Hoosier History Live! features host Nelson Price, Saturdays noon to 1 p.m. on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis.

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

June 15 show

Indy Mayor Greg Ballard on Marines history and 'old' Cathedral High

Future Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is pictured as a Marine at Camp Pendleton in California, circa 1980. He is selecting a Mountain Dew. Image courtesy Office of Mayor Greg Ballard.An Indianapolis native, he grew up on the Eastside, attended the "old" Cathedral High School (when it was located downtown and had all male students) and eventually enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

So there's much local history to cover with Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis, 58, who was elected to his second term in 2011. As Hoosier History Live! segues from a former mayor of Indy (Bill Hudnut, the June 8 show guest) to his current counterpart, Mayor Ballard will be Nelson's studio guest for a show that explores history topics that have been intertwined with his life.

They will include the links between the Hoosier state and the Marines. After a 23-year military career, Mayor Ballard, a Republican, retired as a lieutenant colonel  from the Marines in 2001 and returned to his home town to enter private business.

He plans to share insights about who and what influenced him during his youth to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard meets with veterans at a Statehouse rally in 2012. Image courtesy city of Indianapolis.The future mayor joined the Marines after studying economics at Indiana University in the 1970s.

The decision eventually led to assignments in places such as Okinawa, Japan; Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War; and Stuttgart, Germany, as well as in Michigan, North Carolina and California, where he met his wife, Winnie Ballard, a native of the Philippines. During the first Gulf War, the future mayor was promoted to major.

Other links between the Marines and the Hoosier state:

  • Hoosiers who have achieved distinction in the Marines include David Shoup (1904-1983), a Tippecanoe County native who grew up on farms there and near Covington. A Medal of Honor winner during World War II, Shoup led the U.S. invasion during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater of the war. He rose to become the 22nd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the top post during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Shoup was credited with emphasizing combat readiness and fiscal efficiency; he later became a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Greg Ballard.Specifications for many of the weapons, night-vision goggles and other equipment used overseas by the Marines are developed at Crane Naval Warfare Center in southwestern Indiana. (The Marines and the Navy both fall under the Secretary of the Navy.) Created during World War II, Crane Naval Warfare Center consists of 64,000 acres in Greene and Martin counties and employs about 5,000 people. Equipment used by the Marines also is tested at Crane.
  • Well-known living Hoosiers who have served in the Marines include Carol Mutter, a retired lieutenant general who lives in Brownsburg. (She was born in Colorado and became the first woman to receive the rank of lieutenant general in the Marine Corps.) Others include historic novelist James Alexander Thom, a Korean War veteran whose bestsellers include Follow the River, and Julia Whitehead, executive director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

Back in the mayor's hometown, we also will focus on Cathedral High School, where he was a member of the Class of '72.

Cathedral High School, shown in this 1926 photo, formerly was located at 14th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis. The building now houses the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.Since its founding in 1918, the Catholic high school had been located at 14th and Meridian streets and attended only by boys. The future mayor's years there were preceded and followed by major changes.

In 1976, four years after he graduated, Cathedral merged with Ladywood, an all-girls Catholic academy located on the northeast-side, a decision that was presented as a financial necessity for both schools. The merged, co-ed school, which took the Cathedral name, is on the former Ladywood site on East 56th Street.

Previously, while the future mayor was attending Cathedral, Ladywood had merged in 1971 with Cathedral's "sister" school downtown, St. Agnes Academy. Located just to the south of the "old" Cathedral, the former academy now is the site of St. Agnes Apartments.

Greg Ballard, who grew up on the Eastside in a family of five children, attended Cathedral on a scholarship. In addition to graduating from IU, he obtained a master's in military science from Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va. His defeat of incumbent Bart Peterson in the 2007 mayoral election has been called one of the biggest upsets in Indy's political history.

