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!

Feb. 16 show

Wine heritage in Indiana

Richard Vine. Photo by Shannon Zahnle.When you put together a mix of wine, broadcasting and Indiana, doesn't one person's name pop to mind? Indy's own Jill Ditmire, a nationally known wine expert who also is a radio and TV veteran, will join Nelson to co-host this show about various aspects of our state's wine heritage.

Jill is the owner of Mass Ave Wine Shoppe in downtown Indy, a member of the American Wine Society and a popular speaker about food and wine. She also is a judge at international wine competitions. Nelson and Jill will explore Indiana's wine heritage with two guests who are household names among Hoosier connoisseurs.

Jill Ditmire.They will be joined in studio by Richard Vine, a professor emeritus at Purdue University of enology (that's the study and making of wine) and the author of a new book, The  Curious World of Wine: Facts, Legends and Lore About the Drink We Love So Much (Perigee Books).

Deeply knowledgeable about Indiana wineries, Richard is the namesake of the wine library at Purdue, the Richard P. Vine Enology Library, which includes his collection of hundreds of books about wine and wine-making. Mark Easley.He has been knighted by three international wine brotherhoods and is the retired chairman of the Indy International Wine Competition.

Also joining us will be Mark Easley, who with his wife Meredith owns Easley Winery in downtown Indianapolis. They are second-generation owners of the winery, 205 N. College Ave., which was founded by Mark's parents, Jack and Joan Easley.

(More than 40 years ago, Jack Easley, an attorney, was a key member of a group that formed to change Indiana's laws, which greatly restricted wine-making in the Hoosier state. The elder Easleys opened the winery in the 1970s in a former ice cream factory; they had their first "grape crush" in 1974.)

We're grateful to Mark because he will be joining our show by phone from a remote location in the Caribbean! That's even relevant to the topic because the Easleys apparently came up with the idea for a "reggae" wine when they visited an exotic locale near the site where he'll be calling in.

An 1895 map of Switzerland County, Indiana, shows the small town of Vineyard, which no longer exists. It was the location of America’s first commercially successful vineyard.Some more fun facts:

  • The Indiana Wine Fair, one of the largest wine festivals in the state, will be April 27 in Brown County.
  • According to a recent article in Nuvo Newsweekly, Indiana currently has about 60 wineries.
  • In addition to being the author of his new book about wine, our guest Richard Vine has written four wine textbooks. He also was hired for many years by American Airlines to select the wines to be served aboard their flights.

Jill Ditmire's co-hosting gig with Nelson will be something of a return to WICR-FM (88.7). Regular listeners will fondly remember Jill's sparkling segment - called "So Many Wines" - that was featured on Too Many Cooks!, the former "sister" show of Hoosier History Live!

"Learn more" websites:

Roadtrip: Toboggan at Pokagon State Park

Suzanne Stanis, with family and a friend, survived a recent toboggan run at Pokagon State Park.Guest Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks recently took the Roadtrip up to Pokagon in the far-northeast corner of Indiana, where she and her family survived a run on the famed refrigerated toboggan run.

Pokagon State Park is located near Angola, just off I-69, and, although its original name was Lake James State Park, in 1925 its name was changed to acknowledge the rich Native American heritage of the state and region.

Leopold and Simon Pokagon were father and son and the last two most notable leaders of the Potawatomi, who made their home in the area. Other winter activities at Pokagon include cross-country skiing, sledding and ice fishing.

History Mystery

In 2005, a famous Hoosier announced that he was teaming with a California winery to produce a line of wines. Indiana Wine Grape Council logo.Apparently the famous Hoosier, a former star athlete, had been dabbling in growing grapes for several years. Even so, he was not usually associated with California. In addition to owning homes in Indiana, the famous Hoosier in recent years also has lived in Naples, Fla.

Question: Who is the famous Hoosier?

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 four tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair on Saturday, April 27 in Brown County, courtesy of Story Inn, as well as a $25 gift certificate for merchandise at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, courtesy of Visit Indy.

You're invited!

Hoosier History Live! fifth-anniversary party is Feb. 21

Hoosier History Live celebrates five years on the air.

Hoosier History Live! has been on the air for five years. Let's celebrate!

When: Thursday, Feb. 21, between 5 and 8 p.m.

Where: New location! Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 N. Central Ave. in Indianapolis.

What: Beverages, appetizers and cash bar. Meet and mingle with fellow history lovers. History Mystery Game Show, live from the Cook Theater stage, hosted by Nelson Price. Our event host is Indiana Landmarks.

This is a complimentary event; however, if you wish, you are welcome to make a voluntary contribution by using the "Donate" button at the bottom of the RSVP page, or donations will graciously be accepted at the party.

We look forward to seeing you on Feb. 21!

Click here to RSVP for this event. (Please disregard if you have already RSVP'd to this invitation.)

Dan Ripley's Antique Helper

Corporate sponsor for the Hoosier History Live! fifth-anniversary party is Antique Helper, our longtime sponsor!

At 2009’s Hoosier History Live! one-year anniversary soiree, Nelson Price, Chris Gahl and Molly Head blow out candles as Peggy Sabens looks on. The cake says, "Happy 200th birthday Abe Lincoln. Happy 1st birthday Hoosier History Live!"

