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.
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June 14 show

Ask Nelson - and photographer colleague, too

The English Theatre on Monument Circle was demolished in 1948. This 1949 photograph looks southeast toward the Monument and shows the remains of the brick foundation. Negative made by the Indianapolis Fire Department. Photo research by Joan Hostetler. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis.Once again, Hoosier History Live! will turn the tables on our host, Indianapolis-based author/historian Nelson Price, open the phone lines and invite listeners to call in with questions about our Hoosier heritage.

Nelson, who calls himself a "garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia," will be joined in studio by his collaborator on many projects, photographer extraordinaire Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography.

Garry, whose specialties include architectural photography, collaborated with Nelson and photo historian Joan Hostetler on Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a popular visual history book about the evolution of the Hoosier capital.

So in addition to calling Nelson with questions - the WICR-FM studio number is (317) 788-3314 - listeners also are encouraged to ask questions of Garry, whose expertise includes many aspects of transportation history.

Reporter Nelson Price types at his desk at The Indianapolis News, circa 1990. Price was a feature reporter for the afternoon newspaper for many years. Photo by Richard Sullivan.During the show, Garry plans to share insights about the trolley system that once flourished in Indy, drawing from the book Indianapolis Railways (Pioneer Press of West Virginia) by the late Jerry Marlette.

Between phone calls from listeners, Nelson and Garry will share insights about sites featured in their Then and Now book, as well as about famous Hoosiers whom Nelson has interviewed or researched - and some of whom Garry has photographed.

They include maestro Josef Gingold, the founder of the International Violin Competition in Indy. Garry photographed Gingold (1909-1995), a distinguished professor at the world-renowned Indiana University School of Music, so the maestro's features could be embossed on the gold medal now given to winners of the violin competition.

Professor Gingold is among the more than 160 historic and contemporary notables featured in Nelson's book, Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing).

So is Gingold's star pupil, internationally famous violinist Joshua Bell, a Bloomington native. Nelson plans to share an anecdote related to the first time he interviewed Joshua, who was disembarking from a commercial airline with his Stradivarius violin (estimated value: $2 million) in tow. (Since then, Joshua has upgraded to an even more expensive Stradivarius.)

Photographer Garry Chilluffo on industrial lift. Photo courtesy Garry Chilluffo.The airline/violin anecdote is relevant because of the recent contretemps involving Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Zach De Pue and a commuter airline that initially refused to let him bring his historic violin aboard.

During the show, Garry will share insights about the historic Wholesale District in the south portion of downtown Indy, an area that includes Union Station, where dozens of retailers sold produce and other wares.

Garry also will share details about Lockefield Gardens, which opened in 1938 as the first major public housing project in the city. Among the notable Hoosiers who grew up near Lockefield Gardens is a legendary athlete included in Nelson's books: Oscar Robertson, who led Attucks High School to back-to-back state championship titles before his outstanding career as a college and pro player.

And Nelson will discuss his multiple interviews over the years with a Crawfordsville native who will be named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society next month: Crossword puzzle guru Will Shortz, puzzle-master of the New York Times and author of many crossword books.

Will, who became the first (and, so far, only) person to graduate from IU with a degree in enigmatology (the study of puzzles), grew up on a horse farm near Crawfordsville.

The gold medal for the Indianapolis International Violin Competition features an image of Josef Gingold that was taken from a photo by Indy photographer Garry Chilluffo. Photo by Garry Chilluffo.Moving from games to historic fun, Nelson and Garry also will discuss the bygone Riverside Amusement Park that flourished for decades on the westside of Indy. Call in and ask Garry what's on the site today of the former carnival rides, which included a Ferris wheel and dueling roller coasters.

Garry photographed the current site for theThen/Now book to accompany text by Nelson, who wrote about the amusement park by drawing on boyhood memories of growing up during the waning era of Riverside, which closed in 1970.

Garry, who concedes he's afraid of heights, has had to climb on girders and ride in helicopters for some of his photography projects. He photographed the 92 icons representing all of Indiana's counties that are depicted on the exterior of the Indiana State Museum in White River State Park. His photos of the county icons appear in the book The Art of the 92 County Walk published by the state museum.

The cover of Indianapolis Then and Now depicts the opulent English Theatre, Hotel and Opera House, which was built on Monument Circle beginning in 1880.

Nelson and Garry will share details about the four-story English structure, which featured the largest stage in Indiana; it was the setting for a spellbinding production of Ben-Hur in the early 1900s. Amid an outcry from the public, the English was demolished in 1948. The site now is occupied by the headquarters building of Anthem/Wellpoint.

With all that to spark questions and comments, we encourage you to call in during the show. This is your opportunity to ask questions about our Hoosier heritage; if Nelson and Garry can't offer answers, maybe other listeners will phone with the explanations, which happened during our last "Ask Nelson" show.

