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History of Indiana women's prisons

(March 21, 2015) - When the Indiana Women's Prison opened in 1873, it was described as the first state-run women's prison facility in the entire country.

Even before that, though, privately run prisons for women - many of them known as Magdalene Laundries and overseen by orders of Catholic nuns - existed in the Hoosier state and elsewhere.

Women feed chickens at the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis, 1916. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.Even during Women's History Month, the heritage of prisons for women is rarely explored. But it is the focus of our show, and it currently is being researched by Hoosier women. They include inmates at the Indiana Women's Prison who have undertaken historic research for college-level classes.

Nelson's studio guests include Kelsey Kauffman, a Greencastle-based instructor who is the volunteer director of the higher education program at the Indiana Women's Prison. In addition to assisting the women in writing a history of their own prison, Kelsey has taught at various colleges, including DePauw University.

She is joined in studio by Steve McCauley, the superintendent of the Indiana Women's Prison, who has had a long career with the Department of Correction.

Nelson and his guests share insights about various historic "firsts" (including a camp that enabled visits by children of inmates) during the last 20 years at the Indiana Women's Prison. For more than 100 years, the prison was located at a site on Randolph Street on the near-eastside of Indianapolis. The women's prison was relocated in 2009 to its current site on the far-westside of Indy (the former site of the Indiana Girls School) because of the need for more space.

An unidentified woman holds her baby as a part of Wee Ones Nursery program at the Indiana Women’s Prison. Image courtesy Women’s Fund of Central Indiana.During our show, Nelson and his studio guests are joined by phone by Michelle Jones, an inmate at the women's prison who has been researching - and writing articles for academic and historical publications - about the evolution of punishment for women in Indiana.

A current snapshot of the state-run sites, according to DOC statistics:

  • At the Indianapolis site, a maximum/medium security facility, the daily prisoner population last year averaged 615 women.
  • In Rockville, a correctional facility established in 1970 has an average daily population of 1,225. But officials emphasized that figure is skewed because the Rockville Correctional Facility, in addition to being a medium-security facility, is an intake unit where all women in the prison system are taken for processing.
  • At a minimum security correctional facility in Madison, there are about 660 women. The Madison facility opened in 1989.

Before the Indiana Women's Prison opened in 1873, women felons had been detained at early state prisons that also housed male inmates, including one in Jeffersonville. After reports that male guards and others at the Jeffersonville facility were abusing women inmates, Quaker reformers - including Rhoda Coffin and Sarah J. Smith - crusaded for the creation of a separate correctional facility in Indiana for women.

Michelle Jones.Several Magdalene Laundries already had been established across the country, including one in Indianapolis. Although Magdalene Laundries were privately run (by Catholic organizations), they received women who had been convicted of crimes in county courts.

Steve McCauley.According to an article in the Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences co-written by our guest Michelle Jones, Magdalene Laundries primarily housed prisoners who were considered "fallen women." Rather than felons who had been convicted of violent crimes, the women had been convicted of sex-related crimes such as prostitution.

Historic research indicates the women were forced to perform "arduous physical labor," particularly scrubbing laundry amid grim conditions. The model was an initial Magdalene Laundry in Ireland that became infamous.

For all of the 20th century, the Indiana Women's Prison was located on a 15-acre site at Randolph Street. According to DOC spokesman Doug Garrison, portions of the buildings at the site are more than 100 years old. Since the move of the women’s prison in 2009, the Randolph Street site has housed low-risk male inmates transitioning to the work force.

Current programs at the women's prison include Wee Ones Nursery (WON), in which some inmates may keep their babies on a 24/7 basis in a specialized housing unit. Other programs include instruction from community volunteers in literacy and parenting.

Our guest Kelsey Kauffman, who has visited more than 80 prisons, is the author of Prison Officers and Their World (Harvard University Press, 1988). Our guest Michelle Jones has undertaken extensive historic research; during the show, Michelle explains how she was able to accomplish that while in prison.

Learn more:

History Mystery

An image from a vintage postcard shows the Academy Court at the mystery women’s college in Indiana.

The country's oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women is in Indiana. Its heritage dates to the 1840s, when a group of pioneer Catholic nuns came to the Indiana wilderness. Their leader established an academy for girls that became the liberal arts college for women.

Question: What is the Indiana college?

The call-in phone number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any prize from WICR during the past two months. Please do not call in to the show until Nelson has posed the question on the air.

The prize pack is two tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 25, courtesy of Story Inn, and a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum, and a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Camp Dellwood on Indy's west side

“The Lodge” at Camp Dellwood is pictured in the 1920s. This building was originally a sheep barn on the Pugh farm. The Scouts converted it to a lodge in the 1920s, adding windows and a massive fireplace. Image courtesy Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.Guest Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks tells us that just minutes west of busy downtown Indianapolis lies an oasis providing outdoor adventure to girls since 1926. Camp Dellwood is tucked into the woods along Girls School Road, where it offers a variety of experiences - from primitive camping to technology workshops.

The original Marion County Girl Scout camp, known as Camp Ada Boyd Holliday, was located at 75th Street and College Avenue beginning in 1922. It moved to the Girls School Road address when the Indiana School for the Blind constructed its new campus along College Avenue. Dorothy Dell Moffat, a Girl Scout and college student at the time, donated $30,000 to purchase land on the west side of Indianapolis from the Pugh family estate.

150 girls attended the first summer camp. The nearby Girls School provided drinking water for the campers. The girls swam in nearby Eagle Creek until Booth Tarkington led a campaign to build a swimming pool that opened in 1929.

Today, Camp Dellwood thrives year-round with camps and a Math & Science Center. The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana celebrate Camp Dellwood's 90th anniversary in 2016 and look forward to the construction of a new Leadership and Learning Center near the camp at 21st Street and Girls School Road. 

Landmarks across Indiana with Marsh Davis

Indiana Landmarks CEO Marsh Davis in the balcony of the Grand Hall, the former sanctuary at Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis.(March 7, 2015) - A former Greyhound bus station in Evansville. A historic German church in Cumberland with an unknown fate that's making headlines.

The long-ago City Hall of Indianapolis. And a bridge over the Wabash River near New Harmony that spans Indiana and Illinois - and is the focus of governmental squabbling over responsibility for the structure.

Those landmarks are on the "menu" as Nelson welcomes Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks, the statewide historic preservation organization, as his studio guest.

Some of the landmarks in our spotlight have been featured on past or present 10 Most Endangered lists that Landmarks compiles annually about historic structures across the state whose fates are in jeopardy.

With other landmarks, an ideal (or practical) use for them - including the majestic, 105-year-old building that served as City Hall in Indy until the 1960s - has been debated for years. This week, city leaders announced the Neo Classical building (at the corner of Alabama and Ohio streets) will become the lobby of a boutique hotel.

The fate of St. John United Church of Christ in Cumberland, Ind., also known as the “German Church,” remains uncertain. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Nelson seeks insights and reactions from Marsh Davis, a native Hoosier who has led Landmarks since 2006. For years before that, Marsh was a staff member at Landmarks - with an interlude as the leader of historic preservation in Galveston, Texas.

Some history nuggets about the various landmarks:

  • In Evansville, the Greyhound terminal opened in 1939 and is considered a rare survivor of the bus company's "blue period" in which the exterior matched the color of its buses. In 2007, Greyhound moved out of the terminal, which was designed with curved corners and parallel lines to imply speed and movement.
  • St. John's United Church of Christ in Cumberland - a town that straddles Marion and Hancock counties - was built on the National Road (Washington Street) in 1914. The German heritage congregation inspired the name for German Church Road, the cross street. News accounts have been describing the controversy involving the decaying church and its dwindling congregation, which has had various purchase offers for the structure. Historic preservationists have objected, noting potential purchasers would demolish it.
  • Harmony Way Bridge, which was built in the 1930s and leads from historic New Harmony to Illinois. It was declared unsafe and was shut down in 2012. Since then, various state and county commissions - as well as transportation officials - have declined to accept responsibility for the bridge.

Harmony Way Bridge spans the Wabash River between New Harmony, Ind., and Illinois. It closed in 2012 and since that time has been on the “10 Most Endangered Landmarks” list. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.The bridge is included on the current 10 Most Endangered list put together annually by Indiana Landmarks. The organization is headquartered in the former Central Avenue United Methodist Church in the historic Old Northside neighborhood of Indy.

During our show, Marsh Davis also will discuss the evolution of the historic preservation movement in Indiana, including the beginnings of Indiana Landmarks, the largest statewide preservation organization in the country.

Marsh has served on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He also took the photos for the popular book 99 Historic Homes of Indiana (IU Press, 2002).

Speaking of historic homes: Some in northwest Indiana were designed in the 192os, '30s and '40s by architect and inventor John Lloyd Wright, son of the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright. For many years, John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972) was based in Long Beach, a northern Indiana resort in LaPorte County.

It's where he designed houses and other structures, including the Long Beach Town Hall, which once was on the 10 Most Endangered List. So Marsh and Nelson discuss John Lloyd Wright's work during our show, as well as the Evansville bus station, New Harmony bridge and other landmarks.

Hoosier History Live history fact: For a show on March 30, 2013, we explored houses across Indiana designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. You can listen to audio of that show right from our website.

The Greyhound terminal in Evansville, Ind., opened in 1939 and is considered a rare survivor of the bus company's “blue period.” Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.

History Mystery

An 1881 patent drawing shows plumbing for a rotary jail.In an Indiana city, one of the best-known historic landmarks is an extremely unusual jail built in the early 1880s. The jail, the first of its kind in the country, was built with cells that revolve on a turntable. By rotating a hand crank on which the turntable pivoted, a jailer could bring one of the cells - shaped like slices of a pie - to the opening.

The rotary jail fell out of favor by 1930, though, for several reasons. Its revolving cell block was considered unsafe because prisoners could not be evacuated quickly in case of fire.

Closed long ago as the county jail, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 because of its unique design. Now a museum, it is considered the only operational rotary jail structure - with a cell block that still spins - in the entire country.

Question: Name the city or county in Indiana where the landmark is located.

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Friday's in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy, and a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum.

Roadtrip: That Ayres Look

In 1936 Ayres placed a clock on the outside of its department store at the corner of Meridian and Washington Streets in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

Guest Roadtripper Amy Lamb suggests you step into a world of business and fashion with the Indiana Historical Society's newest exhibit, You Are There: That Ayres Look, which will open March 14 as the latest addition to the Indiana Experience at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

L.S. Ayres and Company spent more than a century catering to the needs of Hoosiers - and capturing their hearts along the way.

Through augmented reality, original items, videos and other graphics, guests will enjoy a multifaceted illustration of the company, its people and its innovations. They can also interact with costumed actors representing historical real-life characters from 1959, such as owner Lyman Ayres II, Ayres Fashion Bureau director Elizabeth Patrick and Ayres model Bea Fatout.

Guests also will be able to listen to stories of several people connected to Ayres who are still alive today and have shared their experiences in their own words.

By the way, you can listen here to the podcast of the Hoosier History Live show about L.S. Ayres and Company that originally aired on Jan. 13, 2013.

Reflections of World War II veterans

Don Shady co-piloted a C-47 in Allied attacks on the Germans. He is pictured here in a black-and-white WWII photo wearing aviator garb.(Feb. 28, 2015) - At least once per year, Hoosier History Live tries to showcase the remembrances of Hoosiers who survived World War II.

This year, our focus will be on veterans from northeastern Indiana. Nelson's guests include a 93-year-old Army veteran from Fort Wayne who was involved in the Battle of the Bulge and a 90-year-old Bluffton veteran of the Army Air Corps who helped Polish people freed from a concentration camp.

Kayleen Reusser.Both veterans are profiled in World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans (Oak Creek Publishing), by Kayleen Reusser, an author based in Bluffton. Kayleen, who has interviewed more than 75 veterans of World War II, joins Nelson in studio.

So does Bob Foster of Fort Wayne, who was among the thousands of Allied troops who arrived in Normandy, France, in mid-June 1944 for the Battle of Cherbourg. Six months later, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, one of the war's most brutal conflicts.

Our guest Don Shady of Bluffton was a pre-med major at Indiana University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He co-piloted a C-47 in Allied attacks on Germans, then he was part of a rewarding event at war's end. His crew transported Polish prisoners of war - who had been liberated - back to their homeland from German-held territory.

Kayleen's book features the stories of veterans of the Marines and Navy, as well as the Army and Army Air Corps. A middle school librarian who has written 12 children's books, she profiles veterans from Wells, Allen, Adams, Huntington and Whitley counties in World War II Legacies.

Bob Foster.Referring to Bob Foster's arrival for the Battle of Cherbourg, she writes:

Don Shady shows a “short snorter,” which is military jargon for a string of paper money from all of the locales he visited while in service, taped together. Image courtesy Kayleen Reusser."He and other Allied troops disembarked from Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) by descending 20-foot ladders into cold water before scrambling toward shore. The troops' marksmanship skills were of little help as they became easy targets for German marksmen on shore."

Although Bob Foster survived that conflict, he was injured during the Battle of the Bulge, which unfolded in frigid temps; soldiers fought while sleeping in foxholes filled with snow.

Bob Foster also discusses his role in capturing German POWs. And Don Shady shares insights about the Siege of Bastogne, a battle between American and German forces in Belgium at Christmas time in 1944.

During our show, Kayleen talks about common themes among the Hoosier veterans, such as their youth when they were dispatched overseas. Many were just 18 or 19 years old.

"Someone who would have been in his early 20s," she notes, "might have been called the 'old man'."

Her book features an account by an Army Air Force veteran from Fort Wayne who had to evacuate his plane over occupied France. He was hidden for three months by farmers in the French Resistance movement.

During a show last year, we focused on insights from veterans featured in another book, World War II: Duty, Honor, Country (iUniverse). Our guests included Noblesville resident Merrill "Lefty" Huntzinger, a staff sergeant in the 2nd Infantry Division who landed on Omaha Beach a few weeks after D-Day.

Last August, about seven months after our show aired, Lefty passed away at age 90. Here is our enewsletter for that Jan. 11, 2014 show.

Bob Foster of Fort Wayne, Ind., participated in the invasion of Normandy. Image courtesy Kayleen Reusser.

Roadtrip: Lost Creek in Vigo County

Frank and Alice Maxwell (left) and Wiley and Eliza Edwards are pictured c. 1900. Descendants of these former slaves still live in Lost Creek Township, near Terre Haute, Indiana. Photograph courtesy Walter and Beulah Edwards and the Indiana Historical Society Photo description by Heritage Photo & Research Services. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Guest Roadtripper Dona Stokes-Lucas, genealogist and co-chair of Indiana Freedom Trails, says that Lost Creek in Vigo County near Terre Haute was one of the "crown jewels" of her further discovery of early African-American settlements in Indiana.

Dona tells us that Vigo County was formed in 1818, and by the 1820 census there were already 26 free blacks living in the county. The population of free blacks in the county continued to rise; 425 in 1840, 748 in 1850, 706 in 1860 (a slight decrease) and 1,099 in 1870. In 1850, there were 41 black landowners, whose real estate was collectively valued at $37,850.

An AME church was established by 1840 in Lost Creek, and a Baptist church was organized by 1850, an organization that still holds services today.

Two of the African-American cemeteries remain in Lost Creek: Roberts and Stewart Lawn. Descendants of these black pioneers still live on the same land, some for more than 150 years.

Lost Creek Settlement descendants Dorothy Ross and daughter Dee Reed live on a homestead there that has been recognized by the state as a "Hoosier Heritage Farm," and they maintain an impressive archive and records of their family history. They also helped to organize the Lost Creek Community Grove Restoration and Preservation Foundation.

Dona was one of several researchers participating in the Early Black Settlements initiative, which has documented 61 early farming communities in 43 counties in Indiana. Some of the better-known communities are Lyles Station in Gibson County and Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County.

You can click on this interactive map to learn about early black settlements in your county. The Early Black Settlements initiative was funded by Lilly Endowment.

History Mystery

A Canadian LST off-loads an M4 Sherman tank during the Allied invasion of Sicily, 1943. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

One of the few remaining World War II battleships called LSTs - for Landing Ship, Tank - has been docked at an Indiana city in recent years. LSTs were designed to land tanks, soldiers and supplies directly onto enemy beaches so they were instantly ready for battle.

The LST docked at the Hoosier city participated in several operations, including D-Day at Omaha Beach. One of only two of the naval landing ships from the war to be preserved in this country, the LST at the Indiana city is a museum and memorial for those who served aboard them.

Question: At what Indiana city is the LST docked?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Story Inn in Brown County, courtesy of Story Inn, and a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum.

Civil War and African Americans in Indiana

Lucy Higgs Nichols (center) is surrounded by Civil War veterans from the Indiana 23rd. Image courtesy Carnegie Center for Art & History, New Albany, Ind.

(Feb. 21, 2015) - During the final years of the Civil War, African Americans from Indiana fought in a regiment called the 28th U.S. Colored Troops. Earlier during the war - before that regiment was organized - blacks from Indiana joined fighting units from other states, including a legendary infantry from Massachusetts depicted in the movie Glory (1989).

As Hoosier History Live salutes Black History Month, we explore a range of aspects related to the Civil War, including life for African-American families who remained on the home front in Indiana. Maxine Brown.In Putnam County, a black man who enlisted in the 28th Regiment may have been intentionally poisoned before he could serve in combat, according to research by one of our guests.

Nicole Etcheson.Nicole Etcheson, a Ball State University history professor, became intrigued by the life of Robert Townsend, who may have purchased a poisoned pie when the 28th Regiment was being mustered in Indianapolis. Nicole says she researched Townsend after discovering he was the only African American in Putnam County with a tombstone from the 1800s.

In addition to Nicole, Nelson is joined by historic preservationist Maxine Brown of Corydon. As she reported in a Roadtrip during a show last month, Maxine has been coordinating the renovation of a historic house built by a Civil War veteran wounded in the Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Battle of Crater.

The veteran, Leonard Carter (1845-1905), was born in Floyd's Knobs, but he settled in Corydon with his wife after the war. The small bungalow that he built for his family - known as the Carter House - was built circa 1891.

Maxine also shares insights about a former slave, Lucy Higgs Nichols, who served as a nurse for the Union Army. An 1863 poster recruits “men of African descent” for the 54th Massachusetts (Colored) Infantry. Image courtesy National Park Service.After the war, the Grand Army of the Republic admitted Lucy Higgs Nichols, a Tennessee native who lived in New Albany, as their only honorary female member in the country.

According to some accounts, more than 1,500 black men from Indiana fought in the Civil War. That happened even though the 28th Regiment wasn't formed until 1864 because some Hoosiers persisted with objections to black soldiers.

Earlier in the war, African Americans who wanted to fight for the Union cause had to enlist in other state's regiments, including the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Glory, the movie starring Denzel Washington that focused on that unit, won three Academy Awards. Historians say the valiant efforts of the 54th infantry - particularly during the Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina - made other Northern states realize they had neglected a great source of soldiers by not recruiting African-American men.

Even so, obstacles remained.

According to our guest Nicole Etcheson, several reports during the Civil War in Indiana described the sales of poisoned food to black troops. Robert Townsend, who lived near Putnamville, had purchased a pie from a peddler before falling violently ill and eventually passing away in 1865. His pension records link the illness to the pie, Nicole says.

Although Lucy Higgs Nichols, the nurse, eventually was granted a pension, she is said to have died penniless in 1915. In New Albany, the Carnegie Center for Art and History has a permanent exhibit about her; a historic marker in New Albany also honors Lucy Higgs Nichols.

During our show, our guest Nicole Etcheson discusses the treatment of African-American veterans after the Civil War. She is the author of A Generation at War: The Civil War in a Northern Community (University of Kansas Press, 2011).

Our guest Maxine Brown has won praise for her preservation work with African-American landmarks in southern Indiana. They include the Leora Brown School, a cultural center housed in a restored school - once known as the Corydon Colored School - where, before desegregation, generations of African-American children were educated.

The Carter House, which was saved from demolition, is being moved to a site near the Leora Brown School.

Roadtrip: Exotic Feline Rescue Center

"This week's Roadtrip is really off the beaten path," says guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson. "It's the Exotic Feline Rescue Center south of the tiny town of Center Point."

If you take the historic Old National Road (U.S. 40) west from Indianapolis, you'll run into the Oasis Diner just outside of Plainfield. This diner has just been reopened after being moved west from its previous location.

The Oasis Diner is near Plainfield, Ind., on U.S. 40."I can highly recommend the Oasis for both its history and its food," says Eric. Originally built and shipped to Indiana from New Jersey, this diner has been lovingly restored.

If the wait is too long at the Oasis, then you may want to continue west on U.S. 40 to the Harmony Diner in, yes, the small town of Harmony. Then, to get to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, turn south on Harmony Road. It eventually passes over I-70 and becomes Barnett Street and finally County Road 200 East. But stick with it!

Once you pass through the very tiny town of Center Point, watch for the sign for the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, where you will turn east and arrive.

This is a fabulous place, especially if you like big cats. You'll see tigers, panthers, leopards, bobcats, and lions. These animals have been rescued from abusive owners and other horrible situations, but they're given separate pens, which are huge, so they can live out the rest of their lives in peace.

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is truly a rescue center, not a zoo, but they welcome visitors.

"If you're lucky," says Eric, "all the lions will roar in competition with any Harley-Davidson motorcycle that comes by."

You also can hear Eric "Dr. Film" Grayson at an upcoming Vintage Movie Night at Garfield Park in Indianapolis.

History Mystery

A box of Madam C.J. Walker's Vegetable Shampoo - A splendid food for dandruff and sore spots for scalp and skin, price 50 cents. Madame C.J. Walker became America’s first African-American woman millionaire by selling hair-care and beauty products.Two years after the Civil War, Madam Walker was born in Louisiana. Her parents had been slaves on a cotton plantation there.

The future hair-care entrepreneur may have become the country's first African-American millionaire after she moved in 1910 to Indianapolis and built her factory that made hair-care products. But her name was not Madam Walker when she was born in 1867.

Question: What was her birth name?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Bee Coffee Roasters Cafe, a pair of tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum and a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Victorian mourning and the Lincoln funeral train

A map shows the route of the funeral train that carried Abraham Lincoln’s body.

(Feb. 14, 2015) - The spring will mark the 150th anniversary of the funeral that became the largest in the country's history until then - and the Abraham Lincoln funeral train came through the Hoosier state.

Abraham Lincoln.Hoosier History Live will pay tribute to the anniversary with a show about the Lincoln funeral cortege - the assassinated president's body lay in state at the Indiana State Capitol in April 1865 - as well as Victorian-era mourning customs.

In the Civil War era, most Americans were comfortable but not wealthy. Buying a fine dress for a single occasion could be seen as irresponsible. Mary Margaret Abernathy of Indiana’s Union County wore this silk taffeta dress at her April 1855 wedding while mourning her recently deceased mother. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.Artifacts related to Victorian mourning are included in an exhibit that opened this month at the Indiana State Museum titled "So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss." The exhibit features dozens of artifacts related to the Civil War and Lincoln, including a Confederate artillery shell that hit troops commanded by Col. Eli Lilly and the last portrait painted of Lincoln (1807-1865) from life.

En route on a 20-day journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Ill., the Lincoln funeral train had three significant stops in the Hoosier state:

  • Richmond, where church bells rang simultaneously and Gov. Oliver P. Morton boarded the train.
  • Indianapolis, where despite a rainfall so heavy it was described as "torrential," a crowd of Hoosiers estimated as high as 50,000 - more than the entire population of the Hoosier capital then - paid respects at the Statehouse rotunda.
  • And Michigan City, where problems on the railroad tracks necessitated an unplanned stop as the train was bound for Chicago. As at other stops, a funeral service - an impromptu one, in this case - was held for Lincoln.

Our previous shows about Abraham Lincoln have focused on earlier eras because the 16th president spent so much of his young life - from ages 7 to 21 - as a Hoosier.

Al Hunter.Guests on a show last February about young Abe's relationships with his parents included Dale Ogden, chief curator of cultural history at the State Museum. Dale, an expert on Lincoln's years in Indiana, will join Nelson in studio for this show as well.

Another guest will be Al Hunter, a history columnist for The Weekly View, a community newspaper that serves the Eastside of Indy. Al has written two books about the historic National Road in Indiana. He has been working on a book about the entire journey of the Lincoln funeral train, with a particular focus on the trip's final portion from western Ohio, across Indiana, and to its final destination.

Dale Ogden.According to Al, so many people dropped buttons, keys and other personal remembrances into the open casket at each stop that the president's coffin continually had to be "swept," or cleaned of memorabilia.

Because Lincoln was shot on Good Friday (and died the next day), his passing during Easter weekend "became almost a religious experience" for residents of Northern states like Indiana, Dale Ogden says.

He notes that, because the telegraph was a relatively new invention in 1865, the assassination also became "the first national event the country experienced simultaneously." In earlier eras, news traveled slowly by letter or word of mouth.

During our show, Dale also will share insights about the approach to death and mourning during the Victorian era. Most funerals were held at home in a greeting room (hence, the origin of the term "funeral parlor"); socio-economic classes handled mourning in different ways.

The state museum's exhibit includes the funeral wardrobe of a family from Corydon, as well as a child's coffin, circa 1870, from Noble County. The average life expectancy during the era was 45 years old, a statistic skewed by so many deaths of children and infants.

During our show, Dale will talk about what has been called the "unprecedented carnage" of the Civil War. By the end of the war, more than 25,000 Hoosiers had been killed in battle or died of diseases that quickly spread in the soldiers' camps.

The Lincoln funeral train passed through Lewisville, east of Indianapolis, on the Old National Road on April 30, 1865. Image provided by Al Hunter."The carnage of the Civil War is almost impossible to overstate," Dale Ogden says.

With Lincoln's death soon after the war ended, the president also, Dale notes, was regarded as a "martyr." To enable as many Americans as possible to pay their respects, the funeral train took a circuitous route from Washington, D.C.

In the eastern half of Indiana, the funeral train ran on tracks that nearly paralleled the Old National Road. So, in addition to Richmond, the train passed through Centerville, Cambridge City and other towns before stopping in Indianapolis, where the slain president's coffin was transferred to a hearse drawn by four white horses. Led by Gov. Morton, a procession formed to accompany the hearse to the Statehouse.

According to our guest Al Hunter, mourners included residents of Philadelphia and dozens of other cities who flocked to Indianapolis because their hometowns were not on the train's route. The heavy rainfall meant that some outdoor events - including a speech by Gov. Morton, a fierce ally of Lincoln and supporter of the Union cause - were canceled or shifted indoors.

On April 30, 1865, public viewing at the Indiana State Capitol began at 8 a.m. It continued until 10 p.m.

Learn more:

Due to the heavy rain on April 30, 1865, historians believe this photograph of Lincoln's Indianapolis hearse was restaged in the following days. Here it is posed at the corner of West Washington and North Illinois streets in front of the Commercial Block (later the site of the Lincoln Hotel), with the Palmer House, a prominent hotel, in the background. Another casket (with only three handles per side rather than the documented four) was placed in the ornate hearse pulled by eight white horses draped with black velvet blankets. Six of these horses had pulled a carriage that escorted Lincoln four years earlier as he campaigned in Indianapolis. Image research by Heritage Photo and Research Services.

Roadtrip: Pogue's Run in Indianapolis

Guest Roadtripper Jim Lingenfelter of Five2Five Design Studio suggests we explore the stream Pogue's Run, which he describes as "a dubious historic remnant that flows through several historic neighborhoods and ends underground through downtown and into the White River."

Pogue's Run has been called a source of pestilence, a major pathway for early settlers, an impediment to growth of the city and a location for two major urban art installations.

Pogue’s Run Art and Nature Park, on the eastside of Indianapolis, includes basins that hold storm water when needed. Image courtesy indianatrails.com.Starting near Brightwood on the near east side, Pogue's Run flows through Brookside and Spades Parks, Windsor Park and Cottage Home neighborhoods, Tech High School and the Legacy Center before going underground near the Holy Cross neighborhood.

Prior to the arrival of early white settlers George Pogue and John Wesley McCormick, Indians and wildlife would often follow Pogue's Run as a pathway. Pogue (c.1763-1821) was a blacksmith from Connersville, Ind., and in 1819 he blazed a trail that corresponds with the present-day Brookville Road. The creek became known as Pogue's Run after Pogue mysteriously disappeared from Indianapolis in April 1821; his body was never found.

When Indianapolis was laid out, only Pogue's Run running diagonally across the southeast portion of the "Mile Square" disturbed the orderliness of the grid pattern. Alexander Ralston had to make compromises due to the stream's location within the congressional donation lands given for the future Indianapolis. Before the state government could be moved to Indianapolis from Corydon, $50 was spent to rid swampy Pogue's Run of the mosquitoes that made it a "source of pestilence."

In the so-called Battle of Pogue's Run on May 20, 1863, during the American Civil War, several Democrats leaving the state party convention on the railroad running parallel to Pogue's Run threw various firearms and knives into the creek because Union troops were looking for contraband weapons. Two decades later, in 1882, the Run flooded, killing at least ten people.

The Pogue's Run Art & Nature Park can be seen south of I-70 on the east side of Indianapolis; it's a 43-acre refuge for wildlife and art. Best to get off the interstate and just go explore the trails! 

History Mystery

Abraham Lincoln was the first person to lie in state at the Indiana Statehouse. The second person, a Hoosier who achieved national fame, died in 1916. According to several accounts, more than 35,000 people filed past his casket at the Statehouse.

Question: Who was the famous Hoosier?

The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call in to the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air. Please also do not call in to the show if you have won any prize from WICR in the last two months.

The prize pack is a pair of tickets to the Indiana Repertory Theatre and two passes to the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Bart Peterson, former Indy mayor

(Feb. 7, 2015) - In 1999, Bart Peterson made history as the first Democrat to be elected mayor of Indianapolis since the 1970 merger, known as Unigov, of most aspects of city and Marion County government.

He served eight years as the top elected official in the Hoosier capital until he was defeated in a major upset in 2007 by previously little-known Greg Ballard.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson at lectern, 2006. Image courtesy Wikipedia.Now, as the race to succeed Mayor Ballard heats up, former Mayor Peterson, 56, is Nelson's studio guest for a "modern city history" show as we explore his life before, during and after his stint on the top floor of the City-County Building.

Since 2009, he has been the senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications for Eli Lilly and Company, the pharmaceutical giant. (History fact: His job at Lilly once was held by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.)

A lifelong resident of Indy, where his late father, Howard Peterson, was a prominent developer of the Castleton area, the future mayor graduated from North Central High School in 1976. He also is a graduate of Purdue University and the University of Michigan Law School. As a law school student, he suffered major injuries as a pedestrian in a horrific traffic accident.

Before winning election as mayor, Bart Peterson's jobs included serving as chief of staff for then-Gov. Evan Bayh.

Does he ever foresee running for public office again?

That's one of the questions Nelson plans poses to the former mayor, who is the latest in a series of former and current mayors of Hoosier cities to be guests on Hoosier History Live. They have included Indy's current mayor, Greg Ballard, as well as Bill Hudnut, the former four-term mayor of Indy.

Others have been Chris McBarnes of Frankfort, who became the youngest mayor of an Indiana city when he won election at age 23 in 2011; Dan Wright, the current mayor of Vernon, the state's only elected mayor of a town (rather than a city), and Wayne Seybold, who has been mayor of Marion since 2003.

During former Mayor Peterson's two terms in office, he was known as an advocate for making Indy a destination for arts and culture. His defeat for a third term has been blamed in part on voter frustration with property tax increases.

Former Indianapolis Bart Peterson (right) speaks at a 2011 forum at the University of Indianapolis, as fellow ex-mayors William Hudnut and Steve Goldsmith listen. Image courtesy University of Indianapolis.Two years ago, former Mayor Peterson and his wife, Amy Minick Peterson, moved into the historic Lockerbie neighborhood in downtown Indy. The couple met when he was in law school; the Petersons have a daughter, Meg, who is in her 20s.

Bart Peterson's job with Lilly has involved extensive travel, most recently to Hong Kong and Europe. When Lilly, one of the world's largest drug makers, announced his appointment, The Indianapolis Star reported he would oversee about 440 people, including lobbyists and communications specialists, as well as manage an annual budget of about $200 million.

Before being hired by Lilly - and following his defeat for a third term as Indy's mayor - he was a resident fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He also is a former trustee at the University of Indianapolis, which houses the Mayoral Archives. It's a collection of documents, photos, recordings and artifacts from the administrations of mayors ever since Richard Lugar took office in 1968.

As mayor, Bart Peterson oversaw the establishment of charter schools and emphasized initiatives with Bio Crossroads, which markets central Indiana to life-science businesses.

Following voter protests over rising property taxes, Greg Ballard defeated him (51 percent to 47 percent) in an outcome that has been described as one of the "biggest upsets in Indianapolis history."

Some history facts:

  • In addition to being a major developer of the Castleton area in the 1960s and '70s, Howard Peterson was a racehorse breeder. Twice named "Indiana Horseman of the Year," he was 84 when he died last August.
  • According to several accounts, Howard Peterson, a Wisconsin native, had just $20 in his pocket when he roared into Indy on a motorcycle at age 19 to attend the Indianapolis 500. A former bricklayer, Howard Peterson was described as the embodiment of a "rags to riches story" by The Indianapolis Star in 2003.
  • During his years as Indy's mayor, Bart Peterson served as president of the National League of Cities in 2006-07.
  • Also during his term in office, Bart Peterson appeared as a guest on an NBC talk show hosted by one of Indy's most famous natives: The Late Show with David Letterman.

Roadtrip: Indy jazz, Pookie Johnson and more

Patrons line up to get into the Sunset Terrace club on Indiana Avenue in this photo from the early 1950s in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

The African-American jazz scene along Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis represents one of the richest parts of our state's heritage. It's time to celebrate Black History, and Katie Keesling of the Indiana Historical Society suggests that we head to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis for some of its upcoming black heritage programs.

On February 12, IHS will host I Heart Indy Jazz!, an evening of history, storytelling and music celebrating the late Indianapolis great Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson. The program starts at 6 p.m at the Stardust Terrace Cafe, and two of Pookie Johnson's sons will perform and reminisce about their father and other Indianapolis legends.

On Feb. 14, guests at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center can explore Indiana jazz from noon to 4 p.m. - listen to jazz renditions of Cole Porter songs, see Deborah Asante perform Rollin' Down the Avenue at 2 p.m. and participate in other family activities. Guests also can catch a screening of Chris Rock's documentary, Good Hair on the evening of Feb. 19 at the History Center. Advance registration is encouraged for the Feb. 12 and Feb. 19 events. To register, visit www.indianahistory.org.

History Mystery

Not only was future Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson a member of North Central High School's Class of '76, so was a talented musician. The classmate went on to become an enormously successful pop singer, songwriter and producer.

North Central High School exterior sign.A winner of 10 Grammy Awards, he has turned out nearly two dozen No. 1 hits since 1987. In addition to his hits as a singer, the native Hoosier has created hits - as a songwriter or producer - for such stars as Madonna and the late Whitney Houston.

In 2007, when the North Central alum was named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society, his high school classmate, Bart Peterson, presented him with the award.

Question: Who is he?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to the Rathskeller restaurant in downtown Indianapolis and two passes to Comedysportz, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Guinness World Records and Hoosiers

David Fisher’s Guinness World Records certificate for the most “rump jumps” in one minute. Image courtesy David Fisher.

(Jan. 31, 2015) - During Super Bowl weekend, Hoosier History Live focuses on history-making achievements in offbeat athletic endeavors - as well as a buffet of other kinds of world records.

That's because our focus is on Indiana people and places associated with Guinness World Records.

Indiana's Tamika Catchings holds the Guinness World Record for the most free throws (more than 1,709) and the most steals (more than 930) during a career in the WNBA. Image courtesy WNBA.There are more of these connections than you might assume, in part because the famous Guinness Book of World Records has a long track record; it's celebrating the 60th anniversary of its annual editions. In addition, the records chronicled in the books - which rotate listings every year - draw on a massive international database at Guinness that stretches back a century or more.

Nelson is joined in studio by two Hoosiers who have set Guinness records. We also explore world records that have involved the Indiana State Fair, Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis 500 and Tamika Catchings, the star player for the Indiana Fever.

Our guests are:

  • David Fisher of Westfield, who has carved out a career as an expert about the benefits - and techniques - of various forms of rope jumping. Known as the "rope warrior" and the author of Cool Jump Rope Tricks You Can Do, David set a world record for the most "rump jumps," a type of rope jumping in which both the push-off and landing occur only on the participant's, ahem, rear end.
  • And Kevin Silva of Indianapolis, proud owner of the world's largest collection of Batman memorabilia. Thanks to his massive collection of more than 2,501 pieces (ranging from lunch boxes, posters and neon signs to cowls), Kevin has been featured in national news media, as well as in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records. Kevin Silva.An interview with him is included in the newly released Blu-Ray boxed set of the Batman TV series from the mid-1960s.

A London-based crew from Guinness came to Kevin's house last October to photograph his collection, which consumes his basement.

"They told me the Guinness database has 60,000 verified world records, and only about 3,300 to 3,500 are selected to be included in each year's edition," Kevin says.

By the way, "Batman collector" isn't his vocation. He's a songwriter, guitarist and the owner of Uncle Albert's, an amplifier repair business.

David, the rope warrior, has been featured in national media, including Good Morning, America and The Today Show. In Indiana, he has appeared at events with popular Tamika Catchings, who holds the world record for the most free throws (more than 1,709) during a career in the WNBA. She also holds the world record for the most steals (more than 930) during a WNBA career, according to an account in The Indianapolis Star.

The rump-jumping record, which David achieved on the set of a Los Angeles-based TV show in 1998, involved 56 consecutive revolutions.

David Fisher of Westfield, Ind., holds a Guinness World Record for “rump-jumping.” Image courtesy David Fisher.During our show, we also explore two Guinness World Records that have involved the Children's Museum. Leslie Olsen, the museum's media manager, phones in to share details about a record set last October when 250 preschool students gathered at the museum for a vocabulary lesson. Organized by PNC Financial Services, the Hoosier preschoolers were among 4,000 children in 37 cities who set a record for simultaneous participants in such a lesson.

The other Guinness record related to the Children's Museum involves Leonardo, the mummified dinosaur that is exhibited. Unearthed in Montana in 2002, Leonardo is cited by Guinness as the "most complete dinosaur fossil" ever discovered.

Franklin County in southeastern Indiana also is credited with a Guinness record. According to Pam Beneker, Franklin County's recorder, the county set a world record "for the largest serving of fried chicken - 1,645 pounds - during the Franklin County Bicentennial." The feast was in July 2010.

Pam also reports that Grannie's Cookie Jar and Ice Cream Parlor in Metamora set a Guinness record for the most cookie jars on display.

Speaking of food: Remember the world's largest popcorn ball that was exhibited during the "Year of Popcorn" in 2013 at the Indiana State Fair? It set a Guinness World Record by weighing 6,510 pounds.

A signed poster featuring Batman TV show stars Burt Ward and Adam West is among the items in Kevin Silva’s collection. Image courtesy Kevin Silva.Fun fact: The 2013 edition of the Guinness book lists a distinction from 1952 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At age 22, Troy Ruttman became the youngest winner in Indy 500 history.

Back to David Fisher, the rump jumper and our guest; he performs rope-jumping tricks and techniques at school assemblies across the country and even at international sporting events and parades. They have included the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia (spectators included Boris Yeltsin) and presidential inaugural parades for Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Our guest Kevin Silva, 53, also has enjoyed international exposure; his vast Batman collection was featured in an article and photos in The Daily Mail of London, for example. The collection is displayed in Kevin's personal "Batcave," the basement of his house. Memorabilia include rare comic books and props from the TV series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward, who have signed some of the collectibles. As a 5-year-old kindergartener, Kevin was given his first item, a Batman lunchbox.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Zionsville's trains, trolleys and Main Street bricks

Why are the bricks in the middle of Main Street in Zionsville a different color? Bonnie Carter, a longtime Zionsville resident and history enthusiast, will explain. Trains and trolleys played a major role in the town, which was platted in 1852.

Zionsville, IN, brick street with two colors of brick. Image courtesy City of Zionsville.Zionsville's trains were vital communication links and the major reason for Zionsville's growth. On Feb. 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln's train from Springfield, Ill., stopped in Zionsville for him to speak about his coming presidency, and this area is now Lincoln Park on First Street.

By 1902, Zionsville was ready for faster and more frequent transport to Indianapolis and many other Hoosier towns. The Indianapolis, Lebanon & Frankfort Traction Co. closed the deal to construct a trolley line using heavy wooden "combine" cars in the center of Main Street.

Area resident Thelma Shelburne Dye remembered riding first to school in Zionsville, to her doctor in Indianapolis and eventually to Purdue in nice, comfortable, reliable cars. By 1930, automobiles and buses were faster and reasonably priced so that trolley travel became obsolete. The electric trolleys were abandoned.

In 1911, bricks were first laid on Main Street after much controversy over the costs. When the bricks needed to be replaced, there were not enough available in the country to match the more than 90-year-old pavers. The solution was to use similar but different color bricks in the center to represent the old trolley tracks.

Credits to Ralph & Jan Stacey, Remembering Zionsville (2009) by Joan Lyons and History of Boone County, Indiana by Boone County Historical Society & Friends (1984) for stories and information.

Learn more:

Note: If you are an interurban buff, you will enjoy these videos. Courtesy Pictorial Indiana.  

History Mystery

Ripley's Believe It or Not drew national attention beginning in the 1930s to an Indiana town. Question mark.The newspaper feature created by cartoonist Robert Ripley focused on the town because it has the name of a folk character.

In one cartoon, Ripley identified the town as having the only post office in the entire country with the folk character's name. As a result, the Indiana town received a surge of letters from around the world; it continues to receive thousands of them every year, particularly during a certain month.

In tribute to the interest generated by the publicity from Ripley that began more than 80 years ago, the town paid tribute to Ripley's Believe It or Not in 2010.

Question: What is the Indiana town?

The prize pack is two passes to the Eiteljorg Museum, two passes to tour Lucas Oil Stadium and two passes to Laser Flash, a game of tag, in Carmel. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Figure skating heritage in Indiana

Ice skaters gather on the canal basin in Brookville, Ind., circa 1905. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

(Jan. 24, 2015) - Nine figure skating clubs across Indiana are affiliated with the U.S. Figure Skating Association. They include the Winter Club of Indianapolis, which is turning 75 years old and has been a part of the lives of thousands of Hoosiers, from preschoolers taking their first steps on ice to skating devotees in their 80s.

Kelley Morris-Adair.Indiana also has produced Olympians in figure skating, as well as influential coaches and judges.

Just as the national championships in figure skating are unfolding on network TV, Hoosier History Live explores the heritage of the sport across Indiana, where well-known venues have included the Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (it recently was renamed the Indiana Farmers Coliseum), the home of the Winter Club since 1940.

Nelson's guests are:

  • Patty Hagen, director of the "Learn to Skate" program at the Winter Club and the author of The Joy of Coaching (Professional Skaters Association, 2013). A former reporter for The Indianapolis Star, Patty lives in Carmel and has been teaching group and private lessons since the 1980s.
  • Patty Hagen.Michael Fisher, an Indianapolis-based judge of ice dancing. He competed in ice dancing tournaments as a student at Southport High School and Butler University several years before ice dancing became an Olympic sport in 1976. A Realtor in his day job, Michael joins Nelson and Patty in studio after returning from his role as an ice dancing judge in Greensboro, N.C., site of the national championships currently underway.
  • And Kelley Morris-Adair of Indianapolis. She is a past president of the Professional Skaters Association and a nationally known coach. As a child in her hometown of Columbus, Ind., Kelley began competing in figure skating. In 1977, she won the U.S. junior ice dance championship with her then-partner Michael Seibert. Today, her coaching partner is her husband, Donny Adair.

The evolution of figure skating in Indiana was affected by some historic tragedies. They included a plane crash in Belgium during February 1961 that killed top American skaters and coaches. Michael Fisher.Among the fatalities was Danny Ryan, a coach in Indianapolis who had been the first American to win a medal in ice dancing at a world championship.

An explosion at the Coliseum on Halloween night of 1963 - during a Holiday on Ice show - also affected the lives and training of Hoosier skaters.

On the positive side, Hoosier figure skaters who have competed in the Olympics included brother-sister pairs team from Marion of Wayne and Natalie "Kim" Seybold (who were crowd favorites during the 1988 Calgary Olympics) and Jill Watson of Bloomington, who won a bronze medal, also at the 1988 Olympics.

Wayne Seybold, currently the mayor of Marion, and his sister were guests on a Hoosier History Live show in 2010 about their careers.

Public skating at the Indiana State Fair's Coliseum, 1968. Image shows the entire rink, filled with people. Image courtesy Indiana State Fair.Like our guest Michael Fisher, the Seybolds began as competitive roller skaters, then switched to figure skating - even though, in their case, there was no ice rink in Marion. The Seybolds traveled to Fort Wayne, then Indianapolis and, finally, to Delaware as they advanced in their skating careers.

Influential Hoosier coaches have included Sandy Schwomeyer Lamb, a Shortridge High School graduate who pioneered figure skating as a sport in the Special Olympics. Her sister, Judy Schwomeyer Sladky, is considered a pioneer in ice dancing.

(Sandy Lamb also was an early coach of our guest Kelley Morris-Adair. Today, Kelley travels to rinks around the country to work with coaches on figure skating skills and ice-dancing choreography.)

Many accomplished skaters were influenced by the late Pieter Kollen, who coached at the Indiana/World Skating Academy at Pan American Plaza in Indy. In 2012, the academy moved to another well-known venue - the Carmel Ice Skadium - prior to the closing of the ice rinks at Pan Am Plaza.

In addition to figure skating clubs in central Indiana, others affiliated with the U.S. Figure Skating Association include clubs in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Columbus and Evansville.

Roadtrip: Winter fun in Ellenberger Park

William Schneider pulls a sled for his young daughter, Evelyn, in Ellenberger Park, 1925, in Indianapolis. Photo courtesy VintageIrvington.blogspot.com.Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks suggests we take the Roadtrip to historic Ellenberger Park on Indianapolis's east side.

In 1909 the city of Indianapolis acquired part of the Ellenberger family farm in Irvington for use as a community park. The land, known as Ellenberger Woods, had long been enjoyed by residents of the area who took advantage of its wooded paths and creek.

German-born landscape architect George Kessler's plan for the park included the existing well-worn paths and linked the Ellenberger land to Garfield Park via the construction of Pleasant Run Parkway. The city added an outdoor ice skating rink in 1962, enclosing it in 1987 for year-round skating.

With increasing competition from commercially operated rinks and maintenance challenges, Indy Parks closed the rink in 2009. The building remains as locker rooms for the adjacent swimming pool.

Winter fun has not ceased at the park. The beloved sledding hill, enjoyed by several generations of Indianapolis families, continues to provide thrills for all ages, as demonstrated by this little daredevil in a 2009 YouTube video.

History Mystery

A national Hall of Fame is in Marion, Ind., the hometown of Wayne and Kim Seybold, the former Olympic figure skaters. The Hall of Fame has nothing to do with sports. Instead, it celebrates a domestic art.

This restored home in Marion, Ind., now houses a certain national Hall of Fame.Located in a restored house that is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hall of Fame honors a domestic art that has been associated with generations of Hoosier women. For more than 35 years, the Hall of Fame has been in Marion, where Wayne Seybold has served as mayor since 2003.

Question: What is the national Hall of Fame located in Marion?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Story Inn in Brown County, courtesy of Story Inn, and two passes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and two passes to tour Lucas Old Stadium, courtesy of Visit Indy.

William Forsyth's colorful life, plus Portfolio Club history

Hoosier Group painter William Forsyth and his wife, Alice, pose at their Irvington home in 1909 with daughters Dorothy, Evelyn and Constance. Image courtesy Susan Forsyth Selby Sklar.

(Jan. 17, 2015) - Undoubtedly, artist T.C. Steele continues to be the most frequently celebrated member of the nationally renowned Hoosier Group of painters who flourished during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Recently, though, the spotlight also has been on Steele's peer, colorful and cantankerous William J. Forsyth, who lived in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis.

The William Forsyth house in Irvington, Ind., circa 1914. Image provided by Rachel Perry, courtesy collection of Susan Forsyth Selby Sklar.The life and career of Forsyth (1854-1935) are the focus of a new biography, and his paintings are featured in a retrospective exhibit at the Indiana State Museum.

In addition, a cultural organization with which Forsyth was affiliated is about to celebrate a milestone. The Portfolio Club - which counted Forsyth, Steele and other influential Hoosiers among its members when the club was founded in 1890 - turns 125 years old this month. Forsyth served as its third president.

To explore a palette of topics related to all of this, Nelson is joined in studio by three guests:

Wendy Boyle.Forsyth was a key figure in founding what was then known as the John Herron Institute of Art in Indianapolis. As an instructor there through the early 1930s, he enormously influenced subsequent generations of Hoosier artists.

In her new book, Rachel explores Forsyth's lifelong jealousy of (and eventual estrangement from) Steele; she contrasts Forsyth's "blue-collar upbringing" with Steele's cultured family. (History fact: The Portfolio Club was inspired as a result of the urgings of Libbie Steele, the artist's first wife.)

Rachel Berenson Perry.Like other members of the Hoosier Group, Forsyth studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich. Although known for a fiery personality, Forsyth had a flair for teaching and was loyal to serious art students. In her biography, Rachel praises his constant experimentation with various art mediums, subjects and styles.

In addition to Forsyth, members of the Portfolio Club during its long history have included architects Bernard and Kurt Vonnegut Sr. (the grandfather and father of the novelist); jazz photographer Duncan Schiedt, who died in 2014, and Ferdinand Schaefer, founder and conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

The Portfolio Club provides scholarships, including one that is endowed at what is now the Herron School of Art & Design at IUPUI.

In Irvington, Forsyth and his family lived in a rambling house (with a studio next to it) near Pleasant Run Creek. Constitution Elm, Corydon, Ind., 1896, by William Forsyth. Image courtesy Art Then and Now.Forsyth became an avid gardener; his house and studio have been demolished, but a historical marker was erected on the site in 1984.

In addition to his paintings of Irvington and a range of sites across Indiana, Forsyth's works included drawings, painted china and even plaster sculptures. In her book, Rachel describes his experimentation as "fearless."

He painted landscapes, as well as portraits, creating artwork with watercolors, oil on canvas, charcoal on paper and in other ways. During the 1920s, he spent summers at Winona Lake in northern Indiana and painted scenes there.

Eventually, Rachel writes in her new book, Forsyth "exhibited more, won more awards and medals, and wrote more comprehensively about the Hoosier Group and Indiana art than Steele."

