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April 21, 2018
Zionsville town history: encore presentation
So during this encore of a show originally broadcast Nov. 12, 2016, we explore the evolution of Main Street in Zionsville, where the 1950s was a pivotal era for creating a "colonial village" theme among the street's merchants. Also on the show, we dig deeper into the history of the Boone County town, which was founded during the early 1850s.
For this program in our rotating series about town and county histories across Indiana, Nelson's studio guests are Marianne Doyle, who lives in a Civil War-era home in Zionsville, and Lynne Brown Manning, a fourth-generation Zionsville resident who is president of the Zionsville Historical Society. Marianne had been the Boone County historian for 19 years when our show originally was broadcast; since then, she has retired from that position.
Lynne's grandmother founded the historical society. Her mother was executive director of the Greater Zionsville Chamber of Commerce for part of the era when the business revival - known as the "miracle on Main Street" movement - unfolded.
According to Marianne, the town's current population is around 28,000. The area primarily was farmland and wilderness prior to the mid-1800s, when promoters of a railroad between Indianapolis and Lafayette encouraged settlement.
Railroad promoters included William Zion, an early settler and business leader in Lebanon (he became the new town's namesake, even though he never lived in the village) and landowners Mary Hoover Cross and her husband, Elijah Cross. Zionsville became a stop for trains, with tracks initially located right on Main Street.
Prior to the railroad, the building of Michigan Road was a key factor in the evolution of Boone County and Zionsville. An early village along the Michigan Road in Boone County - known as Eagle Village - was the forerunner of Zionsville, Marianne says.
During our show, we explore the impact of the interurban rail system on Zionsville, as well as the bricking of Main Street in 1911.Our guests Lynne Manning and Marianne Doyle are the co-founders of the Zionsville Little Theatre Company. Lynne also is the drama club director for Zionsville West Middle School. Both of our guests have served as board members of the Maplelawn Farmstead in Zionsville.
April 28, 2018 - Upcoming
Even though Madam C.J. Walker died 99 years ago, developments continue to unfold with the legacy of the African-American entrepreneur, who was the first woman in the country to become a self-made millionaire. Some highlights:
To share details about these developments and others, A'Lelia, a journalist and historian, will be Nelson's studio guest. She grew up in Indianapolis, attended North Central High School and Harvard College and lives in the Washington D.C. area. For 30 years, A'Lelia was a network TV news executive and producer; she worked for NBC News and ABC News.
As she continues to research Madam Walker, A'Lelia says she turns up new insights about her ancestor, who was named Sarah Breedlove at her birth in Louisiana to parents who were former slaves. She was orphaned at age 7, married as a teenager and widowed at 20, with a young daughter to support. Before she achieved success as an entrepreneur, Madam Walker worked at a series of grueling jobs, including washerwoman.
A'Lelia has been a previous guest on Hoosier History Live, including a show in March 2014 about the history of the four-story Madame Walker Theatre Center, housed in a landmark triangular building at the corner of Indiana Avenue and West Street in downtown Indianapolis.
The $15.3 million renovation is expected to include improvements to both the exterior and interior, which features distinctive Egyptian and West African motifs.
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