Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website, newsletter, and social media. Its original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the show live Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET. It’s over the air in Central Indiana at WICR 88.7 fm, or you can stream at the WICR HD1 app on your phone.
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August 19, 2023
Richmond art: a historic colony, a museum and more
Roadtrip: Oakhurst home and gardens in Muncie
Guest Roadtripper Molly Beausir, Project POTUS fellow at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, recommends a visit to the Oakhurst Experience in Muncie. The historic home, Oakhurst, is the home of George Alexander and Frances Ball and their only child Elisabeth "Betty" Ball, and was in 1895 alongside the family homes of other Ball brothers. The historic homes along the White River are part of the Minnetrista campus, which means "a gathering place by the water".
The home has a distinct style, which includes a shingled roof, wood parquet floors, and high ceilings. Another unusual feature is the home’s hidden passageway in George's study which leads to the first floor of a 2-story screened in back porch. Here the family could look out on their expansive gardens!
Many touchstones of Elisabeth Ball's life as a young girl, and during her grown-up years as a botanist, are evident in the home and gardens.
Other fun facts: George's study contains hundreds of original books belonging to the family. At one point the family boasted collection of over 10,000 books, as well as the biggest children's book collection in the country.
Kids or kids at heart who visit Oakhurst today can sit and pick a book to read in the library, make a cup of tea or coffee, and sit on the screened porch. Visitors can also explore the formal, sunken, and rock gardens surrounding the house. And many native plants and wildflowers abound.
A 'dollhouse' which is the size of a small study out in the woods behind the home can still be seen, where Elisabeth spent time with her many dolls reading books and hosting tea parties with childhood friends.
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