The introduction to her book is written by Susan Forsyth Selby Sklar, the painter's granddaughter. Rachel's other books include T.C. Steele and the Society of Western Artists (IU Press, 2009).

Learn more:

Roadtrip: The road to Liberty

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff suggests a scenic drive through eastern Indiana. Her directions from Indianapolis for this adventure are:

"Take U.S. 52 down to Rushville, perhaps stopping at the legendary Kopper Kettle in Morristown for lunch. But be hungry; the Kopper Kettle serves mounds of traditional food, family-style. Its over-the-top interior (especially at Christmas!) alone is worth stopping for. Or you might want to just wait until you get to Liberty."

A vintage postcard shows the Union County courthouse in Liberty, Ind.From Rushville, (the first of three county seats you'll see) head east on Ind. 44 to Liberty. You'll pass through Connersville, an old canal town and another county seat.

Take heart, Liberty is not far!

Yes, Liberty, Ind., is one of our smallest county seats, only a little over 2000.

Most of its downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and features numerous 19th- and some early 20th-century styles, great to explore. The focal point is the beautiful Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse built in 1890.

Don't miss the New Deal-era post office, completed in 1937-38; go inside to see its mural Autumn Fields by Avery Johnson. The square also features interesting shops.

Hungry? Try the Liberty Bell restaurant, a down-home place just a little south of the square on Main Street (Ind. 101). For lighter fare or an ice cream treat, Glory recommends J's Dairy Inn, 207 W. Union, just west across the tracks from the old depot.

Perhaps most people know of Liberty through its proximity to Whitewater Memorial State Park, only a few miles south on Ind. 101, worth mentioning, of course! But if you're an explorer of old roads, you might want to take U.S. 27 southwest out of Liberty. Union County borders Ohio, and at the state line you'll find yourself in West College Corner, Ind., but a few steps later, in College Corner, Ohio. One post office serves both. Says Glory: "Love these state-line towns!"

History Mystery

An original Raggedy Ann doll.The Hoosier Group of artists included, in addition to William Forsyth and T.C. Steele, a painter whose son made a lasting cultural impact. The son, who grew up in Indianapolis, created the Raggedy Ann doll and books.

His artistic father was a friend of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. The son, who became a cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star and other newspapers, is said to have based Raggedy Ann on his two favorite Riley poems, Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man.

The first book, Raggedy Ann Stories, was published in 1918. The floppy dolls were created as spinoff products to promote the book.

Question: Who was the Hoosier creator of Raggedy Ann?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Peterson's restaurant in Fishers, courtesy of Visit Indy.

How to furnish an historic home

(Jan. 10, 2015) - Maybe your home's interior has a Victorian-era theme. Or is your preference for an even earlier period, like the Colonial era? Perhaps, though, a much later era, such as the 1950s or '70s, is your decorative dream.

The library or study at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site in Madison, Ind., is furnished and decorated to reflect the 1840s. Although no documented sources show how the house was decorated at that time, decoration has been done based paintings and descriptions of other similar houses from the period. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.To offer advice about furnishing homes with "period" themes, Hoosier History Live calls on three experts with track records of making period-appropriate decorating decisions about distinctive homes, including some of Indiana's historic sites. Our topics include plenty of do's and don'ts. We also explore the care, treatment and placement of period furniture.

Nelson is joined in studio by:

Along with advice for homeowners, our guests share anecdotes related to their restoration, furnishing and conservation experiences.

Regarding antique furniture, they talk about reproductions - along with, as our guest Link Ludington puts it, "reproductions that are now legitimate antiques." In addition, he discusses whether "investing" in antiques is a good idea; tips about starting collections; fakes and forgeries, and "matching furnishings to the period and style of a house versus eclectic collections."

David Buchanan.Link, who says his career has been shaped by "a lifelong interest in the architecture, decorative arts and furniture of the 19th century," is the vice president of the Cornerstone Society Inc. It is the historic preservation advocacy organization in Madison.

Some other tidbits:

  • David Buchanan lives in an Italianate home built in 1870 that is considered the closest private residence to Monument Circle.
  • Among the conservation experiences Greg Ziesemer regards as his most cherished: helping conserve a corner cupboard made in Indiana by Thomas Lincoln, father of future president Abraham Lincoln. (During a Hoosier History Live show in February 2014, we explored Abe Lincoln's relationships with his parents and Thomas' outstanding skills as a furniture maker.)
  • Greg Ziesemer also has been involved with historic furnishings at the Lanier Mansion in Madison (where our guest Link Ludington once was the curator); the Benton House in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis, and the IU Memorial Union in Bloomington.

Greg Ziesemer.Often described as the "crown jewel" of this historic district in Madison, the Lanier Mansion was built in the 1840s by Link Ludington.early Indiana architect Francis Costigan, who designed other buildings in Madison and Indianapolis. In the 1850s, Costigan designed a hotel in Indianapolis at a site on South Illinois Street that, ever since, has been the setting for a hotel. A few months ago, Le Meridien opened on the site, replacing the Canterbury Hotel; the current structure dates to the 1920s.

In Madison, the historic district includes more than 130 blocks. Homes are said to reflect every era of the Ohio River town's development between 1817 and 1939.

With its Corinthian columns on the south portico, Doric pilasters (ornamental columns) and other features, the Lanier Mansion in Madison is considered one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country.

Few of our listeners live in a house with that kind of rich history and spectacular features. But our guests offer advice for a range of owners of houses with period-focused themes. Link, for example, shares his take on "buying what you like and can afford instead of what someone tells you to like."

History Mystery

Photograph of a wooden vintage desk with many storage areas and cubbyholes. This mystery desk had numerous nooks and crannies, and everything folded up and could be locked with a single key. Now we hide our private documents online as best we can. Image courtesy Victoriana.com.

A type of desk created during the 1870s in Indiana became famous across the country and is considered one of the most significant successes of the state's woodworking industry. The desks, which featured built-in pigeonholes with specialized storage for letters, were made by an Indianapolis furniture shop.

Often made of walnut, the desks were known for consolidating work and storage space by providing nooks and crannies.

The name of the desks was derived from the Hoosier businessman who established the furniture shop in Indianapolis. John D. Rockefeller, Ulysses S. Grant and other famous Americans used the desks, which often had folding doors that could be locked, protecting the contents.

Question: What was the name of the Indiana-made desk?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Bee Coffee Roasters, downtown Indianapolis and on Lafayette Road, and two tickets to the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, and two tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Carter House in Corydon

The Carter House in Corydon, Ind., was owned by Leonard Carter (1845-1905), an African-American Civil War veteran. Image courtesy Corydon Democrat.Guest Roadtripper and historic preservationist Maxine Brown of Corydon will tell us about the challenges in correctly decorating and furnishing of what she calls "the modest home of an everyday African American living in the 1890s."

The Carter House in Corydon was owned by Leonard Carter (1845-1905), an African-American Civil War veteran born in Floyd's Knobs, Indiana, who fought with the Civil War 28th U.S. Colored Troops, Company C, and was wounded at the Battle of Petersburg (also known as the Battle of the Crater, which serves as the opening scene in the movie Cold Mountain).

After the Civil War, Leonard Carter settled in Corydon and married Easter Perry in 1866. They had nine children, and he built a small bungalow for his family at 545 S. Floyd St. around 1891. The Carter House was saved from demolition and is being restored. It has been moved to Hill Street, close to the Leora Brown Colored School, another African American landmark in Corydon. The Carters and some of their children are buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Corydon near where the house stands now.

Maxine Brown says that the house will feature a mixture of styles and period pieces, and she will be using a three-quarter-size bed donated by Habitat for Humanity. She hopes the house will be ready for touring by this summer.

Scottish heritage in Indiana

Lemmon’s Church and Cemetery in Ireland, Ind., in the southwestern part of the state, was settled by Scotch-Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Image courtesy www.irelandindiana.com.(Jan. 3, 2015) - To kick off our seventh year on the air in high style - or should that be Highlands and Lowlands style? - Hoosier History Live will present one of our popular ethnic-heritage shows.

Scotland made headlines 'round the world awhile back with the vote on independence from the United Kingdom, so doesn't it seem logical to explore immigration to Indiana from the land of bagpipes and kilts?

Scots became the fourth most numerous European heritage group in Indiana, according to Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience (Indiana Historical Society Press, 1996). They were exceeded only by residents of German, Irish and English descent.

"A trait of Scots who are immigrants is the tendency to assimilate rather than cluster," says Dr. Lee Cloe, a Noblesville native and charter member of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis. "While in most large cities, one can find 'Chinatown,' 'Greektown' or other groupings, you will not see a 'Scottstown.' Normally after two generations, they did not refer to themselves as Scots, but Americans."

Members of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis attended the Hoosier History Live 6th-anniversary party in February 2014 at Indiana Landmarks Center. Pictured are Lee Cloe, Jeanne Blake, Carson Smith and SSI President Robin Jarrett. Hoosier History Live photo.Dr. Cloe, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, training officer and commander (he retired with the rank of major), joins Nelson in studio.

So does Carson Smith, a past president of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis who was frequently quoted by Indiana media during the referendum in his ancestral homeland last fall to break from the United Kingdom after more than 300 years. (In case you missed the outcome, the move to secede from the United Kingdom was unsuccessful. Scotland accounts for one-third of the U.K.'s land, 8 percent of the population and 10 percent of the tax revenue, according to news reports at the time.)

One of the best-known figures of early Indiana - frontier military leader George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War strategist - was of Scottish heritage. Famous for defeating the British at Vincennes(which had been renamed Fort Sackville) with a ragtag army during the winter of 1779, Clark (1752-1818) founded the town of Clarksville on the Ohio River. His brother, William Clark, became the renowned explorer of Lewis & Clark fame.

Ever wonder what the term Scotch-Irish means?

Our distinguished guests explain, along with sharing insights about how and why a mix of people with Scottish heritage were among the first people to survey the early Virginia Colony and European heritage settlers to penetrate the Appalachian Mountain range in the 1780s.

Today, Scottish societies flourish in Hoosier cities such as Bloomington and Fort Wayne.

According to several sources, many Scots were recruited to help build railroads in the area around Columbus, which hosts a popular Scottish Festival every September. Even so, our guest Dr. Cloe notes that Scots did not tend to arrive in "waves" to Indiana, unlike some other ethnic heritage groups.

Carson Smith.He adds that not all place names in Indiana have the kind of direct link to his ancestral homeland that you might assume. Dr. Cloe notes the town of Scottsburg in southern Indiana was named in honor of Horace Scott, a railroad president; Scott County was named after Gen. Charles Scott, who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Some history nuggets:

  • Coal miners from Scotland immigrated in substantial numbers to southwestern Indiana to work in Hoosier coal mines, according to Peopling Indiana.
  • In the 1820s, Scottish industrialist Robert Owen started the second attempt at a utopian society in New Harmony. (He had been born in Wales but eventually owned mills in Scotland.) After purchasing the scenic village on the Wabash River from a group headed by German immigrant George Rapp, Owen brought a "Boatload of Knowledge" - scientists, scholars and other intellectuals were aboard - to New Harmony.
  • Indiana's governor during the Civil War, Oliver P. Morton, was of Scottish heritage.
  • "Not all Scots have a 'Mac' in front of their names," Dr. Cloe notes, "so unless they 'bragged' about being from Scotland, most people would not know their background."

Our guest Carson Smith, who has had a long career as a sales representative, is a past president of the Indiana society of the Sons of the American Revolution and was the first editor of The Thistle, the newsletter of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis.

Lee Cloe.In addition to his military background, our guest Dr. Cloe was an administrator or specialist with universities in Indiana and with various state and city agencies. In 2008, our first year on the air, Dr. Cloe was a guest on one of our first ethnic heritage shows.

Since then, Hoosier History Live has expanded from 30 minutes to an hour and has explored ethnic heritage groups, including Germans, Irish, Cubans, Italians, Greeks, Scandinavians and Russians, as well as Colombians and Venezuelans.

(Note: Not all of our past programs are audio-archived for online listening. As a small, independent production group, we need financial assistance in order to accomplish this.)

Learn more:

History Mystery

"Mystery" college on the Ohio River in Indiana.The oldest private college in Indiana was established by an educator of Scottish heritage. Located on a scenic campus in far southern Indiana, the liberal arts college began as an academy in 1827 and has had a long affiliation with the Presbyterian Church.

Attended by about 1,150 students, the college is near the banks of the Ohio River.

Question: What is the Indiana college?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to the Claddaugh Irish Pub & Restaurant, two tickets to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, and two tickets to the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Digital Roadtrip: The Indiana Album

Nathan Bilger submitted this photo to The Indiana Album of an iron bridge made by the Bellefontaine Bridge & Iron Company. It likely stood near Pierceton in Kosciusko County. The man driving the buggy is David H. Connell (1838-1914), who served as Pierceton postmaster in the 1870s and 1880s. Image courtesy The Indiana Album, lent by Nathan Bilger.

Not all Roadtrips are physical places. The Internet also allows us to travel to and explore the past!

Guest Roadtripper Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo & Research Services will tell us about The Indiana Album, a community-submitted digital album of Indiana-related photographs lingering in albums, attics and basements and now finding their way to the web.

Tune in this Saturday to learn more about this Indiana Bicentennial project and how you can participate. By the way, The Indiana Album is seeking help in identifying the photo of this mystery bridge.

Lost cemeteries

This 1866 Sullivan Map of downtown Indianapolis shows the old city burying grounds (later known as Greenlawn Cemetery) northwest of Kentucky Avenue on the east side of the White River. The cemetery was closed to new burials in 1890, as the area was prone to flooding. Image courtesy Jeannie Regan-Dinius.(Dec. 27, 2014 - encore presentation) - Lost cemeteries periodically make headlines across Indiana. Last year, Indianapolis police reported the discovery of a human jawbone in Garfield Park on the city's south side. The question arose: Could the historic park, the oldest public park in Indy, be the site of a lost cemetery?

To explore lost or "nearly lost" cemeteries across the state - and issues associated with the forgotten or neglected burial grounds - Nelson is joined in studio by two expert guests in this encore presentation of a show that generated a lot of interest. Its original broadcast date was June 1, 2013.

The guests are Jeannie Regan-Dinius, cemetery and burial ground registry coordinator for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and pioneer-cemetery advocate Theresa Berghoff, an Elwood native who now lives in Indianapolis.

They share details about lost graveyards everywhere from Berne in Adams County and the Madison County community of Leisure to a site near Kessler Boulevard and Keystone Avenue on the north side of Indy, and Rome in southwestern Indiana.

An angel looks over a child’s grave where the headstone has sunk into the ground in Cave Springs Cemetery in Jennings County, Indiana. The angel’s wings and an arm lie at her feet. The “new” part of this cemetery is well taken care of, but the older part of the cemetery has many broken and displaced headstones and statues.Nelson and his guests also explore Greenlawn Cemetery, which was founded in 1832 near White River and Kentucky Avenue in Indy. More than 1,600 pioneers had been buried in Greenlawn when, because the graveyard was prone to flooding, city leaders initiated a mass reburial more than 150 years ago with the creation of Crown Hill Cemetery, the country's third-largest private cemetery.

In 2008, our guest Jeannie Regan-Dinius helped oversee the move of 33 tombstones and remains of Hoosier pioneers from a mid-1800s cemetery in the Castleton area of Indy to Crown Hill. Shortly after the reburial - which was initiated to allow for the widening of I-69 near its interchange with I-465 - Jeannie joined Nelson for a Hoosier History Live show during our first year on the air.

During this show, Jeannie is joined by Theresa Berghoff, a cemetery restorer whose ancestors included Revolutionary and Civil War veterans buried in Wayne County. Theresa, who has helped restore tombstones, describes lost or "nearly lost" cemeteries in Richmond, and in the Augusta community in Pike Township on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

In Richmond, Maple Grove Cemetery, which apparently had been the site of more than 500 graves, was closed during the late 1800s. The cemetery's land then became part of Glen Miller Park. Many of Richmond's first settlers were buried in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Some "learn more" websites:

Families and children: evolution of outreach

This structure, designed by architect William Tinsley, once stood at 13th Street and College Avenue in Indianapolis (now the intersection of I-70 and I-65) and was built originally as North Western Christian College, which later became Butler University. In the 1880s, the Indianapolis Orphans’ Asylum moved into the building. The orphanage closed in the early 1940s, and the building was razed in 1910. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis.(Dec. 20, 2014) - In Indiana today, you won't find places called the "Home for Friendless Women" or agencies known as "benevolent societies."

Those were some of the ways, though, that outreach was handled with families, children and other Hoosiers in need more than a century ago. During the Civil War, some early social service organizations focused on helping widows and children of soldiers, whose deaths often left their families destitute.

To explore the evolution of outreach to Hoosiers in need, Nelson is joined in studio by guests from organizations whose heritage stretches back more than 100 years. Their names have changed - sometimes several times - as their approach to outreach has evolved.

Families First, a nonprofit that is generally considered to be the oldest social service agency in the state, traces its founding to Thanksgiving Day in 1835. That's when a group of early Indianapolis movers and shakers, including attorney/banker Calvin Fletcher and civic leader James Blake, met to share ideas about helping families who were poverty-stricken because of a lack of jobs at the city's earliest factories and mills.

Edie Olson.The civic leaders established the Indianapolis Benevolent Society, which, following various names changes in the nearly 180 years since then, is now known as Families First.

Our guests include Edie Olson, the current president and CEO of the Families First, an agency that now offers services ranging from family counseling to domestic-violence treatment and parent-education classes.

Tina Cloer.She shares insights about the evolution of social outreach in central Indiana. So does Tina Cloer, president and CEO of the Children's Bureau.

It began in 1851 as the Widows and Orphans Friends' Society, spinning off from the Benevolent Society.

In 1880, according to a history of the Children's Bureau, "Across the state 700 children (were) living in county 'poor asylums,' a situation that many recognize as totally unacceptable."

To help, the organization had founded the first orphanage in Indianapolis, which opened at Capitol Avenue and 14th Street. The orphanage was built for $1,200 in 1855, according to a history of the Children's Bureau.

"In the late 1850s, the women of the Widows and Orphans Friends' Society were reluctant to accept 'tainted money' from theater folk," the bureau's history notes.

That attitude changed, though, in the late 1860s when local theaters offered to put on performances to benefit orphans. A drawing shows the first Indianapolis orphanage as it appeared in 1865 on Capitol Avenue and 14th Street. Courtesy Children's Bureau and Indiana Historical Bureau.Also during the 1860s, a Home for Friendless Women was opened in the Hoosier capital.

During the 1870s, financial turmoil followed the Civil War. That meant about 20 percent of the population in the Hoosier capital was on what were known as "relief rolls," according to a history of Families First put together by Pat Ankers of the Indianapolis Woman's Club.

Her history notes that, during the late 1870s, the Benevolent Society opened a "Friendly Inn" that provided meals and lodging to "transients" in exchange for work in a lumber yard.

The initial orphanage - called the Indianapolis Orphans' Asylum - moved  in 1880 to a building at College Avenue and 13th Street in the Old Northside neighborhood. The three-story structure had served as the first home of Butler University, then known as Northwestern Christian College. The orphanage was closed in the early 1940s.

Today, the Children's Bureau of Indianapolis (the agency's name since 1961) offers a range of services, including an adoption recruitment program for families involved in the state's foster-care system. The Children's Bureau offices are in the Gene Glick Family Support Center, 1575 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.

The benevolent society underwent a series of name changes, becoming known as the Family Service Association of Indianapolis. To avoid confusion with state agencies that have similar names, it became Families First in 2009. Funding comes from various sources, including United Way.

Learn more:

History Mystery

In addition to helping start the Indianapolis Benevolent Society, which evolved into today's Families First, civic leader Calvin Fletcher was a prominent banker and attorney in the earliest days of the Hoosier capital. Calvin Fletcher.His extensive diaries are considered a trove for historians about daily life for decades in the young city.

His family was associated with an Indianapolis-based bank that traced its origins to 1839 and had various names initially. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, descendants of the Fletcher family continued to be directly involved with the bank.

For decades during the 20th century, the bank was well-known by a four-letter abbreviation. The acronym was a household "word" in Indy during the 1970s and '80s. Eventually, though, the bank was absorbed by larger ones based out of state.

Question: What was the acronym during the 20th century for the bank once associated with the Fletchers?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Ram Restaurant, two passes to the Indiana State Museum and two passes to Conner Prairie, courtesy of Visit Indy. The call-in phone number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any prize from WICR during the past two months. Please do not call in to the show until Nelson has posed the question on the air.

Roadtrip: Albany with a real hardware store

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff suggests a trip to Albany (not New Albany!). It's northeast of Muncie on an elbow of S.R. 67, where it meets S.R. 28.

It's a quintessential small town that saw its heyday more than a hundred years ago during the Gas Boom, although it had been founded much earlier, in 1833.  

A 1908 postcard shows the Muncie and Portland Traction Co. Terminal in Albany, Ind. The building remains.Glory says she always looks forward to a treat at Dairy Dream (not Dairy Queen!) which (in season) not only offers ice cream sodas, among other frosty treats, but quite a large variety of food beyond the usual drive-in fare. It's located on S.R. 67, which bypasses downtown.

Glory continues: "Also on 67, so many times I passed a little stone cottage that I imagine was once upon a time a filling station but today is The Cottage at 112 W. Walnut. I finally stopped! A little family operation, they offer some of the most fabulous fudge I've ever tried - and believe me, I've tried a lot!"

She also recommends the "great coffee" at The Cottage and notes that they also offer their own fragrant candles.

But don't skip downtown. There's a real hardware store at 209 W. State (which is S.R. 28), called C.J.'s Hardware, where you can find exactly what you need. The building has a fascinating history, too; ask the owner about it!

Dime stores have almost disappeared these days, but the Albany Dime Store at 136 W. State lives on, and it even has the old-fashioned candy in glass cases that these sorts of places always had.

In winter the Dairy Dream is closed, but never fear, downtown you'll find Milton's Family Restaurant at 220 W. State Street, serving a variety of tasty down-home meals, perfect after your explorations.

Johnny Wooden: Hoosier hoops icon

John Wooden coaches Lew Alcindor at UCLA.(Dec. 13, 2014) - How often are two statues erected in honor of the same person in one year?

That's what happened in 2012 with the legacy of Martinsville native Johnny Wooden, often cited as the best college basketball coach in history.

The first statue of Wooden (who died in 2010 just a few months before his 100th birthday) is a bronze sculpture near Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indy. The other is outside Pauley Pavilion at UCLA, where Wooden coached the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, one of the most astounding dynasties in all of sports.

Far beyond sports, Wooden became known as a motivator and folk philosopher because of his "Pyramid of Success," used as a blueprint by thousands of Americans.

Before all of that, Wooden was an outstanding basketball player at Martinsville High School and at Purdue University. In fact, he became the first person named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

To explore the life and impact of this remarkable Hoosier, Nelson is joined in studio by three guests:

"The respect his former players had for him was unprecedented, in my opinion," Mark says about Wooden, whom he interviewed. In addition to hosting his radio show, Mark writes for pacers.com.

John Wooden.Our guest Barb Morrow, who is based in the northeastern Indiana town of Auburn, has interviewed Wooden's daughter, in addition to former players and others who knew the Hoosier icon.

In her book, she explores how Wooden's long life intersected with those of other famous Hoosiers - from John Dillinger to former IU coach Branch McCracken - as well as the social history that unfolded during his era.

Barbara Olenyik Morrow.For example, she explores Wooden's progressive views on race relations, including his decision in 1948 while coaching at Indiana State (then known as Indiana State Teachers College) to play Clarence Walker, an African-American from East Chicago, in a post-season tournament. She calls that "a history-making move that paved the way for other blacks to play in national tournaments."

During our show, we also clarify some misconceptions about Wooden's life, as well as explore little-known or often-overlooked episodes. Regarding the latter, our guest Mark Montieth points out that Wooden's pro career as a player often has been neglected in discussions of his life. After graduating from Purdue, Wooden played for the first truly pro team in Indianapolis, the Kautskys, during the 1930s.

Our guest Jim Powers, who says, "I am so proud to have been one of his 'boys'," cites as a favorite saying associated with his mentor: "Make each day your masterpiece."

Jim Powers.A sampling of other homespun wisdom Wooden passed along to the world included: "Make friendship a fine art" and "Build a shelter against a rainy day."

Wooden credited those nuggets to a seven-point creed that his father wrote on a crisp white card that Wooden carried in his wallet daily.

Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden book cover. By Barbara Olenyis Morrow.In turn, his "Pyramid of Success" features "bricks" at the base of the pyramid such as "Industriousness" and "Enthusiasm"; they are topped by "Faith" and "Patience," among other qualities.

The future motivational icon grew up in a Morgan County farmhouse without electricity or indoor plumbing. During his high school years, his father quit farming because of financial pressures.

From those humble beginnings, John Wooden went on to coach UCLA not only to 10 championships, but to a history-making winning streak that lasted 88 games. The streak ended in 1974, one year before Wooden's retirement as coach.

His roster of players during his UCLA heyday included future pro superstars Lew Alcindor (who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton, who clashed with Wooden over the length of his hair - but who always respected the coach and expressed appreciation in later years for what he taught on and off the basketball court.

Among those in subsequent generations who say they were influenced by Wooden's techniques is the native Hoosier now serving as UCLA's coach. Steve Alford, the former New Castle and IU star player, has written the foreword to Hardwood Glory.

Learn more:

History Mystery

South Bend High School, later called South Bend Central High School, was dedicated in 1913. The building stands today as a condominium complex. Image courtesy South Bend Alumni Association.Hoosiers who played for Coach Johnny Wooden's championship teams at UCLA included a South Bend native who later became a popular TV actor. Born in South Bend in 1946, he was an outstanding player at South Bend Central High School, where he was coached by our guest Jim Powers.

From 1966 to 1968, he played for Wooden at UCLA, where his teammates included Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). During the years he played for UCLA, the Bruins won two NCAA national championships.

As a TV actor, the South Bend native is best remembered for his role as a police officer in a critically acclaimed TV series during the 1980s. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in the program; it was known for intertwined story lines, some of which continued over several episodes, then unusual for a TV series.

Question: Who is the basketball star-turned-TV actor from South Bend?

The prize pack includes a signed copy of the book the book Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden, courtesy of author Barb Olenyik Morrow, and four passes to the NCAA Hall of Champions and four passes to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Big high school gym contest in Indiana

Caption John Wooden played basketball in the Martinsville gym in the late 1920s. Image courtesy Suzanne Stanis.Guest Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks suggests a trip to Martinsville in Morgan County to see what was billed in 1924 as "The Biggest Gym in the World."

With more than 5,000 seats, the gym could handle the entire population of Martinsville, which numbered 4,895 in 1920 - with room to spare.

The Artesians' enormous home went on to be dwarfed by other gyms, including the 9,000-plus-seat New Castle Field House and the 8,000-plus-seat Anderson Wigwam, but the Martinsville shrine to Hoosier Hysteria remains.

Today the Glenn Curtis Memorial Gym, named in honor of the Martinsville High School coach who brought home three state basketball championships, is part of West Middle School.

Rare movies with Indiana connections + Danville history

(Dec. 6, 2014 - encore presentations) - As a treat for listeners who missed some of the most popular shows in our Hoosier History Live archives, we will broadcast two of them, back-to-back. The shows, both of which are 30 minutes, typify how we cover the waterfront of Indiana topics:

Rare movies with Indiana connections

The 1934 movie A Girl of the Limberlost, starring Louise Dresser, was based on the book by Hoosier naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter. Image courtesy IMDB.During this show, don't expect a discussion of Hoosiers (1986), Breaking Away (1979) or Rudy (1993), movies with well-known links to the Hoosier state.

Dozens of more-obscure films, both silent movies and talkies, also have major connections to Indiana because of their topics, settings, cast or directors.

To explore these movies, some of which are in danger of being "lost," Nelson is joined in studio by Indianapolis-based film historian and collector Eric Grayson in this show that originally aired on Nov. 27, 2010.

Eric's vast collection of rare 16mm and 35mm films includes movies based on bestselling books by Hoosier naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter, including a 1934 movie version of her masterpiece A Girl of the Limberlost.

Eric also shares insights about a movie he hosts for public screenings: The Great Dan Patch (1949), a biography of the fabled harness racing horse born in Oxford, Ind. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Dan Patch became a sensation at racetracks because of his amazing speed and stamina.

Also during our show, Eric and Nelson explore silent movies starring Fort Wayne native Carole Lombard. The glamorous star, who later married Clark Gable, is far better known for her sound movies of the 1930s and early '40s. But Eric owns rare prints of Lombard's earliest movies, silents such as Smith's Pony (1927) and Run, Girl, Run (1928).

Other movies discussed during the show include The Hoosier Schoolmaster (1935), a movie based on a bestselling novel by Vevay native Edward Eggleston. He created the storyline from the experiences of his brother, who had been a school teacher in 19th-century Indiana.

Danville town history

A early-1900s photo shows the east side of the Danville, Ind., town square. Image courtesy huffman.tk.For the second encore show (original air date: March 6, 2010), Nelson is joined in studio by Danville lawyer and civic leader Jeff Baldwin, the author of Danville (Arcadia, 2009), a visual history of the town in Hendricks County.

A lifelong Danville resident, Jeff notes that the town was devastated by a 1948 tornado. Evidence of its destruction is still being discovered by residents when they dig in many yards and unearth shards of glass.

On a more lighthearted topic, Jeff points out that Danville once found itself in the national spotlight when a mysterious "Danville Turkey" showed up in the middle of Main Street and stopped traffic by strutting back and forth for days. The turkey could not be shot because it was not in season. As a protected animal, it also could not be adopted.

During the show, we also explore the bygone Central Normal College, which specialized in training teachers. According to Jeff's book, at the turn of the last century, Central Normal had trained more teachers than IU, Purdue, and the forerunners of Ball State and Indiana State combined. Central Normal closed in 1951.

Regarding popular current destinations for visitors to Danville, there's the Mayberry Café, a diner that pays tribute to the classic TV series The Andy Griffith Show.

Jennings County and Vernon

A pattern house in historic Vernon, Ind. Photo by Jane Ammeson.(Nov. 29, 2014) - A county and its largest town in southeastern Indiana may have short lists of residents, but their histories are deep, rich and on full display to this day.

In scenic Jennings County, the entire town of Vernon - the state's smallest county seat - is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jane Ammeson."More than 100 of its buildings date back to the 1800s, which is remarkable in a town with a population of less than 400," travel writer Jane Ammeson has written of Vernon.

Its rich heritage is intertwined with a raid during the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, paintings by acclaimed artist T.C. Steele, railroad history, a courthouse square and buildings that date to the 1820s and '30s.

Noting that Vernon was platted in 1815, a year before Indiana even achieved statehood, Jane writes that the town "is considered one of the best examples of a mid-19th-century Indiana community."

She joins Nelson in studio to share insights about Vernon and its home county, which is located about halfway between Columbus and Madison.

Dan Wright, mayor of Vernon, Ind. 2014 photo.They also are joined by Dan Wright, the mayor of Vernon; he has the distinction of being the state's only elected mayor of a town. (All of the other elected mayors are affiliated with cities.)

In 1863, Jennings County was in the path of Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his band of Confederate marauders as they made their way across southern Indiana. Pillaging and looting during a journey that became known as "Morgan's Raid," they demanded that the town of Vernon surrender. Instead, residents refused and deceived Morgan into altering his destructive path.

Civil War re-enactments are staged to this day, particularly during Vernon's annual Sassafras Tea Festival & Civil War Living History.

Other history facts we will explore during the show:

Several of the streetscapes in Vernon - and rural scenes in Jennings County - that were depicted in paintings by Steele during the 1880s and '90s look unchanged today. Paintings by Steele, arguably Indiana's best-known artist, include Street in Vernon (1886) and Hills of Vernon (1894).

In his paintings, Steele also depicted the Muscatatuck River in Jennings County. Jennings County also is the home of historic Muscatatuck Park, which has nine miles of trails.

Famed “Hoosier Group” artist T.C. Steele often painted scenes of Vernon and Jennings County.The origin of the name "Muscatatuck" apparently is unclear, but the inspiration for Vernon is undisputed. The town's name is derived from Mount Vernon, the stately home of George Washington. Vernon was founded in 1815, so Washington's presidency would have been a vivid memory for the earliest residents.

Famous natives of Jennings County included Jessamyn West (1902-1984), the author of the bestseller The Friendly Persuasion (1945). Like many of her books, it was a fictional version of the lives of her Civil War-era ancestors, who were Quakers in southern Indiana. When she was a child, Jessamyn West's family moved to southern California.

So did the Quaker family of Hannah Milhous Nixon, who later became the mother of Richard Nixon. Jessamyn West was the second cousin of Richard Nixon.

Learn more:

Roadtrips: Christmas at the Capital, Statehood Day and Festival of Trees

Indiana’s annual Statehood Day celebration brings hundreds of students and the public to the Capitol each year on Dec. 11. Photo by Jennifer Harrison.Jim Corridan of Indiana State Archives suggests we join Gov. and Mrs. Pence, as well as Lt. Gov. Ellspermann, on Dec. 5 and 6 for Christmas at the Capitol. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday the 5th and 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday the 6th, the Friends of the Indiana State Archives are hosting youth choirs from across the State to sing in the Capitol.

The event is free and open to the public, and the rotunda will be newly decorated for the holidays.

And the next week is Indiana's 198th birthday. On Thursday, Dec. 11, the public is invited to attend the annual Statehood Day celebrations in the Capitol building.

The event includes presentations by members of the legislature, judiciary, Gov. Pence, and the placing of Indiana's Constitutions on public display in the Statehouse rotunda. The hourlong event starts at noon on the 11th.

Festival of Trees logo shows a Christmas tree with a red star on top, sponsored by Indiana Historical Society.And Amy Lamb of the Indiana Historical Society suggests a Roadtrip to the new Festival of Trees, a winter wonderland of 25 exquisitely decorated trees open now through Jan. 3.

The popular A Christmas Story living room is back, allowing you to step right into a classic movie scene. You can have your photo taken next to the famous leg lamp (in a pink bunny suit, if desired), or visit the new holiday selfie station.

Other daily activities include a singalong from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Cole Porter Room. Every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., drop by to create a special handmade craft to take home with you, or get a special winter face painting. Additional weekend programming will include film screenings, a visit from a vintage Santa, painting and much more.

IHS also will offer three free admission days as holiday gifts to the community. Visit on Dec. 6 for the 12th annual Holiday Author Fair (noon to 4 p.m.), on Statehood Day (Thursday, Dec. 11) or on Saturday, Dec. 20, when you can record a video memory relating to L.S. Ayres and Company that may become part of You Are There: That Ayres Look next spring.

In addition to IHS's normal hours of Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday hours of noon to 5 p.m. have been added between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. For more information, including specific weekend offerings, call (317) 232-1882 or visit indianahistory.org.

History Mystery

A 1920 photo shows the courthouse for our mystery county. Image courtesy in.gov.Even though Vernon in Jennings County is the smallest town in the state to be a county seat, another county has the distinction of being Indiana's smallest. This mystery county is the smallest of the state's 92 counties both in population and in size.

Hint: Like Jennings County, it also is in southeastern Indiana.

Question: What is the county?

The prize pack includes four passes to the NCAA Hall of Champions and a gift certificate to Le Peep Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four admissions to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

James Whitcomb Riley: before he was famous

James Whitcomb Riley worked as a sign painter in his early 20s. Image courtesy James Whitcomb Riley Old Home Society Collection.(Nov. 22, 2014) - Long before the "Hoosier Poet" became known across the country as a spellbinding entertainer, he had a colorful life. That was so even before young James Whitcomb Riley worked as a musician and sign painter on the traveling medicine show circuit, which Hoosier History Live will spotlight along with other, captivating aspects of the famous Hoosier born in Greenfield in 1849.

We explore Riley's complicated relationship with his father, a Civil War veteran; his role in a hoax about a poem described as the long-lost work of Edgar Allen Poe; his schooling, childhood antics and sorrows; the visit of a Confederate soldier and a haystack of other aspects of the early life of the Hoosier who had written more than 1,000 poems when he died in 1916.

James Whitcomb Riley in his 20s. Image courtesy James Whitcomb Riley Old Home Society Collection.Nelson is joined in studio by three guests who have immersed themselves in Riley's pre-fame life. They include historic re-enactor Danny Russel, a popular entertainer/educator who periodically portrays Riley during our show as he shares some of Riley's poems, both obscure and famous.

Our guests also include two Hancock County residents deeply involved with the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home in Greenfield. They are Brigette Cook Jones, president of the Hancock County Historical Society, and Gwen Betor, past president of the Riley Old Home Society. (Brigette is secretary of the society). Both Brigette and Gwen are longtime docents at the home Riley's father built on the Old National Road (now U.S. 40).

Gwen Betor.As a boy, Riley became captivated by the circus, imitated entertainers and once was given a flying squirrel that he featured in his routines - before things came to a sad end. Nelson and his guests share insights about that episode during our show, as well as insights about the series of jobs Riley attempted before he became a celebrity. They even included work as a Bible salesman and a shoe clerk.

So prepare for revelations, even if you grew up keenly aware of Riley's classic poems - such as When the Frost Is On the Punkin - and his national impact.

Expect some of our show topics to be humorous, such as Riley's desperate attempts as a boy to remove his freckles and what happened when he received his first pair of long pants.

Danny Russel.Other topics are poignant, including the end of his engagements to two women. His relationship with one fiancée ended in connection with his loss of a newspaper job in Anderson. And that's related to the "Poe poem," which was revealed as a fraud.

"People don't realize how much he struggled before he become such a huge national celebrity," our guest Brigette Cook Jones says.

Brigette Cook Jones.History trivia: Our guest Danny Russel portrays other historic figures with Indiana connections, including Abraham Lincoln. And Brigette Cook Jones joined us in October 2011 for a show about the real Hoosier who inspired Riley's classic poem Little Orphant Annie.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Evansville African American Museum

The Evansville African American Museum is housed in a New Deal-era former public housing project. Image courtesy visitevansville.com.Guest Roadtripper Kisha Tandy of the Indiana State Museum suggests the Evansville African American Museum as a Roadtrip.

The museum is located in Lincoln Gardens, a "New Deal" public housing project built in 1938. Lincoln Gardens now houses the museum; it is located in the African American community of Baptisttown.

Similar to Lockefield Gardens, which was constructed and completed in Indianapolis between 1935 and 1938, and the Indiana Avenue neighborhood in Indianapolis, Lincoln Gardens was a largely thriving, self-sufficient community.

The Evansville African American Museum features panels presenting the history of Baptisttown and a wonderful display of artifacts related to Lincoln High School, which served African American students 1928-1962 and is now Lincoln Elementary school. The museum also features traveling exhibits.

Sondra Matthews, founder of Our Times newspaper in Evansville, led the effort to establish the museum in 2007.

History Mystery

A print of an aerial view of the World's Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, in 1893. Our “mystery” literary Hoosier joined James Whitcomb Riley in a celebrity appearance at the fair.After he became famous across the country, James Whitcomb Riley befriended many other notable Hoosiers, including fellow literary greats.

In 1893, another native Hoosier who was enjoying national attention joined the "Hoosier Poet" for a celebrity appearance at the World's Fair - the Columbian Exposition - in Chicago.

The other notable Hoosier was the author of a historical novel that became a runaway national bestseller. He also had claims to fame in several other endeavors, including military exploits. At the World's Fair, he joined Riley in the spotlight when "Indiana Day" was celebrated.

The other Hoosier literary figure even had served as the governor of a new territory of the United States and as a diplomat.

Question: Who was he?

The call-in phone number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any prize from WICR during the past two months. Please do not call into the show until Nelson has posed the question on the air.

The prize pack includes four passes to the Indianapolis Zoo and four passes to the NCAA Hall of Champions, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four admissions to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Epidemics in Indiana history

A 1920s poster cautions against spreading disease through uncovered coughing. Image courtesy Wikipedia.(Nov. 15, 2014) - Amid the intense focus on Ebola and widespread concerns (or needless panic, according to many experts) about the possibilities of an epidemic in this country, Hoosier History Live explores epidemics in Indiana's past.

Did you know a malaria epidemic swept Indianapolis just as the Hoosier capital was getting under way in the 1820s? Some doctors blamed the epidemic on the swamps and marshland that were on the new city's site, chosen because of its central location.

With two Indianapolis-based medical historians as studio guests, Nelson explores the impact of that early epidemic, plus others that affected not only Indiana, but places far beyond our borders.

The influenza epidemic of 1918, a cholera epidemic of the mid-1800s, the polio scare that prevailed for most of the first half of the 20th century and the AIDS epidemic that caused panic during the 1980s and '90s are among the crises explored during our show.

Bill Beck.We also explore the devastating impact of tuberculosis during the late 1800 and early 1900s - even though "epidemic" may not be the most accurate term to describe the widespread TB cases. (Tune in to the show for an explanation.)

And we explore episodes of panic over potential epidemics, including a swine flu scare in 1976, when a vaccination program encountered various public relations problems. Fears of an epidemic proved unfounded.
Nelson is joined in studio by:

  • Dr. William McNiece, president of the Marion County Historical Society. Dr. McNiece is an anesthesiologist at IU Health's Riley Hospital for Children.
  • Bill Beck, an author and historian who has written dozens of business and institutional history books, including histories of Indiana hospitals. The founder of Lakeside Writers' Group, he is treasurer of the Marion County Historical Society.

In July 2009. Bill Beck was a Hoosier History Live guest for a show about the 1918 influenza epidemic and its Indiana impact. The polio epidemic reached its peak in 1952 in the United States. Iron lungs were used to treat victims. Courtesy March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.In July 2012, we explored various aspects of the polio epidemic, including the involvement of Eli Lilly & Co. in distributing the polio vaccine during the 1950s.

Now we broaden the focus and explore those epidemics, as well as several others.

In many Indiana towns, outbreaks of cholera during the 1830s, '40s and subsequent decades caused extreme panic.

Take the town of Aurora on the Ohio River, which had a population of 2,000 in 1849. Fourteen deaths from cholera were reported in one day, according to a historical account supplied by Dr. McNiece, an associate professor at the IU School of Medicine. William McNiece.During the next three weeks in 1849, 51 other victims died in Aurora. As a result, 1,600 of the 2,000 residents fled the town.

Also in 1849, the town of Madison reacted to outbreaks of cholera by creating a board of health with the power to quarantine residents and to impose fines on people who brought the disease into the city.

Decades before that, a malaria epidemic swept Indianapolis in 1821 just as the brand-new city was being developed on lowlands and swamps. A burial site for pioneers who were victims of the epidemic was called Plague Cemetery; it was located on the current site of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. In recent years, a marker has been installed on the historic Plague Cemetery site - which, ironically, is near a complex of classroom buildings for IU medical students.

Some of the historic epidemics - including the reactions to AIDS beginning in the early 1980s - have involved widespread misinformation about the ways the diseases and disorders can be transmitted.

Other epidemics, including polio, were brought under control with the development of vaccines.

Influenza ward at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Image courtesy Wikipedia.According to the Indiana Historical Society, the peak years for polio cases in the Hoosier state were 1949 and 1954, with, respectively, 1,147 and 1,448 new cases reported. In 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine.

The 1918 influenza epidemic, which ravaged North America and Europe, is considered to have been the country's worst flu epidemic. It coincided with - then persisted after - World War I. Both of our guests have presented programs about that horrific epidemic at the Indiana Medical History Museum.

Even though Ebola cases primarily have been confined to West Africa, the Indiana State Department of Health has opened a 24-hour call center to answer questions from the public. The phone number is (877) 826-0011.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Linden, Ind.

The Linden Depot Museum is the last junction depot remaining in Indiana. Built in 1908, it served the Nickel Plate Railroad, which ran from Toledo to St. Louis, and the Monon Railroad, which ran from Chicago to Louisville. Image courtesy Linden Depot Museum.Guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson tells us, "I'm suggesting a visit to the historic tiny town of Linden, Ind., which is on 231 between Crawfordsville and Lafayette and was platted in 1851."

Eric continues: "Linden has a railroad depot museum, the Linden Depot Museum, which preserves a 1908 depot intact, with interactive history displays, including a telegraph and several model trains. The museum is famous for its Christmas decorations, and look for a visit from Santa coming up next month."

Linden also has a Carnegie Public Library still in use, and one of Eric's favorite vintage ice cream stands, the Lindy Freeze. It is one of those independent ice cream places from the 1950s that is famous for its Peanut Butter Mountain sundae.

Lindy Freeze is right next to Linden Park, and if you're very lucky, the railroad won't have cleared the brush in October, when several kinds of butterflies use the park as a staging area on their migration southward.

History Mystery

Caroline Scott Harrison, image from oil portrait.In 1892, the country mourned when First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison died of tuberculosis in the White House.

One of the highest-profile victims of the disease in the 1890s, Mrs. Harrison is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Her husband, former President Benjamin Harrison, also is buried at Crown Hill.

A few years after Mrs. Harrison's tragic death, an Indiana chapter of a national organization was founded and named in her honor. To this day, the chapter carries her name. The national organization is one that she helped organize.

Question: What is the organization?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to LePeep Restaurant and two passes to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four admissions to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Kidnapping of free blacks in early Indiana

(Nov. 8, 2014) - After Indiana became a state in 1816, our first governor called attention to a problem: the kidnapping of free African-Americans, who were taken to the South and sold as slaves.

The Jack Butler indenture was signed by William Henry Harrison. Image provided by Jim Corridan.This problem - although seldom mentioned today - was serious and pervasive enough that the state's first governor, Jonathan Jennings, felt compelled to urge legislation to prohibit it.

To explore the kidnapping problem - sometimes called "man stealing" in the 1800s - Nelson is joined in studio by two guests who share stories of African-American families who were affected. Nelson's guests are:

Georgia Cravey.Among the kidnapped African Americans were members of a family who had lived in Vincennes. Jim Corridan will explain what happened to Jack Butler, his pregnant wife and six children, who were kidnapped after they moved to Illinois from a Knox County farm owned in part by William Henry Harrison. Jack Butler had been born free in Maryland circa 1776.

Much of the information about the kidnapping issue - including the concerns of Gov. Jennings - has been researched by Maxine Brown, a Corydon-based historic preservationist.

Maxine, who organized a recent conference that included presentations about the kidnapping issue, recommends the book Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America 1780-1865 (University Press of Kentucky, 1994), by Carol Wilson. According to Maxine, kidnappings were so common that historians have been unable to compile accurate statistics.

Historic preservationist Maxine Brown of Corydon and state archivist Jim Corridan of Indianapolis at the annual Progressive Journey Conference, which explores early African-American history in Indiana. Hoosier History Live photo, October 2014.During our show, Georgia Cravey shares insights about a Henry County family affected by kidnapping attempts. The situation involving the family of William Trail is described in letters in a collection at the Indiana Historical Society.

Also during our show, Jim Corridan discusses what sort of justice was available for free blacks in early Indiana.

In the family situation that Jim will describe, although Jack Butler had been born free in Maryland, he wound up as a slave in Kentucky. Butler escaped and made his way to Vincennes.

He worked for Indiana's territorial governor, William Henry Harrison, as an indentured servant (later ruled a form of slavery by the Indiana Supreme Court). Through a series of episodes that Jim will describe, Butler and his family became free but were kidnapped, sent to Louisiana and sold into slavery.

Upon learning of this, Harrison fought for the family's release and the conviction of the kidnappers. According to Jim, many current and former Vincennes residents wrote depositions in support of the Butler family during a trial in Louisiana.

William and Sarah Trail were early African-American settlers of Henry County. Four of their sons served in the Civil War on the side of the Union. The family cabin in Henry County, Ind., was in "Trail's Grove," near what is now the town of Shirley. Archibald Trail, one of those four veteran sons, is sitting in front. c. 1890 photo courtesy Henry County Genealogical Service.Our guest Jim Corridan is president of the Grouseland Foundation. Grouseland is the restored historic home built in Vincennes by Harrison, who later in life moved to Ohio and was elected U.S. president.

Our guest Georgia Cravey grew up in Charleston, Ill., the site of an early Lincoln-Douglas debate, as well as of a Copperhead riot. In the case she discusses that involved kidnapping attempts, William Trail (1784-1858) settled with his family in Henry County during the 1830s.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Wilderness to World-Class at the Athenaeum

The cast of Wilderness to World-Class includes Herron High School students portraying Booth Tarkington, Kurt Vonnegut, Madame Walker, James Whitcomb Riley, Colonel Eli Lilly, May Wright Sewall and Hoagy Carmichael. Photo courtesy Herron High School.Guest Roadtripper and teacher Robin Knop of Herron High School suggests a "don't-miss" musical performance coming up next week! Wilderness to World-Class: Indy's Story through Song will be performed by Herron High School students and special guests at the Athenaeum Theatre on Nov. 11 with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the show starting at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5, and they are free for ages 12 and under.

The performance is part of the city's 2014 Spirit and Place Festival. The musical is based on Indianapolis playwright Claude McNeal's past production of Indy in Revue. Wilderness to World-Class is a dramatic, historical and original musical telling the journey of one man's family as they witness Indianapolis' growth from its founding in the 1820s to the capital city it is today.

The show will highlight important people, places and events in Indianapolis history using narration, audiovisual tools, dance and song. Attendees will receive a specially designed bike map featuring many of the downtown sites mentioned in the show.

Wilderness to World-Class is collaborative production by Herron High School and Claude McNeal Productions.

History Mystery

A neighborhood in Indianapolis has deep connections to African American history. Located northwest of Monument Circle, the neighborhood included the homes of many black business and civic leaders of the 1800s and early 1900s.

Historic homes in Indy’s Ransom Place neighborhood.Now considered a historic district, the neighborhood takes its name from a civic leader who was the corporate attorney and manager for the businesses of hair products entrepreneur Madam Walker. With his extended family, he lived in the neighborhood, where some homes date to the 1890s or even earlier.

In fact, the neighborhood - long before being known by its current name - was identified as far back as the 1830s as an area of African American settlement.

Question: What is the Indianapolis neighborhood?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to LePeep Restaurant and two passes to the Indiana State Museum at White River State Park, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four admissions to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Amish in Indiana

An Amish family enjoys a music festival in Indiana’s Brown County, June 2013. Hoosier History Live photo.(Nov. 1, 2014 - encore presentation) - Only two states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, have larger Amish populations than Indiana.

The 49,000 Amish here live in about 22 distinct communities scattered across the state, from Elkhart and LaGrange counties in northern Indiana to settlements near the towns of Washington in southern Indiana, as well as Berne and Geneva in the northeast.

In this encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our Hoosier History Live archives (its original air date was Oct. 5, 2013), Nelson's guest is Steve Nolt, a history professor at Goshen College and co-author of a book that poses these questions:

"What is it about the Amish that both enchants and perplexes us? ... Could a horse-and-buggy people be more satisfied than the rest of us, with all our modern conveniences?"

