding his new 3D digital camera) talked about their newly released book "New Harmony: Then and Now" on the Sept. 22, 2012 Hoosier History Live! show. Host Nelson Price is in the foreground.

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Guests on the Aug. 25, 2012 "Carmel city history" show were (from left) historian Katherine Dill, executive director of the Carmel Clay Historical Society, and lifelong Carmel residents Karla Katterhenry and Nancy Childs.

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Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp (left), the "Hoosier Gardener," was interviewed by Nelson at the 2012 Holiday Author Fair about her recent book, The Visitor's Guide to American Gardens. This Dec. 1, 2012 Hoosier History Live! show was broadcast from the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.

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Hoosier History Live! supporter Wanda Y. Fortune is flanked by host Nelson Price (left) and webmaster Richard Sullivan on Nov. 30, 2012 at Aesop's Tables in downtown Indianapolis. Mrs. Fortune was a guest on the June 16, 2012 show “Polio epidemic during the 1940s and '50s.”


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Hoosier History Live!
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1400 E. Hanna Ave.
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