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April 20, 2019

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard on historic preservation

Central High School in Evansville in 1973, before being razed to create a parking lot. Former Indiana Chief Justice Randy Shepard traces his interest in historic buildings to his teenage years during the 1960s, when he attended Central High. Courtesy Historic Evansville.

Among distinguished Hoosiers in public life, few have been associated with historic preservation more closely - or longer - than former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard.

Former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard.A trustee for 11 years for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a former board chair (and current honorary chair) of Indiana Landmarks, Justice Shepard grew up in Evansville. In an article about him in the March/April issue of Indiana Preservation, Justice Shepard traces his interest in historic buildings to his teenage years during the 1960s, when he marveled at historic architecture on his daily trip to Evansville Central High School, which was - and remains - among the oldest public high schools in continuous operation west of the Alleghenies. During the 1970s, the school moved to a new building, and Old Central was demolished to create a parking lot.

Justice Shepard, who was the longest-serving chief justice in Indiana history when he retired in 2012, will be Nelson's studio guest to discuss the role of historic preservation in building stronger communities across Indiana.

Currently a visiting professor at the IU McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, Justice Shepard also will share insights about Indiana's constitutional history, particularly on issues such as slavery and individual rights.

He also plans to discuss the ways that state history likely influenced young Abraham Lincoln, who lived in southern Indiana from ages 7 to 21 - the future president's "formative years," as Justice Shepard puts it. Lincoln moved to what is now Spencer County from Kentucky with his parents and sister in 1816, the same year Indiana became a state.

A seventh-generation Hoosier, Justice Shepard has held several national leadership posts in the legal profession, including serving as chairman of the Conference of Chief Justices. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University Law School. In the book Justices of the Supreme Court (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2010), he is praised for his "wisdom, plain English and independence."

According to the Indiana Preservation article, Justice Shepard's passion for preserving historic structures even had an impact on his family life. He met his wife, Ohio native Amy MacDonell, when she was visiting Evansville during National Historic Preservation Week.



Roadtrip: Donnell's Knoll in Johnson County

Guest Roadtripper Ken Marshall, educator and backroads Indiana "bon vivant," tells us about the history of Donnell's Knoll in Johnson County, located near the center point of the county at Centerline Road and Commerce Drive.

Donnell's Knoll, a natural landmark and meeting site, was used by the Lenape (Delaware) Native Americans as a campsite during their annual migration. The often swampy area was abundant with wild game and fish.

Early Johnson County pioneer George King later owned this area and originally earmarked it for the development of the town of Franklin. But a land swap with his brother-in-law, Simon Covert, who owned the land where Franklin College sits now, changed Franklin's location.  

In 1841, the knoll became the home of J.H. Donnell, a doctor who moved to the area from Greenwood.

Today, Donnell's Knoll looks over a sweeping vista of central Indiana farmland. Tune in to the Roadtrip report to hear Ken share more details about this bucolic slice of Indiana history.

History Mystery

Our mystery judge was the first woman to be appointed a federal judge in Indiana. Who is she? Courtesy US District Court, Indiana Southern District.

In 1984, the first woman to be a federal judge in Indiana was appointed. Although a native of Mishawaka in northern Indiana, she became a judge for the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana.

Since then, she has been a civic leader, chairing the boards of the Indiana Historical Society, Conner Prairie and other organizations. Along with our guest, former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard, she served on the Indiana Bicentennial Commission that oversaw celebrations and projects for the state's 200th birthday in 2016.

Question: Who is the first woman to serve as a federal judge in Indiana?

Hint: She discussed her trailblazing career on Hoosier History Live in 2014.

Please do not call in to the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months. You must be willing to give your first name to our engineer, you must answer the question correctly on the air and you must be willing to give your mailing address to our engineer so we can mail the prize pack to you. Prizes are two passes to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, and a gift certificate to Story Inn in Brown County, courtesy of Story Inn.

Please email if your business or organization would like to offer History Mystery prizes.


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April 27, 2019 - coming up

A tour guide's fun facts about Indy 500 and pageantry

Our guest Craig Reinhardt is the author of two books about the Indy 500 race and has worked as a tour guide at the Speedway track since 2014. He'll share his insider perspective when he joins host Nelson Price in studio on April 27. Courtesy

Book cover: The Indianapolis 500: Inside the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.Who is the only person to participate, as a musician at an Indiana high school, in the Spectacle of the Bands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then eventually compete as a race driver in the Indianapolis 500?

How did Purdue University begin their role as "host band" for the opening ceremonies at the racetrack - and how big is one of the band's most recognizable symbols, the "World's Largest Drum"?

And who has been the oldest winning driver in Indy 500 history?

The answers are among the fun facts about "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and its pageantry - including the 500 Festival Parade - that Nelson's studio guest will share during our show. A tour guide at the racetrack, James Craig Reinhardt (who is known as "Craig") retired from his job as a Tampa businessman to move to the town of Speedway and indulge his lifelong dream of being affiliated with the world-famous race.

Craig is the author of two new books, both published by IU Press: The Winning Cars of the Indianapolis 500 and The Indianapolis 500: Inside the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Purdue University All-American Marching Band serving as "host band" of the Indy 500. The "World's Largest Drum" is one of the band's most recognizable symbols.As he does in his books, Craig will explain the origins of the long-time "Gentlemen, start your engines!" command - and the controversy that unfolded when it was initially modified in 1977 as Janet Guthrie became the first woman driver to qualify for the race.

Craig says his interest in the Indy 500 was sparked during the early 1950s when his father took him to the race, which kicked off a string of more than a dozen such visits.

"I can still remember sleeping in our red and white Pontiac Star Chief on West 16th Street across from the main gate the night before a race," he says.

As a tour guide since 2014, he has kept notes about questions that the public frequently asks about the race and its storied venue, which led him to compile the answers in his two books.

According to The Winning Cars of the Indianapolis 500, the oldest champion driver since the first Indy 500 in 1911 was Al Unser Sr., who took the checkered flag in 1987 when he was 47 years and 360 days old.

According to The Indianapolis 500: Inside the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the only person to be both a Spectacle of the Bands musician and a race driver was Johnny Parsons, who drove 12 times in the Indy 500 between 1974 and 1996. Before his racing career, Parsons was a trumpet player in the marching band at Scecina Memorial High School and participated in the pre-race musical festivities. (History fact: Parsons is the son of Johnnie Parsons, who won the Indy 500 in 1950.

Speaking of bands: The Purdue University All-American Marching Band has been the "host band" since 1919, making this the 100th anniversary for the tradition.

© 2019 Hoosier History Live. All rights reserved.

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