Steve is the co-author of The Amish (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), which explores all aspects of the "intensely private and insular" folks known, as his book puts it, "for their simple clothing, plain lifestyle and limited technology."

During the show, Steve and Nelson explore the ever-increasing population of Amish in Indiana (the average family has seven children), as well as their values, schools and their shift from an almost exclusive focus on farming to jobs in factories and businesses. Employers include the RV industry in the Elkhart area - even though the Amish do not own or drive motor vehicles.

A road sign in Amish country. Image courtesy Amish America.In addition to being the co-author of The Amish, Steve Nolt is the author or co-author of several other books about the Amish and has collaborated on multiyear projects about their religion, history and distinctive culture.

According to his book The Amish, which was co-written by Donald Kraybill and Karen Johnson-Weiner, about two-thirds now support themselves in Amish-owned small businesses or by working in non-Amish factories and shops.

Steve Nolt.During our show, Steve Nolt addresses misconceptions about the Amish, who recently have become, as his book puts it, "popular culture icons of tourism and reality TV shows, even as they have deftly learned to flourish in a digital world."

He emphasizes that the Amish are not homogeneous. Some communities in Indiana include families who send their children to public schools until the eighth grade. Children in other communities almost exclusively attend private schools.

Founded more than 300 years ago in Europe as an offshoot of the Anabaptist Christians, the Amish Church faced persecution. The first Amish settled in Pennsylvania during the 1730s. According to The Amish, many families headed west - including to Ohio and Indiana - during the 1800s because of rising land prices in the eastern United States.

The Amish book cover.In northern Indiana, the towns of Nappanee and Shipshewana - both with Amish communities that date to the 19th century - have been popular in recent decades for tourists and shoppers intrigued by products such as quilts and baked goods. The Amish typically refer to outsiders as, simply, "the English."

In The Amish, Steve and his co-authors explore Rumspringa (which translates as "running around"), the rite of passage when adventurous teenagers in many Amish communities enjoy the freedom to experiment with cultural influences before deciding whether to be baptized and officially join the church.

During our show, Steve and Nelson explore misconceptions about Rumspringa, which drew widespread attention in the late 1990s following a series of alcohol and drug arrests of "wilding" Amish teenagers. Typically, Rumspringa ends with marriage, according to The Amish. Activities during the rite of passage vary widely among Amish communities, with many youth never engaging in mischief.

In Indiana, about two-thirds of the Amish live in the northern part of the state; LaGrange and Elkhart counties have the largest concentrations. Nearly 22,000 Amish people live in those two counties. The Amish population in Adams County is 7,200. In Daviess County in southern Indiana, it is 3,805.

Overall, only about 14 percent of the Amish today are farmers, according to some reports. In contrast, 61 percent were farmers in 1970.

In addition to holding jobs in RV factories, many Amish in Indiana work in furniture-making and home construction.

Historic women's groups

Members of the League of Women Voters brought a sign to display at the White House in 1924. The League’s first purpose was to exercise women’s new political rights and responsibilities after the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, giving women in America the right to vote. Image courtesy Wikipedia.(Oct. 25, 2014) - As Election Day approaches, Hoosier History Live explores the heritage and community impact of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters - as well as the cultural and civic impact of two other historic women's groups that are more than 100 years old.

The Indianapolis Woman's Club was founded clear back in 1875, so it will turn 140 in February.

And the Woman's Department Club of Indianapolis celebrated its centennial in 2012; its heritage is intertwined with the Hoosier Salon and what became the Visiting Nurses Association in Indianapolis, among other well-known organizations.

All three women's groups pre-date November 1920, when women finally got to vote in a presidential election for the first time. (Both the Indiana and Indianapolis chapters of the League of Women Voters were founded several months earlier that year.)

Erin Kelley.To explore the deep heritage of the three groups and how they have evolved, Nelson is joined in studio by three guests:

  • Erin Kelley, past president of the League of Women Voters Indianapolis. She also is the communications director for the Marion County Clerk.
  • Bonnie Carter, a civic leader who is a longtime member of the Indianapolis Woman's Club. She is a retired nuclear medical technologist from the IU Medical Center.
  • Donnae Dole of the Woman's Department Club. She is executive director of the Hoosier Salon, a statewide nonprofit that promotes Indiana artists.

Members of the Woman's Club are expected to research and present papers; their topics cover a vast range, from arts and culture to science and education, but not religion or politics.

Bonnie Carter.Although the League of Women Voters does not endorse candidates, it studies various issues and then forms policy positions. Topics range from immigration to, on the local level, redistricting reform.

The name of the Woman's Department Club derives partially because, in 1912, "departments" were set up to provide activities and community outreach. They included an "art department," "music department" and an "education department."

A charter member of the club was appointed to the Indianapolis School Board.

According to info supplied by Bonnie, the first women's club in the country may have been a group organized in the historic village of New Harmony in southwestern Indiana.

A collection of treasured paintings, many done by the renowned Hoosier Group of artists in the early 1900s, hung in a former clubhouse owned by the Woman's Department. The clubhouse, on North Meridian Street, was sold in 1964. Then the paintings were housed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art before being sold at auction in 2001.

Proceeds from that sale of artwork (which included paintings by T.C. Steele and William Forsyth) were used to create a fund for scholarships in education and in endeavors supporting the arts. Among various outreach activities, the Woman's Department funds scholarships in nursing and sponsors awards for artists.

Today, the Woman's Department meets at the historic Indianapolis Propylaeum in the Old Northside neighborhood. So does the Woman's Club, whose founders in 1875 included educator May Wright Sewall, a dynamic civic leader who became an internationally known suffragist and an ally of Susan B. Anthony.

League of Women Voters members Samantha Mahern (left) and Becca Beck participated in a transit advocacy project, circa 2011, on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Erin Kelley.May Wright Sewall (1844-1920) also founded the Propylaeum. Her life and impact were the focus of a Hoosier History Live show in March 2012 with historian Ray Boomhower and Jan Wahls, a member of the Propylaeum Historic Foundation.

According to our guest Erin Kelley, the League of Women Voters is "a direct offshoot of the National American Suffrage Association."

About the time women won the right to vote in 1920, suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt and others, as Erin puts it, "saw the need to keep all these mighty women organized."

The League of Women Voters was envisioned to help them - and future generations of women - become informed, active citizens.

Some history facts:

  • Although the League of Women Voters started exclusively for women, men have been welcome to become members since the 1970s.
  • The wives of Hoosier Group artists Steele and Forsyth were members of the Woman's Department Club.
  • According to a history of the Woman's Club, the Indianapolis organization inspired similar groups in Richmond, Lafayette and other Indiana cities.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Civil War sites in Indy

A Confederate memorial appears in Garfield Park in Indianapolis. The monument originally stood in Greenlawn (City) Cemetery in downtown Indy, where the POWs first were buried. Those bodies later were moved to "Confederate Mound” in Crown Hill Cemetery. Hoosier History Live photo.Guest Roadtripper William Selm, historian and adjunct faculty member at IUPUI, tells us to look around Indianapolis for hometown reminders of the Civil War.

"We are in the midst of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial," he says, "and 150 years ago the war was still raging in its fourth year. Indiana was thick in the fight under the leadership of the war governor, Oliver P. Morton. This titanic conflict in American history is remembered throughout Indianapolis, and the most obvious reminder is the beloved Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in the very center of the city."

Indianapolis also was the site of a prisoner-of-war internment camp. Camp Morton was opened in April 1861 as a training recruitment camp for Indiana volunteers. It was located in what had formerly been the Indiana State Fairgrounds before the fairgrounds relocated to 38th Street.

Camp Morton has an official cast-metal marker at North Alabama and 19th streets near where the camp entrance was. The prison camp's Col. Richard Owen, known to be kindly and humane, was remembered and honored by his former charges by a bronze bust that is near the center of the Indiana Statehouse.

The grimmer side of Camp Morton is remembered by the large granite Confederate Memorial in Garfield Park, just inside the southeastern entrance. It originally stood as the funerary monument in Greenlawn Cemetery, where the Confederate soldiers who died in captivity in Indianapolis were originally buried. The monument lists all the names of the Confederate soldiers, as well as their state regiments. A number came from border states that officially remained in the Union.

Other reminders include three Abraham Lincoln monuments, the Oliver P. Morton monument at the east entrance of the State House, the Camp Sullivan marker in Military Park and many others. The most recent reminder is the Indy Eleven Football (soccer) Club, named for Gen. Lew Wallace's (Brookville-born) 11th Indiana Regiment.

History Mystery

Becky Skillman, pictured here in 2007, was lieutenant governor of Indiana from 2005 to 2013.Bedford native Becky Skillman served two terms as Indiana's lieutenant governor after winning election in 2004 on the Republican ticket with Mitch Daniels. Although she became the first woman elected to the state's No. 2 post, Becky Skillman was not the first to serve in the office. In an earlier state administration, a woman was appointed to be Indiana's lieutenant governor when an opening occurred.

Question: Name the first woman to serve as the state's lieutenant governor.

Hint: Her stint in the office occurred during the last 15 years.

The prize pack includes a gift certificate to the Mikado restaurant and two passes to the IMAX Theater at White River State Park, courtesy of Visit Indy, and a pair of passes to GlowGolf at Circle Centre mall, courtesy of GlowGolf.

Marketing Indiana - and the lieutenant governor

Indiana Dunes are featured in an Honest to Goodness Indiana tourism ad.(Oct. 18, 2014) - "Honest-to-Goodness Indiana" made its debut earlier this year as the marketing slogan for the Hoosier state. Since then, it has been heard in TV commercials and featured on billboards, and it has popped up in magazine ads.

During the last 30 years, other promotional slogans for the state have included Restart Your Engines and Wander Indiana.

To share insights about the state's marketing campaigns and techniques, current and past, Nelson is joined in studio by two state officials - one of them No. 2 in the chain of command. Listen to "Honest to Goodness Indiana" here.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, who manages six state agencies, including the Office of Tourism Development, is one of the guests. A river scene at Madison, Ind., is featured in an Honest to Goodness Indiana tourism ad.A native of Ferdinand in southern Indiana, Lt. Gov. Ellspermann has a doctorate in industrial engineering and had a varied career in research, business and politics before she was elected in 2012 on a ticket with Gov. Mike Pence.

She is joined on the show by Mark Newman, executive director of the Office of Tourism Development, as we explore the strategy for the Visit Indiana campaign, including the "Honest-to-Goodness" tagline and the cities and states where it is being used.

TV commercials feature an "Honest to Goodness" tune sung by pop musician-songwriter Jon McLaughlin, who grew up in Anderson. Sequences in the commercials or references in the lyrics (or sometimes both) highlight sites ranging from The Dunes at Lake Michigan, the French Lick Springs Hotel and the Joseph Decuis gourmet restaurant in Roanoke to bustling Massachusetts Avenue and the Central Canal in downtown Indy.

Sue Ellspermann."Honest-to-Goodness" replaced "Restart Your Engines," which had an eight-year run as the state's marketing slogan.

"Many tourism officials around the state complained that the last brand platform was too Indianapolis-centric," the Indianapolis Business Journal reported in March. The same article - as well as others written in reaction to the introduction of the "Honest-to-Goodness" slogan - included some criticism that it was too folksy.

Just as the Hoosier state is diverse, so is the background of Lt. Gov. Ellspermann. She grew up in a family of six children, graduated from Purdue with a degree in industrial engineering (her advanced degrees, including her Ph.D., are from the University of Louisville) and owned a small business for 20 years. Then she became the founding director of the University of Southern Indiana's Center for Applied Research and Economic Development.

Mark Newman.In addition to exploring various aspects of marketing Indiana during our show, Nelson asks the lieutenant governor about her journey to the state's No. 2 post. Before being selected as Mike Pence's running mate, she had served one term in the Indiana House, representing a district that included Dubois, Perry, Spencer and Warrick counties.

Before our guest Mark Newman joined the state tourism office in 2012, he was a vice president of marketing with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; prior to that, he had worked as chief operating officer of Indiana Sports Corp.

Fun facts: According to an article in The New York Times earlier this year, the slogan for Texas is "It's Like a Whole Other Country." In North Carolina, it's "Beauty Amplified." The Cornhusker state markets itself as "Nebraska Nice" and Connecticut as "Still Revolutionary."

Wander Indiana license plate, 1985.In the re-branding process for Indiana that resulted in the “Honest to Goodness” slogan and other aspects of the current campaign, nearly 8,000 people ultimately participated, our guest Mark Newman told the IBJ. They responded to surveys, participated in focus groups or were involved in other ways.

According to several news accounts, Indiana is near the bottom of the states - 47th - in spending for tourism promotion.

During the 1980s, a major tourism promotion highlighted the "Wander Indiana" slogan, which was featured on state license plates. Apparently like just about any slogan, "Wander Indiana" also was met with criticism, including that it implied the state was slow-paced and unfocused.

When the "Honest to Goodness" campaign was unveiled in February, state officials indicated it eventually will be featured in national and regional magazines, including some associated with popular TV channels such as a the Food Network. State officials emphasized that efforts were made to feature diversity in the campaign, including diverse regions across Indiana.

Roadtrip: New Albany, on the Ohio River

Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Ind. Photo by 502photos.com.Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff tells us that, "History is a happening thing in New Albany on the Ohio River."

She explains: "One of Indiana's earliest towns, it's a preservationist's delight, with two centuries of buildings, many of which are undergoing rehab and adaptive reuse, and a great downtown to explore!"

The town founder's Scribner House from 1814 still stands, owned by the DAR. And a Greek Revival early state bank from the 1830s now houses a club. Lots of great public art, too!

Some of Glory's recommended sites:

  • The Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site is open for tours. It is one of several fabulous houses along Mansion Row overlooking the Ohio River.
  • The Division Street School, 1800 Conservative St., is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and offers exhibits on early education efforts for African-American children.
  • The Carnegie Center for Art and History, located in the former Carnegie Library on Spring Street.

For good eats, just walk around downtown, and there's food everywhere for all tastes. You might try The Exchange, located in an 1870s building on Market Street.

History Mystery

Thousands of tourists are drawn every October to Parke County for the Covered Bridge Festival. Located in far-western Indiana, Parke County markets itself as "the covered bridge capital of the world" because it still has 31 of the historic structures.

A springtime view of one of the six remaining white covered bridges in the mystery county. Hoosier History Live photo.The county's 58th annual Covered Bridge Festival concludes Sunday (Oct. 19). Some of the most prolific builders of covered bridges during the 19th and early 20th centuries were based in Parke County.

However, another county in Indiana was the home of a rival covered-bridge maker that built at least 58 of them.

Unlike the covered bridges in Parke County, which tend to be red, this county's builder preferred to make white covered bridges. Many of them were decorated with scrolls - script-like designs - on the exterior.

Six historic covered bridges are still standing in this county. One of the six was reconstructed after it was destroyed during a tornado in 2008. The reconstruction used some of the bridge's original wood, which the tornado had flung into a river spanned by the bridge.

Question: What is the Indiana county?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Le Peep restaurant, two passes to the IMAX Theater at White River State Park and two passes to Conner Prairie, all courtesy of Visit Indy.

Ask Nelson - and the Hoosierist, too

Lincoln Hotel in downtown Indianapolis at the corner of West Washington Street and Kentucky Ave., 1952. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.(Oct. 11, 2014) - Expect a bonus opportunity with our invitation to Hoosier History Live! listeners to call in and ask our host, author/historian Nelson Price, questions about our Hoosier heritage.

During this show, which featured open phone lines throughout for callers, the bonus opportunity involves a media colleague who, like Nelson, loves Hoosier trivia.

Sam Stall, who writes The Hoosierist column for Indianapolis Monthly magazine, joins Nelson in studio as co-host for the show. The Hoosierist is a question-and-answer column in which Sam tackles just about any question under the sun related to Indiana - from our natural landscape to weird statistics.

Sam Stall.In addition to calling Nelson with questions - the WICR-FM (88.7) studio number is (317) 788-3314 - listeners are encouraged to ask questions of Sam, who banters with our host between phone calls.

During the show, Sam shares details about the highest natural point in Indiana, which certainly is not known for mountain ranges or anything even resembling them. A teaser: The high point is called Hoosier Hill and is located in a far-eastern region of the state.

Sam also shares weird statistics he has amassed about Indiana, including some related to how many turkeys the state produces annually, as well as how many Christmas trees are Hoosier natives.

Nelson, in turn, shares insights about his areas of expertise, including famous people from Indiana and Indianapolis city history, drawing from his books Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing) and Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press).

Cover of book, Indiana Legends, by Nelson Price.Because the pro baseball season is nearing its annual climax with the World Series, Nelson discusses a colorful Hoosier baseball player who became a household name thanks to his triumphs 96 years ago. In the 1908 World Series, former Indiana farm boy Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown was a pitcher who won the series for the Chicago Cubs. To this day, the Cubs have never won another World Series.

A native of tiny Nyesville in far-western Indiana, Mordecai Brown achieved stardom despite suffering a severe injury during a childhood accident with a corn shredder. As Nelson will explain, some analysts contended Brown's disfigured right hand actually gave his curveball an exceedingly sharp, downward break that proved challenging for batters. He eventually became the first native Hoosier inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Other topics Nelson and Sam explore during the show:

  • Raggedy Ann. Nelson explains why, in his opinion, the world-famous doll is a Hoosier by "birth." Fun fact: Did you know the original Raggedy Ann dolls were not redheads? They had hair made of brown yarn - as well as hearts (sewn into their chests) that could be felt when children hugged their dolls.
  • The Silk Stocking neighborhood of Kokomo. Sam discusses the historic neighborhood, as well as similar posh, historic enclaves in other Indiana cities.
  • Corn. As the author of Corn Country: Celebrating Indiana's Favorite Crop (Emmis Books, 2003), Sam knows his corn. He will discuss the various types you see from the highways when you drive by Indiana's cornfields - and why most of it is not consumed by people.
  • The bygone Claypool and Lincoln hotels. Nelson shares details about the rival hotels in downtown Indy that were demolished in the late 1960s.

Want to weigh in on any of these topics? This show will be your opportunity. During our last "Ask Nelson" show, callers phoned in to supplement the history insights or provide first-person accounts related to the topics.

We ran out of time before Nelson could share some insights about internationally famous violinist Joshua Bell, a Bloomington native. So he discusses an anecdote related to the first time he interviewed Joshua, who was disembarking from a commercial airline with his Stradivarius violin (estimated value: $2 million) in tow. (Several years ago, Joshua upgraded to an even more expensive Stradivarius.)

Regular listeners may recall that Sam Stall, "The Hoosierist" columnist, was a Hoosier History Live! guest in October 2012, joining Nelson for a Cafeterias across Indiana show. Sam's other books - he has written two dozen - include Tray Chic: Celebrating Indiana’s Cafeteria Culture (Emmis Books, 2004).

A native of Goshen, Sam is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer who lives in the Broad Ripple neighborhood with his wife and son.

Roadtrip: Sarah Bolton, and Sarah Bolton Park in Beech Grove

Guest Roadtripper Andrea Neal, columnist for the Indiana Policy Review and founder of Indiana At 200, tells us that, "Pioneer poet Sarah T. Bolton has been lost to history, but in the 1840s and '50s she was a famous Hoosier."

Sarah Bolton Park is located in Beech Grove in southeastern Marion County. Photo by Andrea Neal.She continues: "Her poetry was known across the country, and her most famous poem, Paddle Your Own Canoe, was set to music and translated into a dozen foreign languages."

Bolton was born Sarah Tittle Barrett in 1814 in Newport, Ky., and moved as a toddler with her parents to Jennings County. Not liking the isolation, her father sold the farm and took the family to more civilized Madison, where Sarah studied Latin and read Virgil and other classics. Her first published poem appeared in the Madison Banner in 1826. She was not quite 14.

In 1831, Miss Barrett married newspaperman Nathaniel Bolton, and the two moved to Indianapolis, where they ran a dairy farm and wrote and immersed themselves in public affairs.

Bolton was a prominent figure in Indiana and was often asked to write poems for public occasions. Although anthologies of Bolton's poetry are no longer in print, she was widely published for her era. During the Civil War, her Union Forever! poem was credited with rallying the North.

By 1871 Bolton had retired from the spotlight and bought land at Beech Bank southeast of Indianapolis - now Beech Grove - where she lived her golden years in relative quiet. She died in 1893.

She is memorialized at a community park purchased by Beech Grove in 1930. The city's website notes, "The park reflects the life and beauty that Mrs. Bolton often spoke of in her poetry."

History Mystery

The Halloween window of Schimpff's Confectionery in downtown Jeffersonville, Ind. Schimpff's also has been in the candy business for more than 100 years. Hoosier History Live photo.In addition to being the site of the highest natural point in Indiana, Wayne County, on the state's far-eastern border, is the home of a historic candy business. Located in the town of Hagerstown, the candy business was founded in 1890 and became well-known for its caramels. For decades, visitors have been able to arrange to see the caramels and other treats being made at the Hagerstown business.

After 120 years, ownership of the candy enterprise was sold by its founding family, although their name has been retained on the business, which is continuing as a landmark in Hagerstown.

Question: Name the historic candy business.

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Le Peep restaurant and two passes to the IMAX Theater at White River State Park, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

World War I and Indiana

You may see this “Spirit of the American Doughboy” a lot!  Indiana native E.M. Viquesney immortalized the foot soldier in a statue after World War I, and casts of the statue were commissioned all over America. In fact, more than 130 American Doughboys exist today, with 11 in the artist’s home state of Indiana. These two are in Hartford City (left) and Peru, Ind. Photos by Lee Lewellen, courtesy Indiana Landmarks.(Sept. 27, 2014) - The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I is prompting analysis and reflection about the "war to end all wars."

During the horrific conflict that broke out in 1914 (although the United States did not enter the war until 1917), about 1,420 Hoosiers were killed in combat, according to some accounts. Thousands more were injured, suffered from shell shock or had their lives significantly altered in other ways.

Knox County Superior Court Judge Jim Osborne of Vincennes joins Nelson in studio to share insights about the war that often is depicted with scenes involving foxholes, gas masks and doughboys.

Judge Osborne, a former high school history teacher, is the founder and curator of the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, which has had special events commemorating World War I's centennial. In June, volunteers in Vincennes dug trenches on the museum's property so young Hoosiers could see how the war was fought; re-enactors portrayed Allied and German soldiers. The museum also has exhibited a restored French Renault hospital field truck from 1914.

The war's end in November 1918 was celebrated for months afterward. To welcome home Indiana's returning soldiers, thousands of people flocked to downtown Indy on May 7, 1919 for a celebration that featured a massive replica of the Arc de Triomphe (victory arch) in Paris.

The Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, Ind., houses a growing collection of wartime artifacts. Photo by Frank Roales, courtesy Indiana Military Museum.According to the Indianapolis Star, the victory arch spanned the width of the Meridian Street entrance to Monument Circle.

Our guest Judge Osborne is an avid military collector and historian. He established the non-profit Indiana Military Museum in 1982 as a way to enhance education of U.S. military history and preserve significant artifacts.

None of the 4.7 million U.S. veterans of World War I remain alive. The U.S. death toll was more than 116,500.

Even before the United States entered the war, America suffered casualties. In 1915, the British ocean liner Lusitania was attacked by Germany; its sinking killed nearly 1,200 passengers, including 128 Americans.

In Indiana, a military camp was established at scenic Winona Lake during the war. At Camp Winona, mechanics and truck drivers were trained for the war effort. According to the book Winona at 100, challenges at Camp Winona - as well as other military camps - included fatalities from diseases such as influenza and pneumonia.

During the war, Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis became one of the country's biggest training sites. The fort (now Fort Harrison State Park) had three large officer training camps during the "Great War." Jim Osborne, judge, 2014.At a specialty camp, about 10,000 troops at Fort Harrison received instruction as engineers and railroad specialists, according to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis.

Also according to the encyclopedia, various auto-related manufacturers in the Hoosier capital, including companies then known as Prest-O-Lite and Allison Engineering, converted to making, respectively, munitions and airplane engines. The city's gas company converted some operations to make explosives.

Hoosiers who served in World War I included future Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie, a native of Elwood. Willkie was in the U.S. Army in France as the war wound down. Indiana-born composer Cole Porter claimed to have served in the French Foreign Legion, but his biographers have disputed that. Tony Hulman, the future owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was a teenager who served with the ambulance corps of the American Red Cross during the war.

And Gene Stratton-Porter, the famous naturalist/novelist from northeastern Indiana (her bestsellers included A Girl from the Limberlost), donated $5,000 to the Red Cross during the war; her husband's relatives were surgeons in France.

During the war, a key national figure in the Red Cross also was a Hoosier. A massive replica of France’s celebrated Arc de Triomphe was constructed on the south side of the Circle in downtown Indianapolis after World War I. This May 7, 1919 celebration shows returning troops parading south on Meridian Street while thousands cheer. Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.Previously a small operation, the Red Cross grew dramatically because of the unprecedented need for medical care. Vincennes native and Indiana University graduate Ernest Bicknell, who had been national director of the Red Cross, traveled to Europe to oversee several relief efforts.

Women's organizations and churches across Indiana also focused to the war effort. A "socks for soldiers" crusade spearheaded by Hoosier women involved knitting thousands of socks for Indiana regiments as they left for France, according to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis.

After the war ended and the signing of peace treaties, including the Treaty of Versailles, the American Legion was founded in 1919. The new organization chose Indianapolis as the site of its national headquarters, where it remains to this day. Construction of the five-block Indiana World War Memorial Plaza (including what is sometimes called American Legion mall) followed.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Logan Street Stroll in Noblesville

The Hamilton County Courthouse, in Noblesville's town square, is lit up at light. Hoosier History Live photo.Guest Roadtripper Janet Gilray of Legacy Keepers Music points out that a new self-guided walking tour of downtown Noblesville and adjacent Logan Street, just to the east of downtown, is available.

William Connor and Josiah Polk platted the town of Noblesville seven years after Indiana became a state, with the town boundaries being the White River, Harrison Street, 12th Street, and Cherry Street on the south.

Logan Street Stroll highlights include:

  • The Noble County Courthouse.
  • Alexander's old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
  • Kirk's Hardware, in operation since 1890.
  • The Logan Village Antique Mall.
  • Logan Street Sanctuary, which is a repurposed old church.
  • Homes along Logan Street representing Early, Eastlake, Queen Anne and Victorian architectural styles, as well as Italianate, Greek Revival and American Foursquare.
  • A Cherokee Lodge also once existed on the street.

Additionally, a Logan Street Shuffle will be held on Oct. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Logan Street Sanctuary at 1274 Logan Street in Noblesville, including performances by the Riverboat Floozies and a steampunk fashion show.

History Mystery

A nationally famous building in southern Indiana was used as a hospital for soldiers wounded during World War I. In 1918 and 1919, U.S. Army soldiers returning from Europe were treated in the atrium and other areas of the landmark building.

question markIts role as a wartime hospital was a striking departure from the reason the impressive structure attained fame. The ornate building, which opened in 1902, had been visited by hundreds of wealthy Americans.

After its stint as a World War I hospital for soldiers, the building returned to its pre-war grandeur. But the Great Depression had a significant impact on its operation.

Question: Name the historic building in southern Indiana.

The prize pack is a gift certificate to the Story Inn in Brown County, courtesy of the Story Inn, and two passes to the NCAA Hall of Fame, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

History of TV in Indy

WISH marquee at 1440 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis, 1954. Image courtesy David Smith.(Sept. 20, 2014) - With the headlines about a major switch in network affiliations of TV stations in Indy, what better opportunity to spotlight the history of TV in the Hoosier capital?

As Hoosier History Live will explore with two broadcast veterans in Indiana as Nelson's guests, the shuffling of network affiliations has happened previously, although not often.

As of Jan. 1, CBS will end its affiliation of 58 years with Channel 8/WISH and switch its programming to Channel 4/WTTV.

David L. Smith, who began his TV career in 1951 (with WTTV) during the dawn of television in the Hoosier state, joins Nelson in studio. His long list of credits include working in management for 20 years at WISH and hosting a popular series, When Movies Were Movies, that aired for 10 years beginning in 1971.

Lee Giles.His books include Indianapolis Television (Arcadia Publishing, 2012), which explores the evolution of TV in the Hoosier capital and highlights a parade of personalities whose careers were linked to various TV stations in Indy.

They include David Letterman (a weatherman during the 1970s), the troubled former Hollywood actress Frances Farmer (who was the host of an afternoon movie show during the 1960s) and Channel 4 children's TV personalities Janie Hodge and Cowboy Bob.

David Smith on the set of "When Movies Were Movies," 1987. Image courtesy David Smith.Another well-known name who got her start in Indy TV was hired by a former Channel 8 news director who joins Nelson and David Smith on the show. Jane Pauley was hired in 1972 by Lee Giles, whose long, award-winning career as a news director at WISH was preceded by on-air posts in the news department, including anchor and Statehouse reporter.

Both of our guests were working in the Indy TV market during the late 1970s when two stations switched network affiliations. Channel 13/WTHR-TV (formerly WLWI) had been affiliated with ABC-TV; Channel 6/WRTV had been an NBC affiliate. The two stations switched networks as part of a power play.

The maneuvering so enraged the then-general manager of Channel 13 that he resorted to a late-night, on-air act of frustration that Dave Smith will describe during our show.

He also recounts the incident in his Indianapolis Television book, which traces the beginnings of experimentation with the medium in the Hoosier capital during the late 1930s. (A ham radio operator who was studying electrical engineering at Purdue may have been the first to broadcast a TV image in Indiana, the book reports.)

Cowboy Bob appears on stage in the early 1970s with other WTTV Channel 4 personalities, both human and canine.  From left are Cowboy Bob, his dog Tumbleweed, Sally Jo (Fridle) of “Sally Jo and Friends,” her dog Tootsie, and Janie (Hodge) of “Popeye and Janie.”  Some history facts:

  • On Memorial Day weekend in 1949, a TV station in Indianapolis went on the air for the first time. The inaugural-day programs on Channel 6, then WFBM-TV, included a live broadcast of the Indianapolis 500.
  • Some accounts indicate 2,000 television sets were tuned in to that 500-Mile Race.
  • Channel 4/WTTV founder Sarkes Tarzian, who had immigrated from a Turkish region of Armenia, was based in Bloomington, where he had become an engineer for RCA. According to Indianapolis Television, the result during the early years of TV meant that for a while, "Bloomington had the distinction of being the smallest city in the world with its own television station."

Several of the initial staff members at Channel 4 were Indiana University students, according to our guest Dave Smith's book Indianapolis Television. After being hired at the TV station in 1951, he did on-air work and also produced, directed, edited film and served as a cameraman.

In addition to Dave's later, long stint at Channel 8, which included serving as program and production manager, he was a telecommunications professor at Ball State University. His other books include Hoosiers in Hollywood (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2006) and a biography of movie star Clifton Webb, an Indianapolis native.

Indianapolis’s own Jane Pauley with Tom Brokaw on the Today Show, 1977.  Pauley went from Indianapolis to Chicago to New York City. Image courtesy Wikipedia.Both of our guests, Dave Smith and Lee Giles, have been presidents of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers and have been inducted into its hall of fame. Lee Giles also has been inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame; his 40-year career at WISH-TV included 35 years as news director, a remarkably long tenure in a post that typically turns over every few years.

WISH-TV was not always a CBS affiliate. During the 1950s, it had carried NBC programming before switching to CBS. The upcoming switch of CBS to WTTV, which has been an independent station, means that Channel 4 will begin carrying the network's popular programs - as well as many Indianapolis Colts games - in 2015.

By the way, several well-known news anchors and personalities in the Indy TV market have been studio guests on Hoosier History Live! since our debut in January 2008. They include retired Channel 8 news anchor Mike Ahern (he was a guest on show in October 2009 about the legendary House of Blue Lights) and Barbara Boyd, who, at Channel 6, became the first African-American woman in Indiana to anchor a news broadcast. Dave Smith's book mentions the attention she drew as a consumer reporter when Barbara reported about her own mastectomy from her hospital bed.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Decatur Sculpture Walk

"Gene's Friend," on the Decatur (Ind.) Sculpture Tour, was sculpted of walnut and was inspired by longtime Adams County naturalist and author Gene Stratton-Porter. Image courtesy Terri Gorney.Guest Roadtripper Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne, who also volunteers at several conservation organizations, including ACRES, DNR and Limberlost, suggests that we visit the small Adams County town of Decatur in northeast Indiana for its third annual Sculpture Walk.

Decatur is the birthplace and boyhood home of David Smith, one of the most well-known sculptors of the 20th century. You can also see the work of artist Greg Mendez, also a native of Decatur and inspired by David Smith. Here's a town that is proud of its artists!

This year there are 17 outdoor sculptures and six in downtown businesses, as well as permanent private sculptures.

While in Decatur, you can visit Storybook Park, established in 2013 next to the Adams Public Library. It was designed by another Decatur native, landscape designer Nick Girod. There is also a beautiful Peace Memorial on the courthouse lawn. Enjoy an ice cream at the Ice Cream Depot or lunch or dinner at Marko's on Second Street, Back 40 Junction, or the Galley.

History Mystery

One of the longest-serving weathercasters in Indianapolis TV history was a viewer favorite on WISH-TV/Channel 8 from the late 1950s (when he was hired as an announcer) until his retirement in 1991.

During the brutal Blizzard of 1978, he was a nearly round-the-clock presence on Channel 8 as he provided Central Indiana residents with constant updates about the historic winter storm. His trademarks included horn-rimmed eyeglasses and a weather van with his name emblazoned on it. In the 1950s, before joining WISH-TV, he was an announcer and host on Channel 4/WTTV.

Question:Who was the longtime Channel 8 weatherman?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to the Tin Roof, a live music joint in downtown Indianapolis, and two passes to the Eiteljorg Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Another show online!

Show on grocers now available for listening

From family grocers to supermarkets. This show, originally aired on July 19, 2014, is now available for downloading and listening thanks to the generous support of Bruce and Julie Buchanan.

Remember, friends, we at Hoosier History Live are more like a small family corner grocery than anything else!

Independents make great radio. And a big thanks to creative collaborators Richard Sullivan, Nelson Price and Molly Head, who put together this newsletter each and every week.

Nelson in print

These 5 famous Hoosiers reinvented themselves

Just in time for Labor Day, host Nelson Price has penned another piece for The Indianapolis Star about historic - and current-day - prominent Hoosiers who began new chapters in their work lives after initially taking a different direction entirely.

Historian Jim Madison's insights on Hoosiers

Thomas Hart Benton painted a massive mural to depict the history of Indiana for the 1933 “Century of Progress” exhibition in Chicago. Later transferred to Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, the mural is among the state’s greatest treasures. One panel has remained controversial because it depicts Klan members with their burning cross and American flag. The panel actually condemns the Klan as it celebrates, in the foreground, tree planting in a state park, a white nurse tending to an African-American child, and the press, which played a role in the Klan’s downfall. Photo by Michael Cavanagh and Kevin Montague, Indiana University Art Museum. Provided by James H. Madison.

(Sept. 13, 2014) - Indianapolis Monthly magazine called him "probably the closest thing Indiana has to a historian laureate."

His eagerly awaited new book, Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana (co-published by Indiana University Press and the Indiana Historical Society Press), explores the entire sweep of the state's heritage, starting centuries before the arrival of French fur traders during the early 1700s and concluding with economic and political upheavals of the 21st century.

James H. Madison.James Madison, professor emeritus of history at Indiana University, is Nelson's special in-studio guest to share insights about a range of topics, including how the Hoosier character has been shaped by ethnic immigration, farm-to-city migration and manufacturing trends.

Some topics addressed in Professor Madison's new book that we explore during the show:

  • Did you know Indiana was a political "swing state" in national elections 100 years ago? As a result, both political parties often included Hoosiers as vice presidential candidates on their tickets.
  • Indiana's initial state constitution in 1816 was drafted largely by native Southerners. Referring to the constitutional convention that year, Professor Madison's book points out that "all but 9 of the 43 delegates had lived below the Mason-Dixon line prior to moving to Indiana."
  • Because of the state's long heritage in automotive-related industries, resentment of foreign-made cars persisted in many communities, even as top business leaders began courting Japanese investments. Even in 2004, 81 percent of Indiana-registered vehicles were American makes such as Fords and Chevys, according to statistics featured in Professor Madison's book. In contrast, the national average was 51 percent.

"Who at the state's Centennial in 1916 could have imagined Japanese auto factories sprouting in Indiana cornfields?" Professor Madison asks in Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. "Who could have imagined Hoosier kids playing soccer when everyone knew that hands and feet were meant for basketball? Who could have imagined a mosque on Hoosier soil?"

Most of the state's earliest white settlers migrated from what Professor Madison's book calls the "upland South," meaning they often were "people too poor to own slaves." The Hoosier's Nest painting by Marcus Mote illustrates John Finley's poem of the same title, published in the 1830s. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum.He cites 1850 census data indicating 44 percent had come from southern states, followed by 31 percent from Ohio.

In 1851, the state had a second constitutional convention because, in part, of a financial crisis stemming from debt incurred by what Professor Madison's book calls "canal mania": the frenzy to build canals, which quickly became obsolete with the railroad boom.

The "new" Indiana Constitution of 1851, which prohibits the state from going into debt, "contributed generally to the shaping of a more conservative outlook in Indiana," Professor Madison writes.

He is a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission that is overseeing celebrations for the state's 200th birthday in 2016. (For a Hoosier History Live show on June 22, 2013, he was a studio guest about the upcoming Bicentennial and how the state celebrated the Centennial in 1916.)

Professor Madison also is the author of several other books that explore various aspects of the state's heritage, including a biography of entrepreneur/philanthropist Eli Lilly, a look at a lynching in Marion in 1930, and The Indiana Way: A State History (IU Press, 1986).

In his new book, he explores the notorious Ku Klux Klan, which had a stranglehold on Indiana during the 1920s, and various misconceptions about that era. Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana book cover, by James H. Madison. The cover of "Hoosiers" is from one of the Indiana murals that Thomas Hart Benton painted for the 1933 World’s Fair, highlighting the state’s love affair with basketball and auto racing.He also traces farm-to-city migration, citing the 1910 census showing that, for the first time, the number of rural Hoosiers declined while the urban population increased significantly.

During an earlier era, according to Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana, pioneer women here were marrying younger and having more children than women who remained in the East.

"The birthrate in Indiana in the 1810s ranked among the highest in the world," Professor Madison writes.

His book explores early African-American settlements such as Lyles Station in Gibson County.

And he describes the letters written during the Civil War by young Hoosier soldiers as "among the most interesting documents in all of Indiana history." As they marched through the South, the soldiers "saw firsthand the reality of slavery" and, in their letters home, challenged the South's "sunny depiction" of itself.

In chapters focusing on post-World War II eras, Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana explores the state's manufacturing heritage and evolving attitudes toward foreign investment, particularly in auto production. Whereas auto-related businesses typically had been located in northern Indiana for most of the 20th century, Professor Madison describes the tendency of Japanese companies since the 1980s to select small town or rural locations, often near such southern Indiana communities as Greensburg and Princeton.

In agriculture, he recounts the development of "industrial-type operations" such as the massive Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana.

In addition to serving on the Bicentennial Commission, Professor Madison is a board member of the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Humanities.

Roadtrip: Indiana Bicentennial Train

All aboard! The Indiana Bicentennial Train crosses the Shuffle Creek trestle over Lake Lemon in Monroe County. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Amy Lamb of the Indiana Historical Society tells us to get on board the fall 2014 run of the Indiana Bicentennial Train. In a unique collaboration with The Indiana Rail Road Company and Norfolk Southern Corporation, the train will visit Columbus (Sept. 18-20), Jasper (Sept. 25-27), Terre Haute (Oct. 2-4) and Bargersville (Oct. 9-11).

Originally known as the Indiana History Train, the Indiana Bicentennial Train has welcomed more than 71,000 visitors in its six years of travel. It consists of three 65-foot renovated Amtrak freight cars and features a free traveling exhibition, The Next Indiana.

In addition to the exhibition, temporary "depots" are set up at each venue to provide an enjoyable, comprehensive experience. Visitors can participate in hands-on and educational activities, catch a 1916 interpreter presentation, connect with the mission and offerings of the Indiana Historical Society and purchase items from a pop-up History Market.

The Bicentennial Train and its accompanying activities are all free and open to the public, operating 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Every visitor will receive a complimentary pass to visit Indiana Experience at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. For more information, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org/train.

History Mystery

A famous South Bend family owned what became the largest plow manufacturing plant in the world. Their "chilled plow" design had reversible point and share. Image courtesy lincolnlib.niu.edu.

By the early 1900s, according to statistics in James Madison's Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana, South Bend was the nation's sixth-largest manufacturer of farm machinery. A major reason was the presence in South Bend of a family-owned business that made plows. In fact, the family's factory became the world’s largest maker of plows.

A Queen Anne-style mansion built in the 1890s - and owned by the South Bend family for 72 years - is open for tours and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Question: Name the South Bend family that became wealthy in the plow-manufacturing business.

The prize pack includes four passes to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, a gift certificate the restaurant Mikado in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of VisitIndy, and a pair of passes to GlowGolf in the Circle Centre Mall, courtesy of GlowGolf.

Prohibition in Indiana

(Sept. 6, 2014) - As the country moved to enact Prohibition, Indiana "was very much a battleground," according to an expert who will be a guest on our show.

Vintage poster shows illustration of woman with message Prohibition: observance and enforcement, not repeal.Consider the number of Hoosier breweries that were in business, particularly in Terre Haute and Indianapolis. As Indianapolis-based author/historian Jason Lantzer notes, one of the major breweries was led by the maternal grandfather of Kurt Vonnegut.

On the other hand, many towns and counties across the state were "dry" for several years before January 1920, when the 18th Amendment - which was widely known as Prohibition - became part of the U.S. Constitution.

And Indiana had one of the best-organized state branches of the Anti-Saloon League, according to Jason, who is the author of Prohibition Is Here to Stay (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009) and the upcoming Interpreting the Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites (R&L Publishers).

Jason, who also is the coordinator of the honors program at Butler University, joins Nelson in studio for a show exploring the colorful era of speakeasies, bootleggers, moonshine and temperance advocates such as suffragist Frances Willard, who was named the national head of the Union at an event in Indianapolis. (Jason notes that a bronze plaque about her ascendancy in 1879 is displayed in the rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse.)

Jason and Nelson are joined in studio by Katherine Gould, associate curator of cultural history at the Indiana State Museum, which will host a traveling exhibit, American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, that opens Sept. 20.

The exhibit, which was created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, spans the beginnings of the temperance movement from the early 1800s up through the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

Interpreting The Prohibition Era at Museums and Historic Sites book cover.State Museum officials note that famous figures with Hoosier connections who crusaded for Prohibition included Billy Sunday (1862-1935), a pro baseball star who became one of the country's best-known evangelists.

Beginning in 1911, the former Chicago baseball player was based for much of the year in Winona Lake in northern Indiana. A major Christian campground with a Billy Sunday Tabernacle was built in Winona Lake, as was a home for Sunday and his family, a bungalow that he called Mount Hood.

Prohibition Is Here to Stay, our guest Jason Lantzer's first book, is a biography of another influential clergyman who crusaded against alcohol abuse. Rev. Edward Shumaker was a Methodist minister who, for nearly 25 years, led Indiana's chapter of the Anti-Saloon League, exerting influence far beyond the Hoosier state in what many called a "noble crusade."

Opponents of Prohibition included Albert Lieber, who ran the Indianapolis Brewing Company in the early 1900s. His daughter, Edith, was married to Kurt Vonnegut Sr.

Indiana went "dry" in April 1918, nearly two years before the nation, according to the Indiana Historical Society. Even several years before that, some Indiana counties such as LaGrange and Randolph already had prohibited the manufacturing, sale and transportation of alcohol.

Katherine Gould.In 1923, during the height of Prohibition, Indiana lawmakers passed the state's first drunk-driving law. The punishment was $500 and a jail sentence of up to six months, according to the historical society. Repeat offenders faced prison terms as long as five years.

Many suffragists crusaded for Prohibition because they had seen the devastating impact of men's alcoholism on their wives and children. In addition to Billy Sunday, advocates for Prohibition included May Wright Sewall, an Indianapolis-based suffragist, civic leader and educator.

Prohibition included Albert Lieber, head of Indianapolis Brewing Co. and namesake of Lieber’s Hoosier Beer. Image courtesy hoosierbeerstory.com.According to the historical society, which hosted an exhibit titled "Busted: Prohibition Enforced" in 2011, about 30 breweries and more than 2,500 saloons across the state closed their doors when Indiana went "dry." (After the launch of the historical society's “You Are There” exhibit, Hoosier History Live explored some aspects of Prohibition during a show on June 25, 2011.)

Jason Lantzer.The upcoming exhibit at the Indiana State Museum will feature recreations of a church where visitors can hear temperance speeches, as well as a speakeasy where they can learn to dance the Charleston and learn slang of the Roaring '20s.

The historical society's exhibit focused on the raid in 1920 of a major bootlegger operating out of a barn near New Bethel (now Wanamaker) in far-southeastern Marion County. A photo of that raid - considered the largest bootlegging bust in the Midwest since Prohibition began - not only inspired the historical society's exhibit, it is featured on the cover of the upcoming book by our guest Jason Lantzer.

The exhibit coming to the state museum has been curated by Daniel Okrent, the author of the national bestseller Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner, 2010).

Suggested "learn more" websites:

Roadtrip: Pleasant Run bike tour in Indy

The Benton House is a landmark structure in Indy’s Irvington neighborhood. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Guest Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks suggests an opportunity to embrace the German philosophy of sound mind and body through exercise while exploring German-born George Kessler's marvelous park and boulevard system In Indianapolis.

In 1908, landscape architect George Kessler presented a plan to the Indianapolis Park Board that would use the natural terrain of Indianapolis to weave a system of boulevards and parkways connecting public parks. Today this plan, expanded upon by Lawrence Sheridan in the 1920s, connects 12 parks. Its system of roadways and parks encompasses 3,474 acres and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Fun fact: Did you know that Indy finally named a city park for George Kessler in recent years? It's at 25th and Pennsylvania streets in Fall Creek Place.

There's an opportunity on Sept. 27 for a 15-mile round trip bike ride exploring Pleasant Run from Garfield Park to Irvington in Indianapolis. Highlights of the tour include historic Garfield Park, Pleasant Run Parkway, Bona Thompson Memorial Library in Irvington, and the Fountain Square neighborhood. More information on the bike tour is on the Indiana Landmarks website.

History Mystery

A county in Indiana is considered by many historians to have been the site of the country's first successful commercial winery. Grape stomping is a featured event at this Indiana county’s annual fest. Image courtesy nwitimes.com.European immigrants to the county set up vineyards and established the winery during the early 1800s. Some historians say the immigrants may even have introduced grape cultivation to the United States.

As a salute to its wine-making heritage, the Indiana county celebrates an annual wine festival. It typically features a grape stomp, riverboat cruises and music, as well as tents showcasing Indiana wineries.

Question: What is the Indiana county?

The prize pack includes four passes to the Indiana State Museum for an opportunity to see "American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," which opens Sept. 20, two tickets to the tickets to the Hoosier Hops & Harvest Festival at Story Inn, courtesy of Story Inn, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Serving up Hoosier heritage food

(Aug. 30, 2014) - Pork tenderloins and persimmon pudding are on the menu for our show.

Persimmons are best eaten in the fall when they are ripe.So are sugar cream pie, beef Manhattan sandwiches, fried biscuits, apple butter and Van Camp's pork and beans.

Also on the menu: the heritage of canning. It's intertwined with our Hoosier food history, thanks in no small part to the enterprising Ball brothers who came to Muncie in the 1880s.

To explore classic Hoosier foods - and topics related to the state's traditional cuisine - Nelson is joined in studio by one of the state's best-known food journalists. Jolene Ketzenberger, the Indianapolis-based founder and editor of the local food website EatDrinkIndy, has covered the Hoosier culinary scene for more than 20 years.

Here's her take on the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, which has been identified with Indiana for generations:

"I think it's clearly a cousin to the schnitzel, which seems reasonable considering the German heritage of many Hoosiers."

Did you know a historic restaurant in northeastern Indiana claims to have invented the pork tenderloin sandwich? Nick's Kitchen in Huntington dates its start to 1904, when founder Nick Frienstein began selling his wares from a street cart. A few years later, Nick's brother started frying - and breading - pork cutlets to sell as sandwiches.

A food stand at the 2014 Indiana State Fair has signs for deep-fried Oreo, deep-fried butter and deep-fried Reeses peanut-butter cups.Regardless of their origin, pork tenderloins have been a longtime hit with Hoosiers but are seldom served in other states. Other sandwiches are even more regional in appeal, including one that Jolene calls a "southern Indiana classic": the brain sandwich.

Jolene, who enjoys shopping in farmers markets and trying new recipes, reports she felt compelled to make a brain sandwich so she could include it in her Cafe Indiana Cookbook (2010), which she co-authored with Joanne Raetz Stuttgen.

"When I was testing the recipe, the power was out," she recalls. "So we were eating fried brains by candlelight - very zombie-esque, which seemed to amuse my boys."

Jolene and her husband, John, are the parents of three children. Her food journalism has appeared in Indianapolis Monthly, NUVO Newsweekly, the Indianapolis Business Journal and the Indianapolis Star. A regular judge at food and cocktail competitions, Jolene is at work on a book focusing on the evolution of the food scene in Indy.

The Hoosier capital was the setting for the launch of Van Camp's canned pork and beans. (Stokely-Van Campwas based in Indy. Pork and beans were marketed across the country under the Van Camp's label.)

According to Jolene's research, the beef Manhattan sandwich also is said to have originated in Indy. She reports the sandwich "doesn't seem to exist in New York's Manhattan or much outside of Indiana."

Some other food-heritage tidbits we explore during the show:

  • Persimmons. Known in some places as Sharon fruit or as "the fruit of the gods" by the ancient Greeks, the orange-yellow fruit has been cultivated everywhere from China and Korea to Indiana and California. In southern Indiana, the town of Mitchell will host its 68th annual Persimmon Festival from Sept. 20-27.
  • Jolene Ketzenberger, 2014.Sugar cream pie. In the far-eastern Indiana town of Winchester, Wick's Pies is the world's largest maker of this Hoosier heritage food. A multigenerational family-owned business, Wick's produces more than 750,000 sugar cream pies every year, according to Jolene's research. During previous Hoosier History Live! shows, foodie guests have explained that the pie became a staple in farm kitchens because its ingredients (unlike those of fruit pies) were available year-round here.
  • Fried biscuits and apple butter. As Jolene notes, they are associated with such mainstays on the Hoosier food scene as the Nashville House in Brown County and Jug's Catering in Indianapolis.
  • Canning and the impact of Ball Corp. The factory in Muncie was opened in 1888 by five Ball brothers, who moved from Buffalo, N.Y., and achieved tremendous success, particularly with their famous Mason jars. The glass jars were used across the country for canning many homegrown products, including some, like tomatoes, that also have a long association with Indiana. (Red Gold, the manufacturer of tomato products, is based in Elwood. Its corporate headquarters is located in the former Elwood Elementary School.)

