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!

Jan. 12 show

A Hoosier amid the British royals

How did a slice of Queen Elizabeth II's childhood birthday cake from the 1920s end up in the home of a Hoosier? How did he witness the post-wedding kiss on the balcony between Prince William and Duchess Kate?

Andrew Lannerd is pictured with Queen Elizabeth at her 80th birthday party at Buckingham Palace in 2006. Image courtesy Andrew Lannerd.And how has Andrew Lannerd, general manager of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, been able to mingle with the royals at Buckingham Palace garden parties, present the queen with bouquets of flowers, speak to her half a dozen times and see her on about 40 occasions?

Fresh from spending the holiday season in England - where he stays near Sandringham Estate, the country retreat where the royal family is in residence for Christmas - Andrew will join Nelson in studio to share insights, anecdotes and the links between this young, energetic Hoosier and the world-famous Brits.

An avid collector of all things royal, Andrew estimates he owns about 500 books about British monarchs, plus countless artifacts and curiosities such as the birthday cake, a marble bust from 1860 of Queen Victoria and a chair from Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1952.

A couple of years ago, Andrew even lived in London and did commentary on royal-themed tours.

He's been the general manager of the 150-voice Indianapolis Symphonic Choir since 2010. Andrew, a native of Anderson, Ind., also enjoyed a five-year stint as house manager for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Prince William, son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, as the world watched.As a fund-raiser for the symphonic choir, he will lead a group of Hoosiers on a "Britten in Britain Tour" to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of English composer Benjamin Britten. The travelers from Indiana also will enjoy special visits to sites associated with the royals. (For more details about the tour, visit indychoir.org).

Even though well-known protocol is involved when interacting with the royals - "you never extend your hand to the queen," Andrew notes - he emphasizes the royals are far from stuffy.

"Queen Elizabeth has a great sense of humor," he says. "She has a wonderful way of putting people at ease."

He's fond of all of the royals, including Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, who has a reputation as cold.

"He's just no-nonsense," replies Andrew, who was seated near Prince Philip and his son, Prince Charles, during a historic service at Westminster Abbey in November 2011. The event, with the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding, celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

"History came to life for me there," Andrew says.

The Hoosier's interest in British nobility was sparked by news coverage of the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997. He began collecting memorabilia and traveling to England.

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. In 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI (subject of the movie The King’s Speech).Some of his entrees to exclusive events have unfolded because he has established and nurtured contacts within the royal household and staff. Others have come because Andrew camped outdoors to get the perfect vantage point to observe proceedings such as the post-nuptials kiss between William and Kate.

During Queen Elizabeth's visit to the United States in 2009, Andrew arranged to present her a bouquet when she toured the historic settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. (Jamestown, the first English settlement in what became the United States, was celebrating its 400th anniversary.)

In addition to a slice of the Queen's cake from her second birthday in 1928 - as well as cake from the wedding of her daughter, Princess Anne, in 1972 - Andrew's vast collection of artifacts includes:

  • Gloves owned by Wallis Warfield Simpson, the American divorcee for whom Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, abdicated the throne in 1936.
  • Dozens of documents and letters signed by various royals.
  • A chair from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952.

Andrew's first visit to England and interaction with nobility was in 2001.

"It was," he says, "magic."

Roadtrip: Jackie Robinson play premieres at IRT

Jackie and Me cast performs at Indiana Repertory Theatre. Photo by Zach Rosing.Chris Gahl of Visit Indy suggests that we take the Roadtrip to the Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indy to check out a compelling new play about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player to play in the major leagues. Jackie and Me, written by Steven Dietz, is based on the popular young adult novel by Dan Gutman. In this theatrical presentation, a young boy's school report on Jackie Robinson finds him traveling back in time to meet one of the most influential baseball players in history. Now through Feb. 16.

History Mystery

Queen Elizabeth's second son, Prince Andrew (the Duke of York), came to Indiana in 2002. He visited the Hoosier state as part of the festivities leading up to a major sporting event. Prince Andrew, a former helicopter pilot, did not stay for the actual sports competition. But he visited businesses and helped build excitement for the upcoming sports event, which had many European competitors.

Question: What was the sports competition?

Hint: It's no longer held in Indiana.

