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A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.

Show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis. Or install the WICR HD 1 app on your cell phone or computer and stream live from anywhere.

Check out our extensive list of searchable archived show newsletters and podcasts. You can also listen to recent shows by clicking the podcast links below:

Our August 27 show, "A history reenactor: pulling back the curtain"Click here to listen to the podcast

Our August 20 show, "Fireflies and Monarch butterflies: Are they vanishing?"Click here to listen to the podcast

September 03, 2022

Northwest Indiana: a return visit

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When the summer began in June, Hoosier History Live explored offbeat aspects of the corner of the state often called "The Region". Now that the season is drawing to a close, we will return to Northwest Indiana to delve into a wealth of other sites, existing and bygone, including some in Hammond, one of the largest cities in The Region.

Our spotlight will be on one of the tallest of the Indiana Dunes, which was the site of a near-tragedy in 2013; shipwrecks beneath Lake Michigan, and a beloved, bygone department store with a connection to a classic movie. In fact, we will salute another site (a quirky one) in Hammond that pays tribute to the city's link to "A Christmas Story" (1983), the movie based on the writings of Jean Shepherd, who grew up in the city.

Joseph PeteOnce again, our guide will be journalist Joseph Pete, a Hammond native who is the author of the new book "Secret Northwest Indiana", as well as "Lost Hammond". Joseph also is a reporter for the Times of Northwest Indiana, the largest newspaper in The Region.

The largest dune is Mount Baldy, which stands about 126 feet high near Michigan City. Once known as the "Moon Dune" (that, according to Joseph, was because of its "lack of vegetation"), Mount Baldy became the focus of national attention in 2013. As recounted in "Secret Northwest Indiana", a boy "was apparently swallowed down an 11-foot deep shaft". Fortunately, he survived and even marched as the guest of honor in a Fourth of July parade in Michigan City. Since the incident, non-guided tours at Mount Baldy have been prohibited, but the public can take a National Park Service tour guided by a ranger and visit an adjoining beach.

ShipwreckSpeaking of beaches: Joseph says scuba divers and snorkelers can see the remnants of shipwrecks underneath Lake Michigan. Wreckage salvaged from them also is displayed at the nature center at Indiana Dunes State Park. "Why does Lake Michigan have so many shipwrecks?" Joseph asks in "Secret Northwest Indiana". During our show, he will describe some of the reasons.

He also will describe a beloved landmark in Hammond that was torn down in 1993: Goldblatt's, a four-store department store that had served as the anchor for the city's downtown since the late 1920s. At Goldblatt's, which was known for its extravagant window displays, the character of Ralphie sees a Red Ryder BB gun during a memorable scene in "A Christmas Story". Goldblatt's (fictionalized as Higbee's in the movie, just as Hammond is called "Hohman") was part of a defunct Chicago-based chain and, as Joseph notes, "was long one of The Region's premier shopping destinations".

For nearly a century, one of the area's premiere restaurants, which drew diners from Chicago as well as travelers from Indianapolis and other Hoosier cities, was Phil Smidt & Son, a favorite for its perch and frog legs. Patronized by dozens of visiting celebrities, Phil Smidt & Son was founded in 1910. Enthusiasts were devastated when it closed in 2007.

Wolf Lake Ice Harvest

During our show, we also will highlight:

  • Wolf Lake, which is partly in Hammond and partly in Chicago. During the early 1900s, the lake was a major site for ice harvesting. According to our guest Joseph Pete, Wolf Lake also for more than 100 years has been a "dumping ground" for bodies of murder victims.

  • Yare CarA prototype for an electric car in the 1970s that was designed by a La Porte orthodontist. Called the Yare, the fiberglass car was fully electric and painted an eye-catching yellow. The Yare, which Joseph describes as "ahead of its time", is displayed at the La Porte Historical Society Museum in its collection of rare automobiles.

  • The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, which explores rail history in The Region. "The museum is filled with a wealth of history about railroads like the Monon, the Erie Lackawanna, Amtrak and the South Shore Line," Joseph says. "You can enter exhibit-stuffed train cars, including a Pullman Sleeper that carried troops off to World War II."

  • And a flagpole statue outside the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. The flagpole is being "licked" by a bronze sculpture of Flick, a character in "A Christmas Story". After being "triple dog dared", Flick sticks his tongue on a frozen flagpole during winter in "The Region". Joseph describes licking the frozen flagpole as "an instantly regrettable decision".

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We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • Florence and John Stanton
  • Aleta Hodge
  • Peggy Hollingsworth
  • Lorraine Phillips Vavul
  • Margaret Smith
  • Jane Hodge
  • Jeff Price
  • Joe Young
  • Sue and Craig Thomson
  • Richard Vonnegut
  • Jim Lindgren
  • Ken and Luan Marshall

Roadtrip: Quilt Gardens in Elkhart County

Double Windmill GardenGuest Roadtripper and community volunteer Kathleen Madinger Angelone of Irvington suggests a trip up north to see the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail in Elkhart County. Yes, you just download the app and follow the visual and audio instructions on your phone! This fascinating trail joins quilting, gardening, and art into a one-of-a-kind event and features more than a million vibrant blooms, 17 gigantic gardens, and 25 hand-painted, super-sized murals. Here’s a chance to wander the back roads and see the communities of Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, and Wakarusa.

Every quilt garden and quilt mural has its own intricate pattern. Many are original designs and each has its own story. And keep your pace slow; you’ll likely run into some Amish buggies along the road as well!

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Nelson Price, host and historian
Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Ryan DeRome, associate producer

Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Richard Sullivan, senior tech consultant
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Kathleen Madinger Angelone, Garry Chilluffo, consultants


Another Hoosier History Live endorsement from a Hoosier in California . .

"Hoosier History Live is a bright spot in my media constellation. I also frequently forward your weekly enewsletters to friends around the globe. I may now be a Californian, but my Hoosier interest is endless. The podcasts and streaming are good tools. By all means, persevere!"

Tom Cochrun, former news anchor, WTHR-TV Channel 13 Indianapolis

"... a compelling and engaging project..." 

"Molly Head and Nelson Price are Indiana-based visionaries who have created a compelling and engaging media project with Hoosier History Live. Podcasts, website, enewsletter, and live call-in radio show; it’s all there!"

- Keira Amstutz, President and CEO, Indiana Humanities

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Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgments to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, The Indiana Album, Monomedia, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Henri Pensis, Kielynn Tally, Genesis Brown, Leticia Vasselli, Heather McIntyre, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution at the yellow button on our newsletter or website. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in the show, contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org. Our media reach continues to grow via podcasting.

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