For decades, the Ball Blue Book was, as Jolene puts it, the "go-to canning guide."

Eventually, though, home canning sharply declined in popularity. In Muncie, glass production ended during the 1960s as Ball Corp. diversified. In the late 1990s, the company moved its headquarters to Colorado.

But canning may not be just a part of Hoosier history. Jolene reports signs of "renewed hipster interest" in it; she says canning seems to have developed a "cool" reputation among some foodies.

Tune in to the show for more insights about this enticing topic.

Jolene's "learn more" website picks:

Roadtrip: Knightstown

The Knightstown Academy shows the Second Empire style. The globe and telescope topping the academy's towers are said to have been school founder John Irwin Morris's idea, to convey the majesty and importance of education. The building is in Knightstown, Ind. Photo by Mark Sean Orr for Indiana Landmarks.Guest Roadtripper Joe Frost of Indiana Landmarks' Eastern Regional Office and Indiana National Road Association will suggest a Roadtrip to a National Road town about 30 miles east of Indianapolis, Knightstown.

The "Hoosier Gym" that was home court to the Huskers in the movie Hoosiers is located in Knightstown.

History Mystery

From the 1940s through the early 1980s, a beverage with a trademarked name was distributed out of Indianapolis and became enormously popular with children. Sold in bottles (and, later, in cans) like soft drinks of the era, the beverage was promoted at various times by Hoosier celebrities such as Channel 4/WTTV personalities Cowboy Bob and Sammy Terry.

The creator of the beverage had a background in the dairy and ice cream business, which was reflected in its flavor. Distribution of the beverage extended far beyond Indiana, even though it was bottled in the Hoosier capital.

Question: Name the beverage.

The prize pack includes two tickets to the tickets to the Hoosier Hops & Harvest Festival at Story Inn, courtesy of Story Inn, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Underground Railroad reality and myths

(Aug. 23, 2014 - encore presentation) - If you believe folklore across Indiana, just about every historic house, inn and tavern - particularly those with hidden rooms, cellars or attics - served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Kisha Tandy.Exaggerations and misconceptions abound regarding the movement before and during the Civil War to help escaped slaves, according to experts.

To share insights about the myths and reality regarding the extent and nature of the Underground Railroad network in Indiana - including what is and isn't confirmed - two experts join Nelson in studio during this encore broadcast. (The original air date of this show was June 29, 2013.)

Nelson's guests are Kisha Tandy, assistant curator of social history at the Indiana State Museum, and historic researcher and genealogist Dona Stokes-Lucas of Indianapolis. Dona Stokes-Lucas.Dona also is a board member of Indiana Freedom Trails Inc., a nonprofit established to pull together, verify and preserve information about Underground Railroad history in the Hoosier state.
The Underground Railroad era generally is defined as beginning in the mid-1830s.

Oral histories, diaries, notations in family Bibles and letters have been crucial in figuring out the routes, buildings and people associated with the effort to help runaway slaves - or freedom seekers - as they passed through Indiana.

According to several accounts, St. Joseph County, which includes South Bend, served an integral role with slaves as they headed north. And because of the prevalence of anti-slavery Quakers in Wayne County and other parts of far-eastern Indiana, that region also had a flurry of clandestine activity.

During the show, Dona and Kisha also discuss the frequency with which so-called slave catchers from the South - often mercenaries - combed Indiana in search of freedom seekers.

Article details 'overlooked yet influential Hoosiers'

(July 6, 2014) - Hoosier History Live's host, Nelson Price, has penned an article for indystar.com that focuses on notable Hoosiers, present and past, who deserve more attention.

IndyStar logo.Says Nelson: "I picked five diverse Hoosiers, three of them historic figures and two contemporary. One of the latter is archaeologist/anthropologist Christopher Schmidt (of U Indy's Indiana Prehistory Lab), whom I regard as a rock star. He has been a radio show guest twice so far."

Others in the article include:

  • Chief Menominee, leader of the Potawatomi in northern Indiana during the 1830s.
  • Anita DeFrantz, Olympics organizer who hails from Indy.
  • Tom Harmon, football star, World War II hero and pioneer TV sportscaster.
  • Levi and Catharine Coffin, whose home in Newport (Fountain City now) became known as the "Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad during the 1840s.

So ... click over to the story on the indystar.com website and take a look at Nelson's most recent published piece of history journalism!

6th-anniversary party

Another rousing success!

The sixth anniversary party for Hoosier History Live! on Feb. 27 was yet another rousing success.

About 200 guests hailing from all corners of the state, from Fort Wayne to Jeffersonville, attended our gala, which was hosted by Indiana Landmarks at their state headquarters, the beautifully renovated Central Avenue United Methodist Church.

Hoosier History Live host Nelson Price and former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut are all smiles at the show’s 6th-anniversary soiree. Hoosier History Live photo.The party was attended by dozens of the distinguished Hoosiers who have been studio guests on the radio show during the last six years, including notables such as novelist James Alexander Thom and his wife, Dark Rain Thom; Jane “Janie” Hodge, the pioneer of children's TV programming, and Jesse Kharbanda, president of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut spoke with great enthusiasm to our guests ("History matters!" - he proclaimed), as did Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications.

Hoosier History Live! wishes to thank the following performers, costumed re-enactors and others who contributed to the evening's success: Hank Fincken as Johnny Appleseed, Danny Russel as Abe Lincoln, kilted members of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis as a nod to our many programs about ethnic groups in Indiana, Shirley Judkins on the grand piano performing Indiana's Songwriter Legends, and Janet Gilray as "Ms. Melody" of Legacy Keepers and Dan Wethington of bluegrass band Cornfields & Crossroads. Photos by Frank Espich of the Indianapolis Star.

Birthday cake and mini cupcakes by Chef Maureen Dunlap, and photography by Bill Holmes.

Acknowledgments also to Garry Chilluffo, Mark Szobody, Marsh Davis, Sharon Gamble, Doris Bond, Laura Yeo, Leah Cody, Carol Simmons, Gary BraVard, Clayton Ryan, Jed Duvall, Lockerbie Pub, Richard Sullivan, Pam Fraizer, Tom Rea, Lorraine Vavul and Jeanne Blake.

Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Communications dropped by the Hoosier History Live 6th-anniversary celebration to say a few words in support of the show. He also spoke about the importance of keeping history alive with active inquiry. At left are host Nelson Price and producer Molly Head. Photo by Richard Sullivan, Hoosier History Live.

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A towering figure in history and in real life, Abraham Lincoln, portrayed here by Danny Russel, is joined by show supporter Marion Wolen (left) and Virginia Hofmann. Hoosier History Live photo.

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Janet Gilray of Legacy Keepers provided entertainment in the lobby. She was accompanied by Dan Wethington of bluegrass band Cornfields & Crossroads. Hoosier History Live photo.

During the 6th-anniversary party, Hoosier History Live creative consultant Garry Chilluffo (with hat) was surprised to be nominated for the Rose Award, presented annually by Visit Indy to honor people who offer great hospitality to those who are visiting the city. He was recognized for his role in organizing local volunteers for the National Conference on Historic Preservation, held in November 2013 in Indy. At left is Nelson Price, and at right is Gwendolen Raley. Hoosier History Live photo.

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Presenters William Hudnut and Jeff Smulyan listen as Nelson Price speaks at the Hoosier History Live 6th-anniversary party. Hudnut regaled the audience with lessons learned in his four terms as mayor of Indy. Smulyan gave an appreciative speech about the value of our history-focused program. Hoosier History Live photo.

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Fred Kortepeter and Janie Hodge, show guests at different times on the Hoosier History Live program, were among those in attendance at our 6th-anniversary soiree at the Indiana Landmarks building in downtown Indianapolis. Hoosier History Live photo.

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Glory-June Greiff listens as former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, in expansive remarks, calls her out for her spirited activism in fighting city hall to save a historic structure during Hudnut’s tenure as mayor. She has been a guest several times on Hoosier History Live. At right is Eric Grayson, film historian. Hoosier History Live photo.

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Lee Cloe, Jeanne Blake, Carson Smith and Robin Jarrett of the Scottish Society of Indianapolis attended the 6th-anniversary party. Over the years, Hoosier History Live has explored immigration to Indiana by a number of ethnic groups, including the Scots. Hoosier History Live photo.

Lenape (Delaware) Indian heritage in Indiana

(Aug. 16, 2014) - "I think in Indiana, as in many places, it's only been in the last 30 to 40 years that we've chosen to look outside of myth ... to truly understand the first peoples who lived in our state."

That comment from a historian introduces a new documentary about the Lenape tribe of Native Americans. It's the tribe that was named Delaware Indians by white settlers.

Mike Pace shares his knowledge of Lenape musical instruments inside a Lenape wigwam at Conner Prairie. Image courtesy Conner Prairie.The Lenape lived in the woodlands of east central Indiana from the 1790s into the early 1820s; during that time, they founded villages or trading posts that evolved into towns, including Anderson, Muncie and Strawtown.

Under the terms of the Treaty of St. Mary's negotiated in 1818, the Lenape gave up their claims to Hoosier soil and, as part of what has been called a "forced migration," moved a few years later to Kansas.

Eventually, the Lenape were moved again, this time to Oklahoma, the tribe's home state in modern times.

Considering that the Lenape had lived in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware for generations even before being relocated to the Indiana Territory, is it any wonder that one expert in the documentary calls them "possibly the most-moved group in American history"?

To explore the tribe's life on Hoosier soil and impact here, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests:

  • Chris Flook, a Ball State University telecommunications instructor who is one of the executive producers of the new documentary, titled The Lenape on the Wapahani River (watch the video at this link).It has been shown on PBS TV stations in Muncie, Oklahoma and elsewhere across the country.
  • And Mike Pace, a descendant of Lenape who once lived in Indiana; he helped create the Lenape village at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. For several months of the year, Mike lives in Bartlesville, Okla., but he spends summers at Conner Prairie, where he is an interpreter specialist. Mike is among the experts interviewed on-camera in The Lenape on the Wapahani River.

During the early 1800s, Lenape leaders in Indiana included Chief William Anderson, for whom the largest city in Madison County is named. The Lenape who moved to Kansas included Anderson's daughter, Mekinges, who became the first wife of frontier entrepreneur and fur trader William Conner, namesake of Conner Prairie. Chris Flook.They had six children, all of whom moved with their mother to Kansas; Conner remained in Indiana, remarried (a white woman) and had more children with his second wife.

During one of the first Hoosier History Live! shows after our debut in January 2008, we explored some aspects of the Lenape (Delaware) tribe in a show about the publication of Long Journey Home (Indiana University Press, 2008). It's a book of oral histories and color photos put together by Indianapolis-based author Rita Kohn and photojournalist Jim Brown.

Our upcoming guest Chris Flook and other Ball State faculty and students already have won four national awards for The Lenape on the Wapahani River. According to their documentary, the Lenape were known as "the grandfather tribe" when they lived near the Delaware River and elsewhere on the East Coast and in the mid-Atlantic region.

Mike Pace.By the 1790s, when the Lenape were moved to the dense forests of central Indiana, though, they had lost stature, their numbers "decreased by disease and warfare," the documentary notes. The diseases included smallpox, influenza and other illnesses brought by European settlers to which Native Americans had not developed immunity.

Our guest Mike Pace, a former assistant chief of the Delaware Tribe, has spoken across the country - and even overseas - about aspects of Native American heritage.

In addition to helping oversee the new documentary about the Lenape, our guest Chris Flook put together Indiana's Courthouse Squares, a website showcasing all 92 county courthouses and town squares (or their equivalents) in the state. In connection with that project, Chris was a guest May 23 for a Hoosier History Live! show focusing on Courthouse Squares across Indiana.

Learn more:

History Mystery

During the early 1800s, a Native American tribe flourished across much of the northern one-fourth of what become the state of Indiana. In fact, many names of towns, lakes and parks in far-northern Indiana are derived from this tribe's language. Examples include Lake Maxinkuckee at Culver; the town of Wakarusa and Pokagon State Park.

Lake Maxinkuckee, at Culver, Ind., takes its name from the language of a Native American tribe. Image courtesy Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council.Known for their colorful attire, the Native American tribe often wore ruffled shirts, jewelry and pants with ribbons instead of the buckskin worn by some other tribes. In 1838, this tribe was forced out of Indiana by white soldiers who led Native American men, women and children on a grueling march to Kansas, during which dozens of Indians died from disease, exhaustion and other factors.

Question: Name the Native American tribe.

The prize pack includes two tickets to the tickets to the Hoosier Hops & Harvest Festival at Story Inn, courtesy of Story Inn, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Logansport

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff tells us that, "Just up the old Michigan Road from Indy, about 75 miles, is Logansport in Cass County, which, given its key location at the confluence of two rivers (the Eel and the Wabash), was an original town on this historic route."

Logansport, she also notes, also was a port on Wabash and Erie Canal.

"I'd always been intrigued by this town, with its plethora of historic buildings and layers of transportation history, but in recent years Logansport has been making very good use of its historic assets. In 2009 it was designated a Preserve America Community."

The carousel in Riverside Park on the east side of Logansport, Ind., is a National Historic Landmark. Hoosier History Live photo.A historic railroad depot anchors a riverside public space, the Little Turtle Waterway Plaza, a nice place to start an exploratory walk downtown that still boasts a number of great old buildings, many of which now house interesting shops and restaurants.

In the past few years quite a lot of new public sculpture has appeared downtown, including a carousel horse. Clearly, this is a tribute to the 19th-century carousel carved by master craftsman Gustav A. Dentzel in Riverside Park on Logansport's east side. Despite the fact the carousel is a National Historic Landmark, rides are only 75 cents. Maybe you'll catch the brass ring!

Riverside Park, as its name implies, is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. Don't miss the miniature golf course not far from the carousel!

Adds Glory: "I'm fond of old drive-in restaurants, and Logansport has two I recommend. The Char-Bett is located in a 1930s former gas station on the outskirts of town on the old Michigan Road (State Road 25) heading northeast toward Rochester: tasty drive-in food and all manner of ice cream treats, including sodas, which can be hard to find these days. And the Sycamore Drive-In is just off old U.S. 24, once a major route, at 316 20th St. They, too, offer sodas among their ice cream treats and a nice assortment of drive-in fare."

The Redheads and all-girl bands of 1920s, '30s

The Parisian Redheads group poses outside a theater in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1926. Image courtesy Bill Fitzgerald.

(Aug. 9, 2014) - Even though they became nationally known during the 1920s as The Parisian Redheads, many of the band members were not red-haired - and, rather than Paris, they were based in Indiana.

In the 1930s, the all-female orchestra/dance band, which was promoted as "America's Greatest Girl Band," became known as The Fourteen Bricktops.

A promotional image for the Bricktops group shows a drawing of a redheaded woman. Image provided by Evan Finch.The colorful history of the now-forgotten novelty band - which was based in Indianapolis, with a pianist born in the eastern Indiana town of Portland, a saxophonist from Elwood, a harpist from Richmond and other Hoosier "lady musicians" - is the focus of our show. Nelson is joined in studio by Evan Finch, an Indy-based advertising copywriter who has extensively researched The Parisian Redheads and other all-female orchestras.

"So-called 'ladies' orchestras had existed since the late 19th century due to the fact that male orchestras rarely hired female musicians," Evan notes in an article in the upcoming summer issue of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine. It's the popular magazine published by the Indiana Historical Society.

"As a result, women formed their own groups."

However, the impresarios behind The Parisian Redheads were two men, Charles Green and Harry Z. Freeman of Indianapolis, both of whom had experiences with organizing musical programs on the Chautauqua circuit. That well-known cultural circuit also had provided opportunities for many of The Parisian Redheads, several of whom were classically trained musicians, according to Evan's article.

"By the end of 1926, the group had become a local sensation," Evan writes. "In Indianapolis alone, within a space of four weeks, the Parisians played a reception forQueen Marie of Romania, opened the city's Marott Hotel and graced the stage of the Circle Theatre."

The Paramount Parisians (a slightly different name but the same group) played in Logansport, Ind., in 1926. Image provided by Evan Finch.Of the original Redheads, only pianist/singer Martha Tripper (a Portland native who later moved to Kokomo) was a natural redhead, Evan reports.

"The other women were required either to dye their hair or wear red wigs when appearing in public. In the name of success, the musicians went along with the gimmick, although not always happily."

The Redheads expanded to a 13-piece orchestra in 1927 and attained national success. According to Evan, the performers eventually included a "Mistress of Ceremonies," a woman who dressed in a man's tuxedo and "sang, danced, conducted and otherwise functioned as the band's public face."

Some fun facts:

  • Our guest Evan Finch, who works for Young & Laramore, joined Nelson in studio May 10 for a show about Offbeat Landmarks across Indiana. "I like weird stuff," Evan says, referring to his interest in quirky aspects of our state's heritage.
  • During the 1930s and '40s, bandleader and composer Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra reaped national fame on radio and in concerts. The group featured a performer promoted as Evelyn and Her Magic Violin.
  • Referring to The Parisian Redheads, Evan writes: "The group's earliest reviews referred to them as a 'jazz orchestra,' but the Redheads, in an effort to please the diverse tastes of vaudeville audiences, actually played everything from operettas to show tunes.

During the show, we feature some musical interludes to give listeners a flavor of the Redheads (Bricktops) in performance.

Evan and Nelson also share info about other all-female musical groups from Indiana. They have included the Hampton Sisters, who went, as the Indianapolis Star once put it, "from a child act to jazz legends."

The Hampton Sisters included pianist Aletra Hampton and bassist Virtue Hampton Whitted, who were 92 and 84 years old, respectively, when they died just months apart in 2007. Evan Finch.The group also included, at various times, two other Hampton sisters, Carmelita and Dawn.

Group members also changed over the years with The Parisian Redheads-turned-Fourteen Bricktops (also known by other names, such as the Paramount Parisians, early on).

Even though the Bricktops broke up in the 1930s, some of the musicians enjoyed flourishing careers long afterward. Bricktop member Ruth Hutchins Thrasher became, as Evan puts it, "a valued member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra - and played several different instruments for them over the course of four decades."

Why the emphasis (or insistence) on red hair?

"In addition to adding an extra layer of novelty, red hair gave the band a visual identity - and a hair color associated with free-spiritedness seems in tune with the Jazz Age," Evan writes in his upcoming Traces article.

He notes that, as the years passed, dozens of women musicians from across the country joined the band. But the group always had Indiana musicians, including Bobbie Greiss, a singer-dancer who grew up in Indianapolis and was recruited as the group's conductor. Trumpet player Lillian Evans was a native of Dublin in Wayne County, while another trumpeter, Alice Miller, attended Tech High School in Indy.

The Hampton Sisters were an Indianapolis jazz institution, along with their brother “Slide” Hampton. (Clockwise from left: Carmelita, Dawn, Aletra, and Virtue).Other members of the Parisians (or of the Bricktops) included saxophonist Bernice Lobdell of Huntington; accordionist Jeane Brown of Greencastle, and saxophonist Marietta Gift of Converse.

In 1929, the band played the Palace in New York City and shared a bill with the famous Marx Brothers. As the vaudeville circuit declined, the Bricktops transformed into a dance band.

"The success of the Parisian Redheads and the Fourteen Bricktops proved that a band of women could compete successfully with men, both in terms of performance and financial reward," Evan writes.

He adds: "In the many years since the Bricktops' dissolution, opportunities for female musicians have improved. In 2010, it was estimated that the membership of America's top 15 orchestras - once almost exclusively male - had become 35 percent female."

To learn more, Evan recommends:

History Mystery

Question marks.One of the country's most popular bandleaders during the 1930s and '40s was a native of Linton, Ind. He grew up in the town in the far-western part of the Hoosier state, then enjoyed great success at nightclubs during the Big Band era.

The native Hoosier also was a hit on radio as the sidekick to comedian Jack Benny during the 1930s and '40s. Eventually, the bandleader starred in his own radio show with his wife, a glamorous movie star. He also appeared in more than a dozen Hollywood films, often playing a character like himself.

But his best-known connection to the movies may have been serving as the voice of an animal in a Disney cartoon movie. The bandleader died in 1995 at age 91.

Question: Who was he?

The prize pack includes two tickets to Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre and two passes to the Indianapolis Zoo, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Roadtrip: Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County

Roberts Chapel and cemetery are part of Roberts Settlement in Indiana’s Hamilton County. Image courtesy Indiana Policy Review.Guest Roadtripper Kisha Tandy, a curator at the Indiana State Museum, suggests a Roadtrip to Roberts Settlement, which once was a flourishing farm community of African-American pioneers from North Carolina who moved north to make their home in Jackson Township in Hamilton County.

The history of Roberts Settlement sheds light on a group of individuals who owned land and established communities in Indiana before 1850.

The first residents to Roberts arrived in 1835 as free blacks. The settlement included homesteads and a school and church. Descendants continue to meet annually on July 4th for the Roberts Settlement Annual Homecoming to celebrate their family and heritage. And one always can stop by to look at the Roberts Chapel Church and Cemetery.

Kisha also recommends the book Southern Seed, Northern Soil (IU Press, 2002) by Stephen Vincent about African-American farming communities in the Midwest. She also reports that a documentary has been made about the topic; learn more on Saturday's show.

Russian immigration

(Aug. 2, 2014) - Carmel resident Natalia Rekhter immigrated from Russia in 1991. So she is among those who have come from her homeland to Indiana since the mid-1980s, which is when the bulk of immigration from Russia here began - much later than that of many of the other ethnic heritage groups that Hoosier History Live! has explored in our rotating series. Alex Leyvand demonstrates a violin at his Violin Shop of Old Carmel.The exceptions involve significant Russian Jewish immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Here is a link to Natalia's blog.

Natalia, who immigrated with her husband and young son, will be among Nelson's studio guests. She is director of development at the Indianapolis Russian School, which was founded 21 years ago by a group of Russian immigrants who wanted their children to learn about their heritage. Beyond classes in the Russian language, the school offers instruction in everything from math to chess.

In addition to a growing Russian community in the Indianapolis area, New Castle also has become the home of many immigrants since the mid-1980s, Natalia reports. She is originally from Ivanovo, a Russian province about 200 miles north of Moscow.

In an article in The Indianapolis Star last February, Natalia, 47, indicated that economic reasons motivated her family's immigration. In Russia, four generations of her family (six people) lived in a two-bedroom apartment.

Natalia Rekhter.Nelson and Natalia are joined by Indianapolis resident Alex Leyvand, 65, owner of the Violin Shop of Old Carmel.

Alex, who also makes musical instruments and is a violinist, grew up in Moscow. He immigrated in 1989 - a few months before the breakup of the Soviet Union - with his wife, daughter and parents. In his homeland, Alex had played the violin in a prestigious orchestra based in Moscow. Anastasia Klauz.He says his family primarily immigrated because of "political differences" in his homeland.

In addition to Alex and Natalia, Nelson will be joined by Carmel resident Anastasia Klauz, 24, whose family is from St. Petersburg. They immigrated when Anastasia was just 4 years old. Today, she is a family therapist for Eskenazi Health.

According to Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience (Indiana Historical Society Press, 1996), large waves of Jewish immigration to the United States from Russia - as well as from Poland, Lithuania, Romania and other Eastern European countries - occurred from 1880 to 1924.

In Indiana, the major areas of settlement tended to be in the northwest part of the state, as well as in Indianapolis and Vincennes. Decades later - during the Soviet Union era - Jewish organizations across Indiana helped with the resettlement of other waves of immigrants.

According to the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, many Russian immigrants or Americans with Russian heritage settled - at least temporarily - in Bloomington "at the height of the Cold War" during the early 1960s.

That’s because Russian language instruction was being offered by IU and the U.S. Air Force.

"During World War II, IU began a long partnership with the U.S. military to teach foreign languages," the institute notes.

"Bloomington in the 1960s had a very large Russian community," according to the IU institute. "The decade was an ideal time for IU students to study the Russian language. While many Russians moved away when the Air Force Language Program ceased, there remained a corps of instructors."

Since 2009, the Indianapolis Russian School - that our guest Natalia Rekhter is affiliated with - has been located at University High School, a private, college prep school in Carmel. The Russian school offers piano lessons for children 5 years old and older; private tutoring for children and adults in the Russian language; document translation and other services.

In our rotating series about ethnic immigration to the Hoosier state, Hoosier History Live! has explored German, Irish, Scottish, Brazilian, Columbian and Venezuelan, Greek and Cuban immigration, among an array of others. In 2008, our first year on the air, we explored our state's Jewish heritage. Last summer, we delved into aspects of Swedish and Norwegian heritage.

(Note: We are linking to past show newsletters for shows produced since October of 2009. The German, Scottish, and Greek heritage shows were produced before that time. We need support for archiving all of our 300-plus show enewsletters and audio archives. We are operating on a very limited budget.)

Learn more:

History Mystery

Mikhail Baryshnikov, the expatriate Russian dancer, has collaborated several times with a famous choreographer born in Indiana. She was the choreographer for the 1985 movie White Nights, which starred Baryshnikov and was set in Russia. Image of a question mark.During the 1990s, the choreographer toured with Baryshnikov; they performed concerts in Indiana and elsewhere across the country that featured various forms of dance.

She was born in the town of Portland in far-eastern Indian in 1941. She has gone on to become a dominant international figure in dance, winning Tony and Emmy Awards. In addition to collaborating with Baryshnikov, she has collaborated with pop star Billy Joel for a Broadway show and choreographed sequences for the movie Amadeus (1984). In 2008, she was honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Question: Who is the Indiana-born choreographer?

The prize pack includes a four tickets to the tickets to the Hoosier Hops & Harvest Festival at Story Inn, courtesy of Story Inn, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Vernon, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper and freelance writer and photographer Jane Ammeson, who specializes in food, travel and personalities, suggests a Roadtrip to the charming town of Vernon in Jennings County, which is about 70 miles southeast of Indianapolis. That's Vernon, the historic village south of the larger town of North Vernon!

Railroad overpass in Vernon, Indiana.Jane reports that on July 11, 1863, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, who was marauding through southeastern Indiana after crossing the Ohio River from Kentucky, arrived with his men just south of Vernon on the banks of the Muscatatuck River. Having defeated the Indiana Home Guard near Corydon, Morgan and his raiders had looted and burned their way through the hamlets dotting this part of the state.

Morgan demanded the town surrender, but instead of laying down arms, Colonel Hugh T. Williams of the Indiana Legion told Morgan he "must take it by hard force."

Instead Morgan moved on to DuPont, where he and his men stole 2,000 hams from Frank Mayfield's meat packing plant and tied them to their saddles before riding on again.

"We bluffed him," says Wanda Wright of the Jennings County Historical Society Museum. "He didn't even come into Vernon."

Listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, Vernon, platted in 1815 which is a year before Indiana became a state, is considered one of the best examples of a mid-19th-century Indiana community. More than 100 of its buildings date back to the 1800s, which is remarkable in a town with a population of less than 400. T.C. Steele, one of the state's most famous artists, used Vernon as the scenes for some of his best works including Street in Vernon (1886), Oaks of Vernon (1887), Vernon Beeches (1892) and Hills of Vernon (1894).

The Jennings County Historical Society is headquartered in an old stagecoach stop and inn built in 1838, located near the town square with its 1859 Italianate-style courthouse.

Vernon also hosts a huge Antique and Collectibles Market each Labor Day weekend!

Vernon and Jennings County are also the settings for the 1956 movie Friendly Persuasion starring Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire about a Hoosier Quaker family during the Civil War. The movie is based on Jessymyn West's novel 1945 novel, The Friendly Persuasion, about the same topic. Jessymyn West was born in Vernon in 1902 to a Quaker family and moved to California with her family when she was 6.

Indy Mayor Ballard on Marines history and 'old' Cathedral High

(July 26, 2014 - encore presentation) - An Indianapolis native, he grew up on the Eastside, attended the "old" Cathedral High School (when it was located downtown and had all male students) and eventually enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Future Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is pictured as a Marine at Camp Pendleton in California, circa 1980. He is selecting a Mountain Dew. Image courtesy Office of Mayor Greg Ballard.So there's much local history turf to cover with Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis as he joins Nelson in-studio during an encore presentation of a show exploring history topics that have been intertwined with his life. (The original air date of this show was June 15, 2013.)

You won't want to miss Mayor Ballard's recollections of incidents that unfolded during the years that he hitchhiked from his Eastside neighborhood to Cathedral. Like generations of teenage boys before him who attended the downtown Cathedral, Greg Ballard, a member of the Class of '72, relied primarily on hitchhiking to get to and from school for four years.

During the show, Mayor Ballard, now 59, also shares details about the unlikely way his decision to enlist in the Marines occurred. After a 23-year military career, Mayor Ballard, a Republican, retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marines in 2001 and returned to his hometown to enter private business.

Greg Ballard.He also discusses other links between the Hoosier state and Marines, in addition to sharing his own experiences. His decision to enlist eventually led to assignments in places such as Okinawa, Japan; Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War; and Stuttgart, Germany, as well as in Michigan and North Carolina.

Before that, the future mayor attended Cathedral on a scholarship. His years there were preceded and followed by major changes. Since its founding in 1918, Cathedral had been located at 14th and Meridian streets.

In 1976, four years after he graduated, Cathedral merged with Ladywood, an all-girls Catholic academy located on the northeastside, a decision that was presented as a financial necessity for both schools. (The merged, co-ed school, which took the Cathedral name, is on the former Ladywood site on East 56th Street.) Previously, while Greg Ballard was attending Cathedral, Ladywood had merged in 1971 with Cathedral's "sister" school downtown, St. Agnes Academy.

Greg Ballard grew up in a family of five children. After graduating from Cathedral, he attended Indiana University, where a pivotal event occurred related to his decision to join the Marines.

Cathedral High School, shown in this 1926 photo, formerly was located at 14th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis. The building now houses the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.During the first Persian Gulf War, he was promoted to major. He met his wife, Winnie Ballard, a native of the Philippines, while on assignment in California.

He had never run for political office before defeating incumbent Bart Peterson in the 2007 mayoral election in what has been called one of the biggest upsets in Indy's political history.

Hoosiers who have achieved distinction in the Marines - and are discussed during the show - include David Shoup (1904-1983), a Tippecanoe County native who grew up on farms there and near Covington. A Medal of Honor winner during World War II, Shoup led the U.S. invasion during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater of the war. He rose to become the 22nd commandant of the U.S. Marines Corps, serving in the top post during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Shoup, who later became a vocal critic of the Vietnam War, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Other Hoosiers who have served in the Marines - and who are discussed by Mayor Ballard during the show - include Carol Mutter, a retired lieutenant general who lives in Brownsburg. She was born in Colorado and became the first woman to receive the rank of lieutenant general in the Marine Corps.

Encore Roadtrip: Monument Circle for kids

Urban explorers Bailey (left) and Sean Young roam around at Monument Circle in Indy. Image courtesy Kelly Young.Guest Roadtripper Kelly Young of Baise Communications reported that she took her kids for a recent tour of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Her children were fascinated by Christ Church Cathedral, with its early gothic revival architecture, Tiffany stained-glass windows and pipe organ.

Kelly's daughter had studied President Lincoln in school and was fascinated to learn that the church bells had rung out as Lincoln's body lay in state at the nearby Capitol.

Kelly and crew then crossed the street, headed up the 330 steps (yes, walked!) to the observation level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for a great view of the city, and they visited the Civil War Museum in the lower level.

They topped off their Roadtrip with ice cream from the Chocolate Cafe, and then a quick trip back in time for Kelly at Rocket Fizz, a candy shop with nearly every type of novelty candy. Both of these sweet spots are right on the Circle.

From family grocers to supermarkets

Listen button - click to hear audio of this show.
(Show length 59:20)
Originally aired July 19, 2014
Online audio availability underwritten by Bruce and Julie Buchanan.

Proud proprietors stand outside Oakley’s grocery in Terre Haute, Ind., c. 1909. Image courtesy Wabash Valley Digital Memory Project.

(July 19, 2014) - For about 103 years, the Italian ancestors of Tom Castaldi were in the food business, primarily in Logansport, where they owned neighborhood grocery stores. Beginning in the 1880s, his great-grandparents' store sold not just "fruits, vegetables, tobaccos, but also ice cream and (even) featured an oyster bar," according to Tom.

Not only is Tom Castaldi (who grew up in Logansport and lives today in Fort Wayne) the Allen County historian, he has become an expert about the heyday of neighborhood groceries.

Bova Conti grocery, 960 S. East Street, Indianapolis, 1946. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.For generations, these family-owned stores were cherished in neighborhoods and villages across the state, from Lockerbie and Broad Ripple in Indianapolis to Logansport, where a candy case from the final Castaldi family's store is displayed at the Cass County Historical Museum.

In addition to exploring family-run grocery stores and their social impact, Hoosier History Live also delves into the entree across Indiana of grocery chains, including those that eventually introduced the supermarket concept.

Indianapolis-based writer, researcher and editor Sharon Butsch Freeland (writer of numerous Historic Indianapolis articles) dug into the entrance of Cincinnati-based Kroger in the Indy market for a Feb. 12, 2013, article at historicindianapolis.com.

According to Sharon's thoroughly researched piece, Kroger entered the Indianapolis market clear back in the mid-1920s by acquiring an existing family-owned chain of 72 neighborhood groceries. So the initial Kroger stores in the Hoosier capital undoubtedly were located in small storefronts; the supermarket concept was introduced later.

Tom and Sharon join Nelson in studio to share insights about family-owned neighborhood groceries and their modern-era successors, the supermarket chains. This show undoubtedly will include tidbits about the evolution of the ways Hoosiers have shopped, cooked and lived.

Some history facts:

  • Sharon Butsch Freeland.According to a recent column in The Indianapolis Business Journal by Greg Andrews, Marsh Supermarkets made retailing history 40 years ago. An executive in June 1974 at the Indiana-based chain made the first purchase in the country using a UPC bar code. (He bought a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum to test the brand-new scanner at a Marsh store.)
  • Our guest Sharon Butsch Freeland is a seventh-generation Hoosier; her maternal ancestors migrated from Ohio to Crawfordsville in 1828, and her paternal ancestors immigrated from Germany to Indianapolis in 1840.
  • During the 103-year stretch in the food business, our guest Tom Castaldi's family had a total of eight stores in Logansport. On only two occasions, though, were two stores operating simultaneously.

Tom's great-grandfather, Lorenzo Solimano, had been born in Genoa, Italy in 1838. With his wife Mary, Lorenzo (who changed the spelling to Laurence) opened the first Logansport store in the 1880s. The last store was closed in 1983. The exhibit about the stores at the Cass County Historical Museum is titled "Growing Up Grocery."

Tom Castaldi."Customers came in the neighborhood store up to the counter and gave their list of items - one by one - to the owner or clerk, who, in turn, fetched them off the shelf and stacked them on the counter," Tom recalls.

He adds: "My grandfather or father may not find it unusual to see hardware items in a modern 'mega-market.' But they would be rather surprised that I got my flu and shingles shots in a grocery pharmacy department."

The debut of the supermarket concept - which involves customers helping themselves to spacious aisles of products in a free-standing store with its own expansive, often four-sided parking lot - is unclear.

According to some accounts, the A&P chain introduced the supermarket concept in the 1930s in Pennsylvania. Other accounts point to a Kroger store in the Queens borough of New York City, also in the 1930s. The supermarket concept grew rapidly after World War II.

According to Sharon's research, a pivotal episode in the Indy area was the opening of a so-called "drive-in" Kroger (that is, a store with its own, expansive parking lot), which made the front page of The Indianapolis News in 1932.

"Before the 1930s, most grocery stores were narrow storefronts in commercial buildings that also contained other types of businesses, or groceries were rooms added on to the fronts of residences," Sharon notes. Castaldi Grocery in Logansport, Ind., circa 1944. Image courtesy Tom Castaldi."Customers walked or took a bus to the nearest neighborhood business to get their goods, and usually bought only what they needed for that day or a few coming days."

In 1931, Marsh had opened its first store; it was in Muncie. According to an article in The Indianapolis News in 1961, at which point the chain had 65 stores in five states, the first Marsh in Indy opened at East 52nd Street and Keystone Avenue in 1957. (Generations of family ownership of Marsh ended in 2006 when the company was purchased by Sun Capital Partners, based in Florida.)

O'Malia Food Markets made its debut in 1966 with a grocery in Carmel. Generations of Indy shoppers also patronized Atlas at East 54th Street and College Avenue (where a teenage David Letterman was a clerk in the 1960s), and Guidone, a grocery store at East 10th Street and Arlington Avenue owned by Italian immigrant Joe Guidone that was popular during the 1960s and '70s.

Small, family-owned stores of yore like the ones owned by the Italian ancestors of our guest Tom Castaldi often offered two cherished services, he notes: "No-interest credit and home delivery."

However, Tom notes the selection of grocery items was limited compared to modern supermarkets.

"Perhaps the neighborhood grocery had two types of pork and beans, or green beans, in cans on the shelf. Now the 'mega-stores' have shelving in rows as long as our entire building, with many brands of the same vegetable type."

He describes his growing-up years in a house adjacent to his family's grocery store this way: "It was like having a huge pantry available."

History Mystery

A milk-company building in downtown Indianapolis in 1925 typifies "mimetic" architecture, buildings designed to look like what they sell or promote.In the 1890s, a Civil War resident living in Greenwood started a dairy business that became one of the best-known in Central Indiana for more than 60 years.

The dairy's headquarters on East 15th Street in Indianapolis was particularly memorable. Its corners were shaped like giant milk bottles. At stables nearby, the dairy kept horses to deliver milk to customers.

At one point, the dairy became the largest milk company in the state. It was sold in 1963 to Maplehurst Jersey Farms.

Question: What was the dairy?

The prize pack includes a gift certificate to McNiven's restaurant and two passes to the Indianapolis Zoo, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Roadtrip: More Swiss adventures, and 'bird town' designation

Bird Town Indiana graphic.Guest Roadtripper Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne, who also volunteers at several conservation organizations, including ACRES, DNR and Limberlost, adds to last week's Berne report with notice of its upcoming Swiss Days festival on July 24, 25 and 26.

Terri reports that Swiss Days are celebrated with authentic Swiss costumes, great foods, crafts and merchandise, and you can also enjoy polka, accordions, gospel singers, a quilt show, an antique tractor and engine show, sawmill demonstrations, cheese making, wiener-dog races, sand sculptures, kid's tractor pull and a parade. Indiana certainly cherishes its many ethnic traditions.

During the festival, Berne will also be named "Bird Town No. 7" by the Indiana Audubon Society. This is a designation awarded to those communities that demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the protection of birds. Other "Bird Town" Hoosier communities include Geneva, Chesterton, Rome City, Nashville, Fort Wayne and Kendallville.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker, history-maker in Indiana courts

(July 12, 2014) - Even before becoming Indiana's first woman federal judge, Sarah Evans Barker was making history. More than 40 years ago, she became the first woman in the Hoosier state to be an assistant U.S. attorney.

Mishawaka native Sarah Evans Barker takes the oath to become a federal judge as her mother, Sarah Evans, looks on. Image courtesy U.S. District Court, Indiana Southern District.Now, as U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker shifts to "senior status" - that is, a reduced caseload (only by 20 percent, though) - she is Nelson's in-studio guest, as Hoosier History Live! focuses on her pioneering life and career.

Known for her keen insights, eloquence and wit, Judge Barker also, for more than 20 years, has been a top civic leader in her home state, a distinction that has been noted in her raft of honors. They have included being named a Living Legend in 2010 by the Indiana Historical Society and, most recently, the Lifetime Achievement honoree of the 2014 Cultural Vision Awards.

She also is renowned, every July 4 season, for presiding at the naturalization ceremonies for hundreds of immigrants as they become new U.S. citizens.

A native of Mishawaka, Judge Barker has said she was a "late bloomer" and did not set out to become a judicial pioneer - or even, necessarily, a lawyer. In a recent interview with Nuvo Newsweekly, which presents the Cultural Vision Awards, Judge Barker attributed her decision to attend law school to a pivotal piece of advice she received at Indiana University.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker appears with a gavel. Image courtesy U.S. District Court, Indiana Southern District.Years later, after her marriage to Ken Barker, then a partner at Bose McKinney & Evans in Indianapolis, the couple made another major decision. More than 35 years ago, they decided Ken Barker would be a stay-at-home dad (with their three children) while she pursued her legal career.

"There were no patterns," Judge Barker once told the Indianapolis Business Journal. "We had to make it up as we went."

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan nominated her at age 40 to be U.S. judge of the southern district of Indiana, with the result that she became the first woman on the federal bench in the Hoosier state.

Since then, Judge Barker has presided over several of the most high-profile federal cases in the state, including those involving overcrowding at the Marion County Jail, a proposed ban in Indianapolis on pornographic material, the sale of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and class-action lawsuits involving Firestone tire.

She has served on national panels on judicial ethics and on the boards of history-focused organizations, including the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Bicentennial Commission that's overseeing celebrations for the state's 200th birthday in 2016.

Last month, Judge Barker served as the emcee for an Indiana State Museum Foundation gala that honored another trail-blazing woman, Rabbi Sandy Sasso of Indianapolis. Rabbi Sasso was the first woman in the country to be ordained as a rabbi in the Jewish reconstructionist movement; her pioneering role was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show last October.

According to a profile of Judge Barker in 19 Stars of Indiana: Exceptional Hoosier Women (IU Press and IBJ Media, 2009) by Michael Maurer, she grew up as a "tomboy" in Mishawaka:

"I was not interested in sewing and cooking. ... I did them, but only so I could also take woodworking and sheep-raising, which were regarded as 'boys' projects."

But she didn't consider attending law school until a dorm counselor at IU suggested it during her junior year.

Judge Barker graduated from the American University School of Law in Washington D.C. After that, she worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill until marrying Ken Barker, whom she had met in Mishawaka.

In addition to being the parents of three grown children - Katie, Susan and Grady - the Barkers now are grandparents.

Some history facts:

  • In 1972, Judge Barker became the first woman to serve as assistant U.S. attorney in Indiana.
  • At a naturalization ceremony earlier this month on the lawn of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Judge Barker presided as 101 people became U.S. citizens. According to a report in The Indianapolis Star, they included immigrants from as far away as Zimbabwe.
  • In law school, her classmates included future Indianapolis attorney Ron Elberger, who has become known as the "Late Night Lawyer" because his high-profile clients have included David Letterman. (Our host Nelson profiled Ron Elberger in his "Late Night Lawyer" capacity - and quoted Judge Barker in The Indianapolis News article - clear back in the 1980s.)

For our show with Judge Barker, we have a special format and won't be taking call-in questions and comments from listeners. However, we will have a report from our Roadtripper correspondent and the History Mystery.

Learn more: Video interview with Judge Barker from the Indianapolis Business Journal

History Mystery

Although U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was born in Buffalo, N.Y., he grew up in northern Indiana and graduated from La Lumiere School, a boarding school in LaPorte.

Decades earlier, another U.S. Supreme Court justice also had deep connections to Indiana, albeit to the other end of the state. He was born in southern Indiana in 1890. His family members were farmers near the Ohio River. Question mark.The future Supreme Court justice attended Indiana University, where he was a student leader.

In the 1930s, Hoosiers elected him to the U.S. Senate. A Democrat, he helped spearhead Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" legislation through Congress.

The native Hoosier was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Harry S. Truman. He served on the court from 1949 until 1956.

Question: Who was he?

The prize pack includes two admissions to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Swiss-influenced Berne

Clock tower with quilt garden in Berne, Ind. Courtesy Berne Chamber of Commerce.Guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson suggests a trip to what he calls "historic and not-so-historic Berne," which is about 25 miles south of Fort Wayne.

Says Eric: "Berne fashions itself as a Swiss town, and they have a lot of historic and new buildings that show a Swiss influence. The area is full of Amish, so watch out that a stray horseshoe nail doesn't pop your tire. No such luck for me!"

Berne was founded in 1852 Mennonite settlers from Switzerland, and the railroad went through in 1871. Despite some new buildings, such as their 2010 clock tower, there's a lot of history in Berne. Most of the historic downtown is intact, full of nice antique stores.

There's a great cheese factory called Swissland Cheese, and there's an old restaurant in town called Palmer House that is famous for pies. If you're in a hurry, there's a newer place called The White Cottage that has excellent soups and sandwiches.

If you like bed-and-breakfasts in historic buildings, the Schug House from 1907 is an outstanding one, serving food from the local area.

Presidential visits to Indiana

A flier promotes JFK's 1962 visit to Indianapolis. Image provided by Al Hunter.(July 5, 2014) - As he traveled to Washington D.C. for his presidential inauguration in 1861, Abraham Lincoln stopped in Indianapolis and spoke from the balcony of a hotel.

Harry Truman got a speeding ticket near Greenfield during a road trip with his wife, Bess, in 1953 after they had left the White House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the renowned French Lick Springs Hotel in 1931 for a key meeting with Democratic power brokers.

And Richard Nixon came to the Indiana University Medical Center in 1974 to visit his daughter Julie, who had been hospitalized suddenly while working for the Saturday Evening Post.

During this patriotic-themed weekend, Hoosier History Live! explores the range of visits by American presidents (including future presidents, former presidents or their families) to the Hoosier state.

Nelson is joined in-studio by two author/historians who have written about some of the POTUS visits:

  • Ray Boomhower.Ray Boomhower of the Indiana Historical Society, the editor of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine. An upcoming issue of Traces will describe future president FDR's pivotal visit to French Lick. (The article was written by Jim Fadely, an expert on the resort hotel and a popular guest on previous Hoosier History Live! shows.) In previous issues of Traces, Ray has written about other presidential visits; they include a scandal that unfolded in 1907 when cocktails were served at a soiree Teddy Roosevelt attended at the Indianapolis mansion of his vice president, Charles Fairbanks.
  • And Al Hunter, a columnist for The Weekly View newspaper that serves the eastside of Indy and Greenfield. Al's mother was a patient at the IU Medical Center just a few rooms away from Julie Nixon Eisenhower when her father visited during the final year of his presidency. Al notes that, as vice president, Richard Nixon had visited Indy in connection with another hospital. Nixon came for the ground-breaking of Community Hospital (now known as Community East) in 1954.

Of course, Benjamin Harrison, the only president elected from Indiana, made several visits to his home state after he won the country's top office in 1888.

Al Hunter.Abe Lincoln, who lived in southern Indiana from ages 7 to 21, spoke from the balcony of the Bates House in downtown Indy as he traveled in February 1861 from Springfield, Ill., to the nation's capital for his inaugural. His talk touched on the need to preserve the Union.

During the Centennial celebrations in 1916 of Indiana's statehood, Woodrow Wilson attended a parade on Monument Circle and spoke at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Our guest Al Hunter notes that two years earlier, when Wilson was president of Princeton, he visited Butler University, which then was located in Irvington.

Both Roosevelts - Teddy and FDR - also made multiple visits to the Hoosier state. In 1902, Teddy, who was suffering from a serious injury to his leg, spoke in Tipton and Noblesville during train stops. While in Indianapolis later on that trip, he was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital for treatment.

FDR visited Vincennes for the dedication of the George Rogers Clark Memorial in the 1930s. And in 1936, he opened the Indiana State Fair.

He stayed at the ornate French Lick Springs Hotel in 1931 when he was maneuvering to be the Democratic presidential nominee. The resort hotel became internationally known beginning in the early 1900s when it was purchased and lavishly enhanced by Thomas Taggart, a former Indianapolis mayor and nationally powerful Democratic power broker; the 1931 gathering attended by FDR was the National Governors Conference. Truman also visited French Lick in 1944.

But the best-known visit by Truman unfolded during June 1953 when the former president and his wife, Bess, took a road trip in their car - without Secret Service protection - to savor America. A stereoview shows President Teddy Roosevelt addressing the crowd in Tipton, Ind., in 1902. Image provided by Al Hunter.During the journey, which is the focus of the book Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of an American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo (Chicago Review Press, 2009), the Trumans were house guests at the North Meridian Street mansion of another nationally powerful Democrat, banker Frank McKinney Sr.

It was during this road trip that Truman received a speeding ticket near Greenfield.

So many presidents have visited Indiana during our nearly 200 years of statehood that we can't explore all of them. But here’s a sampling of others:

  • In 1842, Martin Van Buren, by then a former president, tumbled out of his carriage in Plainfield while traveling on the National Road. According to folklore, the carriage was deliberately tipped into the mud because Van Buren, while president, had vetoed a bill to fund improvements for the National Road, now U.S. 40.
  • Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower stayed at a home (on the northside of Indy) during the 1950s when it was owned by one of his former top military aides. The house now is owned by Emerson Houck, a retired Lilly executive and author who has been a Hoosier History Live! guest.
  • Visits by John F. Kennedy include a speech at a Muncie factory when he was a presidential candidate in 1960, as well as at a rally at the Indianapolis airport two years later.
  • Barack Obama has made several visits to Indiana, particularly during his Democratic primary battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. They included a visit by the entire future First Family - Obama, wife Michelle and their two daughters - to the Dunham House in Tipton County. The Dunham House, a historic farmhouse that was the home for several generations of Obama's maternal ancestors, has been the focus of Hoosier History Live! shows.

History Mystery

First Lady Betty Ford is pictured with a large ERA button, circa 1975.In October 1976, First Lady Betty Ford visited Indianapolis to celebrate the opening of a new building. It houses a cultural institution that, even then, had been a part of the community since the 1920s at various locations.

Its new building, though, was regarded as a major step forward in civic pride. Mrs. Ford received a guided tour the night before the new building opened to the public.

Question: What is the cultural institution?

The prize pack includes a gift certificate to Dick's Last Resort restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: Auto heritage mecca in Auburn and Dekalb County

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff asks, "How about a trip to Auburn? It really doesn't take long from Indianapolis via I-69, and you can stop in downtown Fort Wayne at the Pembroke Cafe for yummy bakery treats or an early lunch of soup, salad or sandwiches. Or catch them on the way back for supper."

Glory-June Greiff visits with a 1936 Auburn 852 hearse at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Ind. About 50 Auburn hearses were built, but very few remain today. This one was used in a funeral home in Fairmount, Ind. Photo provided by Glory-June Greiff.The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum is only one of the many intriguing places to visit in Auburn and the surrounding area, way up in the northeast corner of Indiana. The museum is an Art Deco delight, filled not only with a myriad of examples (all restored and runable!) of the three cars of its name, but numerous others, including many one-offs made in Indiana (and some cool Studebakers - Glory is from the South Bend area).