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 Mikado Japanese Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By the way, you'll notice that our questions are getting a little more difficult. Why? Because the number of listeners and fans is steadily increasing (as well as the number of visits to our website), so there is a larger pool of listeners who are well-versed in Indiana history!

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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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.

Save the date!

Fifth-anniversary party is set for Feb. 21

Friends and fans, please mark your calendars now for the Hoosier History Live! Fifth Anniversary Party, to be held Thursday, Feb. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Indiana Landmarks Center at 1201 Central Ave. in Indianapolis. Thanks to Garry Chilluffo for chairing this event, and watch our website for details.
As local media content continues to disappear, we've made it five years on the air!

Thanks to "the last of" our 2012 individual donors, Rosalind Wolen, Stacia Gorge, In Memory of Katherine J. Simpson by Anonymous, Stephen and Margaret Smith, James Sweeney, and Marion Wolen. If you enjoy Hoosier History Live! and would like to help keep our enewsletter, website, and over-the-air show going, you can even click on the yellow button on our website at http://www.hoosierhistorylive.org/

Be the first in 2013 to help us out!

Jan. 19 show

L.S. Ayres & Company history

Ayres logo, 1970s.The marketing slogan for its women's fashions: That Ayres Look. The eighth-floor dining spot beloved by generations: The Ayres Tea Room. The signature dish: Chicken velvet soup.

The holiday-season attractions: The lavish display windows and the Santaland Express children's train. The exterior landmark: The clock, which still perches in downtown Indy above the sidewalk at Meridian and Washington streets, once the site of the flagship L.S. Ayres & Company store.

Here's how a new, lavishly illustrated book sums up the impact of the legendary retailer on Hoosiers for more than 100 years: "Ayres was as much a part of Indianapolis as Monument Circle or the Indianapolis 500."

Cherub on clock at L.S. Ayres department store in Indianapolis in 1947. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Ken Turchi, who has devoted years to researching and writing L.S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America (Indiana Historical Society Press), will join Nelson in studio to explore all aspects of the company that grew to include Ayes department stores in suburban Indy neighborhoods such as the Glendale area as well as in Fort Wayne, Muncie and other Indiana cities. Ayres also opened chains of retailers such as Ayr-Way discount stores and Sycamore Shops, which catered to youthful preppies.

With origins dating to 1872, when founder Lyman S. Ayres Sr. acquired a controlling interest in a dry-goods store in Indy, L.S. Ayres & Company (this link includes Ayres Storybook and Magic Mirror videos) was overseen by three generations of family members. As our guest Ken Turchi puts it, they "took the store from its early silk-and-calico days to a diversified company with interests in specialty stores and discount stores - before Target and Wal-Mart."

Ken grew up in Crawfordsville, worked at an Ayres store while attending college and has spent most of his career in aspects of marketing and strategic planning. L.S. Ayres had an in-house advertising department with talented artists who captured "That Ayres Look" in sketches such as this one from 1960. Image courtesy Tiffany Benedict Birkson, Historic Indianapolis.Today he lives in Indy and commutes to Bloomington, where he is the assistant dean at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. His home, built in 1954 in the northside Indy neighborhood of Arden, was featured on last June's Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. It is decorated with photos and memorabilia from Ayres and its major competitor, the locally owned William H. Block department-store chain.

He describes the flagship Ayres as "a traditional department store where you could spend the day browsing for everything from furniture to sheet music to sewing machines to typewriters."

During the 1980s, Ayres was acquired by May Company. A series of local blows followed, beginning with the closing of the Tea Room and the Top of the Stairs restaurants in the flagship Ayres store in the early 1990s. By the mid-2000s, the Ayres name had vanished from retailing after a local presence of more than 100 years.

Some fun facts:

  • A portion of the sprawling, flagship Ayres building is now Carson Pirie Scott in Circle Centre mall, although the landmark clock continues to adorn the exterior. Part of Oceanaire restaurant is in the area where Ayres kept men's designer suits.
  • The Ayres clock was designed by Kurt Vonnegut Sr., father of the famous novelist. The architectural firm of Kurt Sr.'s father, Bernard Vonnegut, designed the Ayres building, which opened in 1905.
  • The store's commitment to women's fashion gave Ayres, as Ken puts it, "the same cachet as its larger competitors in New York and Chicago."

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