Garb advisory ...

Vintage attire encouraged!

At Thursday's Hoosier History Live! party, feel free to wear vintage or come in historic garb. This is, after all, a party about history!

This year, because of overcrowding at the Morris Butler House, we are moving to the larger Cook Theater at Indiana Landmarks Center. Also, for your comfort, there will lots of chairs for sitting down.

Lorraine Vavul, in vintage attire, chats with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard at the 2012 Hoosier History Live! four-year anniversary fest at downtown’s Morris-Butler House.

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 Authors Award logo.Indiana Historical Society logo.

Story InnIndiana Landmarks logo.

Aesop's Tables logo.Lucas Oil

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | Indiana Authors Award | Indiana Historical Society | Indiana Landmarks | 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.

Feb. 23 show

What do you do with vacant, historic movie theaters?

The Rivoli Theatre, on East 10th Street in Indianapolis, is pictured circa 1930. Efforts are afoot to save the structure. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.With the Academy Awards gala this weekend, Hoosier History Live! will spotlight an aspect of our movie heritage. Specifically, we will focus on the challenges that confront towns and neighborhoods with historic movie theaters that, while glorious in their heyday and built with marquees, balconies and platforms or pits for organs and pianos, have fallen on hard times.

That's particularly been the case for many vintage theaters built with only one screen, limiting their ability to compete with newer, multi-screen cinemas in shopping centers.

Among the historic theaters that have been in the news recently - and that we will explore during the show - is the once-lavish and beloved Rivoli Theatre on the near eastside of Indianapolis. Built in 1927 on East 10th Street, the Rivoli had a seating capacity of 1,500. Its sad post-heyday fate has included a long stint as an X-rated theater, then an even longer stretch of sitting vacant and deteriorating alarmingly.

The Tivoli Theater in Spencer, Ind., is undergoing renovation, thanks to assistance from the Cook Group. Hoosier History Live! photo, 2007.Our in-studio guests will include Mark Dollase of Indiana Landmarks, who in his off-duty life has been a key organizer of the Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts, a non-profit that now owns the theater. (The city of Indy recently announced that a $300,000 federal grant will be used to repair a portion of the Rivoli's roof, merely one of a long list of needs for the vacant theater.)

Mark and Nelson also will be joined by Jeannie Regan-Dinius of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, who, with her husband, once owned the historic Huntington Theatre in Huntington. In her capacity as the DNR's director of special initiatives in historic preservation, Jeannie has been assisting a range of landmark theaters across the state, some with uncertain fates and others undergoing restoration.

The Damm Theatre in Osgood, Ind., is named for German immigrant Louis Damm, who purchased it in 1922. "The Whole Damm Family" literally operated the theater from 1922 to 1989. It reopened in 2008 with funding from the Reynolds Foundation, and it currently is open weekends. Hoosier History Live photo.The latter include the Tivoli Theatre in Spencer, which opened on New Year's Eve in 1928. Located on the town’s courthouse square, the Tivoli drew crowds from surrounding communities and featured stage shows and concerts, as well as movies. A few years after a fire, the Tivoli closed in the 1990s and has been vacant.

Last summer, though, a restoration of the Tivoli began, thanks to funding from the Cook Group. Details of the Tivoli, past and present, will be shared by a third guest on our show, Spencer resident Jason Kinney, the historian for Owen County Preservation.

Nelson and his guests also will explore the vintage Fowler Theatre, which has been restored in the Benton County town of Fowler, and a bygone movie palace, also called the Rivoli, that was torn down in Muncie.

In Bloomington, though, the Buskirk Chumley has been restored; during its Act One life, it was known as the Indiana Theatre for decades after it opened as a silent movie house in 1922.

Among the single-screen survivors and success stories are the Devon Theatre, an Art Deco-style theater in Attica that opened in 1932, and, perhaps one of the best-known, the historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin.

This and that

Ayres show is online! Thanks to the efforts of our ever-diligent webmaster Richard Sullivan of Monomedia, you can listen now to freshly archived show "L.S. Ayres and Company history," which originally aired on Jan. 19, 2013 with guest Ken Turchi.

antique microphone.Library listeners on Indy's eastside. Our Irvington Library Listening Group continues to meet every Saturday from noon to 1 to listen to the live broadcast of Hoosier History Live! Thanks to Irvington Library for hosting this group; its location is 5625 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis.

Another listening group? If you would like to start your own listening group, all you need is a reasonably quiet space with seating, and an ability to listen to a radio or online audio while the show airs on Saturdays from noon to 1. For ideas, feel free to contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

This is "your" event, not ours, but it is a good way to get people involved in your location on a weekly basis, whether you are a coffee shop, library or other retail business or history organization. Especially in winter, sometimes people should get off their computers and have face-to-face interactions with other people.

Remember, you don't have to be in Indianapolis to do this, as our audio is streamed all over the world as the show airs. Perhaps some of our Naples, Fla., listeners would like to gather on a regular basis on Saturdays? We know you miss the cold up here!

© 2013 Hoosier History Live! All rights reserved.

Hoosier History Live!
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1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 927-9101