Indiana once was second only to Michigan in automobile production, and though many have closed in recent years, it remains home to a variety of auto parts manufacturers.

The A-C-D Museum focuses on the cars - and also on the men who designed and built them. The office of E.L. Cord looks as if he just stepped out for lunch, for example. Over the years, the museum has added several interactive exhibits incorporating materials from the extensive archives.

An amazing number of museums are located in and around Auburn. Adjacent to the A-C-D Museum is the National Auto and Truck Museum, located in adjacent historic buildings, containing trucks spanning several decades, as well as numerous postwar classic cars. The museum also houses a huge collection of model trucks and automobiles.

Other museums include the Hoosier Air Museum at the DeKalb County Airport on County Road 62.

And then just outside Auburn off I-69 are two separate museums funded by the Kruse Foundation, the National Military History Center and the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum. There are even more museums in the DeKalb County towns of Garrett and Butler.

But Auburn itself is a nice county-seat town fill of beautiful old buildings if, like Glory, you enjoy walking amidst such treasures. Don't miss the courthouse, built in 1911, and the Eckhart Library on South Jackson Street, also opened in 1911.

All this walking might leave you wanting ice cream or a little snack, and there's a great little drive-in in the 1400 block north of Main Street, the old highway going north out of town. It has just been remodeled, so it doesn't have that wonderful '60s look anymore, but, says Glory, "I can vouch for the fact that their shakes are still great!"

Passenger pigeons and other extinct or endangered birds

Wood engraving image of men shooting at a large group of passenger pigeons. Image courtesy Whanganui Regional Museum.

(June 28, 2014) - Passenger pigeons and Carolina parakeets are long gone from the Hoosier state - as well as everywhere else. In fact, the last wild passenger pigeon was shot in the southeastern Indiana town of Laurel in 1902, according to one of our guests.

Not only does Hoosier History Live! explore species of birds that once existed in Indiana, we also look at some of the 26 bird species considered endangered in the state. A male passenger pigeon represents the now-extinct species in the Indiana State Museum’s collection. Courtesy Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Collection.Whooping cranes and cerulean warblers are among them. Nelson is joined by three guests:

  • Joel Greenberg, an Illinois-based author of the new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction. According to Joel, the passenger pigeon once was the most abundant bird in North America. Accounts by early settlers describe massive flights that darkened the sky, sometimes for days.
  • Don Gorney, director of bird conservation and education for Amos Butler Audubon. Not only does Don give popular bird-watching walks across central Indiana, he has been a popular guest on previous Hoosier History Live! shows.
  • And Damon Lowe, chief curator of science and technology at the Indiana State Museum. From Aug. 10 through Dec. 21, 2014, the State Museum will host an exhibit about the history of the passenger pigeon; it will include a small display of male and female passenger pigeon specimens.

Book cover of A Feathered River Across the Sky, by Joel Greenberg.According to our guest Don Gorney, the Carolina parakeet was "the only parrot species native to the eastern United States." It was gone from Indiana by the mid-1800s. So was the ivory-billed woodpecker, which Don describes as "the largest woodpecker found in the U.S." Like the passenger pigeon, those two species are extinct.

Whooping cranes, although small in number and listed as federally endangered, regularly migrate through Indiana, Don reports. Other species listed as endangered in Indiana - in addition to the cerulean warbler (which Don describes as "a small, bluish warbler of hardwood forests") - include the piping plover.

Damon Lowe."This pale, small shorebird no longer nests in Indiana," Don says, "but it does migrate through in small numbers."

According to our guest Joel Greenberg, this year marks the centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Although the last wild bird was shot in 1902 in Indiana, the final passenger pigeon in captivity died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo.

"The story of the passenger pigeon," Joel writes, "is a cautionary tale that no matter how common something is - be it alive or something inanimate like fuel or water - we can cause its depletion if we are not careful in our use."

According to Joel's book, when European settlers arrived in North America, "25 to 40 percent of the continent's birds were passenger pigeons, traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the sun for hours or even days. Don Gorney with a hyacinth macaw.The downbeats of their wings would chill the air beneath and create a thundering roar that would drown out all other sound."

Among those who documented the presence of immense flocks of passenger pigeons in the Midwest was John James Audubon (1785-1851), the famous naturalist, artist and ornithologist.

Passenger pigeons were described as trim, muscular, speedy and nomadic. Unlike the carrier pigeon (rock pigeon) that originated in Europe and is now a common site in cities, passenger pigeons were native to the eastern half of the United States and Canada, Joel notes.

In addition to the passenger pigeon and the Carolina parakeet - a gregarious species that our guest Don Gorney says traveled in "loud flocks which made it easy for farmers to shoot many of them at a time" - another extinct bird that once lived in Indiana was the Eskimo Curlew. Don describes it as "a large snowbird that once was present in very large numbers as it migrated through the United States to its breeding grounds on the Canadian tundra."

Among the species that currently are endangered in Indiana, the cerulean warbler "needs large forest blocks to nest, but this type of habitat is disappearing," Don says.

Joel Greenberg.According to our guest Damon Lowe, of the 26 bird species listed as endangered in Indiana, four also are on federal lists.

The upcoming exhibit at the Indiana State Museum will explore the impact that passenger pigeons have had on society and the story of their decline as well as highlight other species that are threatened. The exhibit eventually will travel to other state historic sites, including the Limberlost and Gene-Stratton Porter sites (in Geneva and Rome City) and Angel Mounds.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Upcoming county fairs

A large statue of a bumble bee appears at the Marion County Fair in Indianapolis. Image courtesy aroundindy.comWhat can be more nostalgic than the sights, sounds and smells of a trip to the county fair?

Guest Roadtripper Daina Chamness of Yours Truly Foods and other culinary adventures too numerous to count will talk about upcoming county fairs.

As the Marion County Fair winds down this Sunday, you'll have the St. Joseph, Pulaski, Boone, Shelby, and Bartholomew county fairs to looks forward to around the upcoming 4th of July weekend. Tune in this Saturday for all the particulars!

History Mystery

In northern Indiana, a wildlife area has become a popular destination for visitors to watch thousands of a species of migratory birds that stop there during the fall. Bird-viewing platform in northern Indiana.In what has been described as "one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles in the Midwest," thousands of the birds - flying from all directions, with distinctive cries - gather in the northwestern Indiana area to feed before continuing their migration to the south.

Question: What is the species of bird that gathers there by the thousands in the fall?

The prize pack includes two tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Flag of Indy, anthem, 'Indiana' movie and other symbolism

(June 21, 2014) - Did you know the city of Indianapolis has an official flag? You won't confuse it with the official state of Indiana flag, which has a torch and a burst of 19 stars symbolizing the Hoosier state as the 19th to enter the Union. Gold and dark blue are the predominant colors on the state flag, which is well-known.

The obscure flag representing the Hoosier capital has a white cross and a lighter shade of blue, with a white star in the middle of a red circle. The flag of the city of Indianapolis features a crossroads.It was designed in 1962 by an 18-year-old freshman at the Herron School of Art, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star published in 2012 on the flag's 50th anniversary.

Our guest is a beloved historian who occasionally wears a lapel pin depicting the Indy flag. George Geib, who retired last month after a long career as a distinguished professor of history at Butler University, joins Nelson in studio as we explore an array of symbols for the city of Indy and for the Hoosier state. Just like our host Nelson, Professor Geib is the author of books about various aspects of Indianapolis history.

During this month that includes Flag Day, Professor Geib and Nelson also explore products created to tout the Hoosier state and its capital city, in addition to the seldom-seen city flag. (If you want to catch the flag of Indianapolis in action - flapping in the summer breeze - visit the City-County Building. Along with the American flag, the city flag flies on a pole in the courtyard on the south side of the 28-story office tower that houses city offices, including, on the top floor, Mayor Greg Ballard's office.)

Professor Geib and Nelson also will share details about a silent movie, titled Indiana, produced in 1916 in connection with the celebration of the Centennial of Indiana's statehood.

By the way, the state flag also was an outgrowth of the Centennial. In 1916, the General Assembly, as part of the Centennial celebrations, called for the adoption of a state flag. The Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored a contest to select the winner. Paul Hadley, designer of Indiana's state flag, and Herron Art student Ralph Priest at flag. Image courtesy Mooresville Public Library.Mooresville artist Paul Hadley created the design that won among more than 200 entries.

The lapel pin (depicting the city of Indy flag) worn by our guest Professor Geib was given to him by former Mayor William Hudnut. In addition to writing books about aspects of the capital city, including Indianapolis: Hoosiers' Circle City (Continental Heritage Press) and Indianapolis First (Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce), Professor Geib has been named a Sagamore of the Wabash and has served on many civic and historic boards, including the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

Professor Geib has been investigating whether, as some sources claim, the city of Indy has an official anthem. He shares results of his research during our show.

As for Indiana, the silent movie made in 1916: Here is some of the footage (James Whitcomb Riley with Children on Lockerbie Street) featuring Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley surrounded by children on the lawn of the Lockerbie residence, now known as the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.

According to an Indianapolis Star story in 1916, the Indiana movie also included footage of a massive pageant held for several consecutive evenings at Riverside Park that celebrated the Centennial. The pageant and other details about the way the Centennial was celebrated - as well as plans for our upcoming Bicentennial in 2016 - were explored during a Hoosier History Live! show last year with James Madison, a professor emeritus of history at IU who is a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

President Woodrow Wilson, Gov. Samuel Ralston and Mayor Joseph E. Bell view the Indiana centennial parade from Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis in 1916. Photo research by Joan Hostetler, Heritage Photo. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.To give you a sampling of other film from the 1916 era, we are including this Indianapolis 1916 Ford newsreel footage featuring shots of Monument Circle, trolley cars going by, "Pearl Street, the Grand Canyon of Indianapolis," and other magnificent sights!

Also from that era, More Indianapolis 1916 features shots of Lockerbie street, James Whitcomb Riley with cigar, Centennial parade on Monument Circle with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Indiana Governor Samuel Ralston, 30,000 schoolchildren participating in a flag drill, the (now-gone) Emrichville Bridge over White River, scenes from Riverside Park, and much more!

With Professor Geib during Saturday's show, we also explore a fascinating footnote to Indy's history known as "Hanna's Folly." In 1831, civic leader Robert Hanna launched a steamboat on the White River to prove that the waterway was so navigable that it could be a major trade route.

Problem was, the steamboat (named the Robert Hanna in his honor) ran aground on sand in the shallow White River and remained stranded for an extended period, becoming a laughingstock. Professor Geib shares details about the embarrassing incident in early Indy history.

Obviously, the ill-advised steamboat never became a symbol of the Hoosier capital.

The flag designed in 1962 that does symbolize Indy (even though many folks don't know about it) was created by Roger Gohl, a Herron freshman. According to the Indianapolis Star story, he entered the competition because he wanted the $50 offered to the winner by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

The flag's wide, white cross symbolizes Indy as the "Crossroads of America," the city's longtime slogan.

Learn more: Indiana state symbols.

Roadtrip: Roann, Ind.

The Roann Covered Bridge spans the Eel River. Photo by Jane Ammeson.Guest Roadtripper and freelance writer and photographer Jane Ammeson, who specializes in food, travel and personalities, tells us that "a former railroad town located on the Eel River in Wabash County, Roann (population 400), is hardly on anyone's list of places to go. But with a restored wooden covered bridge, grist mill built in 1855, the Paw Paw Township Carnegie Library (out of 238 such libraries, Roann's is the 214th smallest in size) and a generations-old family restaurant, Lynn's, in the downtown, Roann has kept its small town charm."

Jane Ammeson continues: "Historic homes and businesses in pristine shape, an original log cabin built in 1863 and a vibrant community heritage dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the town's cultural and architectural heritage resulted in the Roann Historic District officially being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Roann is definitely a bypassed gem."

History Mystery

Question mark.A few states have official state pies. The state pie of Florida is key lime pie. In Massachusetts, it's Boston cream pie. Apple pie is the official state pie of Vermont.

Since 2009, Indiana has had an official state pie. The world's largest maker of this kind of pie is located in far-eastern Indiana.

Question: What kind of pie is it?

The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call into the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months.

The prize pack includes a gift certificate to LePeep Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Ask Nelson - and photographer colleague, too

The English Theatre on Monument Circle was demolished in 1948. This 1949 photograph looks southeast toward the Monument and shows the remains of the brick foundation. Negative made by the Indianapolis Fire Department. Photo research by Joan Hostetler. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis.(June 14, 2014) - Once again, Hoosier History Live! turns the tables on our host, Indianapolis-based author/historian Nelson Price, opens the phone lines and invites listeners to call in with questions about our Hoosier heritage.

Nelson, who calls himself a "garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia," is joined in studio by his collaborator on many projects, photographer extraordinaire Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography.

Garry, whose specialties include architectural photography, collaborated with Nelson and photo historian Joan Hostetler on Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a popular visual history book about the evolution of the Hoosier capital.

So in addition to calling Nelson with questions, listeners also ask questions of Garry, whose expertise includes many aspects of transportation history.

Reporter Nelson Price types at his desk at The Indianapolis News, circa 1990. Price was a feature reporter for the afternoon newspaper for many years. Photo by Richard Sullivan.During the show, Garry shares insights about the trolley system that once flourished in Indy, drawing from the book Indianapolis Railways (Pioneer Press of West Virginia) by the late Jerry Marlette.

Between phone calls from listeners, Nelson and Garry share insights about sites featured in their Then and Now book, as well as about famous Hoosiers whom Nelson has interviewed or researched - and some of whom Garry has photographed.

They include maestro Josef Gingold, the founder of the International Violin Competition in Indy. Garry photographed Gingold (1909-1995), a distinguished professor at the world-renowned Indiana University School of Music, so the maestro's features could be embossed on the gold medal now given to winners of the violin competition.

Professor Gingold is among the more than 160 historic and contemporary notables featured in Nelson's book, Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing).

So is Gingold's star pupil, internationally famous violinist Joshua Bell, a Bloomington native. Nelson shares an anecdote related to the first time he interviewed Joshua, who was disembarking from a commercial airline with his Stradivarius violin (estimated value: $2 million) in tow. (Since then, Joshua has upgraded to an even more expensive Stradivarius.)

Photographer Garry Chilluffo on industrial lift. Photo courtesy Garry Chilluffo.The airline/violin anecdote is relevant because of the recent contretemps involving Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Zach De Pue and a commuter airline that initially refused to let him bring his historic violin aboard.

During the show, Garry shares insights about the historic Wholesale District in the south portion of downtown Indy, an area that includes Union Station, where dozens of retailers sold produce and other wares.

Garry also discusses Lockefield Gardens, which opened in 1938 as the first major public housing project in the city. Among the notable Hoosiers who grew up near Lockefield Gardens is a legendary athlete included in Nelson's books: Oscar Robertson, who led Attucks High School to back-to-back state championship titles before his outstanding career as a college and pro player.

And Nelson discusses his multiple interviews over the years with a Crawfordsville native who will be named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society next month: Crossword puzzle guru Will Shortz, puzzle-master of the New York Times and author of many crossword books.

Will, who became the first (and, so far, only) person to graduate from IU with a degree in enigmatology (the study of puzzles), grew up on a horse farm near Crawfordsville.

The gold medal for the Indianapolis International Violin Competition features an image of Josef Gingold that was taken from a photo by Indy photographer Garry Chilluffo. Photo by Garry Chilluffo.Moving from games to historic fun, Nelson and Garry also discuss the bygone Riverside Amusement Park that flourished for decades on the westside of Indy. Garry reviews what's on the site today of the former carnival rides, which included a Ferris wheel and dueling roller coasters.

Garry photographed the current site for theThen/Now book to accompany text by Nelson, who wrote about the amusement park by drawing on boyhood memories of growing up during the waning era of Riverside, which closed in 1970.

Garry, who concedes he's afraid of heights, has had to climb on girders and ride in helicopters for some of his photography projects. He photographed the 92 icons representing all of Indiana's counties that are depicted on the exterior of the Indiana State Museum in White River State Park. His photos of the county icons appear in the book The Art of the 92 County Walk published by the state museum.

The cover of Indianapolis Then and Now depicts the opulent English Theatre, Hotel and Opera House, which was built on Monument Circle beginning in 1880.

Nelson and Garry share details about the four-story English structure, which featured the largest stage in Indiana; it was the setting for a spellbinding production of Ben-Hur in the early 1900s. Amid an outcry from the public, the English was demolished in 1948. The site now is occupied by the headquarters building of Anthem/Wellpoint.

Roadtrip: Clinton, Ind.

A vintage postcard shows the Little Italy Festival in Clinton, Ind. Image courtesy A Trip Down the Wabash in Old  Postcards, at http://brisray.com/wabash/wind.htm.

Guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson selects Clinton in Vermillion County, a little north of Terre Haute, for his Roadtrip pick.

Says Eric: "My grandparents lived there when I was a child, and I visited often. Clinton's rich coal mines nearby attracted many Italian immigrants in the first part of the 20th century. The town has been home to the Little Italy Festival since 1966. Clinton also has a coal mining museum, and Horney's hardware store, which had the best toy selection when I was a kid. And it's still there."

He continues: "Clinton's downtown is still rich with early 20th-century architecture, and its imported Italian fountain is a local landmark. It's home to one of the last thriving small-town newspapers, still in business, called The Daily Clintonian. Locals are very picky about Italian food, so it was cause for celebration when a well-known chef opened Gerrie's, which I haven't visited yet! The word on the street is that their food is amazing."

History Mystery

This "bust without a bust" memorial to citizen Lucius Burrie Swift stands in our mystery park. Swift (1844-1929) was a lawyer and civil service reformer who fought political patronage. He lived in LaPorte, Ind., in the 1870s but moved to Indy in 1879 and was a propagandist during WWI. The bust was stolen long ago. Research courtesy Glory-June Greiff. Hoosier History Live photo.Sites featured in Indianapolis Then and Now, the visual history book on which our host Nelson Price collaborated with photographer Garry Chilluffo and photo historian Joan Hostetler, include one of the oldest parks in Indianapolis. Originally a harness racetrack, the land was purchased by the city of Indy during the 1870s, when the park was created.

The park became known for its conservatory, sunken gardens and amphitheater.

Question: What is the park?

The prize pack includes two passes to GlowGolf, courtesy of GlowGolf, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Natural gas boom of 1880s and '90s

Gas-boom towns took such pride in what they thought to be an unlimited supply of natural gas that they created flambeaux displays that burned day and night for months. Indiana lawmakers finally banned the wasteful displays in 1891. Image from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine, 1889.(June 7, 2014) - An entire region in east central Indiana became the setting in the 1880s and '90s for, as one of our guests puts it, "one of the great natural resource discoveries of American history." The Natural Gas Boom in Indiana also is regarded as one of the most dramatic eras in the state's history.

Alas, the boom - which significantly affected cities such as Muncie, Kokomo, Anderson, Marion, Elwood, Gas City and Fairmount - did not last, even though many civic leaders, businesses and residents assumed the plentiful natural gas would never run out. For most industries, businesses and homeowners, the era was over by 1910 or much earlier.

To explore what unfolded - and how Indiana became one of the country's top glass-producing states during the Natural Gas Boom - Nelson is joined in studio by two guests:

According to our guest Jim Glass, Indiana's "gas belt" covered 2,500 square miles, making it the largest natural gas field in the country in the 1890s.

A range of industries requiring large quantities of fuel were attracted to east central Indiana as a result. They included glass (Muncie became the country's No. 2 glass-producing city after Pittsburgh, Jim writes), brick, wire and nail, iron and strawboard, an early type of cardboard.

Dave Broman.Without the gas boom, many historians are convinced Indiana would not have become a major industrial state. At the least, its transition from being an agricultural state would have been significantly delayed.

So why did the Natural Gas Boom end so quickly?

"No effort to conserve," Jim writes. "No one wanted to believe the gas would run out, despite plenty of scientific evidence."

James Glass.The boom essentially began at a gas well near Eaton, a small town north of Muncie. According to The Gas Boom of East Central Indiana, it became, as a result of drilling in 1886, "the first well in Indiana to produce a profitable supply of gas."

As drilling quickly spread across east central Indiana, officials decided the best way to show off the output of a new gas well was to light it up. A resulting flame - known as a flambeau - become a common sight in the night sky. Flambeaux, burning night and day, often were regarded as community "billboards" for the abundance of natural gas.

Towns like Muncie grew rapidly, with its Ball Brothers Company becoming the country's largest producer of fruit-canning jars by 1900.

According to our guest Jim Glass, more than 100 glass factories may have been in operation between 1887 and 1901 in east central Indiana.

This newspaper drawing from 1887 shows an early gas well in Jay County, Ind. Image provided by James Glass.Among them was a glassmaking business in the Howard County town of Greentown. The factory burned to the ground in 1903; in recent decades, Greentown Glass has become highly collectible.

Today, glass manufacturers in Jay County in far-eastern Indiana and in Kokomo are among the last factories remaining from the Natural Gas Boom era.

Both of our guests have connections to the region affected by the Natural Gas Boom.

Dave Broman was born in Anderson and grew up in Bluffton, a town on the fringes of the Trenton gas field. He worked in radio broadcasting in several cities, including Anderson and Kokomo. Since 2012, Dave has been executive director of the Howard County Historical Society; his goals include enhancing the explanations of the boom era - and the lessons that can be learned.

A former board member of Indiana Landmarks, Jim Glass served as director of the Indiana DNR's Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

Other history facts:

  • Although, as Jim Glass's book puts it, many factories "simply pulled up stakes" when the natural gas boom ended in the early 1900s, others remained, and some even flourished by evolving. Ball Brothers converted to manufactured gas and prospered for many more decades. (The Ball Brothers glass jar factory finally closed in 1962.)
  • Promoters who touted their communities and enticed factories became known as "boomers."
  • In addition to Howard and Jay counties, the gas boom primarily affected Delaware, Madison, Grant, Blackford, Hamilton and Tipton counties.

Learn more: Our guests recommend watching this video, Fueling a Region: Indiana's Gas Boom, which was published in 2013 by WIPB Public TV in Muncie.

Roadtrip: Morgantown, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff recommends Morgantown in Morgan County southwest of Indianapolis:

"It may be best known to folks as that little town on SR135 you drive through on the way to Brown County. But it's nice to spend a few hours there to see what Morgantown has to offer. The streets of Morgantown, Ind., feature many historic buildings. Pictured here is Kathy’s Café.There are quite a number of restaurants for such a small village, but I recommend Kathy's Cafe, 159 W. Washington Street. Good, basic country cafe food, and really great pies, all homemade!"

Morgantown is compact enough that you can simply walk around and enjoy its many historic buildings - most of the downtown is listed in the National Register of Historic Places - as well as its small-town atmosphere and its interesting jumble of local shops.

There's a large antique store (the Antique Cooperative at 129 W. Washington) that is well worth a look, and the House of Clocks (75 W. Washington) maintains a sizable stock of clocks from around the world and repairs them as well.

"Perhaps Morgantown's most unusual offering," says Glory, "is Graham's Bee Works, 125 W. Washington, a regional supplier of all things beekeepers need, including bees! As I have just become a beekeeper myself, this place, which had always intrigued me, has taken on new importance!"

History Mystery

The Grant County town of Gas City was known as Harrisburg in the 1860s when the community was settled. With the discovery of natural gas in the area in 1887, Harrisburg, like many communities in east central Indiana, became a boom town. During the 1890s, the town changed its name to Gas City.

Question marks.Other towns across Indiana also have changed their names for various reasons. Among them was the town of Bethlehem. The town changed its name because another Indiana community also had the biblical name.

The town that switched from Bethlehem to another name eventually became one of the fastest-growing cities in Indiana.

Question: What is the city?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to the Rathskeller Restaurant in downtown Indy, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Lyn St. James, racing pioneer for women

(May 31, 2014) - Has it really been 22 years since she became the first woman to win the Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500?

Even though time has roared by and Lyn St. James retired from Indy Car racing in 2001, the pioneer has never left the spotlight. In fact, Lyn, who competed in the 500 Mile Race seven times, will be racing again at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 8. Along with such fellow veterans as Al Unser Jr. and Willy T. Ribbs, she will compete in the Indy Legends Pro-Am, a race on the Speedway's road track with muscle cars, including vintage Corvettes and Mustangs.

In fact, Lyn will do double duty that weekend because she also will compete in an open-wheel race at the Speedway. Lyn St. James at 1993 Indy 500 qualifications. Image courtesy Lyn St. James.She will drive a specially designed Chevron built in 1977, a fully restored race car. Lyn will drive it in a new "Brickyard Invitational" weekend organized by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association.

Before that, Lyn, 67, is Nelson's studio guest, as Hoosier History Live! explores the life and career of the race-driver-turned-motivational speaker who has been a role model for young women and girls.

"There's no sound in the world like the scream of an Indy car" is the opening line in her book Lyn St. James: An Incredible Journey (LSJ Press, 2005), which initially was published as Ride of Your Life (Hyperion, 2002).

In the book, she writes about her unforgettable first visit to the Speedway as a teenager. While her male friends could walk around Gasoline Alley, Lyn was forced to wait outside because women and girls weren't allowed in the restricted area then.

Although she became the first woman to be named Rookie of the Year - that happened in 1992, when she finished 11th, her best result - Lyn wasn't the first woman driver to compete in the Indy 500. That distinction, of course, belongs to Janet Guthrie, who competed in the 1977 race.

But Lyn's accomplishments in a sport that remained almost universally male-dominated resulted in visits to the White House to meet three presidents (Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton) and appearances on national TV programs, including The David Letterman Show and The Today Show.

She often has been included in lists of the "Top 100 Women Athletes of the 20th Century."

Primarily based in Phoenix now, Lyn has lived in Florida, Ohio and, periodically, the Indianapolis area.

She has worked as a pit reporter for ABC and ESPN. Her civic endeavors include serving on the advisory board of the Indiana Fever pro basketball team and as a founding board member of the Indiana Motorsports Association.

All of this began inauspiciously; in fact, her racing career started with the wrong kind of splash. In reviewing Ride of Your Life for The Indianapolis Star in 2002, our host Nelson wrote:

Lyn St. James."With a candor that qualifies as courageous, St. James discusses the highs as well as the lows of her career, including an embarrassing description of her first race in 1974 in West Palm Beach, Florida, when she spun her Ford Pinto into a lake near the track."

That rookie mishap unfolded at a race track surrounded by murky wetlands and ponds. Lyn's car careened into one of them after she lost control.

Despite that nerve-wracking episode - and the butterflies that surely afflict all Indy 500 drivers when they put their safety on the line at the Speedway - Lyn writes that the most frightening moment of her life had nothing to do with auto racing. It occurred when she was a seventh-grader at a private, all-girls academy in Ohio. She competed there in an organized sport for the first time as a member of a field hockey team.

"When the opposing team charged downfield toward me, I felt the most intense wave of panic I've ever experienced," she writes. "Nothing since that day has come close. I got over it. I stood my ground that afternoon, and eventually became captain of the field hockey team."

Years later, she oversaw a driver development program for young women after her racing career ended.

On the track, her accomplishments include qualifying sixth in 1994 for the Indy 500, out-qualifying Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and other legendary drivers. In 1995, Lyn set a world record on a closed-course track for women when she reached a speed of 225.72 mph.

History fact: In 2000, two women qualified for the Indy 500 for the first time when Lyn was joined in the field by Sarah Fisher. (Hence, that was the first time Mari Hulman George ever used the plural for women in the command: "Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!")

Also at the Indy 500 in 2000, Lyn - at age 53 - was the oldest driver in the field, male or female. She retired as an Indy-car driver the next year.

Roadtrip: Ruth Lilly 'Twin Oaks' home tour

Guest Roadtripper Diana Mutz of the Indiana Historical Society recommends that you take a rare peek at the former estate of both L.S. Ayres II and philanthropist Ruth Lilly. The English Garden at historic Twin Oaks in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.It's the Historic Twin Oaks Home and Garden Tour on June 6, 7 and 8, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

The 1941 Colonial Revival home is hidden behind the trees at 555 Kessler Boulevard West Drive in Indianapolis. Starting with the elegant spiral staircase and distinctive murals in the entry, guests can explore 17 rooms of this extraordinary house, as well as take a stroll through the home's meticulously kept English Garden.

The home is accessible by shuttle service only, with parking and shuttle service available at Fox Hill Elementary School (802 Fox Hill Drive, Indianapolis) - just a one-minute ride to Twin Oaks. Tickets for adults are $18 in advance or $20 at the door, and cost for children ages 3 through 12 is $5.

For more information and/or tickets, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.

History Mystery

During the era Lyn St. James raced in the Indianapolis 500, one of the winners created a controversy in Victory Lane by spurning a tradition that dated back to the 1930s. Three-time Indy 500 winner Wilbur Shaw drinks milk after winning the race in 1940. Image courtesy nbcnews.com.Rather than drink a celebratory bottle of milk immediately following his win in the Indy 500, he opted for orange juice.

The "milk snub" by the Indy 500 winner outraged many spectators as well as officials of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the American Dairy Association. Even several years later, when he returned to drive the pace car in the Indy 500, the driver received some loud boos because he had ignored the tradition involving milk that was nearly 60 years old.

Question: Who was the driver?

The prize pack is a gift certificate to Arni's Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and two passes to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Courthouse squares across Indiana

A rare image of the new City-County Building in Indianapolis standing behind the historic Marion County Courthouse, which was demolished in 1962. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

(May 24, 2014) - They are the centerpieces - many folks would say "gems" - of most towns that are county seats across the Hoosier state.

Chris Flook.One courthouse square, located in the heart of Amish country, has parking for buggies as well as cars. In another county, a historic courthouse was restored after local women - many of them more than 75 years old - undressed and posed for a calendar as a fund-raiser.

Jim Kienle.In yet another county seat, a downtown area has three nearby structures built as courthouses.

To explore our vast range of courthouse squares, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests:

  • Chris Flook, a telecommunications instructor at Ball State University who devoted summers to visiting and photographing courthouse squares, or their equivalents, in all of our state's 92 counties. His project, a collaboration of several departments at Ball State, has a website at www.indianacourthousesquare.org with county-by-county visuals.
  • And Indianapolis-based architect Jim Kienle, who specializes in historic renovation. Jim, director of historic preservation for Moody Nolan, has been a popular guest on several Hoosier History Live! shows, including a program in 2009 about the Orange County Courthouse in Paoli. Jim restored that historic courthouse, which was built in the Greek Revival style in 1850.

The Ohio County courthouse in Rising Sun dates to 1844. Photo by Chris Flook.During our show, we focus not just on counties with historic courthouses. Nelson and his guests also explore cities that demolished their county courthouses. They include Indianapolis, where the ornate Marion County Courthouse was torn down during the early 1960s; courtrooms are housed in the City-County Building, a 28-story office complex. In Delaware County, the historic courthouse in Muncie also was demolished during the 1960s.

And we don't just focus on the courthouses, or their replacements during our show. Chris, Jim and Nelson also explore the structures around them as we focus on the "squares" or their equivalents. (In the Hoosier capital, a circle - Monument Circle- typically is regarded as the town square.)

Counties with courthouse squares on the itinerary for our show include:

  • Ohio County. The courthouse in Rising Sun, which was built in 1844, is the oldest still in use. Like the Orange County Courthouse, the second-oldest, it was built in Greek Revival style.
  • The Delaware County courthouse, in Muncie, Ind. Photo by Chris Flook.Randolph County. The historic courthouse in Winchester became the focus of national attention when members of a women's bridge club disrobed to pose as "Calendar Girls." The women, including one nearly 94 years old, raised money to spare their beloved courthouse from demolition. The book Magnificent 92 (IU Press, 1991) quotes a 19th-century historian as rhapsodizing: "A man might sooner be the architect of that edifice than be President of the United States or King of England."
  • Elkhart County. Nearby parking areas in Goshen include spaces for cars as well as hitches for horses because of the Amish communities that have flourished in the county since the 19th century.
  • Allen County. Often identified as the most lavish in the state, the county courthouse in Fort Wayne was completed in 1902. Amish buggies tie up outside the LaGrange County courthouse in LaGrange, Ind. Image courtesy agecon.purdue.edu.According to Magnificent 92, its architectural design was influenced by the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Stained-glass windows, sculptures and paintings adorn the courthouse.
  • Hancock County. Also known as ornate, the courthouse in Greenfield has architectural features known as "grotesques," which are similar to gargoyles.
  • St. Joseph County. In downtown South Bend, three nearby structures were built as courthouses.
  • Wabash County. Located atop a hill, the majestic courthouse in Wabash was the setting for a claim to fame for the town in 1880. The courthouse was the site of an early experiment in electricity that drew international attention. Thousands of visitors watched as electricity jumped from one lamp to another in the dome of the courthouse, which, like many historic courthouses, has a clock tower.
  • The St. Joseph County courthouse is in South Bend, Ind. Photo by Chris Flook.And Madison County. During the early 1970s, the 19th-century courthouse in Anderson was replaced by a structure of glass, steel and brick on a public plaza.

To photograph the 92 courthouse squares or their equivalents for the Indiana's Courthouse Squaresproject, our guest Chris Flook avoided interstates as he drove from county to county.

A native Hoosier, Chris has worked on several documentaries and projects focused on Indiana history. They include a new documentary about the Lenape (the Native American tribe that white settlers called Delaware Indians) that had its premiere in Muncie last month.

In fact, Chris appears on our show following a series of showings of the documentary in Oklahoma, the home state for many descendants of the Lenape who once lived in Indiana. Chris also serves on the boards of the Delaware County Historical Society and the Indiana Barn Foundation.

In addition to restoring the Orange County Courthouse, our guest Jim Kienle has been involved in the restoration of historic movie theaters across Indiana. They include the initial renovation of the Circle Theatre in Indy during the early 1980s and, more recently, the award-winning renovation of the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart.

Roadtrip: Tel-Hy Nature Preserve in Huntington

Guest Roadtripper Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne, who also volunteers at a number of conservation organizations, including ACRES, DNR and Limberlost, suggests we take a wander through nature at the beautiful Tel-Hy Nature Preserve in Huntington.

Tel-Hy Nature Preserve in Huntington, Ind., includes a quirky collection of outhouses. Image courtesy Acres Land Trust.In Hebrew, Tel means "high" and Hy means "life," which describes the high bluffs with great views of the Wabash River in the preserve. Tel-Hy Nature Preserve is just under 40 acres in Huntington County and was donated to ACRES Land Trust by Hy and Lorry Goldenberg in 1994.

Tel-Hy has the distinction of being featured in the book Weird Indiana due in to part to its collection of outdoor privies located on the preserve just off the parking lot. According to legend, Hy Goldenberg once ordered a single outhouse but was shipped two by mistake. Apparently he believed two of anything was a collection, so he started collecting more unusual outhouses.

The preserve has a variety of wildflowers, including Virginia bluebells, wood phlox, hepatica, snow trillium, goldenrods and asters. Sycamores, black walnuts and beech are just some of the soaring trees on the property. And a number of birds call this property home at least part of the year; they include scarlet tanager, wood ducks and wood thrush.

History Mystery

This Indiana courthouse was damaged in 1974’s “Super Tornado” outbreak. Image courtesy crh.noaa.gov.

During the "Super Tornado" outbreak of April 1974, a courthouse in an Indiana county took a direct hit from a powerful twister. The tornado demolished so much of the historic courthouse, which had been built in 1894, that county leaders decided they had no choice but to remove the remains and build a new courthouse from the ground up. The impact of the tornado on the county courthouse was discussed on Hoosier History Live! during a show last month on the 40th anniversary of the April 1974 tornado outbreak.

Question: What Indiana county OR town (county seat) lost its historic courthouse to a tornado in 1974? Either the name of the county or the town may be supplied to win the prize.

Hint: The county courthouse was located in the northern half of Indiana.

The prize is a two passes for Indianapolis 500 Track Tours and a gift certificate to Latitude in Castleton, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.


Host Nelson Price receives Fadely Award

(April 2014) - Our ever-effervescent host Nelson Price was honored with the presentation of the Fadely History Award on March 30 at annual meeting of the Marion County Historical Society at the Athenaeum in downtown Indy. Nelson Price.The award was presented by Jim Fadely, Director of College Counseling at University High School, in honor of his pioneer ancestors.

The award is presented by the Marion County Historical Society "in recognition of outstanding effort to advance the knowledge of history in Indianapolis and Marion County."

"With his career of writing features at the Indianapolis newspapers, his books about famous Hoosiers and his hosting of the current Hoosier History Live radio program, Nelson Price is the perfect recipient of the Fadely History Award for advancing the history of Indianapolis and Marion County," said Jim Fadely.

Thanks also to the Indianapolis Star for publishing Nelson's column on April 8, "Letterman's ties to Indy remain strong."

Slave trial in 1820s Indiana and Fairmount town history: Two classic shows

(May 17, 2014 - encore presentations) - Instead of a one-hour program, Hoosier History Live this week offers two back-to-back half-hour shows from our archives of nearly 300 programs. We have selected two of the most popular programs in our more than six years of covering all aspects of our Hoosier heritage.

Slave trials in 1820s

Eunice Trotter.During the first classic show (original air date: Nov. 13, 2010), we explore how a young African-American woman in Vincennes made history in 1821. A lawyer for Mary Bateman Clark filed a lawsuit seeking her release from an "indentured servitude" contract with one of the most prominent men in the new state of Indiana. The contract required Mary to cook, clean and sew for Gen. Washington Johnston and his family for 20 years. He only pay was housing, food and clothing.

The case, which made its way to the Indiana Supreme Court, involved determining whether such "indentured servitude" contracts violated the state's constitution as a form of slavery. The Supreme Court ruled in Mary's favor and ordered her employer to release her.

To share insights about the social history of the era and the landmark case, Nelson is joined in studio by one of Mary's descendants, Indianapolis resident Eunice Trotter. Eunice, a veteran journalist, and her sister Ethel McCane are using their research about their ancestor to do "living history performances" for schools and civic groups across the state. They can be contacted through their website at marybatemanclark.org.

Banner image for The Mary Bateman Clark Project.Eunice and Ethel crusaded for a historic marker in honor of Mary Bateman Clark; it was dedicated at the Knox County Courthouse in 2009. The sisters are Mary Bateman Clark's great-great-great granddaughters.

According to their research, many white residents of Vincennes and other early Indiana communities worried about the presence of free African-Americans, fearing they would incite indentured blacks.

Fairmount town history

James Dean boyhood photo. Image courtesy Arcadia Publishing.You may know that movie icon James Dean grew up on a farm near the Grant County town of Fairmount.

But were you aware the creator of the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world also grew up on a Fairmount farm? It was the boyhood home of Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, the cantankerous cat.

To explore the heritage of a town with several distinctions during our second classic show (original air date: Aug. 28, 2010), Nelson is joined in studio by Fairmount resident Cathy Duling Shouse, the author of a visual history book about her hometown, Fairmount, part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series. Cathy's ancestors settled in the Fairmount area before 1850.

Cathy Duling Shouse.In her book, which she put together with the Fairmount Historical Museum, more than half of the 223 rare vintage photos came from private collections of local residents.

The images include a 1904 photo of the construction of the Winslow family farmhouse, where young James Dean was raised during the 1930s and '40s by his aunt and uncle.

There are also photos of Lake Galatia near Fairmount, which was formed by the last glacier. Lake Galatia is where, as Cathy puts it, "the most complete set of mammoth bones ever found was discovered." That was in 1904. The discovery of the huge skeleton of the mammoth (which apparently lived 11,000 years ago) sparked a lawsuit about their ownership.

Initially part of the Miami Indian territory, Fairmount was settled early on by Quakers. Fun fact: The mascot of old Fairmount High School - where James Dean, a member of the Class of 1949, was a standout basketball player - was "the Quakers."

Offbeat landmarks across Indiana

The Big Peach, near Bruceville, Ind., was built in the 1950s to attract attention to a farm market, which is still in operation today. Image courtesy Bob Burchfield, AroundIndy.com.(May 10, 2014) - "I like weird stuff," says Evan Finch of Indianapolis. "I like history. And I like to drive around. On some weekends, I get to combine all three by driving around, finding unusual things and learning their histories."

So Evan, an advertising copywriter who describes himself as a "dilettante" historic preservationist, has visited and will share insights about such offbeat or funky Hoosier landmarks as the Big Peach near the Knox County town of Bruceville and the Colossal Mushroom near Middlebury in Elkhart County. Evan describes the former as "a gigantic, eye-luring, concrete-and-chicken-wire" peach built in the 1950s to attract attention to a farm stand.

Also on the menu for our show: An exploration of the Giant Egg near Mentone, a town in far-northern Indiana that promotes itself as the "egg basket" of the Midwest. According to Evan, the town built a 10-foot-tall, 3,000-pound egg in 1946 to advertise its annual egg festival.

With Evan, a copywriter for Young & Laramore, we don't limit ourselves to food-shaped landmarks. Backroads explorer Evan Finch poses in front of the Colossal Mushroom at Krider World’s Fair Garden in Middlebury, Ind. Photo courtesy He shares insights about the sculpture of a giant serpent created by a stone cutter who lived on a farm near Needmore. The cutter, August Mack, was a German immigrant whose dream about a snake inspired him to create the mechanical serpent, which, as Evan puts it, "could move, hiss, rattle and open its mouth."

Promoted on a billboard, the giant snake became a roadside attraction during the 1930s and '40s, with its creator charging a modest admission to see it. Alas, the serpent landmark - unlike most of the others we will explore - apparently no longer exists. Evan explains why during the show.

Other landmarks Evan discusses include:

  • The gravesite of Johnny Appleseed (real name: John Chapman) in Fort Wayne. Chapman (1774-1845) was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show in November 2009 that featured an expert guest: Indianapolis-based playwright Hank Fincken, who portrays the Hoosier folk hero and other historic figures at events across the country.
  • A statue of Joe Palooka (a once-popular comic strip character) that also was the brainstorm of southern Indiana stonecutters. A giant pink elephant with spectacles and a martini graces the front of a liquor store in Fortville, Ind. Photo courtesy Evan Finch.Created by two of them and dedicated in Bedford in 1948, the Palooka statue has been moved several times but has stood in the town of Oolitic for more than 30 years. Noting that the statue is 10 feet tall, Evan observes: "He's a big Palooka.”
  • And the largest preserved steer in the world. Known as "Old Ben," the steer has been displayed in Kokomo for decades. His weight upon his death was estimated at more than 4,500 pounds.

Never heard of Joe Palooka? The comic strip that featured the character - a muscle-bound, lantern-jawed boxer described as dumb but well-intentioned - ended in 1984.

The comic was in its heyday in 1948, though. That's when, according to some accounts, more than 4,000 people attended the dedication of the limestone Joe Palooka. It's 10 feet tall, weighs 10,000 pounds and can be found on Main Street in Oolitic near the town's post office.

Evan Finch."I'm interested in anything unique, that makes one place different from any other place," our guest Evan Finch explained during a recent presentation about his "quirky landmarks" passion at Indiana Landmarks, the historic preservation organization. "Finding those differences makes life seem more mysterious and more fun."

Surely the Colossal Mushroom qualifies as unique. According to Evan, the mushroom is one of several decorative structures constructed by the owner of a Middlebury nursery to promote his business at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. The eye-catching mushroom and other structures constructed by Krider Nurseries were displayed in gardens at the World's Fair.

"After the fair was over in 1934, Krider didn't want to lose all of their investment ... so they bought a lot of it back and reconstructed the garden in Middlebury," Evan reports.

Johnny Appleseed’s grave is in Johnny Appleseed Park in Fort Wayne, Ind.Although Krider went out of business more than 20 years ago, the mushroom remains as a towering figure in a community park.

Equally colorful is the history of another roadside oddity that Evan will discuss. For several decades in Terre Haute, teenagers and other residents visited a family mausoleum to see "Stiffy Green," a bulldog that had been, as Evan puts it, "taxidermied."

Creeping around the mausoleum at Highland Lawn Cemetery at night became a Terre Haute rite of passage, Evan says. Terrified teenagers would shine flashlights at the bulldog to glance at its glowing eyes. Vandalism of Stiffy Green during the 1980s, though, resulted in moving the once-beloved pet from the cemetery to the basement of the Vigo County Historical Museum. In the basement, the bulldog sits in a replica of the family crypt.

During his Landmarks presentation, Evan likened the visits to Stiffy Green's mausoleum to a rite of passage for generations of teenagers in the Indianapolis area: Nocturnal visits to the bygone House of Blue Lights owned by eccentric millionaire Skiles Test.

During back-to-back Halloween seasons - in October of 2009 and 2010 - we broadcast Hoosier History Live shows about various aspects of the House of Blue Lights urban legend. The 2010 show featured a rare interview with Test's daughter, Louellen Test Hesse.

Roadtrip: Home plate at Butler University

Home-plate plaque, located at Butler University. Image courtesy Jason Lantzer.

Guest Roadtripper Jason Lantzer, author, past Hoosier History Live! guest, and director of Butler's Honors Program, will talk about this mysterious home-plate marker on Butler's campus in front of Jordan Hall. It's baseball season, so learn more about this historic athletic milestone on the show this Saturday!

History Mystery

A tree near the small town in southwestern Indiana of Milltown has become a roadside attraction because of what people fling onto its branches. Downtown Milltown in southwestern Indiana.  What objects are thrown on to its famous tree? Courtesy town of Milltown.During the early 1960s, a group of Boy Scouts may have started the tradition of tossing the items onto the tree. For more than 50 years since then, people have thrown this object onto the tree. As a result, the tree has been featured in books, newspaper articles and TV and radio reports.

Question: What have hundreds of people tossed onto the tree?

The prize is a gift certificate to Arni's Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and a pair of passes to Glow Golf, the miniature golf course at the Circle Centre Mall, courtesy of Glow Golf.

Why do buildings look that way?

A detail from the Circle Tower Building on Indy’s Monument Circle features Egyptian-themed imagery. Photo by William Selm.May 3, 2014 - With an architectural historian as our guest, Hoosier History Live! dissects the designs of several of the best-known buildings, monuments and plazas across the state.

Fasten your seat belts for an architectural exploration that ranges from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis - as well as other buildings on or near Monument Circle - to St. Benedict Catholic Church in Terre Haute and the historic Knightstown Academy in Henry County.

Indianapolis-based architectural historian William Selm joins Nelson in studio to share insights about the design of those landmarks, as well as others, including the Indiana World War Memorial and its plaza in Indy, plus Circle Centre Mall, which opened in 1995 in downtown Indy and incorporated the facades of several historic structures in its exterior. The Knightstown Academy shows the Second Empire style. The globe and telescope topping the academy's towers are said to have been school founder John Irwin Morris's idea, to convey the majesty and importance of education. The building is in Knightstown, Ind. Photo by Mark Sean Orr for Indiana Landmarks.("Façade-ectomy" is the quirky term that some preservationists have used to describe the move of facades of historic storefronts and other buildings to the exterior of the modern mall.)

As part of exploring the design of landmark buildings, which include the City Market, Columbia Club and Union Station in Indy, we also look at architectural symbols such as the use of shields in the designs.

Shields frequently were used by the prominent Indianapolis-based architectural firm of Vonnegut & Bohn, which was co-founded in the late 1880s by Bernard Vonnegut (1855-1908), the grandfather of internationally known novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Among Bernard Vonnegut's enduring creations is the majestic Athenaeum, which opened as a German cultural center in 1894 in downtown Indy.

Our guest William Selm, a fifth-generation German-American, shares insights about the design of the Athenaeum, which was built in the Renaissance Revival style and initially was called Das Deutsch Haus. (Its name was changed during the World War I era because of anti-German sentiments.) In the early 1990s, William Selm was a key figure in the crusade to save the Athenaeum, which by then had declined dramatically.

William SelmA native of Batesville, William is an instructor at IUPUI and former historian for the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. For the historic district surrounding Monument Circle, he prepared the nomination that resulted in its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Knightstown Academy also is listed on the national register.

Built as an educational facility by Quakersin the 1870s and designed in the Second Empire style, the distinctive-looking academy has twin towers. It became a public high school in Knightstown, serving in that capacity for several generations.

During the 1920s, an attached gymnasium was built at the Knightstown Academy. Remodeled by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, the gym eventually staked its own claim on Hoosier history. It served as the home basketball court for fictional Hickory High School in the classic movie Hoosiers (1986). Now known as the "Hoosier Gym," it is the setting for weddings and an array of civic events.

Our architectural journey also includes a look at two Catholic churches with ties to the deep German heritage in Indiana.

In Terre Haute, near the end of the Civil War, German immigrants established a parish and built a church. It was replaced by the current St. Benedict Catholic Church in the 1890s.

War Memorial Plaza looking south from Indianapolis Public Library, 1935. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.In Indianapolis, German-speaking residents founded St. Mary Catholic Church near the Lockerbie neighborhood. William Selm shares insights about the architecture of St. Mary's, which today is attended by an array of downtown residents and an ever-growing number of Hispanic families.

Also in the Hoosier capital, construction of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument began in the 1880s after a crusade by Col. Eli Lilly, Gen. Lew Wallace (the author of Ben Hur) and other prominent residents who wanted to honor Hoosiers lost in the Civil War. (Since then, the monument has been regarded by many as honoring Hoosiers lost in all wars.)

A German architect, Bruno Schmitz (1858-1916), won an international competition to design the monument, which was completed in 1901 and dedicated in 1902. Built of Indiana limestone, it has become the eternal symbol of the Hoosier capital. The basement of the monument houses the Col. Eli Lilly Civil War Museum.

Roadtrip: Lyles Station Historic School and Museum

The restored Lyles Consolidated School, just west of Princeton, Ind., is open for visitors.Guest Roadtripper Kisha Tandy of the Indiana State Museum suggests a Roadtrip to Lyles Station in southwestern Indiana, which is one of the few remaining African American settlements in Indiana. The settlement was founded by free African American Joshua Lyles in 1849, and it once had nearly 800 residents.

The community's schoolhouse was also the target of a major restoration and renovation effort around the turn of the 21st century and currently serves as a museum to the history of the community.

Alonzo Fields, the first African-American chief butler of the White House, serving for 21 years under Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, was also from Lyles Station and the subject of the play Looking Over the President's Shoulder by Indiana Repertory Theatre's playwright in residence, James Still.

History Mystery

The Vincennes Pageant was held in 1916 at this “mystery” historic brick home in Vincennes, Ind. The pageant celebrated Indiana’s centennial. Image courtesy in.gov.

According to many historians, the first house made of brick in what became the state of Indiana was built in the frontier town of Vincennes. Constructed in 1803 and '04, the Federal-style home was the residence of an early Indiana leader who became nationally famous.

In Vincennes, the state's oldest city, he modeled his brick home after the plantation in Virginia where he had grown up. He gave his Indiana home a distinctive name; among its outstanding features is a free-standing stairway.

The brick house has been restored and is toured by hundreds of visitors annually.

