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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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September 30, 2023

Historic architects and their work in Indiana

Some of their creations are gone, with parking lots or modern structures currently on the sites. But some of the distinctive work of historic Indiana architects still stands in the town of Madison, the city of Evansville and historic neighborhoods in Indianapolis including Herron-Morton Place and Woodruff Place.

The Indiana Album and various partners are creating an online resource with biographical information about Indiana's architects and the buildings they designed, which ranged from houses and churches to theaters, hotels and a basketball arena.

Some of the structures designed by Indiana's first prominent architect, Francis Costigan (1810-1865), are now museums in Madison, the scenic town on the Ohio River where he was based for much of his career. Other Costigan-designed houses are still private residences. So are homes designed by Indianapolis-based architect Louis H. Gibson (1854-1907), who wrote two books about house planning and design, including Convenient Houses (1889), a guide for people of modest means to build their homes.

To share insights about these early Indiana architects and others, Nelson will be joined in-studio by three guests:

  • Deedee Davis, visual resources specialist at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. She lives in the Herron-Morton neighborhood in a house designed by Gibson, who was trained as an architect at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and designed homes in Woodruff Place, the Old Northside and other neighborhoods before his death from a morphine overdose.

  • James DeGrazia, an architect and engineer who owns and is restoring a home designed by Costigan in Madison. James also is restoring a historic house in the west central Indiana town of Attica. In addition to talking about Costigan during our show, he will share insights about other Indiana architects including Henry Mursinna (1826-1909), who designed several historic structures in Evansville including a mansion that's now the Reitz Home Museum and Trinity United Methodist Church.

  • And Joan Hostetler, founding director of the Indiana Album, a photographic archivist and Indianapolis historian. She will discuss George V. Bedell (1861-1948), who designed churches, schools and theaters. They included Trinity Slovenian Catholic Church, St. Philip Neri Church and the Talbott Theater, all in Indianapolis.

The Indiana Album's project to create a database about Indiana architects and their works is seeking volunteers to help with research, data entry and other aspects; to participate, contact info@indianaalbum.com. On Hoosier History Live, we have explored architecture in Indiana during previous shows, including a program in 2014 with architectural historian William Selm, who described the designs of well-known structures such as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Union Station and the Columbia Club.

This time, we will spotlight a lot of residential architecture, although our guest James DeGrazia also plans to discuss the work of Diedrich Bohlen (1827-1890), who, in addition to designing houses in Indianapolis, was the architect for St. John Catholic Church, Roberts Park United Methodist Church and the chapel at Crown Hill Cemetery.

During our show, James also will discuss reasons why, in Indianapolis, there has been a "nearly complete loss of extravagant residential architecture" from before 1880. Our guest Deedee Davis notes that a "gorgeous" house designed by Gibson at 15th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis is now a parking lot for a CVS Pharmacy. Deedee discusses that house and others designed by Gibson in a presentation that's available to watch on YouTube named Convenient and Beautiful: The Architecture of Louis Gibson. During our show, Deedee also will share insights about Scottish-born architect John G. Thurtle (1859-1935), who designed the Gen. Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville. Lew Wallace, a general in the Civil War, was the author of the bestselling novel Ben-Hur; his study is toured by thousands of visitors annually.

Visitors to Madison likely have toured some of the structures designed by Costigan. They include two historic houses built in the 1840s: the Lanier Mansion, an Indiana State Historic Site, and the Shrewsbury-Windle Home, a mansion known for its dramatic spiral staircase. Costigan also may have designed St. Michael the Archangel Church, the Catholic church where he worshipped.

And the basketball arena that we will discuss? It's Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University, which was known as Butler Fieldhouse when it opened in 1927 as one of the country's largest basketball arenas.

Our guest Joan Hostetler will share insights about its architect, Fermor Spencer Cannon (1888-1973). Joan notes that Cannon designed the fieldhouse to seat 15,000 spectators at a time when Butler's enrollment was about 1,000.



"Fills a niche for the lover of Indiana history."

- Kathleen Madinger Angelone, retired bookstore owner

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Roadtrip: Howe in northeastern Indiana  

Guest Roadtripper Kathleen Madinger Angelone tells us that "located in northeastern LaGrange County, Howe is a lovely small town. In the middle of Indiana's 'Lake Country,' it offers small town charm and all the boating, fishing, swimming, snowmobiling, etc that a person could want. There is a marvelous and well stocked used bookstore that provides funds for the local humane society. Residents are very proud that Sojourner Truth spoke here.

Just outside the town is the 100 acre campus of the former Howe Military Academy. Founded in 1884 by John Badlam Howe, it was affiliated with the Episcopal Church and started out as a grammar school. In 1895, the grammar school converted to Howe Military Academy under the leadership of Rector J.H. McKenzie who had previously been at Culver Military School. From 1918-2019, the Academy boasted an award winning Junior ROTC program. The Academy created Company A for its new residential female students in 1988. In 2008, Howe was one of 28 remaining military schools in the U.S., down from a high of 125. Distinguished alumni include Thomas Parker, inventor of the Drumstick Ice Cream Cone, Gordon Wiles, director of the 'Rowan and Martin Laugh In' television show, and Thomas Petranoff, U.S, Olympian and former World Javelin record holder.

The school closed in 2019 and the campus was sold to the Nazarene Church for its Great Commission University in 2020."


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Podcast listening, and Hoosier History Live copyright policies

We still do a live radio show every Saturday from noon to one broadcasting on WICR 88.7, but more and more of our listeners are listening to our podcasts, which are basically audio copies of our live shows. Our website is www.hoosierhistorylive.org, and you can sign up at our website to get our free weekly newsletter.

At the top of our newsletter and website we put notice, and links, to our newly published podcasts. We also provide a link to ARCHIVES, which is a list of our past enewsletters and published podcasts.

If you have a preferred podcast provider like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you can use their search function to call up Hoosier History Live as well. Look for the yellow Hoosier History Live logo.

We copyrite our work, and we have a crew of very talented people putting it together. But we WANT you to share it! We believe that learning should be accessible to everyone! You are welcome to copy, link to, or forward any of our Hoosier History Live material. Just please do not edit it! Our underwriter logos and voiced credits are on our material; and these underwriters make our work possible. 


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.

  • Susan Life and Mark Ostendorf
  • Dave and Theresa Berghoff
  • Joseph B. Young III
  • Tom Cochrun
  • Norma Erickson
  • Marion Wolen
  • Jane Ammeson
  • Kathleen Angelone
  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan
  • Mark Ruschman
  • Robin Winston
  • Phil and Pam Brooks

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
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Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Maddie Fisher, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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