Roadtrip: Clinton, Ind.

A vintage postcard shows the Little Italy Festival in Clinton, Ind. Image courtesy A Trip Down the Wabash in Old  Postcards, at http://brisray.com/wabash/wind.htm.

Guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson selects Clinton in Vermillion County, a little north of Terre Haute, for his Roadtrip pick.

Says Eric: "My grandparents lived there when I was a child, and I visited often. Clinton's rich coal mines nearby attracted many Italian immigrants in the first part of the 20th century. The town has been home to the Little Italy Festival since 1966. Clinton also has a coal mining museum, and Horney's hardware store, which had the best toy selection when I was a kid. And it's still there."

He continues: "Clinton's downtown is still rich with early 20th-century architecture, and its imported Italian fountain is a local landmark. It's home to one of the last thriving small-town newspapers, still in business, called The Daily Clintonian. Locals are very picky about Italian food, so it was cause for celebration when a well-known chef opened Gerrie's, which I haven't visited yet! The word on the street is that their food is amazing."

History Mystery

This "bust without a bust" memorial to citizen Lucius Burrie Swift stands in our mystery park. Swift (1844-1929) was a lawyer and civil service reformer who fought political patronage. He lived in LaPorte, Ind., in the 1870s but moved to Indy in 1879 and was a propagandist during WWI. The bust was stolen long ago. Research courtesy Glory-June Greiff. Hoosier History Live photo.Sites featured in Indianapolis Then and Now, the visual history book on which our host Nelson Price collaborated with photographer Garry Chilluffo and photo historian Joan Hostetler, include one of the oldest parks in Indianapolis. Originally a harness racetrack, the land was purchased by the city of Indy during the 1870s, when the park was created.

The park became known for its conservatory, sunken gardens and amphitheater.

Question: What is the park?

The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call into the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months.

The prize pack includes two passes to GlowGolf, courtesy of GlowGolf, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

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

Joan Hostetler, Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, Dana Waddell, advisors


Lucas OilStory Inn

International Violin Competition of Indianapolis logo.

Indiana Historical Society logo.Fountain Square Theatre building logo.

Indiana Landmarks logo.

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Indiana Historical Society | International Violin Competition of Indianapolis | Lucas Oil | Story Inn | The Fountain Square Theatre Building

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgments to Monomedia, 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 and individual contributions. We do not receive any government funding. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially. Also, see our Twitter feed and our Facebook page for regular updates.

June 21 show

Flag of Indy, anthem, 'Indiana' movie and other symbolism

Did you know the city of Indianapolis has an official flag? You won't confuse it with the official state of Indiana flag, which has a torch and a burst of 19 stars symbolizing the Hoosier state as the 19th to enter the Union. Gold and dark blue are the predominant colors on the state flag, which is well-known.

The flag of the city of Indianapolis features a crossroads.  The obscure flag representing the Hoosier capital has a white cross and a lighter shade of blue, with a white star in the middle of a red circle. It was designed in 1962 by an 18-year-old freshman at the Herron School of Art, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star published in 2012 on the flag's 50th anniversary.

Our guest will be a beloved historian who occasionally wears a lapel pin depicting the Indy flag. George Geib, who retired last month after a long career as a distinguished professor of history at Butler University, will join Nelson in studio as we explore an array of symbols for the city of Indy and for the Hoosier state. Just like our host Nelson, Professor Geib is the author of books about various aspects of Indianapolis history.

During this month that includes Flag Day, Professor Geib and Nelson also will explore products created to tout the Hoosier state and its capital city in addition to the seldom-seen city flag. (If you want to catch the flag of Indianapolis in action - flapping in the summer breeze - visit the City-County Building. Along with the American flag, the city flag flies on a pole in the courtyard on the south side of the 28-story office tower that houses city offices, including, on the top floor, Mayor Greg Ballard's office.)

Paul Hadley, designer of Indiana's state flag, and Herron Art student Ralph Priest at flag. Image courtesy Mooresville Public Library.Professor Geib and Nelson also will share details about a silent movie, titled Indiana, produced in 1916 in connection with the celebration of the Centennial of Indiana's statehood.

By the way, the state flag also was an outgrowth of the Centennial. In 1916, the General Assembly, as part of the Centennial celebrations, called for the adoption of a state flag. The Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored a contest to select the winner. Mooresville artist Paul Hadley created the design that won among more than 200 entries.

The lapel pin (depicting the city of Indy flag) worn by our guest Professor Geib was given to him by former Mayor William Hudnut. In addition to writing books about aspects of the capital city, including Indianapolis: Hoosiers' Circle City (Continental Heritage Press) and Indianapolis First (Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce), Professor Geib has been named a Sagamore of the Wabash and has served on countless civic and historic boards, including the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

Learn more: Indiana state symbols.

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