Question: What is the name of the brick house in Vincennes - and who was its famous owner? Both answers must be supplied to win the prize.

The prize is a gift certificate to Arni's Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to the Indiana Experience, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Jazz recording heritage in Richmond

(April 26, 2014 - encore presentation) - Memphis, New York City and Nashville, Tenn., have long been hailed for the significant roles their recording studios played in the boom of American popular music. Why do some say Richmond in far-eastern Indiana should be mentioned in the same breath?

The Starr Piano Co. in Richmond, Ind., is pictured in this vintage postcard. The Gennett Records label was based here.Consider that during the 1920s the parade of future musical legends who traveled to the town - specifically, to the Starr Piano Company and its Gennett Records division - included Louis Armstrong, Indiana native Hoagy Carmichael, cowboy singer Gene Autry and Jelly Roll Morton, who recorded nine piano solos at the Richmond studio in 1924.

Hoosier History Live! explores Richmond's rich but frequently overlooked heritage in recording jazz, blues and country music in this encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our archives. Its original air date was April 13, 2013.

Rick Kennedy, 2013 photo.Nelson's guests include Bob Jacobsen and David Fulton, president and treasurer, respectively, of the Starr-Gennett Foundation, a non-profit that is helping Richmond reclaim its recording heritage, which ended with the Great Depression.

"Gennett was among the first record companies to cater to both the segregated white and black record markets," according to Rick Kennedy, author of Jelly Roll, Bix and Hoagy, whose book, first published by IU Press in 1994, has been released in an expanded, revised edition.

Bob Jacobsen.Rick is a guest on our show, along with the board members of the foundation, which has established a Gennett Records Walk of Fame and an annual music festival in September near the Whitewater River.

That's also near where the riverside piano factory and recording studio made so much musical history.

David Fulton.Performers who recorded on the Gennett label - either at its Richmond studio or one in Manhattan - included Duke Ellington, Joe "King" Oliver and legendary cornet and piano player Bix Beiderbecke, who befriended and influenced a young Hoagy Carmichael. The musical director and lead soloist of the Wolverine Orchestra (usually known as the Wolverines by jazz enthusiasts), Beiderbecke died at age 28 in 1931.

The musical heritage in Richmond had accelerated in the 1890s when piano retailer Henry Gennett bought an interest in a pre-existing piano company and renamed it Starr.

The saga that unfolded, according to Rick's book, included a legal fight over patent infringement between Gennett and mighty Victor Records, which in 1917 had produced the world's first jazz records. Gennett was joined by other small labels; they prevailed in 1922, breaking Victor's stranglehold.

Later in 1922, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings made their recording debut at the Richmond studio.

"Ragtime, jazz, blues, gospel, country and other 'new' sounds swelled the mainstream of popular music with the help of instruments and recordings produced by Starr and Gennett for international distribution," according to the Starr-Gennett Foundation.

Tornado history and storm chasing

The White County Courthouse in Monticello, Ind., was damaged beyond repair by the "Super Outbreak" of tornados in 1974. Image courtesy crh.noaa.gov.

(April 19, 2014) - With tornado season under way - and this month's 40th anniversary of one of the worst outbreaks - Hoosier History Live! tackles the heritage of twisters in Indiana. We also explore various aspects of storm chasing, including questions about why weather researchers put themselves in harm's way.

David Call.A "Super Outbreak" of tornadoes in April 1974 across the Midwest resulted in 49 deaths and 768 injuries in Indiana. Particularly hard-hit by the series of twisters were the cities of Monticello, Rochester, Madison and Hanover. To explore the impact of those tragic episodes and other tornado outbreaks - as well as to share insights about storm-chasing techniques - two guests join Nelson in studio:

  • Dave Call, an assistant professor at Ball State University, who, almost every spring, leads students on storm-chasing trips across the Midwest and Great Plains. He also has worked as a broadcast meteorologist.
  • And Dan McCarthy, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service office in Indianapolis. He also is an expert on the April 1974 outbreak, which involved 20 tornadoes in Indiana and even more in Kentucky.

"Although Indiana is outside what most people think of as 'tornado alley,' the state does see an average of 22 tornadoes per year, and experiences three strong or violent tornadoes every two years," our guest Dave Call says.

Dan McCarthy."Generally speaking, tornado counts have increased in recent years, largely due to better detection. However, the number of tornado deaths has been trending downward, probably due to better warnings and awareness."

According to Dave, the "Super Outbreak" of April 1974 included the only officially recorded F5 tornado in Indiana. (The F scale, used to rate tornadoes on the basis of intensity, assesses them from F0 to F5; the latter have the fastest wind speeds and cause the most damage.)

In Monticello during the "Super Outbreak" 40 years ago, the historic White County Courthouse took a direct hit. Several churches, schools, businesses and cemeteries were destroyed or significantly damaged.

In far-southeastern Indiana, several farms were leveled by F5 tornado damage near Depauw, an unincorporated community in Harrison County. Several tornadoes were observed by the VORTEX-99 team on May 3, 1999, in central Oklahoma. National Weather Service photo.On the Hanover College campus, 32 of 33 buildings were damaged, with some completely destroyed.

Southeastern Indiana also was hit the hardest by a tornado outbreak in March 2012. An F4 tornado that was on the ground for more than 50 miles caused extensive damage to Henryville, destroying the town's elementary school and junior/senior high school.

Eleven deaths in Indiana are blamed on the March 2012 tornado outbreak. In addition to Henryville, the small communities of Marysville and New Pekin suffered considerable damage.

With such dire consequences possible, why do weather researchers chase severe storms? In a guest column for The Indianapolis Star in June 2013, our guest Dave Call explained:

"Even with the dangers, there are good reasons to chase and get as close as we safely can to these meteorological monsters. Unfortunately, chasing is still one of the best methods for weather researchers to collect data about tornadoes. ... There is simply no good way to measure the near-storm environment without going to the storms themselves and deploying equipment."

A double tornado hit Goshen, Ind., on Palm Sunday 1965. Photo by Paul Huffman, The Elkhart Truth.He wrote the column following the tragic death of former Discovery Channel storm chaser Tim Samaras, a weather researcher who was among three people killed during a chase in Oklahoma.

Dave emphasized that tornado chasers should, "at minimum" take classes in storm spotting, research safety techniques, travel with experienced partners and "have escape routes mapped out in case a storm suddenly changes direction."

This show isn't our first foray into Indiana's tornado history.

In March 2012, we explored the horrific Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965, the deadliest in Indiana history. Nelson's guest was Dennis Keyser, who was a 10 year-old boy in Bremen on April 11, 1965, a date that set him on his career path.

After witnessing the devastation of the tornado outbreak, which killed a total of 137 Hoosiers and injured about 1,200 others, Dennis eventually studied atmospheric sciences at Purdue. For his master's in meteorology, he focused on severe-weather dynamics.

Today, he lives in Silver Springs, Md., and works in a highly specialized field of troubleshooting related to weather data.

Listen to the March 24, 2012 show, "Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of 1965":

(Show length 25:12 - Click once and be patient; the file may take some time to load!)

History Mystery

Springtime in Brown County means it’s time for the Indiana Wine Fair in Story, Ind. Image courtesy Story Inn."Twisters" is a footnote in Hoosier sports history. It was the name of a short-lived, Indianapolis-based sports team that almost was called the Tornadoes. An expansion team in a professional league, the Indiana Twisters - sometimes known as the Indianapolis Twisters - competed for about two years in the mid-1990s. The team played at Market Square Arena, which was demolished in 2001.

A few years before that, the Twisters were history. By the end of 1997, the team's brief heyday was over because its sports league had collapsed.

Question: What was the sport?

The prize is a pair of tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 26, courtesy of Story Inn, and a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Worthington, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff tells us, "Ignore the new interstate stampeding through the southern Indiana countryside. Take a drive about 70 miles southwestward from Indianapolis on State Road 67, past Spencer to the little town of Worthington, founded in 1849."

This sycamore near Worthington, Ind., was said to be the largest broad-leaved tree in the United States. For size comparison, note the man next to the trunk. Image from Trees of Indiana, 1911.She adds: "It's small, to be sure, but chock-full of history and simple pleasures."

Worthington is full of antique shops, many of them located in antique buildings, to fill your afternoon. Because the highway comes into Worthington at a sharp angle, the town has a public triangle rather than a square. In the late 19th century, a well was dug in the center of the triangle, later replaced with a flowing fountain pumped from an artesian well. People once came from miles around to fill jugs with this especially healthy (so they thought) water. Today, a fountain remains in the triangle and adds to the town's charm."

A few blocks from downtown is the city park, and in it is displayed Worthington's pride, a branch (and it is huge) of what was believed to be the largest sycamore tree in the state. It was destroyed in a storm in the 1920s, but a limb was saved and has been displayed for decades.

Hungry? Check out the Route 67 Diner right downtown (1 South Commercial), open seven days a week. Real food and ice cream goodies, too.

If the outdoors is more your thing, Worthington is only about 15 miles northeast of Goose Pond, a recently established fish and wildlife area. It is a birder's paradise, a good place to see a myriad of waterfowl and raptors.

If you're hungry before you head home, you can always stop at the Front Porch Steak House on Highway 67.

Baseball great Carl Erskine of Anderson

Brooklyn Dodgers players Jackie Robinson and pitcher Carl Erskine sign baseballs for fans during a 1956 good-will tour to Japan. Image courtesy brooklyndodgermemories.com

(April 12, 2014) - With the season opening of Major League Baseball this week, Hoosier History Live! explores the career, as well as the life away from the dugout, of one of the most beloved Hoosiers who ever pitched.

Nelson's special guest is Anderson native Carl Erskine, a star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers (he was chosen to pitch the opening game in 1958 when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles) during the era that the team's roster included his longtime close friend Jackie Robinson, who broke the racial barrier in the major leagues. Carl Erskine pitched for the Dodgers in five World Series.

Carl Erskine.After retiring from baseball, Carl, now 87, returned to Anderson and became one of the top business and civic leaders in his hometown.

Carl and his wife, Betty, have been particularly dedicated to Special Olympics, in which their son Jimmy, who has Down syndrome and is now in his 50s, continues to compete. Carl wrote his most recent book, The Parallel (2012), as a way to raise funds for Special Olympics Indiana. The book draws parallels between the evolving social acceptances of minorities - thanks to trailblazers like Jackie Robinson - and societal acceptance of people with disabilities. Carl's other books include What I Learned from Jackie Robinson (McGraw-Hill, 2005).

Carl met Jackie Robinson in 1948 when the Hoosier was playing in the minor leagues and the civil rights pioneer gave him encouragement in the dugout. Carl went on to win 122 games as a pitcher for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. He also pitched three two no-hitters during his 12-year career with the team. In 1953, he set a record in the World Series for striking out 14 players. (They were New York Yankees.)

Following his return to Anderson, where he started out in sandlot, high school and amateur baseball, Carl was a bank president for several years. He also coached the baseball team at Anderson University and, for more than 40 years, has volunteered for Special Olympics.

His honors include being named a Living Legend by the Indiana Historical Society in 1999 and, in 2010, receiving the Sachem Award from then-Gov. Mitch Daniels in a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse.

Carl, who was born in Anderson in 1926, grew up in a racially integrated neighborhood. His childhood pals included "Jumping" Johnny Wilson, an African-American who later was named "Mr. Basketball" as the state's best high school player in 1946. Eventually, Wilson played pro basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Parallel book cover by Carl Erskine. Features photo of baseball player Jackie Robinson on left and Special Olympics athlete Jimmy Erskine on right.In What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, Carl writes that his early experiences with diverse families meant that he was open to a quick, easy friendship with Jackie Robinson, whose life story was depicted in the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Story (2013).

In his book, Carl describes a series of disturbing incidents in 1949 in Atlanta, where the KKK picketed the Dodgers and Robinson received death threats.

"We couldn't believe anybody would want to kill somebody else for playing ball because of his race," Carl writes. According to Carl, the classy way in which Robinson handled taunts from spectators, fellow players and the media taught him "to be 'better,' not bitter, whenever adversity struck."

In addition to Carl, Robinson's supporters on the Dodgers included another Hoosier: Gil Hodges(1924-1972), a native of Princeton, Ind., who was a star first baseman. Later in his career, Hodges became manager of the New York Mets and, in 1969, led the team to a World Series championship.

By then, Carl had retired as a player and had moved back to his hometown with his wife, Betty, and started a business. He also was president and a director of Star Bank.

The Erskines' son, Jimmy, had been born in 1960 with Down syndrome. Carl and Betty were urged to institutionalize him, but they declined and raised him at home. This led to their involvement with Special Olympics, where Jimmy has been a gold medalist.

History Mystery

In the early 1940s, before Carl Erskine played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, another Indiana-born baseball star was on the team's roster. A native of New Albany, he also played for teams in Boston and Pittsburgh.

Chicago Cubs logo.Primarily, though, the Hoosier was associated with the Chicago Cubs, where he was considered one of the greatest hit-and-run hitters of the 1930s and played against icons like Babe Ruth.

The mystery player, a second baseman, had been born in New Albany in 1909. At the end of his career, he was a team manager and scout. By the time he died in 1992, he had been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hint: His granddaughter, Cheri, grew up to marry former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Question: Who is he?

The prize is a pair of tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair in Brown County on April 26, courtesy of Story Inn, and a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: T.C. Steele and Brown County wildflowers

A young photographer takes pictures of wildflowers in Brown County, Ind.Guest Roadtripper Chris Della Rocca of Indiana Landmarks suggests we take in the 29th Annual Wildflower Foray in Brown county coming up April 25-27.

During a three-day period, guests can enjoy 24 different hikes and programs that focus on the natural history and environmental concerns of Brown County, especially as they relate to wildflower and bird populations. Included are wildflower and bird walks, wetland hikes, a boat trip on Lake Monroe, nature photography and more.

Hikes and programs will be on established trails throughout the T.C. Steele property and at other nearby natural areas, including DNR properties, Hoosier National Forest, Indiana University, Sycamore Land Trust and Nature Conservancy lands.

By the way, our History Mystery prize this week includes two tickets to the Indiana Wine Fair that same weekend in Brown County! Spring is especially welcome this year after such a seemingly endless winter!

Tiffany windows across Indiana

A detail from Angel of the Resurrection, which is on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The 1904 piece, created by Frederick Wilson of Tiffany Studios, was donated by First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church. Image courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art.(April 5, 2014) - One of them - titled the Angel of the Resurrection and informally known as the "President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Window" - is at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Another, The Ascension with Passion Flower and Vine, is in the chancel of Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.

And other stained glass windows created in the late 1800s or early 1900s by the iconic, New York-based Tiffany Studios are in the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James in South Bend; the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond and on various mausoleums across Indiana.

As Hoosier History Live! explores those stunning Tiffany windows and others across Indiana, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests:

  • Leslie Anderson-Perkins, a curatorial assistant at the IMA, which is about to launch a small exhibit associated with the "Harrison Window," which was commissioned by the former president's second wife and widow, Mary Lord Harrison, after his death in 1901. The window, which depicts Michael, the angel of the resurrection, signaling the dead to rise with the second coming of Christ, originally was installed at the former First Presbyterian Church, where Benjamin Harrison had been an elder for more than 40 years. More details recently have surfaced about the early history of the window.
  • And Fred Kortepeter, the historian at Second Presbyterian Church. Its Tiffany window, which is 25-by-12 feet, was installed in the early 1900s when the church was located at Vermont and Pennsylvania streets. The massive window was re-installed when the church moved in the late 1950s to the current site at 7700 N. Meridian Street.

Leslie Anderson-Perkins.From the late 1870s through the early 1930s, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his decorative glass company (which had various names, but primarily was known as Tiffany Studios) produced thousands of windows for churches, businesses, private homes and mausoleums across the country.

Wherever their location, Tiffany windows almost always are eye-catching, to say the least. Typically, the stained glass is multicolored and, during sunlight, has an iridescent effect; vibrant mottled glass is a hallmark of many of the windows.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1908.Declaring his life's goal was the "pursuit of beauty," Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) oversaw many designers at his decorative glass business. His father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, had founded the luxury jewelry retailer known as Tiffany & Co.

Leslie, our guest from the IMA, has traveled to South Bend and Richmond to gather details about the Tiffany windows in those Hoosier cities. In addition to the library in Richmond, buildings in the far-eastern Indiana city with Tiffany windows include St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Reid Memorial Church, a Presbyterian congregation that commissioned several stained-glass windows.

Fred Kortepeter.In Indianapolis, the same Tiffany artist, Frederick Wilson, designed the windows for both First and Second Presbyterian churches. Wilson, who often signed his windows, was one of the best-known designers at Tiffany, where many others worked in near-obscurity, overshadowed by the legendary "Tiffany" name.

After various congregational changes and moves involving First Presbyterian Church, the Angel of the Resurrection window was donated in the early 1970s to the IMA by First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church, a successor to the congregation. The window depicts Michael, the heroic angel, wearing chain mail and resembling a medieval knight as he beckons the dead to rise.

A window by Tiffany Studios is at the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Ind. Image courtesy Morrisson-Reeves Library.The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site has provided the IMA with a presentation sketch for the window that was given to Mrs. Harrison; the sketch, along with a Tiffany Studios catalogue, will be displayed with the window as part of the exhibit.

At Second Presbyterian, the Tiffany window was a gift to the church by the widow of a congregant, Charles F. Sayles, who died in 1902. The Ascension with Passion Flower and Vine initially was installed in 1905, according to a timeline supplied by our guest Fred Kortepeter.

Fred also has a list of Tiffany windows that had been installed - or were being commissioned - across Indiana circa 1910. The current whereabouts of some of the Tiffany windows has been a bit of a mystery. Both of our guests have undertaken research to explain about what may happened to some of the windows.

Some history facts:

  • Among the predecessors of Benjamin Harrison, who served as president from 1888 to 1892, was Chester A. Arthur. He commissioned a young Louis C. Tiffany to decorate several rooms of the White House, boosting Tiffany's career.
  • Benjamin Harrison's first wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, died of tuberculosis while she was the nation's first lady. After his defeat for re-election in 1892, Harrison returned to Indianapolis, resumed his law practice and married Mary Lord. Their daughter was a young child when her father died.
  • In South Bend, the Cathedral of St. James actually has four Tiffany windows. One of the stained glass windows at the Episcopal church was a gift from the family of Peter Studebaker, who was among the five Studebaker Brothers of wagon- and car-making fame. This window initially was displayed at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

"Learn more" videos:

History Mystery

Dale Chihuly’s Fireworks of Glass sculpture graces the lobby of the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. Image courtesy johnbarrettblog.com.Major glass sculptures created by Dale Chihuly, the famous contemporary artist, have been commissioned across Indiana. And there have been exhibits of Chihuly's sculptures of blown glass at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and many other cultural sites in the Hoosier state. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis features "Fireworks of Glass," a 43-foot tower that's considered to be the largest permanent sculpture of blown glass created by Chihuly, who is based in the state of Washington.

Elsewhere in Indianapolis, the Indiana University School of Medicine commissioned an enormous sculpture by Chihuly that represents an aspect of human biology. The glass sculpture, which weighs 3,000 pounds, was dedicated in 2003 in the medical school complex on the IUPUI campus.

Question: What aspect of biology does the massive sculpture symbolize?

The prize is a gift certificate to Arni's Restaurant and two admission to the Latitude 360 entertainment center in Castleton, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Chief Richardville House in Fort Wayne

Jean-Baptiste de Richardville.Guest Roadtripper Tom Castaldi of Fort Wayne suggests a visit to the only known standing Treaty House in America, the Chief Richardville House in Fort Wayne. On the city's southwest side at 5705 Bluffton Road, the house is in the Greek Revival style and was built in 1827 for Miami Indian Civil Chief Jean-Baptiste de Richardville.

A myth prevails that an unusually formed silver maple tree at the front entrance to the home has a special meaning in the Miami culture. Tom says that it cannot be determined whether the twisting of the limbs was caused by an act of nature or by human manipulation.

Within the lawn area of the house are two mature lilac trees that may be date to the 19th century. The house is open for touring each first Saturday between May and November. Admission is $7, or $5 for seniors or $3 for students.

Governors of Indiana

Indiana's first governor, Jonathan Jennings, is shown in an official portrait painting.(March 29, 2014 - encore presentation) - "Historically, the office of governor in Indiana has been a weak institution compared to the strength of the state legislature and in contrast to the office of governor in some other states. Over time ... the office has been transformed into one with considerably more power."

So begins a book co-edited by two distinguished Hoosiers who are Nelson's studio guests for a show exploring the colorful array of Indiana's chief executives since statehood in 1816 - as well as various patterns among the political leaders who have held the top office.

The Governors of Indiana book cover.During this encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our Hoosier History Live! archives (its original air date was April 6, 2013), our guests are Linda Gugin, a professor emeritus of political science at Indiana University Southeast, and James E. St. Clair, a journalism professor at ISU. They co-edited The Governors of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2006), an anthology to which dozens of writers contributed profiles of the Hoosier state’s leaders.

Our first governor, Jonathan Jennings, was a longtime foe of slavery who resigned in 1822 after being elected to Congress; he struggled with alcoholism in his later years. During our show, Nelson and his guests will explore how Jennings and other early Indiana governors - including William Hendricks of Madison (our third governor) and Paris Dunning of Bloomington (our ninth) - dealt with slavery-related issues.

In their book, Jim and Linda identify the two "most powerful governors" as Civil War-era leader Oliver Perry Morton, a Republican from Centerville, and Franklin native Paul V. McNutt, a Democrat who was the state's chief executive during the Great Depression. A vintage postcard image shows the Indiana governor’s residence in Corydon. The house no longer stands.Morton had lost his first race for governor, in 1856, during a bitter election in which, according to our guests' book, Democrats resorted to "overt appeals to racism."

The election demonstrated "the polarized nature of the state at the time," with the Democratic candidate, New Albany lawyer and orator Ashbel Willard, prevailing in almost all of the southern counties and Morton in the north.

In 1860, Willard became the first of four Indiana governors to die in office. The most recent was Corydon newspaper publisher and state legislator Frank O'Bannon in 2003.

During the show, Nelson and his guests explore how various civil rights and social justice issues have been handled by governors. A former first lady, Zerelda Wallace, became a leading suffragist during the 1870s and '80s, lobbying the legislature for women's rights. She was the second wife of David Wallace, who had served as governor in the 1830s. Fun fact: His son from his first marriage is Lew Wallace, who went on to write the international bestseller Ben-Hur.

Native plants and early Indiana botanical explorations

Monotropa uniflora is shown growing in a nature preserve in Indiana’s LaPorte County. Photo courtesy Michael Homoya.(March 22, 2014) - With, at long last, the arrival of spring - at least in terms of the calendar, if not the current weather - Hoosier History Live! focuses on our state's botanical heritage. And a special co-host guides us during our look at native plants and early botanical explorations.

Did you know, for example, that 43 varieties of orchids are native to Indiana - more than in Hawaii?

Author and gardening expert Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, who writes the popular "Hoosier Gardener" column for The Indianapolis Star, joins Nelson in studio for the show. Their guest is a fellow author, botanist and plant ecologist Michael Homoya of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. His books include Orchids of Indiana (Indiana University Press), which describes all 43 native Indiana orchids.

Jo Ellen, the co-author of The Indiana Gardener's Guide and the author of The Visitor's Guide to American Gardens (both published by Cool Springs Press), is the secretary of Garden Writers Association. She has been writing and speaking about natural gardening for more than 20 years.

So Jo Ellen and Michael will be ideal for this show, during which we dig deep into botanical explorations across Indiana. The first known one occurred in 1795 by French explorer Andre Michaux. Some of Michaux's collections from the Indiana wilderness still exist in the national herbarium in Paris, according to Michael, who has personally seen them.

Our first state forester, Charlie Deam (1865-1953), grew up on a family farm in Wells County and went on to chronicle native plants across the state, including specific locations in counties and townships. Botanist and plant ecologist Michael Homoya and crew work to restore a prairie at Prairie Creek Barrens in Daviess County. Photo by Paul Bouseman.Known as the "father of Indiana botany," he collected more than 73,000 plant specimens from across Indiana, according to Michael Homoya. (His collection is now housed at the herbarium at Indiana University.)

Some other insights about our state's natural history, courtesy of Jo Ellen and Michael:

  • Short's Goldenrod(Solidago shortii) is one of the rarest plants in the world, only found in the wild in about two places in the country, including in Harrison County. The plant is now available in the garden trade as Solar Cascade, introduced by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Short's Goldenrod is considered the most endangered plant in Indiana.
  • Indiana ranks near the world's best for the show of forest spring wildflowers.
  • The name of Thorntown in central Indiana comes from the Miami Indians, who referred to the area as "Thorn tree place."
  • Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp.In 1915, a national contest was held to document the largest non-conifer tree in the country. A sycamore tree from Greene County was the winner; it was almost 14 feet in diameter.
  • Stella do Ora daylily was developed Walter Jablonski, a daylily hybridizer from Merrillville, and was introduced in 1975. It was the first re-blooming daylily.

In addition to his book about orchids, our guest Michael Homoya has been the author or co-author of other books about Indiana wildflowers. They include Wildflowers and Ferns of Indiana's Forests (IU Press).

And Jo Ellen, in addition to being an author and columnist, is a garden coach and landscape consultant. A frequent guest about gardening topics on TV and radio stations across Indiana, she is a member of Great Garden Speakers.

History Mystery

A sycamore tree is shown, with an upper white bark that is visible against the winter sky. The sycamore tree is commonly found along Indiana waterways, but it is not Indiana's state tree.Question: What is the official state tree of Indiana?

Sycamore trees shed their bark in winter, providing beautiful white branches to look at against the sky. However, the sycamore is not the state tree of Indiana.

The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call into the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months.

The prize is a gift certificate to Howl at the Moon restaurant in downtown Indianapolis and two admission to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roadtrip: Circus Day at Indiana History Center

Man juggling hoops while girl and woman exclaim, at the 2013 Circus Day at the Indiana Historical Society. Photo courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Guest Roadtripper Amy Lamb will suggest you run away to the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio Street in Indianapolis for the Indiana Historical Society's popular (and free) Circus Day celebration on Saturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many Hoosiers may not be aware that Indiana's connection to the circus industry dates back to the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, a number of the nation's premier shows set up winter quarters in Indiana. Today, Peru, Ind., is home to the world's largest amateur circus and the International Circus Hall of Fame.

The day will include performances from the Hampel Family Circus, the Amazing World of Animals, clowns, magicians and jugglers, as well as free admission to the Indiana Experience. Guests can purchase tickets to enjoy face painting, balloon sculptures, crafts and carnival games with prizes. For more information, visit www.indianahistory.org.

Wicked winter history with Paul Poteet

(March 15, 2014) - When you endure one of the most brutal winters in Hoosier history, whom do you call to put it in context?

Snow totals through March 14, 2014. Courtesy Paul Poteet.None other than the multimedia meteorologist often dubbed "Indiana's Weatherman." Indianapolis-based forecaster, weather historian and veteran broadcast personality Paul Poteet joins Nelson in studio to share details about the wicked winter of 2013-14 and how it stacks up to previous eras when temps also hit rock bottoms and snowfalls seemed endless, including the notorious Blizzard of 1978.

As the operator of the weather site paulpoteet.com, Paul delivers forecasts on the Internet and is a go-to guy for media clients ranging from newspapers such as The Indianapolis Star and The Lafayette Courier-Journal to radio stations WZPL-FM (99.5) and WQME-FM (98.7). For nearly 15 years until 2009, he was the morning news meteorologist for WRTV-Channel 6 in Indianapolis.

Known for his wit and boundless energy, Paul has been a busy man this winter, which included a dozen days in Indianapolis during January and February when the temps plunged below zero. Paul Poteet.According to Paul, the 11.4 inches of snow that fell on Jan. 5 in the Indy area was "the second highest calendar-day snowfall since records began."

An independent forecaster, Paul owns Weather History Research, a business hired by insurance companies and law firms seeking historic weather data.

The snowiest winter on record in Indy was 1981-82, with a total of 58.2 inches.

And then there's the Blizzard of '78, which was the focus of our second show after Hoosier History Live! made its debut in January 2008. That blizzard, generally considered the worst in city history, involved a massive snowfall of 15.5 inches on top of more than 5 inches already on the ground.

According to Paul Poteet, the maximum snow depth ever recorded on the ground in the Indy area happened during the notorious Blizzard of '78. For three consecutive days (Jan. 26-28 of 1978), the snow depth measured 20 inches.

Snow piled high in downtown Warsaw, Ind., circa 1915. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society.With wind chills reported at 51 degrees below zero, the Blizzard of '78 paralyzed the city, stranded hundreds of people at the American Red Cross shelter and at Indianapolis International Airport and led to the activation of the Indiana National Guard - even to the use of tanks - to rescue stranded motorists and stalled semis.

Our show, which was broadcast on the 30th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78, featured guests who included a pregnant woman who went into labor at a farmhouse in Franklin Township and the director of the Red Cross shelter.

  • Listen here for Hoosier History Live! audio from our Jan. 16, 2008 show, during which former COO of the Indianapolis Red Cross Craig Widener talks about how the city opened its Red Cross Shelter to stranded Greyhound passengers.
  • Listen here to for a caller talking about being stranded at O'Malia's grocery store in Carmel.

Heidelberg Haus on Indy's east side is shown during the blizzard of f1978. Photo courtesy heidelberghaus.com.As Paul Poteet joins Nelson, he draws comparisons and contrasts among other wicked winter seasons. Some winter history facts for the Indy area, courtesy of Paul:

  • Average date of first measurable snowfall: Nov. 19
  • Average date of the last measurable snowfall: March 30.
  • Average first freeze date: Oct. 16.
  • Average last freeze date: April 17.

Two weeks ago, Paul traveled to Alaska to cover the Iditarod in connection with one of his other gigs. With TV personality Patty Spitler (also a former Hoosier History Live! guest), Paul co-hosts Pet Pals TV, a syndicated magazine show that focuses on dogs, cats and an array of other pets.

Consider this: When Paul and Patty left for the Iditarod last week, it was colder across central Indiana (at 6 degrees) than in Alaska, where temps were in the low 20s.

And if history is any guide, Hoosiers may not be out of the woods for quite awhile in terms of the need for overcoats, or at least jackets. According to Paul, the last date of measurable snowfall in central Indiana was May 8. That late-season snowfall happened in 1923.

History Mystery

Lorenzo's Ristorante is at 15 E. Maryland St. in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy americascuisine.com.The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Indianapolis area occurred within the last 25 years.

On a day during January of the mystery year that became historically cold, the air temperature in Indy plunged to a record low of minus-27 degrees, not counting wind chill.

Question: What was the year?

The prize is a gift certificate to Lorenzo's Ristorante in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to GlowGolf, the miniature golf course in downtown Indy's Circle Centre Mall.

Roadtripper: Yount's Woolen Mill, Shades and Allen's Country Diner

Guest Roadtripper Gary BraVard encourages us to discover some treasure in Montgomery County; county seat is Crawfordsville. Yount’s Woolen Mill, west of Crawfordsville, Ind., was built in 1851 and provided Grade A wool for Civil War uniforms. In its heyday, about 300 women worked here. Hoosier History Live photo.A picturesque hidden paradise stands four miles west of Crawfordsville along Sugar Creek, which winds its way through all those wonderful sandstone cliffs in Shades State Park.

Yount's Woolen Mill is off Highway 32 west of Crawfordsville; it's south on Old Mill Road just west of Sugar Creek. It's rather tucked away.

Built in 1851, Yount's Woolen Mill provided much of the Grade A wool for Civil War uniforms. During its heyday about 300 women worked there, and sleeping quarters for the women were provided in the boarding house in front of the mill. The former boarding house now operates year-round as a bed and breakfast, Yountsville Mill Inn & Garden.

If you've absorbed enough natural beauty after hiking around Montgomery County, you can top off the day with some home cooking at Allen's Country Kitchen in downtown Crawfordsville. Tell them that the Roadtripper from Hoosier History Live sent you!

Bobby Plump on Milan's triumph, 60 years later

(March 8, 2014) - Can you think of any moment in Hoosier history that has become better known around the world than a buzzer-beating "last shot" in March 1954?

The basketball player who led underdog Milan High School to the championship in Indiana's state tournament in 1954 - a victory that inspired the movie Hoosiers - joins Nelson in studio to share insights (and separate facts from folklore and myths) as we mark the 60th anniversary of the "Milan Miracle."

Bobby Plump cuts down the net at Indy’s Hinkle Fieldhouse after winning the 1954 state basketball championship. Image courtesy Milan 54 Museum.Although Bobby Plump has been a public figure ever since his shot went in the basket at Hinkle Fieldhouse, he and his Milan teammates have been reaping even greater attention in recent weeks because of the big anniversary. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo attended a ceremony at which a ramp at Hinkle was named in Plump's honor. And the 1954 Milan state champion teammates were honored two weeks ago during a basketball game at Butler University, home of the fieldhouse. (As most longtime Indiana basketball fans know, Bobby went on to play for Butler after graduating from Milan High.)

Amid the hoopla, Bobby somehow found time to phone in to Hoosier History Live! during our recent show about the history of Attucks High School so he could comment about Oscar Robertson and other outstanding players from the days when Indiana had an all-inclusive, single-class tournament.

Speaking of phoning in: With our call-in format, this show was an ideal opportunity for calling in and asking Bobby Plump, who is now 77, about the 1954 season that culminated with his game-winning shot. Thanks to that shot, Milan defeated Muncie Central High School 32-30 and made "Hoosier Hysteria" history.

Please keep in mind that Angelo Pizzo always has maintained - and Bobby frequently says - that the only aspect of the fictional Hoosiers (1986) that is lifted directly from the Milan story is "the last 18 seconds." (In other words, Bobby's last shot.) The relationship between Bobby and his real-life coach, Marvin Wood, for example, apparently was far different than the one between Jimmy Chitwood, the fictional star player in Hoosiers, and the coach played by Gene Hackman. Click here to watch video of Gene Hackman's inspirational locker room speech.

Hoosiers movie poster.For those who need a refresher: In 1954, the year "David slew Goliath" in Indiana, Milan High School in Ripley County was one of the smallest schools in the state, with about 160 students and a class of 27 seniors. Those seniors included Bobby Plump, who actually grew up in nearby Pierceville, a town smaller than Milan - so small, in fact, it didn't have a high school.

That's why, just before the buzzer sounded at the 1954 state tournament, Bobby's last shot - which Nelson describes in his book Indiana Legends as "a stunning, 15-foot jump shot he scored against seemingly invincible Muncie Central" - instantly became iconic.

After being named Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" of 1954, Bobby played hoops as a Bulldog for legendary coach Tony Hinkle at Butler. Then he played for industrial and amateur teams before become an Indianapolis-based businessman and entrepreneur.

In the 1990s, Bobby crusaded against the creation of the multi-class state basketball tournament. His restaurant Plump's Last Shot in Broad Ripple displays vintage photos and memorabilia of the "Milan Miracle."

Photos and memorabilia also are exhibited at the Milan 54-Hoosiers Museum in the town that USA Today once called "arguably the most famous small town in high school sports history." In 1954, Milan had a population of about 1,150 - but crowds totaling more than 40,000 people flocked to the town the day after the upset victory in the state tournament.

Celebrations have continued on milestone anniversaries. For the 50th anniversary in March 2004, teams from Milan and Muncie Central had a rematch game.

Unlike the fictional Hickory Huskers team in Hoosiers, the Milan team in 1954 did not exactly burst from obscurity. Bobby Plump. Image courtesy Courtesy Kelli Plump Piechocki.The year before, Bobby Plump and his fellow Milan Indians had made it to the semifinals of the state tournament. And in 1954, Milan defeated powerhouse Attucks (when Oscar Robertson was a sophomore) to reach the Final Four. Of course, Oscar Robertson - known as the "Big O" - and his Attucks teammates would go on to capture back-to-back championships in the two years after Milan's triumph.

In terms of size, though, Milan certainly could have been considered an underdog in 1954. The tallest player on the team with Bobby Plump (5-feet-10) was Ron Truitt at 6-feet-2. Other players on the "Milan Miracle" team included Ray Craft, Gene White, Rollin Cutter and Roger Schroder. Bobby and some of the others had been playing barnyard basketball together since they were young boys. Like Bobby, Ray Craft and Rollin Cutter would go on to play at Butler for Coach Hinkle.

After graduating from Butler, Bobby played basketball with an industrial team based in Oklahoma called the Phillips 66 Oilers. In 1963, Bobby and his wife Jenine resettled in Indianapolis, where he launched a successful career in the insurance and financial planning business. They have three children - Tari, Kelli and Jonathan - and seven grandchildren.

Bobby Plump has been named a Sagamore of the Wabash and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

History Mystery

The movie Hoosiers (1986) is set in the fictional small town of Hickory, Indiana. Its high school basketball team, the Huskers, bursts from obscurity to win the state championship in 1952. The year of the climactic tournament is just one of several deviations from real story of the Milan Indians, who won the championship in 1954.

Another deviation involves the small town team's final opponent. In real life, Milan defeated Muncie Central. In the movie, the Huskers beat a team from a different Indiana city, one that truly exists - unlike the fictional town of Hickory. In fact, the team that loses the climactic game in Hoosiers hails from a city that's larger than Muncie.

Question: What is the city?

The prize is a gift certificate to The Rathskeller in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to GlowGolf, the miniature golf course in downtown Indy's Circle Centre Mall.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the March 1 History Mystery for readers who did not get a chance to hear the show. The question: In March of 1982, two Hoosier women founded a business that they named in honor of one of their mothers. Although their company started modestly in the basement of one of the co-founders, it has become an international success. Still based in the Indiana city where it began, the company makes products used by millions of women every year.

Question: Name the business and the Indiana city where it is headquartered.

Answer: Vera Bradley and Fort Wayne.

Madam Walker: her life, business and theater building

The U.S. Postal Service honored Madam C.J. Walker in 1998 with a commemorative stamp as part of its Black Heritage Series.(March 1, 2014) - As we welcome Women's History Month following our salute to Black History Month, Hoosier History Live! explores various aspects of a pioneer entrepreneur, philanthropist and visionary whose life truly became iconic.

We have the best possible guest for our show about Madam Walker, the daughter of slaves who probably became the country's first self-made African-American woman millionaire. We also explore the Indianapolis landmark, the Madam Walker Theatre Center, that is among her legacies in her adopted hometown.

Nelson's guest is Madam Walker's great-great granddaughter and biographer, A'Lelia Bundles, who grew up in the Hoosier capital, graduated from North Central High School and Harvard, then became an Emmy Award-wining TV producer. She currently is based in the Washington D.C. area.

A former ABC News executive, A'Lelia wrote a critically acclaimed biography of her legendary ancestor, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker (Scribner, 2001).

Now A'Lelia is the author of a new book. Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure (Arcadia Publishing) explores the construction and evolution of - as well as the social history associated with - the block-long flatiron structure built on Indiana Avenue in the 1920s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cover of A’Lelia Bundle’s book, Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure.Madam Walker (1867-1919) did not live to see the opening of the building designed as the new corporate headquarters of her Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Co., which produced hair-care products sold internationally. But Madam Walker had the vision for the landmark building with a stage that, for more than 85 years, has been a venue for African-American performers such as Motown great Smokey Robinson and opera star Angela Brown, an Indy native.

When the Walker building had a grand opening in 1927, it included, in addition to the corporate offices, a movie theater, beauty salon, ballroom and a café called the Coffee Pot that was promoted with a distinctive coffee-pot-shaped sign on the exterior.

Madam Walker had been born as Sarah Breedlove on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. By age 7, she was an orphan. She married during her teen years, had a daughter and, by age 20, was a widow. She found work as a laundress but in the 1890s suffered a severe scalp disease that, as A'Lelia notes in her new book, "was causing her to go bald."

From those inauspicious beginnings, Madam Walker created shampoos, ointments and other hair-care products that became enormously popular. The Madam Walker Theatre is in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy Walker Theatre.The company she founded eventually employed and trained thousands of women. In 1910, she moved its headquarters to Indianapolis for several reasons, including the city's "Crossroads of America" reputation as a railroad hub that enabled efficient shipping across the country for her products.

While patronizing a downtown Indy theater in 1914, Madam Walker was startled when she was told tickets for blacks had increased sharply higher than admission for whites. She promptly instructed her attorney to sue the theater.

"Legend has it," A'Lelia writes in her new book, "that she also vowed that day to build her own movie theater."

The book includes dozens of vintage photos of the building that, since a major restoration in 1988, has been a cultural arts center. Its theater, designed in an African art deco style, not only is the venue for jazz, blues and gospel concerts, it has been the setting for performances by the Vienna Boys Choir.

A'Lelia Bundles holds up a copy of her new book Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure at the December 2013 Holiday Author Fair in Indianapolis. Hoosier History Live photo.In addition to being a pioneer African-American business leader, Madam Walker was a staunch advocate for women. The "on her own ground" reference in the title of A'Lelia's biography refers to a response that Madam Walker gave in 1912 when she was denied a request to be included on the program at the National Negro Business League convention:

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. I was promoted from there to the washtub. Then I was promoted to the cook kitchen, and from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods. ... I have built my own factory on my own ground."

With her success in business, Madam Walker became an arts patron and a major philanthropist, helping fund the Senate Avenue YMCA in Indianapolis and other organizations.

In addition to vintage photos of the Walker Theatre, A'Lelia's new book includes photos of Madam Walker's Indianapolis home (which has been demolished), ads for her hair care products and a photo of her final residence in New York, a mansion just a few miles from the estate of John D. Rockefeller.

A'Lelia currently is working on a book about her namesake, Madam Walker's daughter A'Lelia Walker, who was based in New York and helped influence the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

History Mystery

In March of 1982, two Hoosier women founded a business that they named in honor of one of their mothers. Although their company started modestly in the basement of one of the co-founders, it has become an international success.

Still based in the Indiana city where it began, the company makes products used by millions of women every year. The two co-founders also have become major philanthropists, establishing a foundation for breast cancer research that has been a major donor to the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Question: Name the business and the Indiana city where it is headquartered.

The prize is a gift certificate to O'Reilly's Pub and Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis, as well as a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

Detail from a painting by our mystery artist.By request, we are publishing the answer to the Feb. 22 show History Mystery for readers who did not get a chance to hear the show. The question: Among the famous Hoosiers included in Indiana Legends, one of the books by our host Nelson Price, is a contemporary artist who has been in the news this month. She has announced plans to sell her gallery, which has been located in a former Methodist church built in the 1860s. She intends to open a new gallery in New York City, although she plans to keep her central Indiana home and studio, where she paints on the upper floor of a horse barn. Who is the artist?


The artist, who was born of French heritage in Indianapolis in 1945, announced this month that she plans to sell The Sanctuary, her gallery on Main Street in Zionsville. The Sanctuary, which also includes a restaurant, is in a renovated historic building, a Free Methodist Church built in the 1860s.

In her announcement, Nancy Noel reported that she plans to open a New York City gallery, although she intends to keep her home and studio that are located on a rolling, 45-acre farm near Zionsville.

Roadtripper: Buffalo Trace in southern Indiana

Guest Roadtripper Andrea Neal tell us that bison hooves paved Indiana's first road, known as the Buffalo Trace. Long before Indiana became a state, American bison moved from the salt licks of Kentucky headed toward the grasslands of the Illinois prairie. In Indiana, the bison entered at the Falls of the Ohio and headed west through what later become Vincennes.

Very few remnants of their trail remain, but if you look closely you can still see sections of the Buffalo Trace. Andrea tell us that you can hike it too!

'Ask Nelson' - and Andrea Neal, too

Host and author Nelson Price signs a copy of Indianapolis Then and Now for fellow author Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge at the 2013 Holiday Author Fair in Indy. Hoosier History Live photo.(Feb. 22, 2014) - Once again, Hoosier History Live! turns the tables on our host, author/historian Nelson Price, opens the phone lines and gives our listeners an opportunity to question the interviewer who calls himself "a garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia." Just as with previous all-call-in shows, Nelson is joined by a distinguished co-host.

Not only is Andrea Neal a syndicated columnist and a member of the State Board of Education, she is a history teacher and a former editorial page editor at The Indianapolis Star. Andrea teaches at St. Richard's Episcopal School and has been writing a popular column about Indiana history - called "Indiana at 200" - as we advance toward the bicentennial of the Hoosier state in 2016. She also is an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and a board member of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

Like Nelson, Andrea grew up in Indianapolis and is descended from a long line of Hoosiers; both Nelson and Andrea are board members of the Society of Indiana Pioneers, a non-profit that celebrates the state's heritage and was founded by descendants of early settlers.

Andrea discusses the Native American group in Indiana known as the Miami. Unfortunately, they lost their federally designated tribal status more than 100 years ago due to what Andrea says was an administrative error. She shares details.

Andrea Neal.In terms of Hoosier history, Nelson's areas of expertise are famous Hoosiers (both historic and contemporary figures) and Indianapolis city history. His books include Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing) and Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a visual history about his hometown.

Some of Andrea's recent "Indiana at 200" columns have focused on topics that we also have explored on Hoosier History Live! shows, including the utopian communities that attempted to flourish in New Harmony; the wine-making heritage in Switzerland County (it is believed to have been the site of the first successful winery in the entire country) and the boyhood of Abe Lincoln in what's now Spencer County.

Fun fact: In addition to the previous week's show about young Abe's relationships with his father, mother and stepmother, we did a program in February 2009 about Lincoln's youth. Nelson's studio guests then included Andrea and two of her eighth-grade students at St. Richard's who had immersed themselves in the early years of the 16th president.

One of the darker aspects of Indiana’s history was the bloody Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 near what is now Lafayette. This 19th-century oil painting by artist Alonzo Chappel hangs in the Smithsonian.Other recent columns written by Andrea have focused on William Henry Harrison, the first governor of the Indiana Territory in the early 1800s (decades later, he was elected U.S. president) and the bloody Battle of Tippecanoe, in which soldiers under Harrison's command defeated Shawnee forces led by the Prophet, the controversial brother of legendary leader Tecumseh.

Nelson's book Indiana Legends, now in its 4th edition and 7th printing, features profiles of more than 160 notables, ranging from frontier figures such as Mother Theodore Guerin (a Catholic nun from France who founded orphanages, schools and the academy that became St. Mary of the Woods College near Terre Haute), who was named Indiana's first saint, to contemporary figures including Hoosier astronauts, Olympic athletes and artists.

Nelson and Andrea worked together for several years at The Indianapolis Star. Before that, he was a feature writer/columnist for The Indianapolis News, and Andrea was a Statehouse reporter for United Press International. So these two Hoosier history buffs began journalism careers at almost exactly the same time.

History Mystery

Among the famous Hoosiers included in Indiana Legends, one of the books by our host Nelson Price, is a contemporary artist who has been in the news this month. She has announced plans to sell her gallery, which has been located in a former Methodist church built in the 1860s. Detail from a painting by our mystery artist.She intends to open a new gallery in New York City, although she plans to keep her central Indiana home and studio, where she paints on the upper floor of a horse barn.

The artist, who first achieved popular success with her portraits of children, grew up in Indianapolis. A teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School noticed her artistic talent and encouraged her. Celebrities who have owned her paintings include Robert Redford, the Beach Boys and the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Question: Who is she?

The prize is a gift certificate to Prime 47 restaurant in downtown Indianapolis, as well as a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

Roadtripper: Belle of Louisville at Indiana Preservation Conference

The Belle of Louisville on the Ohio River there. Image courtesy Suzanne Stanis.Guest Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks suggests a Roadtrip south on I-65 to visit the fabled riverboat, the Belle of Louisville. Though constructed in Pittsburgh in 1914 as the Idlewild, a ferry and freight packet, and living a vagabond's life in the 1950s, the Belle of Louisville dropped anchor on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River in 1962.

With engines built in the 1890s and still running strong, the Belle is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat in the country.

Louisville's "Legendary Lady" will be featured during Preserving Historic Places: Indiana's Statewide Preservation Conference in New Albany, Ind., April 9-11.

Attucks High School history

Community pride is evident as fans of the Attucks Tigers cheer on their basketball team, circa 1950s. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis Recorder Collection.(Feb. 15, 2014) - During the 1920s, white segregationists in Indianapolis pushed for the creation of the city's only all-black high school. Unlikely as it may have seemed to many at the time, Attucks High School emerged to be a source of black pride for generations of Hoosiers.

As Hoosier History Live! salutes Black History Month, we explore the history of the high school attended by future legends, including basketball superstar Oscar Robertson; jazz musician David Baker; opera star Angela Brown and members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the country's first African-American military aviators.

For this look at Attucks - which opened in 1927, became a junior high/middle school during the 1980s and '90s and now is once again a high school, with a magnet program for Indianapolis Public Schools students interested in medical careers - Nelson is joined in studio by three guests:

  • Stanley Warren.Stanley Warren, an Attucks alum (and former teacher) who became an administrator at DePauw University. Now retired, Dr. Warren is the author of Crispus Attucks High School: Hail to the Green, Hail to the Gold (Donning Co. Publishers, 1998). "The story of Crispus Attucks High School has many ups and downs," he writes, "but its place in history can never be questioned."
  • Pat Payne, director of the Crispus Attucks Museum and of the IPS Center for Multicultural Education. During a long tenure as an IPS teacher, Pat served as president of the Indianapolis Education Association in the 1980s.
  • And Wilma Moore, senior archivist for African-American history at the Indiana Historical Society. Wilma, an Attucks alum, has been a popular guest on several Hoosier History Live! shows.

According to several accounts, IPS officials initially wanted to name the all-black school Thomas Jefferson High School. Many black leaders objected both to the creation of the segregated school (African-Americans had been attending Shortridge High School, Manual High School and other IPS schools) as well as to the proposed name. Wilma Moore.School leaders eventually decided the namesake should be Crispus Attucks, an African-American who protested the British and is believed to have been the first American killed during the Boston Massacre of 1770.

By the time the new school opened, Dr. Warren writes, the concept of a separate high school for black students was being explored by other Indiana cities with sizable African-American communities.

"By 1929, both Gary Roosevelt High School in the northern part of the state and Evansville Lincoln High School in the south replicated the form and function of Crispus Attucks High School," according to his book.

Some history facts about the school, which is on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • With its grand entryway, elegant auditorium and other features, Attucks High School quickly became a social center for the African-American community and a destination for visiting celebrities. Ten years after the school opened, it was visited by track star Jesse Owens, the gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
  • The school's Tigers basketball teams, with stars such as Robertson and other future pro players, dominated the high school basketball tournament in the mid-1950s. Coached by Ray Crowe and clad in green and gold uniforms, the Tigers won back-to-back state championships. Pat Payne.With the initial victory in 1955, Attucks became the country's first all-black high school to capture a state title in any sport.
  • In the late 1960s, Attucks became the country's first all-black high school to be integrated at its original site, according to accounts in The Indianapolis News.