Roadtrip: Monument Circle for kids

Urban explorers Bailey (left) and Sean Young roam around at Monument Circle in Indy. Image courtesy Kelly Young.Guest Roadtripper Kelly Young of Baise Communications reports that she took her kids for a recent tour of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and her children were fascinated by Christ Church Cathedral, with its early gothic revival architecture, Tiffany stained-glass windows and pipe organ.

Kelly's daughter, age 10, had studied President Lincoln in school this year and was fascinated to learn that the church bells had rung out as Lincoln's body lay in state at the nearly Capitol.

Kelly and crew then crossed the street, headed up the 330 steps (yes, walked!) to the observation level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for a great view of the city, and they visited the Civil War Museum in the lower level.

They topped off their Roadtrip with ice cream from the Chocolate Cafe, and then a quick trip back in time for Kelly at Rocket Fizz, a candy shop with nearly every type of novelty candy. Both of these sweet spots are right on the Circle.

History Mystery

More than 25 years before future Mayor Greg Ballard became a Marine, another well-known Indianapolis political figure served in the Marines. Shortridge High School in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis.As a Marine from 1950 to 1952, he served during the Korean War, saw combat and endured two fierce winters in Korea.

The future politician was born in Indy in 1932. He graduated from Shortridge High School in 1949, then served in the Marines. After that, he enrolled in Indiana University. In addition to a long political career - he held public office almost without interruption from 1964 until retiring in 1997 - he worked as a deputy sheriff in Marion County, a lawyer, an author and a college instructor.

Question: Who was he?

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.

The prize is a  pair of tickets to the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and four admissions to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Your Hoosier History Live! team,

Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
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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June 22 show

Centennial in 1916, bicentennial in 2016

As Indiana prepares to celebrate a big birthday, Hoosier History Live! will look ahead and back. That is, we will explore what happened in 1916 when Indiana celebrated 100 years of statehood. And we will explore plans under way for the upcoming bicentennial in 2016.

A parade float in Brookville, Ind., features spinning wagon wheels as part of the 1916 Indiana centennial celebration. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.In one sense, the 1916 centennial hoopla will be hard to top: It's credited with sparking the process to create Indiana's first state parks.

To share insights about the 100th and 200th year celebrations, Nelson will be joined in studio by Indiana's widely admired, award-winning historian, James Madison, a professor emeritus of history at Indiana University and the author of several books about various aspects of the state's history, and by Chris Jensen, executive director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

According to an article in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine, the 1916 centennial was "conducted with great energy and little funding," although it ended up having a "lasting impact" on the 19th state.

A Centennial Medal with the phrase “The admission of Indiana to the Union” was created by Hoosier sculptor Janet Scudder. The figure of Columbia represents the United States, and the child represents the new state of Indiana. The Corydon statehouse and Constitution Elm are in the background. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Bureau.President Woodrow Wilson spoke at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. A weeklong pageant (called the Pageant of Indiana) was held at Riverside Park in Indianapolis. A silent movie (titled Indiana) was filmed in which Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley (click link to view film) appeared. And high school students across the state donned American Indian outfits and feathers.

Enthusiasm generated during the centennial eventually resulted in the purchase of Indiana's first two state parks, Turkey Run in Parke County and McCormick's Creek in Owen County. Civic leader Richard Leiber, who chaired the centennial's park committee, served as a "tireless advocate" of the purchases, as Traces put it.

For the 200th celebration, our guest Jim Madison is one of 15 distinguished Hoosiers who have been appointed to the bicentennial commission, which is overseeing the planning and execution of statewide events. The commission is being chaired by former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton. The state's first lady, Karen Pence, is serving as the official Bicentennial Ambassador.

Jim Madison is the author of several books about various aspects of Indiana history, including The Indiana Way: A State History, A Lynching in the Heartland and Eli Lilly: A Life.

According to information from our guest Chris Jensen, the goal of the 2016 celebration is to "honor our state's 200 years of history, but to do so in a modern way that engages all Hoosiers and leaves a lasting legacy for future generations."

Plans are being developed for a Bicentennial torch relay that will run through all of the state's 92 counties.

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