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.
Or listen live from anywhere at hoosierhistorylive.org!

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 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. The flag of the city of Indianapolis features a crossroads.  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.)

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. Paul Hadley, designer of Indiana's state flag, and Herron Art student Ralph Priest at flag. Image courtesy Mooresville Public Library.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 many civic and historic boards, including the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

Professor Geib has been investigating whether, as some sources claim, the city of Indy has an official anthem. He will share results of his research during our show.

As for Indiana, the silent movie made in 1916: Here is some of the footage featuring Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley surrounded by children on the lawn of the Lockerbie residence, now known as the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. (Watch here) James Whitcomb Riley with Children on Lockerbie Street

According to an Indianapolis Star story in 1916, the Indiana movie also included footage of a massive pageant held for several consecutive evenings at Riverside Park that celebrated the Centennial. The pageant and other details about the way the Centennial was celebrated - as well as plans for our upcoming Bicentennial in 2016 - were explored during a Hoosier History Live! show last year with James Madison, a professor emeritus of history at IU who is a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

President Woodrow Wilson, Gov. Samuel Ralston and Mayor Joseph E. Bell view the Indiana centennial parade from Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis in 1916. Photo research by Joan Hostetler, Heritage Photo. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.To give you a sampling of other film from the 1916 era, we are including this Indianapolis 1916 Ford newsreel footage featuring shots of Monument Circle, trolley cars going by, "Pearl Street, the Grand Canyon of Indianapolis," and other magnificent sights!

Also from that era, More Indianapolis 1916 features shots of Lockerbie street, James Whitcomb Riley with cigar, Centennial parade on Monument Circle with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Indiana Governor Samuel Ralston, 30,000 schoolchildren participating in a flag drill, the (now-gone) Emrichville Bridge over White River, scenes from Riverside Park, and much more!

With Professor Geib during Saturday's show, we also will explore a fascinating footnote to Indy's history known as "Hanna's Folly." In 1831, civic leader Robert Hanna launched a steamboat on the White River to prove that the waterway was so navigable that it could be a major trade route.

Problem was, the steamboat (named the Robert Hanna in his honor) ran aground on sand in the shallow White River and remained stranded for an extended period, becoming a laughingstock. Professor Geib will share details about the embarrassing incident in early Indy history.

Obviously, the ill-advised steamboat never became a symbol of the Hoosier capital.

The flag designed in 1962 that does symbolize Indy (even though many folks don't know about it) was created by Roger Gohl, a Herron freshman. According to the Indianapolis Star story, he entered the competition because he wanted the $50 offered to the winner by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

The flag's wide, white cross symbolizes Indy as the "Crossroads of America," the city's longtime slogan.

Learn more: Indiana state symbols.

Roadtrip: Roann, Ind.

The Roann Covered Bridge spans the Eel River. Photo by Jane Ammeson.Guest Roadtripper and freelance writer and photographer Jane Ammeson, who specializes in food, travel and personalities, tells us that "a former railroad town located on the Eel River in Wabash County, Roann (population 400), is hardly on anyone's list of places to go. But with a restored wooden covered bridge, grist mill built in 1855, the Paw Paw Township Carnegie Library (out of 238 such libraries, Roann's is the 214th smallest in size) and a generations-old family restaurant, Lynn's, in the downtown, Roann has kept its small town charm."

Jane Ammeson continues: "Historic homes and businesses in pristine shape, an original log cabin built in 1863 and a vibrant community heritage dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the town's cultural and architectural heritage resulted in the Roann Historic District officially being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Roann is definitely a bypassed gem."

History Mystery

Question mark.A few states have official state pies. The state pie of Florida is key lime pie. In Massachusetts, it's Boston cream pie. Apple pie is the official state pie of Vermont.

Since 2009, Indiana has had an official state pie. The world's largest maker of this kind of pie is located in far-eastern Indiana.

Question: What kind of pie is it?

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 a gift certificate to LePeep Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, 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.


Team behind the scene

Who makes this enewsletter, anyway?

Pretty much, three people make it. Nelson Price, Richard Sullivan and Molly Head. And it's a lot of work!

So ... you may be wondering: How can we support Hoosier History Live?

Antique on-air broadcast microphone.We continually need financial support, which helps to keep us on the air, on the web and in your in-box. Please click to donate!

Prefer to mail a check? Make the check out to "Hoosier History Live" and mail it to Hoosier History Live!, P.O. Box 44393, Indianapolis, IN 46244-0393.

We are not staff members of any organization; rather, we are a small, independent production group trying to keep Hoosier History Live! alive. We do like to keep an independent voice. Your money goes primarily to support those individuals who are working so hard on the project, as well as to help defray the costs of maintaining our website, our email marketing software and our audio editing costs.

If you believe in supporting local artists, writers, historians and performers, look no further!

https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gifFor questions about becoming an underwriting sponsor (the underwriter level includes logos on our website and newsletter and spoken credits in the live show), contact our producer, Molly Head, at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org, or (317) 927-9101.

Also, the Irvington Library Listening Group continues to meet on a regular basis from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to listen to and discuss the live show. If you think you would enjoy listening with fellow history lovers, just stop by the library at 5626 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis and ask for the listening group.

June 28 show

Passenger pigeons and other extinct or endangered birds

Passenger pigeons and Carolina parakeets are long gone from the Hoosier state - as well as everywhere else. A male passenger pigeon represents the now-extinct species in the Indiana State Museum’s collection. Courtesy Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Collection.In fact the last wild passenger pigeon was shot in the southeastern Indiana town of Laurel in 1902, according to one of our guests.

Not only will Hoosier History Live! explore species of birds that once existed in Indiana, we also will look at some of the 26 bird species considered endangered in the state. Whooping cranes and cerulean warblers are among them. Nelson will be joined by three guests:

  • Joel Greenberg, an Illinois-based author of the new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction. According to Joel, the passenger pigeon once was the most abundant bird in North America. Accounts by early settlers describe massive flights that darkened the sky, sometimes for days.
  • Don Gorney, director of bird conservation and education for Amos Butler Audubon. Not only does Don give popular bird-watching walks across central Indiana, he has been a popular guest on previous Hoosier History Live! shows.
  • And Damon Lowe, chief curator of science and technology at the Indiana State Museum. From Aug. 10-Dec. 21, the State Museum will host an exhibit about the history of the passenger pigeon; it will include a small display of male and female passenger pigeon specimens.

According to our guest Don Gorney, the Carolina parakeet was "the only parrot species native to the eastern United States." It was gone from Indiana by the mid-1800s. So was the ivory-billed woodpecker, which Don describes as "the largest woodpecker found in the U.S." Like the passenger pigeon, those two species are extinct.

Whooping cranes, although small in number and listed as federally endangered, regularly migrate through Indiana, Don reports. Other species listed as endangered in Indiana - in addition to the cerulean warbler (which Don describes as "a small, bluish warbler of hardwood forests") - include the piping plover.

"This pale, small shorebird no longer nests in Indiana," Don says, "but it does migrate through in small numbers."

According to our guest Joel Greenberg, this year marks the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Although the last wild bird was shot in 1902 in Indiana, the final passenger pigeon in captivity died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo.

"The story of the passenger pigeon," Joel writes, "is a cautionary tale that no matter how common something is - be it alive or something inanimate like fuel or water - we can cause its depletion if we are not careful in our use."

Learn more:

© 2014 Hoosier History Live! All rights reserved.

Hoosier History Live!
P.O. Box 44393
Indianapolis, IN 46244
(317) 927-9101