In addition to exhibits about the school's history, the Crispus Attucks Museum celebrates African-American history with vintage photos, artwork and memorabilia, including musical instruments played during the heyday of jazz clubs on nearby Indiana Avenue. During a Hoosier History Live! show in March 2008, future jazz icon David Baker shared anecdotes about sneaking into Indiana Avenue nightspots in the late 1940s when he was an Attucks student - and underage - by resorting to a fake mustache and a beret to appear older.

Because African-Americans with post-graduate degrees had limited employment options for decades after Attucks opened, many often joined the faculty at Attucks. As a result, Attucks became known for its outstanding faculty members, who were recruited across the country.

According to an article by our guest, Dr. Warren, in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine, the faculty when the school opened in 1927 included Mary Stokes, a "brilliant mathematician" who almost had been named valedictorian at Shortridge High School; she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Butler University. In addition to teaching math at Attucks, she taught Greek and sponsored the Poetry Club.The 1934 class officers of Crispus Attucks High School. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis Recorder Collection.The school's first principal, Mathias Nolcox, earned a doctorate from Harvard.

Ironically, given the school's eventual triumphs in basketball and other sports, Attucks "was built without a real gym," as the Indianapolis Star noted in a 2005 story on the 50th anniversary of the 1955 basketball championship. Instead, the school's auditorium included a combination stage/gym.

Initially, Attucks even was denied membership in the Indiana High School Athletics Association because it was not considered a "public" school - since white students were not included. Limited in the early years primarily to playing teams from other African-American high schools, Attucks players endured long, exhausting bus trips across the state. Attucks finally was allowed to compete in the IHSAA tournament in the 1940s.

Also during the 1940s, some Attucks alums were Tuskegee Airmen pilots in World War II. Harry Brooks, a member of the Class of '47, became a general in the U.S. Army. Another member of the Class of '47, John W. Lee, became the first black commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.

History Mystery

Illustrious graduates of Attucks High School who have been Hoosier History Live! guests include a member of the Class of 1953 who enjoyed a long career with the Harlem Globetrotters.

A 1960 program for the Harlem Globetrotters.At Attucks, he and teammates such as Willie Gardner helped kick off what our guest, Stanley Warren, describes as the school's "basketball golden age" by helping take the Tigers to the state finals in 1951, where they were defeated by Evansville Reitz High School. Two years later, he was named the state's outstanding player, becoming Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" of 1953. That was followed by basketball triumphs at Indiana University.

Next came a 27-year career touring the world with the Globetrotters, first as a barnstorming player then in public relations.

In recent years, he has been an Indianapolis-based businessman and motivational speaker.

Question: Who is he?

The prize is five tickets to the Crispus Attucks Museum, courtesy of the Crispus Attucks Museum, as well as gift certificate to MacNiven's in downtown Indy on Massachusetts Avenue, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Abe Lincoln's parents: Thomas, Nancy Hanks and stepmom Sarah

This corner cabinet was made by Thomas Lincoln for his neighbors in Spencer County, Ind., who gave it to their daughter as a wedding present. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum.(Feb. 8, 2014) - As he often has been depicted, was Thomas Lincoln merely an illiterate farmer who objected to his son's passion for reading and learning when the family lived in the Indiana wilderness?

What was the relationship like between young Abe Lincoln and his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died in Indiana when he was 9 years old? And what about the future 16th president's relationship with Sarah Johnston Lincoln, the widow from Kentucky who became his stepmother? Are there misconceptions about these parental relationships with Abe, who lived in southwestern Indiana during the character-shaping span between ages 7 to 21?

To explore these issues during the month when we celebrate the birthday of the "Great Emancipator" (1809-1865), Nelson has three guests:

With our distinguished guests, Nelson explores how Abe Lincoln's family life was greatly transformed during his years living in a small cabin in the frontier settlement of Little Pigeon Creek. The family of four - which included Lincoln's older sister, who also was named Sarah - evolved into a blended family after Thomas married Sarah (often called "Sally") Bush Johnston, who had children from her first marriage. Thomas Lincoln.And Dennis Hanks, the 18-year-old ward of Nancy Hanks Lincoln's aunt, moved into the one-room Lincoln cabin - and slept in the loft with young Abe - after his guardians died.

Amid all of the changing family dynamics, our guests will share insights about the parents of the lanky, book-loving youth who grew up to become perhaps America's greatest leader.

Our guest Steve Haaff, who has studied almost every piece of furniture available made by Thomas Lincoln, contends the patriarch long was misunderstood by historians because, as Steve told the Evansville Courier-Press, "they didn't speak the same language."

Steve, whose favorite style of furniture is Federalist, the type popular during Thomas Lincoln's era, says the family patriarch would have had to be highly skilled - and a master at calculations - to create the cabinets and other woodwork that he produced.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln (1784-1818) died from what frontier communities called "milk sickness" - the result of drinking milk from infected cows that had eaten white snakeroot. Sarah Johnston Lincoln.In his book, our guest Bill Bartelt describes white snakeroot as "a simple and abundant plant with a delicate white flower. ... Since colonial time, deaths from milk sickness occurred in isolated areas with few residents, drawing little interest from the medical profession."

That changed, he continues, when the frequency of deaths swept through frontier settlements like Little Pigeon Creek. He notes that Lincoln and their neighbors would not have known "what caused the milk to become poisoned - and that mystery made it difficult to prevent the deaths."

The Lincolns had moved from Hardin County, Kentucky, to what is now Spencer County, Indiana(then Perry County) for several reasons, including disputes over land ownership. Many experts also have concluded that Abe Lincoln's parents objected to slavery.

Dale Ogden.Tall for his age, young Abe was able to help his father build a cabin in Indiana's dense wilderness after the family's arrival. For their neighbors and others in Indiana, Thomas Lincoln made cabinets that displayed highly skilled craftsmanship for the era. They included a corner cabinet - now owned by the Indiana State Museum - that neighbors gave as a wedding gift to their daughter.

William Bartelt.Referring decades later to his years in Indiana, Abraham Lincoln wrote, "There I grew up," accounting for the title of our guest Bill Bartelt's book.

After the death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who was buried on a hill near the cabin in southern Indiana, Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851) returned to Kentucky. That's where he married Sarah (or Sally) Bush Johnston, whose first husband had died at least three years earlier. She had three children (Elizabeth, Matilda and John), who moved with her to the Lincoln cabin in Little Pigeon Creek.

According to Bill Bartelt's book, young Abe "bonded quickly with his stepmother, who recognized and encouraged his desire to learn and read."

The Lincolns lived in Indiana until 1830, when they moved to Illinois. By then, Abe's sister Sarah had married and died in childbirth.

Of the three parents who raised Lincoln, only his stepmother lived to see him elected to the presidency. In fact, she outlived her stepson and died in 1869.

Roadtrip: Romance at the Limberlost

Limberlost Indiana State Museum historic site logo.Guest Roadtripper Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne suggests we enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day at Limberlost, the home of Hoosier author Gene-Stratton Porter in Geneva, Ind., in Adams County, south of Fort Wayne.

In addition to wine and dessert tastings, film historian Eric Grayson is generously allowing Limberlost to show the vintage 1934 film A Girl of the Limberlost, based on the book by Gene Stratton-Porter.

This special evening event is a fund raiser by the Friends of the Limberlost to help to raise funds to restore Gene Stratton-Porter's 1895 kitchen. Reservations are required; contact Curt or Randy at (260) 368-7428.

History Mystery

Dozens of buildings and businesses across Indiana have been named in honor of Abraham Lincoln since his death in 1865. In downtown Indianapolis, the Lincoln Hotel opened in 1918. It became known as one of the city's finest hotels during the first half of the 20th century and was the setting for political, civic and social gatherings, as was the rival Claypool Hotel.

The Lincoln Hotel was in downtown Indianapolis.During the 1960s, however, both hotels slid downhill. The once-grand Lincoln Hotel was demolished in the early 1970s. On its site, however, one of downtown Indy's first modern, urban hotels opened in 1976. The new hotel was hailed as a step in downtown revitalization. Although the hotel has undergone several renovations since then, it still stands on the site of the former Lincoln Hotel.

Question: Name the hotel.

The prize is a gift certificate to MacNiven's in downtown Indy on Massachusetts Avenue, and a pair of tickets to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Feb. 1 History Mystery question: Name the center on Central Avenue in downtown Indianapolis that provides emergency shelter, clothing and food for homeless families with children.


The Dayspring Center at 1537 Central Avenue in Indianapolis - near All Saints Episcopal Church - provides emergency shelter, clothing, and food for homeless families with children in central Indiana.

Dayspring traces its history to 1984, when Episcopalian volunteers opened a soup kitchen and a shelter in a church basement. Dayspring's center for emergency housing opened in the late 1980s. Nine years later, Dayspring began a transitional housing program to assist former residents who need assistance while working on longer-term goals. The agency estimates more than 10,000 children - and 3,000 families - have been helped at Dayspring Center since it opened.

Families, children, seniors and homeless: outreach heritage

A vintage photo of the Wheeler Mission wagon, date unknown. Image courtesy Wheeler Mission.(Feb. 1, 2014) - In 1883, a small group of German immigrants to Indianapolis, motivated by their Lutheran faith, started a home for orphans.

Ten years later, other residents of the Hoosier capital founded an outreach organization called Door of Hope. Volunteers included William V. Wheeler, a hardware salesman.

And in 1902, a residence known as the Jewish Shelter House, which offered care and services to the elderly, opened in Indy. By then, various services to the city's indigent - including financial assistance - had been offered for more than 40 years by the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society.

The heritage of the faith-based social outreach services that evolved from these beginnings will be explored with Nelson's studio guests from Lutheran Child and Family Services, Wheeler Mission Ministries and the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.

A woman and child enter the Lutheran orphanage on Indy’s east side in this vintage photo, date unknown. Image courtesy Lutheran Child and Family Services.Wheeler Mission, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary, had an early focus on outreach to women who had been disowned by their families, often for sexual activity; in the early 1900s, volunteers even operated a "rescue wagon."

According to several accounts, the focus of the non-profit organization shifted to helping homeless men during the Great Depression. Since 1929, Wheeler has had one of its highest-visibility sites at 245 N. Delaware St. in downtown Indianapolis.

Our guest Steve Kerr, Wheeler's development director, traces the evolution of Wheeler, which in recent years has added programs and residential facilities for men and women seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Just last week, Wheeler announced it will break ground for a 12,000-square-foot facility for the homeless that will be adjacent to its existing shelter at 520 E. Market St.

Wheeler also operates several other missions, including two shelters for women and children in Indy and an addiction recovery center in Monroe County.

Lutheran Child and Family Services also has significantly expanded its services and evolved since the founding of the initial orphanage in the 1880s on East Washington Street by members of two Lutheran congregations.

Developments have included the opening in 1956 of Lutherwood, a residential facility (which has since been completely rebuilt), as well as the expansion of "counseling and compassionate care to families."

Sven Schumacher, CEO of the Foundation for Lutheran Child and Family Services (and himself a German immigrant in 1985), shares details.

Lindsey Mintz.Nelson also is joined by Lindsey Mintz, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs arm of the Jewish community. The Jewish Shelter House that opened at the turn of the last century eventually evolved into Hooverwood, a nursing facility that specializes in residential care, adult day services and other social services.

Sven Schumacher.The heritage of Hooverwood, which opened at its current location at 7001 Hoover Road in 1970, is just one aspect of a much larger history of social service delivery by the Jewish community in Indianapolis. Our guest Lindsey Mintz will discuss the evolution of a range of social services, including the Jewish Community Center and the Albert & Sara Reuben Senior and Community Resource Center. It provides a broad range of services and programming for both Jewish and non-Jewish residents of the Hoosier capital.

According to several accounts, a settlement house for recent Jewish immigrants to the city - with special programs to help those who were poverty-stricken - as well as a community center were established more than 100 years ago. That was shortly after the opening of the shelter house for the elderly.

Steve Kerr.The Jewish community, Lindsey says, regards as one of its primary responsibilities "to care for those most in need. It's not only the fulfillment of a commandment to do so, but also helps create and sustain a society that is ultimately a safer, more hospitable society in which the Jewish community can thrive."

A third-generation Hoosier, Lindsey grew up in South Bend and has been executive director of the JCRC since 2012.

At Lutheran Family and Child Services, which turned 130 years old in 2013, our guest Sven Schumacher has been CEO of the foundation since 2006. That was two years after the ground-breaking for a complete rebuilding of Lutherwood, which the non-profit describes as "the most ambitious building project in the history of the agency." Religious services at the Borinstein House in Indianapolis, which opened in 1929 following the establishment of the Jewish Shelter House in 1902. Image courtesy hooverwood.org.Additions to the facility at 1525 N. Ritter Ave. include dormitories, a chapel and a family center. Since the project's completion, Lutherwood has been able to treat 98 residential children as well as 60 students at its day school.

The first house, a small orphanage founded by the German immigrants in the 1880s, consisted of just nine rooms. It was overseen by Rev. Peter Seuel, a Lutheran minister who served as president until 1915. By then, the small orphanage had been replaced by a massive, three-story building on the near-eastside of Indy that served as a children's home until Lutherwood opened.

Today, Lutheran Child and Family Services partners on some programs with local German clubs and societies. Last year, the agency also began a collaboration with Community Health Network.

At Wheeler Mission Ministries, one of the key organizing figures, hardware salesman William Wheeler, also was a congregational leader at what became Central Avenue United Methodist Church. In fact, Wheeler oversaw the construction in the 1890s of the historic church building at 12th Street and Central Avenue that now is the state headquarters of Indiana Landmarks.

Wheeler Mission’s neon sign adorns its Indy building on North Delaware Street.According to A Door of Hope, a book about Wheeler Mission Ministries' history published in 1993, many women in the congregation at the Methodist church were worried about the fate of "unwed mothers, referred to as 'friendless women'." In rented rooms on the upper floor of a building on South Street in 1893, the new organization called Door of Hope offered a place where young women - who had been cast out by their families, abandoned by their lovers or referred by police and hospitals - could stay.

Contending the mission should be broadened, William Wheeler persuaded congregation members to offer help to entire families. He and others "began intervening in the lives of families with husbands and fathers in jail," according to A Door of Hope.

After the stock market crash of 1929, "Wheeler morphed into a refuge for men," according to a recent story in The Indianapolis Star. The evolution and expansions of services has continued for decades. The expansion announced last week is for a facility of 12,000 square feet for the homeless adjacent to Wheeler's existing men's shelter on East Market St. The new facility is part of $6.5 million in upgrades planned for Wheeler's various facilities.

Roadtrip: Farmland in Randolph County

Vintage view of downtown Farmland, Ind.Film historian Eric Grayson suggests a Roadtrip to Farmland in Randolph County, on the eastern side of the state. The small town has one of the most active historic preservation organizations in the state.

Farmland was originally a railroad town, and it still is. The few blocks of historic buildings are bisected by the railroad tracks. The flat terrain and open view from the tracks make this a great spot for taking sunset pictures.

Farmland has a nice little 1950s-style diner, The Chocolate Moose. The town also is famous for an annual Chili Cook Off. And there's a grain elevator next to the tracks that's now called the Ole Thyme Market.

Farmland also is home to the world-famous Courthouse Girls. The courthouse in Winchester, the county seat of Randolph County, was in danger of being torn down, so Historic Farmland mobilized its volunteers. They had some of their senior ladies pose semi-nude behind models of the courthouse to create a promotional calendar to help save the courthouse. And it worked!

History Mystery

In 1984, a soup kitchen and an overnight shelter opened in the basement of an Episcopal church in Indianapolis. The shelter and soup kitchen were run by a small group of volunteers inspired by an Episcopal priest who had been offering a place to sleep to homeless people. As a result of increasing need, the programs expanded and, in the late 1980s, a renovated building opened as an emergency shelter to assist homeless families with children.

In the decades since then, it has evolved into an agency that works to prevent homelessness with a range of programming. This has included a center on Central Avenue that provides emergency shelter, clothing and food for homeless families with children. In the agency's transitional housing program, families who leave community shelters can live for up to two years while working on long-term goals. The center for emergency shelter has the same name as the non-profit agency that runs it.

Question: What is it called?Booth Tarkington.

The prize is a gift certificate to New Orleans on the Avenue and Rhythm Discovery Center, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Jan. 25 History Mystery question: Name the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who is entombed in a family mausoleum at Crown Hill.


The famous author and playwright, an Indianapolis native who was living in a mansion at North Meridian Street at his death in 1946, was entombed at Crown Hill. The Tarkington-Jameson family mausoleum is in Section 13 of the cemetery.

Tarkington won his two Pulitzer Prizes for the novels Alice Adams (1921), which more than 10 years later was made into a movie starring Katharine Hepburn, and The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), a novel about an aristocratic family in a Midwestern city called Midland; it was obviously based on Indianapolis.

His series of Penrod stories about adolescent growing pains are still praised as captivating by critics. The title character of Penrod inspired the name of an annual arts festival in Tarkington's hometown. Tarkington is considered one of Indiana's literary greats of the early 20th century, along with his friends James Whitcomb Riley and Meredith Nicholson, who also are entombed or buried at Crown Hill.

Crown Hill Cemetery history

Crown Hill Cemetery’s Gothic Gate was designed by Indianapolis architect Adolph Scherer and was completed just in time for the funeral procession of Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks on Nov. 30, 1885. Photo by Marty Davis.(Jan. 25, 2014) - It's the third-largest private cemetery in the country, with a history that has been intertwined with Indianapolis since the 1860s. Crown Hill Cemetery also is the burial site of more American vice presidents than any other cemetery, as well as the gravesite of notables ranging from bank robber John Dillinger to poet James Whitcomb Riley and former Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay.

As the landmark cemetery (which has had more than 200,000 burials since it was dedicated in 1864) turns 150 years old, Nelson explores its rich history, which also is being showcased in a lavish new book, Crown Hill: History, Spirit, Sanctuary (Indiana Historical Society Press).

He is joined in studio by three guests, including Keith Norwalk, president of Crown Hill Cemetery, and Douglas Wissing, an award-winning, Bloomington-based journalist and author who wrote much of the text for the book. They also are joined by Marty Davis of the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, who took many of the book's photos.

Crown Hill's creation resulted in some ways from problems and limitations involving the Hoosier capital's first major cemetery, a pioneer graveyard known as Greenlawn Cemetery.

Located near the White River, Greenlawn was prone to flooding - and it also, as Doug notes in the book, was overwhelmed by deaths during the Civil War. Civic leaders decided a spacious new cemetery was needed in a "park-like" setting on high ground. John Dillinger gravestone, 1903-1934(As a tribute to James Whitcomb Riley, who died in 1916, the memorial monument for the "Hoosier poet" eventually was erected on the "crown" - or summit - of the cemetery. Riley had once written a poem titled At Crown Hill.)

A Pioneer Cemetery at Crown Hill has become the re-burial site of early Hoosier settlers. That's because their original graveyards have become "lost" (or closed, often for redevelopment), a topic that was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show last June. Many Hoosiers buried at Greenlawn were reburied in the Pioneer Cemetery.

With its towering Gothic Gate built in 1885 at the eastern entryway off of West 34th Street, Crown Hill has scores of distinctive monuments, mausoleums and other gravesites. According to various reports, the most visited is the grave marker for Dillinger (1903-1934), who was known as Public Enemy No. 1. Some visitors even leave coins on his grave marker; the coins are donated to the Riley Children's Foundation.

Speaking of criminals: Vandalism of cemetery art sometimes has had a fortunate resolution. Our guest Keith Norwalk shares details about the 1995 theft - and recovery - of an 800-pound sculpture of a stone hunting dog that had rested next to the gravesite of his "master" since the 1880s. Gothic Chapel and National Cemetery at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Photo by Richard Fields.The stone dog was discovered across the country thanks to a sharp-eyed Crown Hill docent.

Some other history facts:

  • First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison, who died of tuberculosis in the White House in 1892, is buried at Crown Hill. So is her husband, Benjamin Harrison, the only president elected from Indiana.
  • The gravestone of Irsay, who died in 1997, has a giant horseshoe (symbolizing the Colts, of course) emblazoned on it.
  • According to Crown Hill: History, Spirit, Sanctuary, one of the biggest funeral crowds in Crown Hill's history was for a potholder salesman. Our guest Doug Wissing explains why the service in 1971 for the humble salesman, Herbert Wirth, drew a huge crowd of diverse mourners.

Our guest Keith Norwalk has been Crown Hill's president since 1991. Two years later, he oversaw the opening of an on-site mortuary, Crown Hill Funeral Home, at 38th Street and Clarendon Road.

Our guest Marty Davis has worked for more than 30 years at Crown Hill, where her husband, Tom, often is the guide for themed tours. Marty, who specializes in nature photography, has won several awards for her images.

Marty Davis.During our show, she shares details about the "heroes of public safety" section of Crown Hill, including the Public Safety Memorial that honors Hoosier police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty. (Marty has photographed many of their funerals.)

Our guest Doug Wissing, a journalist acclaimed for his international coverage, has reported on everything from the war in Afghanistan to a medical missionary/explorer in Tibet. Keith Norwalk.Closer to home, Doug wrote about the history of brewing in the Hoosier state for his book Indiana: One Pint at a Time (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2010).

During our show, Doug discusses details of a Dutch immigrant who chose to express frustration - with some justification - at his adopted homeland in the stone carving on his gravesite. (The grave marker is carved to look like a small replica of a Dutch barn of the early 1900s.)

Both Doug and Marty also discuss various aspects related to the burial site of Dillinger, an Indianapolis native who grew up on a farm near Mooresville and was fatally shot by federal agents in Chicago.

Doug Wissing.Doug shares details about the bank robber's funeral service - as well as the service for his mother, who died when Dillinger was 3 years old. (The boy attended her service and reacted dramatically.)

Marty reports about visitors who traveled to Crown Hill after the release of Public Enemies, a movie in 2009 that starred Johnny Depp as Dillinger.

On a more serene note - but one that also has a Mooresville connection - we also explore daffodils. Specifically, Marty discusses Helen Link, a Morgan County resident who developed hundreds of varieties of the flower. Since her death in 2002, the Indiana Daffodil Society has been tending flowers around her memorial monument at Crown Hill, as well as elsewhere at the cemetery, including a Greek goddess statue.

"Each spring," Marty notes, "an important part of Helen Link blooms again as she rests nearby."

Roadtrip: An exploration of Shelbyville

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff recommends a short jaunt to Shelbyville, just a little southeast of Indianapolis. In 1822 Shelbyville was created on donated land to be the seat of Shelby County, established the year before.

A vintage photo shows Joseph Fountain in Shelbyville, Ind.Glory tells us that if you enjoy wandering around looking at great old buildings, this is the place. There are several civic, commercial and residential buildings in a great variety of styles over which to marvel. The county courthouse on South Harrison is one of three Art Deco courthouses in the state, constructed under the New Deal in the 1930s. Near it stands the last Civil War monument erected in Indiana, a simple statue of a Union soldier.

On the public square is a bronze sculpture commemorating author Charles Major, who lived in Shelbyville and certainly left his name around town. The sculpture depicts a character in his famous children's novel, The Bears of Blue River.

The Grover Museum at 52 W. Broadway is an exceptionally fine county museum, run by the Shelby County Historical Society and open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free!

Our Roadtripper says that if all this history makes you hungry, stop at the Cow Palace at 319 N. Harrison for all things ice cream, not to mention tasty sandwiches. It's open 7 days a week until 9. If you feel like something a tad more substantial, she recommends the restaurant Tour of Italy, just starting its third year in the southwest corner of the public square at 39 Public Square. Ciao!

History Mystery

A family mausoleum at Crown Hill Cemetery includes the tomb of a famous Hoosier novelist and playwright who died in 1946. He was born in Indianapolis in 1869 and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction two times, a rare accomplishment.

His novels were the basis for movies in the 1930s and '40s, with stars such as Katharine Hepburn.

Perhaps his best-known novel was set in a city that obviously was Indianapolis, although the author gave his hometown a fictional name in the book. The movie based on that novel was directed by Orson Welles.

Crown Hill History, Spirit, Sanctuary book cover.The author also wrote a series of stories about a mischievous boy that are considered among the best ever written about Midwestern adolescence.

Despite his national fame, the author continued to live in Indianapolis, although he often spent summers at the resort town of Kennebunkport, Maine.

Question: Name this novelist, who is entombed in a family mausoleum at Crown Hill.

The prize is a copy of the new book, Crown Hill: History, Spirit, Sanctuary (Indiana Historical Society Press), as well as a pair of tickets to a historical tour of Crown Hill Cemetery, courtesy of Crown Hill Heritage Foundation.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Jan. 18 History Mystery question: What was the name of the mineral water sold at the West Baden Hotel? Hint: The character that symbolized the water was an elf or gnome-like figure.

Answer: SPRUDEL water.

Sold by the West Baden Springs Hotel, Sprudel water never become nearly as well-known and popular as Pluto water at the rival French Lick Springs Hotel. Some experts have attributed that to better marketing by French Lick; the content of both mineral waters has been described as nearly identical. In fact, both waters are said to be primarily laxatives.

In the early 1900s, the small towns of French Lick and West Baden each had high schools. A devil (Pluto) was the mascot of French Lick's basketball team, and an elf or gnome (Sprudel) was the West Baden mascot. By the time future superstar Larry Bird was growing up in the region, the high schools had been consolidated. Bird first drew widespread attention for his outstanding play at Springs Valley High School, the consolidated school.

Indiana's most mysterious county?

A spelunker descends 80 feet to the floor of the cave beneath Indiana’s Orange County Courthouse. Experienced cavers find it fascinating and beautiful, with a town above the cave and the roar of a river heard in its deepest part. Photo by Mike Morrow, courtesy Steve Crowder.(Jan. 18, 2014) - With a limestone cave beneath the county seat of Paoli, a village underwater, colorful folklore involving the famous French Lick and West Baden Springs Hotels, a "lost" river and some Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War, Orange County in far-southwestern Indiana may be our most mysterious.

In this program, we explore the limestone cave beneath the historic Orange County Courthouse, where one of Nelson's guests has been a court reporter for more than 40 years. She is Orange County native Diane Dillard, a historic preservationist.

Her late husband, Arthur Dillard, a former prosecuting attorney, completed the manuscript for a book about Orange County's colorful heritage, Casinos, Copperheads, Pioneers and Politicians (Hawthorne Publishing, 2012), before his death.

In addition to Diane, Nelson's guests are two historians/authors with their own links to Orange County's heritage.

The Orange County courthouse. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.They include Jim Fadely, who is considered the top expert on Thomas Taggart (1856-1929), the Irish immigrant-turned-Indianapolis mayor-turned French Lick hotel owner who brought international attention to the resort and its mineral springs and spas.

Jim, an administrator at University High School, is heading up a campaign to restore the long-neglected Taggart Memorial at Riverside Park in Indianapolis; Indiana Landmarks had placed the limestone monument on its 10 Most Endangered list for a couple of years.

Nelson's guests also include author Nancy Niblack Baxter of Hawthorne Publishing, who edited Casinos, Copperheads, Pioneers and Politicians. Diane Dillard, right, is pictured with her late husband Arthur Dillard, a former prosecutor.The casinos in the title refer to gambling that, although illegal in the early 1900s, openly flourished during the first heyday of the French Lick hotel and its arch-rival in West Baden.

Owners of the West Baden hotel, built in 1902, included a flamboyant entrepreneur, Ed Ballard, who, like Taggart, rose from humble beginnings to become a millionaire. Our guest Jim Fadely will share insights about Ballard, who was shot to death in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1936.

The West Baden hotel, called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" upon its opening in 1902 because of its spectacular atrium and other features, closed as a hotel in the 1930s. After a lavish restoration spearheaded by the late philanthropist Bill Cook and his wife, Gayle, the West Baden Springs Hotel reopened in 2007. The Cooks also oversaw the restoration of the French Lick Springs Hotel.

Nancy Niblack Baxter.Earlier hotels on the French Lick site - including one that may have been a "hotbed of Copperhead activity" - are described in Casinos, Copperheads, Pioneers and Politicians. ("Copperhead" was a term for Southern sympathizers during the Civil War; it derives from copper buttons some wore.)

Casinos, Copperheads, Pioneers and Politicians book cover.The Copperhead presence is analyzed by Arthur Dillard, a former president of the Orange County Historical Society, who spent years researching folklore about the county.

The mysterious cave underneath a vast section of Paoli, including the impressive courthouse, exists in part because, as his book puts it, "Ice Age glaciers did not touch this region."

In fact, the cave includes a cavern bigger than the courthouse, according to the book.

James P. Fadely.Diane and Nancy share insights about that, as well as about Newton Stewart, an Orange County village that thrived during the late 1800s but had been abandoned by the early 1970s. Subsequently, the village was flooded as part of the creation of Patoka Lake.

They also discuss bygone dry goods and general stores that once thrived in Orange County, as well as such mysterious street and place names as Moonshine Hollow, Grease County Road, Tater Road and Hog's Defeat Creek. The area's mineral springs appealed to Native Americans decades before white settlers arrived. William A. Bowles.French Lick's distinctive name derives from the fact that French explorers had obtained salt from the springs.

According to Casinos, Copperheads, Pioneers and Politicians, the valley's first hotel, which was known as the French Lick House, opened in 1845. Its owner was William A. Bowles, a Confederate sympathizer, physician and civic leader.

His hotel was a predecessor of the spectacular French Lick Springs Hotel that Taggart, a nationally powerful Democrat, marketed in the early 1900s to guests, including the Rockefellers, Roosevelts, Vanderbilts and Studebakers. (The memorial to Taggart was built in Riverside Park because, as Indy's mayor and a passionate advocate of parks, Taggart pushed for the city's purchase of the parkland despite critics who denounced it as a flood-prone "folly.")

This vintage photo shows the Thomas Taggart memorial in Riverside Park in Indianapolis.Our guest Jim Fadely, the chairman of the Taggart Memorial Task Force that is crusading to restore the memorial, is the author of Thomas Taggart: Public Servant, Political Boss (Indiana Historical Society Press).

Just as Taggart was a Democratic power broker, various owners at the rival West Baden hotel were well-connected Republicans. As a result, when gambling linked to both hotels flourished during the early 1900s, local public officials often ignored the goings-on because leaders of both political parties were involved.

The atrium at the West Baden Springs Hotel was the world's largest free-span dome until the Astrodome in Houston opened in the 1960s.

West Baden had closed as a hotel during the Great Depression; then it was owned by Jesuit priests and, later, the Northwood Institute, which offered culinary, automotive and other training.

West Baden Springs Hotel, under construction.Ever since the lavish restoration, West Baden has again been a luxury hotel; it's a National Historic Landmark.

Other facts about the county with so many twists, turns and mysterious or historic features:

  • The Orange County Courthouse, built in the Greek Revival style in 1850, is the state's second-oldest county courthouse in continual use. (The oldest is the Ohio County Courthouse.) Indy-based architect Jim Kienle shared insights during a Hoosier History Live! show in June 2010 following his restoration of the courthouse.
  • According to Arthur Dillard's book, Moonshine Hollow is a name given by French Lick residents to a gulch on the south end of town because "illegally distilled whiskey was allegedly bartered or sold there."
  • Arthur Dillard's grandfather was a blacksmith in Newton Stewart, the "town underwater."

Roadtrip: Kurt Vonnegut's Who am I this Time?

Kurt Vonnegut's Who am I this Time play image.Guest Roadtripper Kelly Young of Baise Communications tells us about Kurt Vonnegut's Who am I this Time? - which opens at the Indiana Repertory Theatre on Jan. 28 and is directed by IRT artistic director Janet Allen.

The show is a quirky collection of some of Vonnegut's most endearing characters who are searching for love and identity. The material is taken from the Indy hometown author's first short story collection, Welcome to the Monkey House.

Also at the IRT, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, opening Jan. 17. IRT Playwright in Residence James Still's most-produced play combines video and live performance, combining videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors Ed Silverberg and Eva Schloss with live actors recreating scenes from their lives during World War II. James Still also been a guest on Hoosier History Live!

History Mystery

More than 100 years ago, the French Lick Springs Hotel became famous for selling Pluto water, the mineral water that was promoted as a curative for a range of ailments. Pluto water was marketed for many decades with an image of a red, devil-like figure who symbolized Pluto, ruler of the underworld.

Pluto Water was billed as “America’s Physic.”At the arch-rival West Baden Springs Hotel, "curative" mineral water was bottled and sold as well for many years in the early 1900s. Rather than call their product Pluto water, West Baden owners sold and marketed their mineral water under a different name.

Question: What was the name of the mineral water sold at the West Baden Hotel?

Hint: The character who symbolized the water was an elf or gnome-like figure.

The prize is a gift certificate to the Winner's Circle Pub and Grille in downtown Indianapolis, and two tickets to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Jan. 11 History Mystery question: Indiana native Ernie Pyle was the World War II journalist most admired by the American public and was killed during the war. In what state was he buried?

Answer: HAWAII.

Ernie Pyle's burial site is at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Informally known as Punchbowl Cemetery, the national cemetery serves as a memorial to honor men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces and lost their lives doing so.

Ernie Pyle is one of the few American civilians killed during World War II to be awarded the Purple Heart. That distinction is noted on his gravestone at the memorial cemetery in Hawaii, which is visited by millions of tourists annually.

Pyle's parents had been sharecroppers in Dana, where his restored boyhood home is located.

World War II veterans remember

(Jan. 11, 2014) - Ranging from Marines, sailors and others who survived combat on the front lines to Hoosiers who served on the home front, more than 84 veterans of World War II, all with links to Indiana, have described their personal stories to educators Steve Hardwick and Duane Hodgin.

American soldiers display a captured Japanese flag. Image courtesy Robert Albright.Then Steve and Duane, who were colleagues in Lawrence Township Schools in Indianapolis, pulled the remembrances together in a book titled WWII Duty, Honor, Country: The Memories of Those Who Were There (iUniverse, 2013).

Now Steve, a fifth-grade teacher at Indian Creek Elementary School and a U.S. Army veteran, and Duane, who has retired as a school administrator and returned to live in his hometown of Richmond, are Nelson's guests.

They are joined by a World War II veteran, Noblesville resident Merrill "Lefty" Huntzinger, who was a staff sergeant in the 2nd Infantry Division.

"Lefty" landed at Omaha Beach a few weeks after D-Day. In the book, he recalls asking his squad leader where they were going. This was his reply: "We're going to hell, and if we are lucky, we will soon land up in heaven."

Steve Hardwick.Fortunately, "Lefty" survived the global conflict that, as Steve and Duane put it in their introduction, some historians consider to be the "single most significant and influential event of the 20th century."

Duane Hodgin.Among the Hoosiers whose memories are featured in their book is the late Jimmy O'Donnell, a U.S. Navy machinist who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the Pacific Ocean by a Japanese submarine.

The episode often is described as the Navy's "worst tragedy at sea." About 800 of the crew (out of a total of 1,190) survived the sinking by remaining afloat in the dark, oil-covered ocean waters - for awhile. Help did not arrive for nearly five days, though. By then, about half of those sailors had drowned or had been killed by sharks.

In 1995, a monument to the USS Indianapolis was dedicated in downtown Indy. Jimmy O'Donnell, who retired as a firefighter, attended that ceremony; he died last January at age 92.

The USS Indianapolis memorial in downtown Indianapolis along the canal was dedicated in 1995.Other veterans of WWII whose memories are shared in the book by Steve and Duane include an Indy native who was one of the first group of African-Americans to serve in the Marines, as well as a nurse from Corydon who, like our guest "Lefty," landed at Omaha Beach a few weeks after D-Day. Serving in a trauma unit, she treated soldiers with serious head, chest and abdominal injuries.

As The Indianapolis Star noted in an article about Steve and Duane's book last February, the experiences described by the veterans include "some (that are) funny, some sad, some gut-wrenching and some awe-inspiring."

The book evolved from a history project Steve initiated in 2001 at Indian Creek. A tribute to WWII veterans, the event has become an annual gathering in Lawrence Township and has been attended by many of the 84 veterans profiled in the book. USS Indianapolis survivor Jimmy O'Donnell (center) stands in front of statue of a likeness of him during his service in the Navy as a teenager. The statue was dedicated on Dec. 7. 2009. City of Indianapolis photo.Of the 84, all are at least 87 years old; about 15 have died since Steve and Duane began their interviews and collecting photos.

Those whose stories are featured include Eugene Hodgin of Richmond, the father of our guest Duane Hodgin. Duane was born while his father, a tech sergeant with the medical battalion in the 38th Infantry Division, was serving in New Guinea. Eugene did not see his first son until he was 15 months old. While serving his country, he severely injured his back lifting heavy crates of medical supplies.

"I was on my back in a tent for 30 days and could not move," he recalls in the book. Following that ordeal, he contracted a severe case of malaria.

Our guest "Lefty" Huntzinger was assigned to a machine gun squad that was fighting German soldiers. In the book, he shares memories of nightly rotations pulling guard duty.

WWII Duty, Honor, Country: The Memories of Those Whe Were There book cover."It's a lonely, scary assignment because you're all alone, and you feel that the enemy has you in sight, and you could be shot at any time."

He also shares memories of crawling out of his foxhole to drag away a dying comrade whose open chest was full of shrapnel. "Lefty" eventually was awarded a Bronze Star for Valor.

Other Hoosier veterans whose stories are highlighted during our show (and who are featured in the book) include:

  • A sergeant from Terre Haute who fought in the Philippines and was awarded two Purple Hearts. He shares a humorous story about a "great doughnut drop" that caused a temporary cease fire between Japanese and American soldiers. The doughnuts were dropped in a river in a New Guinea jungle.
  • An Indianapolis woman who describes life on the home front, including the rationing of gasoline and tires, the sale of war bonds and the planting of victory gardens.
  • And a medic from Fountain City who helped liberate several concentration camps. During combat, Bob Swift often cleared injured GIs from the battlefield. He recently visited Steve Hardwick's classroom to speak to fifth-graders about his war experiences.

History Mystery

Indiana native Ernie Pyle was the World War II journalist most admired by the American public. He told the soldiers' stories, reporting from the front lines, rotating among the various branches of service as he joined U.S. troops fighting in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific.

In April 1945, as the war was winding down, Ernie Pyle was killed by a Japanese machine gunner when his jeep came under fire. His remains eventually were brought to the United States for burial, but he was not buried in his hometown of Dana in far-western Indiana. Instead, Ernie Pyle's remains were buried in another state.

Ernie Pyle.Question: What is the state?

The prize is a gift certificate to California Pizza Kitchen in Circle Centre Mall, and two tickets to the Rhythm Discovery Center, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Jan. 4 show History Mystery: To help save a historic county courthouse in Indiana from demolition, several members of a local bridge club came up with a creative - some said quirky - idea to raise funds and public awareness in 2006. The women, most of whom were in their 80s (some were even in their 90s), posed for a calendar - in the buff. In what Indiana county is the courthouse?


Members of a bridge club in the east-central Indiana town of Farmland were appalled in 2006 when they learned that the Italianate courthouse in Randolph County was scheduled to be demolished and replaced by a new building.

Inspired by a movie titled Calendar Girls (2003), the women - most of whom were more than 80 years old - undressed and posed for the Court House Girls Calendar. They stood behind small, porcelain replicas of their beloved courthouse.

Eventually, the vote by county commissioners to demolish the courthouse was overturned. State legislators also credited the calendar girls with prodding the General Assembly to create a preservation commission on Indiana courthouses.

Squirrel invasion of 1800s and other quirky episodes

An Eastern Grey Squirrel nibbles on a snack.(Jan. 4, 2014) - Regular listeners may remember a phone caller during a recent show who sought details about the "Great Squirrel Invasion" during the 1820s and '30s in Indiana.

Our host Nelson confirmed the freakish episode had occurred - it apparently was almost akin to an Alfred Hitchcock movie, albeit with swarms of squirrels instead of flocks of birds as the invasive species - but he did not have details to share.

It so happens that some Hoosier historians have researched the squirrel saga; one of them is among our studio guests.

As a lighthearted way to kick off the new year (our sixth on the air), we also explore other quirky chapters in Hoosier history. In addition, Nelson and his guests debunk aspects of our folklore that, as it turns out, are significantly distorted or embellished accounts of what actually happened.

Tom Castaldi.The seemingly sudden and unsettling presence of thousands and thousands of squirrels in the wilderness and towns across early Indiana, though, is no myth.

Jason Lantzer."Three times during the first half of the 19th century, crops were destroyed by these bushy-tailed varmints," Allen County historian Tom Castaldi wrote in a column for Fort Wayne Monthly magazine.

Tom, one of our state's most popular county historians and an expert on canals, Italian immigration and other aspects of our heritage, joins Nelson in studio as we explore the squirrel invasions. In his column, Tom noted that early Indianapolis civic leader, attorney and landowner Calvin Fletcher described the massive number of squirrels in the 1820s - and wrote about the devastation they wrought - in his diaries.

Also quoting from Calvin Fletcher's diaries, Indianapolis historian Connie Zeigler noted that one Marion County resident, in desperation, killed 248 squirrels at his home in just three days. In a 2008 column in Urban Times, a monthly newspaper that covers Indy's historic neighborhoods, Connie described the squirrel numbers of the 1820s as "incomprehensible in the mind of a modern city dweller."

Prohibition Is Here to Stay book cover by Jason S. Lantzer.In addition to Tom Castaldi, a native of Logansport, Nelson is joined in studio by Jason Lantzer, who has taught history at Butler University, serves as the interim coordinator of its honors program and, like Tom, is widely acclaimed for his broad knowledge of our Hoosier heritage.

So Jason, a native of Wakarusa in far-northern Indiana, shares insights about various quirky episodes that have unfolded in Indiana. He also is the author of books, including Prohibition Is Here To Stay (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).

Back to the squirrels. According to Tom’s column, a second squirrel invasion - this one during the 1830s - was documented by Wabash County historians and affected nearly the entire state.

"Early settlers equated them to an army on the move," according to Ron Woodward and Gladys Harvey, co-authors of Wabash County Chronicles (The History Press, 2010). "The vast hordes were so thick that their weight would cause tree limbs to fall. ... The corn crop was nearly decimated."

Tom Castaldi notes: "Even the Wabash River could not stop the little varmints as they swam the river or crossed on overhanging tree limbs, even forming a living chain bridge for other squirrels to cross."

This old woodcut image is titled “Squirrel in Trees.” Image courtesy Tom Castaldi.The explanations for these bizarre invasions?

They apparently relate to environmental changes in the wilderness that caused hordes of squirrels to migrate to Indiana in search of food. During our show, Tom will share insights.

Lest you conclude the new year has made Hoosier History Live! go all squirrelly, we also explore such quirky episodes as:

  • How the town of Wakarusa got its name. Who better than our guest Jason Lantzer, a native of the town in Elkhart County, to give us the scoop?
  • A connection between a police booth in Goshen and John Dillinger, a native Hoosier who became a notorious bank robber (known across the country as "Public Enemy No. 1") during the 1930s.
  • Folklore involving the opening of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Fort Wayne and famous political and military figure Gen. Lewis Cass. According to various tales, Cass (1782-1866), the top dignitary at the grand opening in 1843, fell - or was dunked - into the canal during the proceedings.

An illustration of the size of the canal, boats and tow animal. Image courtesy Wabash and Erie Canal Association.Tom Castaldi, who has researched the episode (Cass County, which includes Tom's hometown of Logansport, is named in honor of Lewis Cass) will explain what really happened. After negotiating treaties with Native Americans in Indiana, Lewis Cass (1782-1866) became the governor of Michigan, then a U.S. senator from our neighboring state, followed by a stint as U.S. secretary of state. He even was a Democratic presidential candidate.

A board member of the Canal Society of Indiana, Tom Castaldi shares other quirky episodes involving the Hoosier state's rivers and canals during our show.

Tom is the author of a series of notebooks about the Wabash and Erie Canal's creation and impact in several counties, including Allen, Huntington, Cass, Carroll, Tippecanoe, Wabash and Miami counties.

Some other history nuggets (or should we say history "nuts," in honor of our squirrel topic?):

  • Some of the first accounts of a squirrel invasion came from no less than John James Audubon, the legendary bird expert, naturalist and painter. "In 1819, Audubon, who was traveling down the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky by boat, saw large numbers of gray squirrels swarming across the river," Tom wrote in his Fort Wayne Monthly column. "Many drowned or were killed by hunters."
  • In 2010, the Indiana Historical Society presented Tom Castaldi with its Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Indiana history.
  • The final resting place of an African-American former slave named "Tom," who was one of several to have inspired the title character in Uncle Tom's Cabin, the international bestseller written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852, is in Indiana. Our guest Jason Lantzer shares details about the unlikely "Uncle Tom" burial site during our show.

Roadtrip: How many stars at Indiana Roof?

A close-up of "Jhon" and "Tohm" handwritten ratings of performers, on a stage door at Indiana Roof from the 1930s. Hoosier History Live photo.How many stars did you rate if you performed at the Indiana Roof in the 1930s? We know about the stars in the "sky" at the Roof, but guest Roadtripper Gary BraVard tells us about a unique stage door where, from 1931 to 1936, two Indiana Roof employees, John "Jhon" Young and Thomas "Tohm" Kelly, faithfully rated all the performers who appeared on stage there. (Apparently the two had stage names with slightly exotic spellings).

Cab Calloway and Jan Garber were given four stars by "Jhon" and "Tohm," and the two gave themselves five stars. The door remains in the ballroom today; it is to the left of the stage as you face it.

The Indiana Roof first opened in September of 1927 and was designed to appear as if you were in a European village. Painted grapevines creep up plaster columns, and the stucco facades, doorways and balconies contain exquisite details. The domed ceiling over the circular ballroom resembles a starry night sky, with soft clouds and a crescent moon. As a special treat, every once in a while you get to see and hear a thunderstorm!

History Mystery

To help save a historic county courthouse in Indiana from demolition, several members of a local bridge club came up with a creative - some said quirky - idea to raise funds and public awareness in 2006. The women, most of whom were in their 80s (some were even in their 90s), posed for a calendar - in the buff.

During the photo shoots, small replicas of the historic courthouse were discreetly positioned in front of the "calendar girls" in order to, as some accounts described it, "protect their dignity."

Courthouse ladies pose in the buff to save a historic structure.The calendar sold thousands of copies and drew national attention to the crusade to save the county courthouse. The bridge-playing calendar girls became unlikely celebrities and were credited with convincing officials to spare the courthouse, which was built in 1877.

Question In what Indiana county is the courthouse?

The prize is two tickets to the Eiteljorg Museum and two tickets to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the last live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Dec. 21 show History Mystery: What was the department store chain that traces its beginnings to Vincennes?

Answer: GIMBELS.

The company was founded by Adam Gimbel, a young Bavarian immigrant who opened a general store in Vincennes in 1842. His two sons, Jacob and Isaac, were born in Vincennes during the 1850s.

Family members opened a successful department store in Milwaukee in the 1880s. Next came a large store in Philadelphia, followed in 1910 by the iconic Gimbels store in New York City overseen by Jacob Gimbel. The rivalry between Macy's and Gimbels was legendary and inspired a subplot of the 1947 movie "The Miracle on 34th Street."

Gimbels had 36 stores across the country, including its flagship New York City store, when the retailer closed in 1987.

Union Station history in Indy and Political cartoon heritage: Two classic shows

(Dec. 28, 2013 - encore presentations) - For generations of Hoosiers traveling by rail, Union Station in Indianapolis was at its bustling peak during holiday seasons. And iconic images created by political cartoonists (albeit non-Hoosiers) have included Santa Claus and Uncle Sam.

So as a holiday season treat, Hoosier History Live! will broadcast encore shows focusing on those two topics. Instead of a one-hour program, you can enjoy two back-to-back, half hour shows from our archives of more than 270 programs in nearly six years of covering all aspects of our Hoosier heritage.

Union Station history in Indy

Union Station's grand reopening in 1986 featured balloons being released. Photo by Lauren Basile.During the first classic show (original air date: March 3, 2012), we explore an aspect our heritage that became a national "first." For the first time in American history, railway lines came together in a single central Indiana train depot, the country's first "union" station. It happened in Indy in 1853, six years after the first railroad reached the Hoosier capital.

The opening of Union Depot helped account for explosive growth in Indy and the city's longtime "Crossroads of America" nickname. In the 1880s, the initial depot was replaced by a nearby, majestic Union Station designed in Romanesque Revival architectural style with elegant Rookwood tiles in its interior and a 185-foot clock tower that became a city landmark.

Santa Colossal “spoke” holiday greetings to passengers at Union Station in 1949. Image courtesy Bass Photo Collection, Indiana Historical Society.To discuss the history of the station listed on the National Register of Historic Places - as well as the impact of the railroads on Indy - Nelson is joined in studio by architectural photographer Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography. Garry, who often is a commentator on tours of the station, also is the corporate photographer for Crowne Plaza Union Station.
Today the historic train shed houses a Crowne Plaza luxury hotel, and the restored grand hall is a ballroom, with rooms in the former concourse serving as convention meeting rooms. Hotel guests may stay in historic Pullman cars that have been converted to suites and named after famous people who traveled through the train station, such as Winston Churchill, Cole Porter and Amelia Earhart.

During the show, Garry shares insights about how train travel initially was considered unsafe - with good reason. Even so, its popularity soared, with Indy serving as a major cross-country hub.

Fun holiday history fact: During the late 1940s, a 51-feet-high Styrofoam replica of Santa Claus - known as "Santa Colossal" - was positioned in the train terminal to greet passengers. Santa Colossal "spoke" yuletide greetings and was so popular that postcards with his image were handed out at Union Station for years afterward.

Political cartoon heritage with Gary Varvel

Pictured is a signed 1911 Abe Martin cartoon by Indianapolis-based humorist Kin Hubbard.Whether creating visual commentary about tragedies such as the 9-11 terrorist attacks or creating mythical characters such as Brown County's cracker-barrel philosopher Abe Martin and whimsical Raggedy Ann, Hoosier political cartoonists have been at the cultural epicenter.

To explore the rich heritage of political cartooning - including images that range from lighthearted to poignant to controversial - Nelson is joined in studio on this classic show by Gary Varvel, the award-winning political cartoonist for The Indianapolis Star. (This classic show's original air date was Aug. 13, 2011.) Gary, whose work is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers through Creators Syndicate, has created dozens of images that have made readers' blood boil, provoked them to laugh or inspired them to think.

During the show, Gary explains the derivation of Santa Claus as a newspaper cartoon character.

Nelson and Gary also explore the impact of Abe Martin, the fictional character (sample quip: "You can take a voter to the polls, but you can’t make him think") created in 1904 by Indianapolis News cartoonist Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard (1868-1930). His homespun wisdom became enormously popular across the country.

Gary Varvel.As for Gary, his best-known cartoon probably has been one drawn in reaction to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. A depiction of a weeping Uncle Sam holding a limp firefighter while the smoldering skyline of New York City crumbles in the background, the cartoon resulted in requests for copies from thousands of readers. The Star printed his 9-11 cartoon as a poster for sale and raised $130,000 for relief efforts in New York.

As for Raggedy Ann: The book series and dolls were created by former Indianapolis Star cartoonist Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938), who grew up near the Lockerbie neighborhood in Indy. Names and traits of his famous creation were inspired by blending two of his favorite James Whitcomb Riley poems: "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie."

Victorian-era and ethnic holiday traditions

Period decorations adorn the Christmas tree in the front parlor of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.(Dec. 21, 2013) - Buckle up for a time-traveling sleigh ride with Hoosier History Live! as we explore holiday traditions of earlier eras - as well as yule-season and new year customs brought to this country by various ethnic heritage groups.

Did your family or ancestors ever set out a pair of shoes for St. Nick? That footwear-shuffling Christmas season tradition was an Eastern European custom.

Ever wonder about the evolution of holiday greeting cards and what they would have been like during the Victorian era? An immigrant from an ethnic heritage group started the mass printing in America of holiday cards during the 1870s. (You will have to tune in to learn details.)

To share insights about ethnic immigration holiday traditions - cherished, bygone or transformed in various ways - Nelson is joined in studio by a diverse group of guests. They also share insights about folk traditions associated with the holidays during the Victorian and Edwardian eras stretching from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s.

Nelson's guests are:

  • Nancy Grant. Photo by Jim Battles.Nancy Grant, a journalist, photographer and speaker based in Louisville. During her career, Nancy has written about a wide range of topics, including the history behind some of the most popular Christmas traditions. Her book Christmas in America (1991) described the evolution of greeting cards, holiday trees decorated with lights and other traditions.
  • Olga Imperial Keegan of Carmel, whose parents immigrated from the Philippines. A past president of the Association of International Women, Olga is a real estate agent and mother of four. She also has been a volunteer host for the International Center of Indianapolis.
  • And Rosaleen Crowley, a Carmel-based artist and poet who immigrated from Ireland in 1990. A painter, Rosaleen has just opened Roscro & Co., a new studio in Carmel, and has had a long career in education, speech and drama. She is a graduate of the National University of Ireland and the London College of Music. For 10 years, she owned a business that helped families adjust to their new communities and adapt to their host culture.

The Christmas and New Year's traditions that we explore range from festive to poignant.

Rosaleen Crowley.According to Rosaleen, Irish families on New Year's Day often set a place at the table in remembrance of those who have died.

She also describes an Irish twist on the seasonal "kissing under the mistletoe" tradition: On New Year's Eve, some single Irish women slip mistletoe under their pillows. That means they will meet their future husbands during the new year, according to folklore.

Our guest Nancy Grant, whose areas of expertise include energy technology (she writes a monthly “Future of Electricity” column for Kentucky Living magazine), reports that the tradition of putting lights on holiday trees began in 1882.

Olga Keegan.Fun fact: As regular listeners of Hoosier History Live! - or visitors to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site - may recall, the only American president elected from the Hoosier state has a yule-season claim to fame. Benjamin Harrison (who served from 1888 to 1892) and First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison became the very first First Family to have a decorated Christmas tree in the White House.

We explored this aspect of their heritage during a holiday season show in 2011 with Jennifer Capps, curator of the presidential site. During the show, Jennifer noted that President Harrison, who had a beard and a slightly stocky frame, portrayed Santa on at least one occasion.

During this show, our guest Olga Kenner describes a five-pointed star that Filipino families often place on their front doors (similar to the way Americans hang wreaths) during the Christmas season.

Noting that the Philippines was under Spanish rule for generations, Olga estimates about 80 percent of the population in her ancestral homeland is Catholic. That means many Filipino traditions, including attending midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, derive from Spanish and/or Catholic traditions.

Nancy Grant's 1991 book "Christmas in America" highlights holiday traditions in the United States."When I was a girl, we would go to midnight Mass, then come home and there would be our presents," Olga said. "It was late in the evening, but we would open the gifts right then, not wait until morning."

Also during our show, Nancy Grant describes how enterprising merchant F. W. Woolworth began importing glass ornaments from Germany in 1880. Then he sold them across the country.

The Eastern European tradition of setting out shoes happens on Dec. 6, St. Nick's Day.

Our guest Rosaleen, who also is a member of the Association of International Women, describes Irish activities related to St. Stephen's Day (Dec. 26), setting a table with "Christmas crackers" and what typically happens on the Feast of Epiphany (Jan. 6).

Nancy Grant is convinced that various Christmas aromas from the kitchen provide clues about a family's ethnic heritage. Cinnamon: maybe British for figgy pudding. Licorice or anise: German for springerles. Also in terms of seasonal goodies, Olga describes the variety of home-made sweets that Filipinos typically serve this month.

Roadtripper: Jeffersonville

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff tells us that it doesn't have to be Christmas time to head to Schimpff's Confectionery in Jeffersonville (347 Spring Street), a candy store, soda fountain, and lunch counter that is more than 120 years old! (Jeffersonville is, of course, just across the Ohio River from Louisville.)

Glory-June Greiff points to her “take” from Schimpff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville, Ind. Image courtesy http://gloryjune.com/wordpress.But at Christmas especially, Schimpff's is a fantasy land filled with jars and glass cases of its yummy candy. You can even watch them making it in the adjoining space, which also houses their candy museum. After you consider your many choices of candy for gifts and a few for yourself, have an old-fashioned lunch - maybe an egg salad sandwich and a chocolate phosphate. Then take a stroll down historic Spring Street, with its many interesting shops.

Are needle arts your thing? There is a wonderful yarn shop with the bizarre name of Grinny Possum across the street from Schimpff's.

A little farther south is a novelty shop, with every kind of costume, favor, decoration, etc. you can possibly imagine. Horner Novelty at 310 Spring Street touts itself as the world's largest party store, and it may well be.

A few blocks north at 723 Spring Street is the new location of the Vintage Fire Museum, but currently it is open only on Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly.

If all that isn't enough, not too far off to the southeast is the Howard Steamboat Museum on Market Street along the river. It's a great pile of a house with a fantastic collection of artifacts and ephemera telling the history of steamboats in general and those built in Jeffersonville in particular. It's an easy drive down I-65 from Indy to enjoy this scenic river town.

History Mystery

A nationally known department store that became associated with the holiday season had its beginnings during the 1840s in Vincennes, Indiana's oldest city. Most Americans associate the retailer with New York City, where it opened a flagship store that flourished for generations of shoppers. But the retailer's founder, a Bavarian immigrant, actually began in business with a general store in Vincennes. Eventually, he moved his business to Milwaukee, then expanded it considerably for 40 years and achieved success in other cities.

Second-story façade of mystery department store in Vincennes, Ind.The New York City department store opened in 1910. It had a fierce, decades-long rivalry with another retailer that even became a major aspect of the plot of a classic movie with a Christmas theme. When the department store chain closed during the 1980s, it had 36 stores across the country.

Question: What was the department store chain that traces its beginnings to Vincennes?

The prize is a gift certificate to the Rathskeller Restaurant in Indianapolis and two admissions to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By request, we are publishing the answer to the last live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Dec. 14 show History Mystery: What is the name of the dinosaur, which is also the first name of the paleontologist who discovered it?

Answer: SUE.

Paleontologist SUE HENDRICKSON was born in Chicago in 1949 but grew up in Munster. While working for the Black Hills Institute, Sue Hendrickson discovered the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. Now known as "Sue" in her honor, the dinosaur remains are considered to be the largest and best-preserved T-Rex ever discovered.

After the entire skeleton was assembled, it was 40 feet long from its nose to its tail. For more than 13 years, "Sue," the T-Rex skeleton, has been exhibited at the Field Museum.

Sue Hendrickson also been credited with discovering other important fossils and artifacts.

Indiana during the Ice Age, when mastodons roamed

A young boy is fascinated with the giant bones on display at the Indiana State Museum. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum.(Dec. 14, 2013) - In this show, we delve into the deepest era of Hoosier history - and the coldest.

To explore the Ice Age, including the landscape of - as well as plant and animal life (including mastodons) once found in - the part of Earth that eventually became Indiana, Nelson is joined in studio by two experts from the Indiana State Museum.

His guests are Ron Richards, senior research curator of paleobiology, and Ron's colleague Damon Lowe, chief curator of science and technology. They have been the key figures in putting together the blockbuster exhibit Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons that opened in November at the State Museum.

According to Ron, mastodon bones have been discovered in most of Indiana's 92 counties.

The exhibit features actual skeletons, skulls and casts of Ice Age animals as well as fossils. The Indiana State Museum contends its collection of Ice Age bones is the largest in the Midwest. Some of the bones belonged to a mastodon that was discovered on a farm near Fort Wayne and has been named "Fred."

Damon Lowe.According to our experts, a frigid climate more than 80,000 years ago forced an expansion of the Arctic ice sheets. The largest sheet covered much of North America, including the future state of Indiana.

Ron Richards, senior research curator of paleobiology at the Indiana State Museum. Image courtesy Indianapolis Monthly.As described by the State Museum, mastodons like Fred were "shorter, stockier cousins" of mammoths, which also roamed prehistoric Indiana about 13,000 years ago. Mammoths were not as plentiful here as mastodons, though.

"Like modern elephants, mastodons could live 60 years or more, but few made it to retirement (age)," according to an article in Indianapolis Monthly magazine's November issue.

In conjunction with the Ice Age Giants exhibit at the State Museum, the nearby IMAX Theater is showing a movie, Titans of the Ice Age, that depicts the era in 3D. It's an age described as inhabited by "saber-toothed cats, giant sloths, dire wolves and woolly mammoths."

A skeleton of a dire wolf, a type of wolf that co-existed with mammoths and mastodons in Indiana, is displayed at the State Museum.

A mastodon skeleton, known as “Fred,” greets visitors at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. Fred once weighed about 3 tons and stood 9 feet tall. Bone analysis through radiocarbon dating shows he is more than 13,000 years old. Image courtesy Indiana State Museum.The museum has been involved in what's known as "bone recovery" of prehistoric remains since the late 1970s. The first major excavation site was near Bass Lake in Starke County.

Since then, significant excavations have occurred near Hebron in northwest Indiana and near the city of Plymouth. Mastodon bones also have been found in a bed of the White River in southern Indiana. The average excavation takes two weeks and a crew of about 10 staff members from the State Museum and volunteers.

The skeleton of Fred, the mastodon, is about 9 feet tall and 250 feet long. His skull alone weighs 250 pounds.

Some other Ice Age history nuggets:

  • Our guest Ron Richards was involved in the discovery of the nearly complete skeleton of a peccary, a pig-like animal that existed in Indiana during ancient time. The peccary skeleton was unearthed in Crawford County.
  • In addition to differing in their size, mammoths and mastodons had different types of tusks. The taller, slimmer mammoths had tusks that were much more curved, projecting downward "like a walrus," according to the State Museum. Mastodons' tusks tended to project straight forward.
  • Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons exhibit will continue at the State Museum until Aug. 17.

Roadtripper: Sing along with Handel's Messiah

A panorama photo of the 2012 holiday Sing-Along at the Indiana Landmarks building. The annual event features the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Encore Vocal Arts. Image courtesy Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.

Ever affable Guest Roadtripper Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography suggests we check out one of Indy's newest holiday traditions. It's the opportunity for any and all to sing selections from Handel's Messiah along with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Encore Vocal Arts. No singing experience needed!

Sit in your section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) or sit with your friends and family, whatever is most comfortable for you! Grab your score; you can also download one from icomusic.org, borrow or purchase a score for $5 at the performance.

The Sing-Along takes place Monday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Indiana Landmarks Center Grand Hall in Indianapolis. Tickets are $30 for adults and $12 for students.

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra also performs Handel's Messiah on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis.

History Mystery

One of the world's most famous sets of dinosaur fossils - the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex considered the most complete and best preserved ever found - is exhibited at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. However, there is an Indiana connection to the T-Rex. The specimen has been named in honor of the woman who discovered it. She is a paleontologist who grew up in Munster, Ind.

Although the future discoverer was born in Chicago, her family moved to Munster when she was a young child. She lived in the northwestern Indiana city until age 16.

In 1990, while excavating in South Dakota, she discovered the Tyrannosaurus skeleton, which is considered 90 percent complete. It's been exhibited at the Field Museum since 2000.

A T-Rex dinosaur with an Indiana connection is on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. Image courtesy Wikipedia.Question: What is the name of the dinosaur, which is also the first name of the paleontologist who discovered it?

The prize is a gift certificate to New Orleans on the Avenue restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Last live show's answer. By request, we are publishing the answer to the last live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Nov. 30 show answer was: A STEER.

Known as "Old Ben," the steer has been displayed in Kokomo's Highland Park since before World War II. His weight upon his death in 1910 was estimated at more than 4,500 pounds. Old Ben was born on a farm in 1902 and apparently weighed at least 125 pounds at birth. During his life, the steer became famous and was exhibited at various festivals.

After Old Ben slipped on ice and broke both legs in 1910, he had to be put down. His owners had him stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist to prove to future generations of doubters that an animal of his gigantic size once existed. In the pavilion in Highland Park, Old Ben is exhibited next to a pile of hay.

Old Northside neighborhood in Indy history

The Ovid Butler House in Indy’s Old Northside neighborhood features two large griffins atop a porte-cochere (carriage porch) that originally came from the long-gone Bates Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.  Hoosier History Live photo.(Dec. 7, 2013 encore presentation) - Thanks to spacious Italianate and Queen Anne-style houses built in the late 1800s, the Old Northside in Indianapolis became the city's posh neighborhood through the World War I era.

By the 1970s, when urban pioneers Paul Smith, Rick Patton and their wives moved into two of the historic homes, the neighborhood had become, as Rick diplomatically puts it, "blighted." Paul says his house even was occupied by a drug dealer.

During the 30 years since then, many of the grand homes have been restored to their former glory in the neighborhood, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and now is known as the Old Northside Historic District.

Join us for an encore broadcast of a show about the colorful heritage of the neighborhood that's roughly bounded by East 11th, Pennsylvania, East 16th and Carrollton streets. Paul Smith and Rick Patton are Nelson's guests on the show, which originally was broadcast on Jan. 7, 2012.

Indy’s downtown Old Northside neighborhood is pictured in the early 1900s. The house at 1508 Broadway was home to the family of Albert Metzger, pictured here in front of their first car, a 1907 Premier, which was manufactured in Indianapolis. Photo courtesy Rick Patton.During the decades that the Old Northside struggled, many of the once-fashionable homes (Rick estimates more than 100) were demolished. Others, including his, were converted into apartments.

By the way, Rick's home was built in 1876 by the son-in-law of civic leader Ovid Butler, a founder of the university that now bears his name. In fact, the Old Northside was the initial site of Butler University, then known as North Western Christian University.

(Fun fact: College Avenue derives its name because that street led to the university, which moved to Irvington during the 1870s. Butler moved, yet again, to its current location in the 1920s.)

Paul Smith, whose house was built in 1892, is a past president of the Old Northside Neighborhood Association and a past board member of Indiana Landmarks, the statewide historic preservation organization. (In 2011, Landmarks itself became an Old Northside "resident" by moving its headquarters into the former Central Avenue University Methodist Church, later known as the Old Centrum.)

Construction of I-65 occurs just south of the Morris-Butler House at 1204 N. Park Ave., circa 1970. Photo courtesy Heritage Photo & Research Services.Preservation advocates from across the country - including architects, civic leaders, attorneys, historians and federal officials - toured the Old Northside during last month's conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Most of the Old Northside's historic homes were built between the 1870s and the early 1900s. Before the Civil War, property in what became the Old Northside was regarded as too far away from the bustling Mile Square to be developed for homes.

That changed with the coming of horse-drawn trolleys and the extension of city streets. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, influential residents included Benjamin Harrison (his Italianate home, now known as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, is at 12th and Delaware streets); the Ayres and Wasson families of department store fame (their historic mansions were demolished), novelist Meredith Nicholson, author of the bestselling romance thriller House of 1,000 Candles, and Thomas Taggart, the former mayor who bought the French Lick Springs Hotel.

This house at 1500 N. Delaware Street in what is now called the Old Northside neighborhood of Indianapolis is shown circa 1905. It once was home to author Meredith Nicholson, and now it is home to Indiana Humanities. LC Detroit Pub. Co., courtesy Heritage Photo & Research Services.The Old Northside also includes the restored Morris-Butler House, which was built in 1865 and is owned now by Indiana Landmarks. And it includes a Romanesque Revival house built in the 1890s at 1410 N. Delaware owned by the Propylaeum Historic Foundation.

Why were so many homes demolished in the Old Northside? Many, including the mansions of the Ayres and Wasson families, came down during the 1960s and early '70s with the construction of I-65, which cuts through the neighborhood. Other homes were demolished as part of "urban renewal."

Along with spectacular renovations of many historic homes in recent years, new-home construction has occurred, particularly on the east edge of the neighborhood near College Avenue.

As Old Northside residents for more than 30 years - Paul and Rick arrived with their wives shortly after graduating from college - our guests have insights about the changes they have seen in the neighborhood. Paul is real estate manager for the city of Indianapolis; Rick is an executive for a textbook publisher.

As Rick notes with pride, the Old Northside today resembles the neighborhood depicted in historic photographs much more than the "blighted" residential area he encountered as a newlywed.

Interviewing tips for family, church and neighborhood histories

Nelson Price interviews Joe Kennedy II, eldest son of the late Bobby Kennedy, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, circa 1994. The park, near 17th and Broadway streets in Indianapolis, was the site in April 1968 of Bobby Kennedy’s famous impromptu speech during which he broke the news to the crowd that Dr. King had been assassinated. The speech is credited with helping keep Indy free of the rioting that broke out elsewhere. Image courtesy Rich Miller.(Nov. 30, 2013) - Family gatherings during the holiday season are, obviously, ideal opportunities to do oral interviewing of grandparents and other relatives for a family histories.

And folks who want to put together histories of their churches, neighborhoods or civic groups also will benefit from tips for getting people to "open up" and share memories, including those that touch on sensitive or painful topics.

To provide techniques and tips for the broad range of our listeners, Hoosier History Live! turns to three veteran interviewers.

They include our host, Nelson, who frequently teaches classes (sometimes called "Making People Talk") for the general public based on his years of interviewing everyone from acrobats to zoo veterinarians - as well as folks in their 80s and 90s who have lived through dozens of historic events.

Nelson, a former feature writer/columnist for The Indianapolis Star, is joined in studio by:

  • Ray Boomhower of the Indiana Historical Society. An author/historian like Nelson, Ray has interviewed countless history-makers for his various books and in his capacity as editor of the society's magazine, Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Ray currently is working on a biography of John Bartlow Martin (1915-1987), a Hoosier journalist known for his interviewing techniques as well as for his coverage of national stories such as John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.
  • Allen Safianow.Allen Safianow, a professor emeritus of history at Indiana University-Kokomo who has overseen oral interview projects in Howard County. He has interviewed people on sensitive topics such as the statewide stranglehold that the Ku Klux Klan had in the 1920s (he was a guest for a Hoosier History Live! show on that topic in April 2010) and the controversy surrounding the crusade of AIDS victim Ryan White to attend school in the 1980s.

Nelson and his guests share tips about their favorite interview questions (and ones that are the least effective in getting people to open up); how to extract decades-old details from interview subjects, and ideal settings for interviews.

In addition, Nelson discusses the importance of asking about sensitive issues (such as a parent's alcoholism or a family tragedy) when doing a family history interview. He shares non-threatening ways to ask questions about painful episodes.

Allen shares suggestions about phrasing questions so they are posed in neutral ways that don't influence interview subjects. When he has trained Howard County residents for oral history projects, Allen has used this example of a leading question:
"Don't you feel that management was antagonistic toward the workers?"

Instead, he recommends: "How would you describe management's attitude toward the workers?"

Ray Boomhower was a Hoosier History Live! guest in April 2008, talking about his book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.For in-depth interviews, both Allen and Nelson strongly recommend one-on-one sessions, without observers such as spouses, managers and friends - even if the third parties promise to stay silent. (In fact, Nelson is convinced that silent onlookers pose special problems. He will explain why during our show.)

For his various biographies, our guest Ray Boomhower has interviewed Hoosiers ranging from a World War II-era flying ace from northwest Indiana (Alex Vraciu was the focus of his book, Fighter Pilot, which was published in 2010 by the Indiana Historical Society Press) to political leaders such as the late U.S. Congressman Jim Jontz, the subject of The People's Choice (IHS Press, 2012).

With more than 70 other authors with Indiana connections, Ray and Nelson will sign copies of the books about famous Hoosiers from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 during the annual Holiday Author Fair at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

But both of our guests, like Nelson, have interviewed countless Hoosiers who never made headlines.

Even so, who doesn’t have at least some captivating stories to tell? Tune in for practical advice that will help anyone interested in capturing vivid memories that will add depth and details to histories of families, neighborhoods, churches and civic groups.

Here are some advice books recommended by Nelson, who has taught interviewing classes for the Indiana Writers Center and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis:

Roadtrip: Eight holiday open houses across Indiana

The Pepin Mansion is an 1851 Italianate villa on Mansion Row in New Albany, Ind. Photo by Greg Sekula courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Guest Roadtripper Chris DellaRocco of Indiana Landmarks suggests we add some historic flare to this year's holiday season by visiting some of the spectacular Holiday Open Houses around the state.

Eight historic homes will be dressed up for the holidays, and admittance is free for Indiana Landmarks members and their guests. Chris tells us that this is a chance to see some excellent examples of preservation and restoration inside homes not that are not normally open to the public.

Many of the homes are ones have been saved from the Top Ten Endangered List, and others have long held a great significance to their community.

Here is a line-up for this year's Holiday Open Houses.

Chris tells us that Indiana Landmarks has been working to save meaningful places for more than 53 years.

History Mystery

Kokomo, where our guest Allen Safianow has been a history professor and has overseen oral interviewing projects, has a claim to fame in taxidermy. The largest preserved example in the world of a certain kind of animal is displayed in Kokomo.

The animal lived during the early 1900s and set a record for his size that still stands today. The stuffed, mounted figure of the animal stands in a pavilion in Highland Park. The park in Kokomo also is the home of the world's largest Sycamore tree stump.

Barbara Boyd was the on-air guest of host Nelson Price in a 2008 Hoosier History Live show about pioneering African-American newscasters in Indiana. Hoosier History Live photo.Question: The world's largest example of what kind of animal is displayed in Kokomo?

The prize is a gift certificate to Iozzo's Garden of Italy, courtesy of Visit Indy, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Last live show's answer. By request, we are publishing the answer to the last live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air.

The Nov. 16 show answer: BARBARA BOYD. The well-known TV news personality had been the office manager of Head Start in Indianapolis before being hired as a consumer reporter at Channel 6 in 1969. From 1981 to 1984, Barbara Boyd anchored the noon news, becoming the first African-American woman to anchor a TV news broadcast in Indianapolis.

Still highly visible as a civic leader since retiring from TV news in 1994, Barbara Boyd joined Nelson in February 2008 for a Hoosier History Live! show about her trail-blazing career in local television.

Cafeterias across Indiana

Text on the back of this vintage postcard for Mangas Cafeteria reads: “Best place to eat in the Middle-West. Steaks and chops. Air-conditioned. Corner of Main and Anderson Streets, Elwood, Indiana. Published by the Lewellyn Studio, Elwood, Ind.”

Click here to listen to this encore broadcast!

(Nov. 23, 2013 - online-only encore presentation) - Hoosier History Live! will be pre-empted Saturday on WICR-FM so the radio station can broadcast live coverage of the University of Indianapolis football team's playoff game. Shapiro’s Delicatessen and Cafeteria, on South Meridian Street in Indianapolis, is pictured in the early 1970s. IUPUI Digital Collection. Caption research by Heritage Photo & Research and Historic Indianapolis.Even though you won't be able to tune in and listen to us over the airwaves, as a special treat we are making available - on our website and by clicking on a link embedded in this e-newsletter - one of the most popular programs from our Hoosier History Live! archives.

The featured program is a perfect show for a season known for its focus on food. Rather than feast on Thanksgiving turkey, though, we dig into our state's cafeteria culture in a show originally broadcast on Oct. 27, 2012.

Unaware that Indiana was famous for its cafeterias?

Well, think how many have flourished for generations of hungry Hoosiers. Gray Brothers Cafeteria in Mooresville has received national acclaim for its fresh-made rolls, fried chicken and old-fashioned pies. Indiana-based MCL Cafeterias is described in Tray Chic: Celebrating Indiana’s Cafeteria Culture (Emmis Books, 2004) as "arguably the largest family-owned cafeteria chain in the nation."

Poe's Cafeteria in Martinsville is cherished by devotees of its persimmon pudding, gooseberry pie and other scrumptious fare.

Guests Sam Stall and Daina Chamness in the WICR studio for the live show on Oct. 27, 2012. Hoosier History Live photo.And Shapiro's Delicatessen has been a landmark in downtown Indy for more than 100 years, although fourth-generation owner Brian Shapiro has been quoted as saying he dislikes the term "cafeteria."

Even so, all of those beloved cafeterias (and a platter of others) are featured in Tray Chic, and its author is among Nelson's in-studio guests. He is Indianapolis-based writer Sam Stall, who also pens a question-and-answer column in Indianapolis Monthly magazine called "The Hoosierist."

In addition to Sam, Nelson is joined on our exploration of cafeteria culture by a culinary queen who is well-known among Hoosier foodies. Daina Chamness of Greenwood has carved out a long career, thanks to her work both in broadcasting and in the kitchen. Now known for Yours Truly Foods, her wine cake mixes, Daina formerly specialized in single-serving pies of all varieties.

Tray Chic book cover. By Sam Stall.Speaking of pies: As part of our cafeteria conversation, Nelson and his guests discuss sugar cream pie, which has been designated Indiana's "official state pie." It's relevant to our topic because Jonathan Byrd's in Greenwood and other cafeterias are among the few eateries that regularly serve it. (Sugar cream pie also was the focus of a "Hoosierist" column by Sam last year.)

In Tray Chic, Sam describes the sprawling Jonathan Byrd's as the cafeteria version of an "epic, Cecil B. De Mille-style scale" production.

Noting that cafeterias have long been hailed for their comfort food, Sam writes: "Some would say that the long view down the tray line is what heaven looks like."

According to Tray Chic, though, cafeterias are vanishing in many parts of the country.

"Today, they're as state-of-the-art as a brontosaurus, and almost as rare - unless you live in Indiana," Sam writes. In the Hoosier state, he explains, cafeterias are "culinary landmarks."

A piece of sugar cream pie. Mmm, delicious!The former Laughner's Cafeteria chain, which traced its beginnings to a storefront restaurant in 1900 in downtown Indy, opened the state's first cafeteria and was on the cutting edge of "food service technology," according to Tray Chic.

Expansion of the Laughner's chain included the 1964 opening in Southern Plaza shopping center of a cafeteria in a structure that, as Tray Chic puts it, resembled a "big, Tudor-style house." In 1987, the chain opened a Laughner's Super Cafeteria on the far northside of Indy. After about 100 years in operation, though, the last Laughner's closed in 2000.

Daina Chamness holds a package of her wine cake mix.  The MCL chain, however, has survived with signature fare, including cloverleaf rolls, carved roast beef, Swiss steak and Irani iced tea. According to Reid Duffy's Guide to Indiana's Favorite Restaurants (IU Press, 2006), the chain resulted from a business relationship between co-founder Charles McGaughey and George Laughner, a son of the Laughner's founder. (The "L" in MCL stands for Laughner.)

By 2006, the MCL chain had more than 20 cafeterias, including restaurants in Anderson, Bloomington, Muncie, Richmond, Speedway, Terre Haute and West Lafayette.

In Mooresville, Gray Brothers seats 500 and often feeds 3,000 patrons per day, according to Tray Chic. With homemade dishes that have won praise from national food critics, Gray Brothers has been a landmark on State Road 67 since the late 1960s.

Shapiro's roots go back much farther. In 1905, two years after immigrating from Russia because of anti-Jewish pogroms, Louis and Rebecca Shapiro opened a kosher grocery shop on what's now the south side of downtown Indy, according to Reid Duffy's book.

Sam Stall.The transition to a restaurant - with cafeteria-style lines - began in the 1930s when Louis delegated the store to his sons Abe, Izzy and Max.

And about 120 years before that, hundreds of Quakers from North Carolina traveled to Indiana to settle. Our guest Daina Chamness noted during a previous show (that also featured Reid Duffy as a guest) that sugar cream pie may have its origins in a dessert made by Quaker farm wives.

Speaking of farms: In Tray Chic, Sam writes that, for Hoosiers, cafeterias often conjure up "ancestral memories of old-fashioned farm dinners, or fond reflections of Sunday after-church suppers at Grandma's."

Typically, he notes, cafeterias serve fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, pecan pies and "pretty much anything else that farm wives set out for their families 150 years ago."

Some fun facts:

  • The word "cafeteria" is derived from a Spanish term for coffee shop, according to Tray Chic.
  • According to Reid Duffy's book, Louis Shapiro's grandfather had been a primary food supplier for the czar of Russia's naval fleet.
  • At Jonathan Byrd's in Greenwood, Sam Stall writes, the serving line is about as long as a tennis court.

Click here to listen to this encore broadcast!

A vintage photo shows Mangas Cafeteria in Elwood, Ind.

Roadtrip: 25 Weird and Wonderful tour

Guest Roadtripper and Hoosier History Live! fan Terri Gorney of Fort Wayne, who listens to the show every week via WICR Online, tells us to check out 25 different real Roadtrips, all highlighted under one roof, and taking up two huge gallery areas.

It's the 25 Weird and Wonderful tour at Minnetrista in Muncie, Ind. Turns out the Minnetrista staff queried lots of Hoosiers about 25 awesome places to visit in east central Indiana. It runs now through March 30.

From famous ice cream shops to glass blowing to the world's largest ball of paint, east central Indiana has it all and much more! Terri tells us that you can explore 25 of the region's best-kept secrets in one intriguing exhibit at Minnetrista, and then visit each location itself.

In the news

IBJ covers Hoosier History Live!

Reporter Chris O'Malley of the Indianapolis Business Journal sat in on a recent program and shared some of the unique ambition and charm of Hoosier History Live! with IBJ's readers.

Indianapolis Business Journal story about Hoosier History Live, June 22, 2013.

Ask Nelson and Channel 4 children's shows history

Nelson Price.(Nov. 16, 2013) - Once in awhile, we like to take full advantage of our claim to distinction at Hoosier History Live!: Our show is the country's only live radio program with listener call-in about a state's history.

That means we can turn the tables periodically on our host, author/historian Nelson Price, open the phone lines and give our listeners an opportunity to question the interviewer, who calls himself "a garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia."

Julie Young.During our "Ask Nelson" shows, listeners are encouraged to call the WICR-FM studio and pose questions to Nelson, whose areas of expertise are famous Hoosiers (both historic and contemporary people) and Indianapolis city history. His books include Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing) and Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a visual history about his hometown.

On this show, Nelson is joined by a special co-host who joins the questioning - and also takes questions from listeners. His co-host is author Julie Young, whose newest book is The Famous Faces of Indy's WTTV-4 (The History Press). It explores the lives, careers and impact on Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and other Hoosiers of TV personalities during the heyday of children's programming on WTTV-Channel 4.

Those personalities include some - such as Janie Hodge, the popular star of the long-running "Popeye and Janie" (the show was later renamed "Janie") and Cowboy Bob (real name: Bob Glaze) - who have been guests on previous Hoosier History Live! shows.

The Famous Faces of Indy's WTTV-4 book cover, by Julie Young.Julie's book also explores the lives and careers of ghoulish Sammy Terry, the host of the cult favorite "Shock Theater," which also had other names, including "Nightmare Theater" and "The Sammy Terry Show," during its various incarnations) and Peggy Nicholson, the host of a children's show in the 1970s on Channel 4.

Sammy Terry (real name: Bob Carter) died last June at age 83; his son, Mark Carter, now makes appearances as Sammy Terry, a name that, when spoken quickly, is a riff on the word "cemetery."

So with Julie's expertise about, as her book puts it, "a pre-cable era when shows were live, hosts were local celebrities and anything could happen," she is an ideal co-host for Nelson, with his expertise about famous Hoosiers.

His book Indiana Legends, now in its 4th edition and 7th printing, features profiles and vignettes of more than notables. He has interviewed - often several times - contemporary-era famous Hoosiers such as David Letterman, Jane Pauley, Larry Bird, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Ryan White, Reggie Miller, Florence Henderson, astronaut David Wolf and Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of the University of Norte Dame.

He also has researched the colorful lives of historic notables such as bank robber John Dillinger, composers Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael, entrepreneurs Col. Eli Lilly and Madam Walker, novelists Lew Wallace and Booth Tarkington and movie star Carole Lombard.

Film star Carole Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Oct. 6, 1908, and died in a plane accident at the age of 33. She was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s. Image courtesy MGM Vintage.Nelson welcomes questions during our show about any of these famous (or, in a couple of cases, infamous) Hoosiers, as Julie does about any of the Channel 4 personalities.

During our show, Nelson and Julie also interview each other. Nelson asks his co-host how and why WTTV, which went on the air in November 1949 as only the second TV station in the state, carved out a niche in offering children's programming. (According to Julie's book, the first TV station on the air in Indiana was Indianapolis-based WFBM, which is known today as WRTV-Channel 6.)

In addition, Nelson welcomes questions related to city history of the Hoosier capital. His book Indianapolis Then and Now explores sites such as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Garfield Park, Fort Harrison (now Fort Harrison State Park) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It also features neighborhoods with colorful histories such as Lockerbie, Woodruff Place and Broad Ripple.

By the way, his co-host on this "Ask Nelson" show has been a frequent guest on Hoosier History Live! in connection with her other books. In addition to writing The Famous Faces of Indy's WTTV-4, Julie Young is the author of books about the histories of Shelby County and the eastside of Indy. In fact, Nelson, who grew up on the far-eastside, is quoted in Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History (The History Press, 2009).

Julie also is the author of A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2007), a biography of the first Hoosier to be named a saint. Mother Theodore, as she was known during her lifetime (1798-1856), also is featured in Nelson's Indiana Legends; she was a Catholic nun who traveled from France to the wilderness of far-western Indiana in 1840. As a pioneer, she founded schools, orphanages and frontier versions of pharmacies. So both Julie and Nelson welcome questions about her remarkable life.

This circa 1806 “Old French House” still stands in Vincennes, Ind., and was occupied by French fur trader Michel Brouille (1774-1838). Image courtesy Society of Indiana Pioneers.Earlier this year, shows with the "Ask Nelson" format have featured, as co-hosts, Indianapolis-based event planner Gary BraVard and our WICR colleague, attorney Charles Braun, whose Legally Speaking radio show is celebrating its 30th year on the air. During the show with Gary, he shared behind-the-scenes anecdotes about galas that he planned in the Hoosier capital attended by a range of visiting celebrities.

A caller asked Nelson about early French immigrants to the Indiana frontier, including the fur traders who founded Vincennes, our oldest city. Another caller shared memories about the construction of I-465 and I-70 during the late 1960s and early '70s.

And yet another caller asked about the law school years of Dan Quayle. The former vice president also is among the scores of well-known Hoosiers whom Nelson has interviewed.

We always look forward to these lively, insightful shows - with your phone calls as the centerpiece.

Fun fact: Julie and Nelson will be among more than 70 authors who will sign books during the Indiana Author Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7. The annual fair will be at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis.

Roadtrip: Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff tells us that late fall is the time for the annual pilgrimage to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area (just north of Medaryville off 421) to see the sandhill cranes.

The sight of thousands of these amazing birds flying in from all directions - with their unique bugling cries, then landing, gabbling and dancing in Goose Meadow - is a wonderful experience.

Sandhill cranes fly at dusk at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife area in northern Indiana. Photo by Glory-June Greiff.She says to plan to arrive about an hour before sunset to see them come in. Glory recommends trying to go up on a weekday when the crowds are smaller; hearing the cranes is a vital part of the experience, and she reports being recently annoyed by many people babbling about shopping bargains and such. In fact, she wanted to hear those magnificent sounds! (Perhaps those same people talk in movies and at concerts.)

She says if you're heading up from the south, you’ll go up State Road 43 north from Lafayette and continue straight north on US 421. Passing through Brookston, a few miles north of Lafayette, you may want to check out Two Cookin' Sisters/Prairie Street Market for Grannie's Garden Pumpkin Butter and such.

Hungry? Reme's Monon Family Restaurant (in Monon, of course) offers a huge menu of classic family cafe fare. They're open late enough that you can catch them on the way back as well.

For something quick but tasty, on the north side of Monon is The Viking, locally owned - always Glory's preference.

Farther north of Monon is what could be a destination stop in itself - you might want to head up early to check this out. They, too, are open late enough to catch on the way back. It's the Whistle Stop Restaurant and Monon Connection Museum.

Happy crane watching and good eating - and tell everyone that Hoosier History Live! sent you.

History Mystery

In addition to Janie and Cowboy Bob, popular former TV personalities who have been studio guests on Hoosier History Live! include the first African-American woman to be a TV news reporter in Indianapolis. That happened in 1969 on WRTV-Channel 6, which then was WFBM-TV.

A consumer reporter, she went on to become the first African-American woman to anchor a TV news show in Indianapolis. She drew widespread attention in 1973 when, after learning she had breast cancer, she broadcast a report about her mastectomy from her hospital bed. In 1994, she retired after a 25-year career at Channel 6.

Question: Who is she?

The prize is admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, and a gift certificate to LePeep, courtesy of Visit Indy.

By the way, Anna of Indianapolis just won a prize on our Facebook page, so be sure to check us out there as well!

Last live show's answer. By request, we are publishing the answer to the last live History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air.

Schuyler Colfax of Indiana was 17th vice president of the United States.The Nov. 9 show answer: SCHUYLER COLFAX, who served as vice president with President Ulysses S. Grant.

A native of New York City, Colfax moved with his family to northern Indiana at age 13 in the 1830s. Ambitious and gregarious, he advanced through Indiana politics as a Republican and, beginning in 1855, was elected to the U.S. Congress. Colfax served as Speaker of the House during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who became a close friend.

His term as vice president was from 1869 to 1873. Colfax died in 1885 and is buried in City Cemetery in South Bend.

The other three deceased vice presidents from Indiana - Thomas Hendricks, Thomas R. Marshall and Charles Fairbanks - are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

By the way, Judy from our Irvington Library Listening Group won the prize! So check out that group every Saturday during the live show at the Irvington Library, 5625 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis.

Brazilian immigration with artist Artur Silva

The Allegory of the Cave, a 2013 Artur Silva installation at Indy’s Alexander Hotel, is an inkjet-on-vinyl piece. Image courtesy Artur Silva.(Nov. 2, 2013 - encore presentation) - Join us for an encore broadcast of a program in our popular series about our ethnic heritage in Indiana. For this show about Brazilian immigration, Nelson's guest is Indianapolis-based artist, clothing designer and cultural organizer Artur Silva, one of several immigrants and visitors from his South American homeland who have been creating a splash on Hoosier soil. (The show's original air date was June 11, 2011 and is a half-hour program. The last half hour in our usual time slot has been pre-empted for U of I football.)

A recipient of the prestigious Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship in 2010-11 and, more recently, of a creative renewal fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Artur moved to Indy in 2001 after a few years in New York City.

Artur Silva. Image courtesy Artur Silva.He has helped organize Indy Brazilian Carnaval, a festive celebration that has become an annual event in the Hoosier capital. His artwork has been exhibited at the Harrison Center for the Arts, the Indianapolis International Airport and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. It also has been exhibited in galleries from Chicago and Los Angeles to the Netherlands and Brazil.

Artur, 37, is a native of Belo Horizonte City (translation: "beautiful horizon"), a city in southeastern Brazil that is surrounded by mountains. During our show, Artur discusses the wide range of reasons that native Brazilians have chosen to settle in Indiana.

Some fun facts:

  • The high profile of Brazilian race drivers in the Indianapolis 500 has resulted in increasing enthusiasm for the sporting event in South America. Even casual race fans are familiar with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves; the race last May was won by another native Brazilian, Tony Kanaan, who has become extremely popular among Hoosiers.
  • The Indiana town of Brazil derives its name only indirectly from the country. According to folklore, the town took its name from a nearby farm called Brazil; the farm, in turn, had appropriated it because the country had been in the news frequently during the 1840s.
  • The Chafariz dos Contos fountain was a gift from the nation of Brazil to the city of Brazil, Ind. It was dedicated in 1956. It is a replica of the original fountain built in 1745 in Ouro, Brazil. Image courtesy Geocaching.Even so, Forest Park in Brazil, Ind., features a large granite fountain that was a gift from the country; it's a replica of a historic fountain there.
  • Artur's artwork is exhibited in The Alexander, the boutique hotel that opened in downtown Indy early this year. The hotel is named for Alexander Ralston, the surveyor who laid out the Hoosier capital in the 1820s. Nothing had been named in honor of the city's planner for more than 200 years. His life - and insights about the reasons Ralston assigned names to streets in the Mile Square - was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show last February.

One more item: Here is video of Artur talking about art at the Alexander Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

Environmental heritage across Indiana

Nebo Ridge, part of the Hoosier National Forest, is in Brown County, Ind. Image courtesy Hoosier Environmental Council.(Oct. 26, 2013) - The way history has unfolded, maybe we should call this show "the good, the bad and the ugly."

Early settlers in Indiana and subsequent generations clear-cut the dense, unbroken forest of towering trees that had dominated the Hoosier landscape, resulting in soil erosion and other significant challenges.

But, beginning with work during the Great Depression undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Hoosier National Forest was recreated extensively in southern Indiana.

White River in the Indianapolis area has been substantially cleaned up, particularly when contrasted with its previous reputation as a dumping ground and a punch line for jokes. Many experts, though, consider the Grand Calumet River in northwestern Indiana still to be among the top 10 dirtiest in the country.

Tim Maloney.New hotels, businesses and buildings on university campuses in Indiana are winning acclaim for their energy-saving features. Concerns are increasing, though, about factory farms and their impact on nearby communities and havens such as Camp Tecumseh, a retreat near Monticello that has been beloved by generations of Hoosier youth.

Jesse Kharbanda.To explore the state's environmental heritage, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests from the Hoosier Environmental Council, a non-profit that is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The HEC, which describes itself as a "science-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting Indiana's environment," will host one of the state's largest gatherings of environmentalists on Nov. 16 on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Nelson's guests are:

  • Jesse Kharbanda, the dynamic former Rhodes Scholar who has been HEC's executive director since 2007. Known for his media savvy - Jesse has been a Nuvo Newsweekly cover subject and a familiar interviewee on TV and radio shows - he has emphasized ways that environmentalists can work in concert with business leaders and religious conservatives rather than being seen as perpetually at, well, loggerheads.
  • Tim Maloney, HEC's senior policy director. He also has been the chair of Hoosier chapter of the Sierra Club; during the early 1980s, Tim helped found the HEC as a board member.

"A lot of what we're worried about today results from actions taken decades ago and generations ago," Jesse Kharbanda says, referring to what he and others call "legacy waste."

A coal-ash sludge lagoon is pictured, with a coal-powered electricity plant in the background. Image courtesy Hoosier Environmental Council.He also says: "Everyone cares about nature. They just care about different facets of it, in different ways, with different approaches to dealing with problems."

Specific areas of concern include Blackford County in northeastern Indiana, the site of several abandoned industrial complexes and former factories.

According to several accounts, the county and its county seat, Hartford City, have some of the highest levels of cancer, per person, in the state. The HEC launched a task force to coordinate investigations into the health issues and pollutants in the region, which once was home to automobile, gas, glass and chemical companies. In recent years, local residents have formed Blackford County Concerned Citizens, a grassroots organization that crusades for, as they put it, a "healthier and stronger future."

For the HEC, a galvanizing crusade after the organization was founded in 1983 involved attempts to stop expanded gas and oil leasing in parts of the Hoosier National Forest. The forest had been recreated by the CCC in the 1930s because extensive clear-cutting in Brown County and elsewhere in southern Indiana was causing significant environmental problems.

The Hoosier Environmental Council has worked to protect the Patoka River in the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge near Jasper, Ind.Our guest Tim Maloney, who was involved with the statewide campaign to protect the Hoosier National Forrest, shares details about how it unfolded. He also shares insights about various rivers in Indiana, including the White River and the Grand Calumet.

"We have a mixed record in Indiana," he says. "Throughout our history, we turned our backs on most of our waterways for many years. We saw them as sewers, with the result that they became badly contaminated."

Our guest Jesse Kharbanda is the son of immigrants from India. He grew up in St. Louis and studied economics at Oxford University in England, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Since moving to the Hoosier state, Jesse, 36, has helped lead a collaboration with the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce on pending legislation regarding public transit. In 2011, he was named by the Indianapolis Business Journal to its "40 Under 40" roster of rising young executives.

Here are some learn-more websites:

Roadtrip - You Are There 1904: Picture This!

The studio of Fort Wayne, Ind., photographer Charles Miner is pictured in 1904. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Guest Roadtripper Amy Lamb of the Indiana Historical Society suggests that you be one of the first to see You Are There 1904: Picture This!, which opens Oct. 29. She says visitors can step into the studio of photographer Charles Miner, who is busy conducting a normal day's business taking portraits of his Fort Wayne neighbors in 1904.

The Columbia City native turned Fort Wayne resident enjoyed a thriving business in the heart of Fort Wayne's downtown, where he participated in monumental moments in the lives of others.

Guests may also meet Miner's cousin/office manager, his technical assistant, or some Fort Wayne residents who may have visited the studio. And yes, Charles Miner really will take your photograph!

Amy also invites you to visit the IHS website after your visit to download your picture, play with the custom-made software, and morph your image into a vintage photograph to share with your friends and family.

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center is located at 450 W. Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis.

History Mystery

During the 1970s, an Indianapolis-based radio station drew widespread attention - and even astonishment - for sponsoring an annual raft race on the White River, then considered far from pristine. Popular among young listeners for playing a wide range of rock music, the radio station organized the raft race on a 2.5-mile section of the White River near the Broad Ripple area.

About 8,000 rafters each year participated in the race, which drew nearly 30,000 spectators to Broad Ripple Park and other areas along the course on the murky White River in the 1970s.

Question: What were the call letters of the radio station?

The prize is a voucher for two tickets to an Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra 2013-14 Masterworks Concert (includes The Messiah as a choice), courtesy of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, where you can experience the new Picture This:1904 exhibit, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Thanks to all of our wonderful prize partners, including the stalwart Visit Indy, and also to our own Nelson Price, who seems to have a never-ending wealth of ideas for this contest.

Last week's answer

By request, we are publishing the answer to last week's History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Oct. 19 History Mystery answer is: REV. JACQUELINE MEANS.

The issue of ordaining women as priests was highly controversial among Episcopalians during the 1970s. Some protesters gathered in front of All Saints, 1559 Central Ave., on New Year's Day 1977 when Jacqueline Means was ordained as the first woman Episcopal priest.

In the decades since her ordination, Rev. Means served for several years as the parish priest at St. Mark Episcopal Church in Plainfield and continued her work as a prison chaplain, including at the Indiana Women's Prison. She also served in administrative capacities with the Episcopalian Church's prison ministries.

Preservation at the Crossroads kicks off Oct. 29 in Indy

Susan West Montgomery, a senior director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., will do a special call-in to the show to tell us about the trust's upcoming annual conference, which runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 in Indianapolis and nearby locales.

She'll tell us a bit about why the "Crossroads of America" is historically significant on a national level, and she will mention a couple of conference highlights.

HHL tidbits

Sweet tweets from Allison, and more

Allison DePrey Singleton.Hoosier History Live wishes to thank Allison DePrey Singleton for being our official Tweeter. Allison told us that we needed to be on Twitter, and producer Molly said, "I can't add one more thing to my list; would you like to do it?"

Spreading the duties out is a beautiful thing.

Oh, and Allison also can teach you how to trace your ancestry.

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As you may know, we enjoy taking our show guests out to lunch on Saturdays after the show if schedules allow. Many of our guests have traveled quite a distance! We have a new sponsorship arrangement with Fountain Square Theatre Building that makes dining at one of its restaurants possible. And it's just a straight shot up Shelby Street from the UIndy campus! Our guests also get to see a bit of the evolving Fountain Square area.

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We'd also like to thank some of our 2013 contributors, Julie Slaymaker and Jane "Janie" Hodge of Indianapolis and Ann Allen of Akron, Ind. You can help to defray the costs of maintaining our website, our email marketing software, our editing costs, etc. by simply clicking on the yellow "Donate" button on our website. If you would like your contribution to be tax-deductible, visit the "Support us" page on our website. Your support helps us to remain and the air, on the Web and in your inbox.

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The Irvington Library Listening Group continues to meet on a regular basis from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to listen to and discuss the live show. If you think you would enjoy listening with fellow history lovers, just stop by the library at 5626 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis and ask for the listening group.

By the way, it's easy to form your own listening group; all you need is a relatively quiet room with comfortable chairs and either a radio or an online listening device to pick up the show from the live Web stream on Saturdays. We do have listeners all over the world!

If you need any advice on how to get started, please contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org. Or better yet, just go ahead and get started! A weekly listening group is an easy way to get "regulars" into your organization or place of business, and we will promote your group in our enewsletter. Also, this is a great warm and cozy winter activity. Coffee anyone?

Rabbi Sandy Sasso, pioneer for women clergy

Sandy Sasso.(Oct. 19, 2013) - Nearly 40 years ago, she was ordained as the country's first woman rabbi from the Jewish Reconstructionist movement. When Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and her husband, Dennis Sasso, were hired at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis in 1977, they also became the world's first husband-and-wife rabbi team to serve a congregation jointly.

Earlier this year, Sandy Sasso retired as senior rabbi at the synagogue, but her career continues as an author of best-selling books for children, a civic leader and a speaker known for her storytelling gifts.

She also has become the director of a new program, the Religion, Spirituality and Arts Initiative under the auspices of the Butler University Center for Faith and Vocation.

Creation's First Light book cover by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.When Sandy became a rabbi in 1974, only one other American woman, from a different Jewish movement, had been ordained.

Her children's books - beginning with God's Paintbrush (Jewish Lights Publishing) in 1994 - are sold around the world and have been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew and other languages. She says she became an author after she could not find faith-oriented books for her son and daughter when they were children.

Now a grandmother, Sandy Sasso joins Nelson in studio for a show about her trailblazing career and multifaceted life as one of the best-known women in central Indiana.

"I read of men's struggles with God, but not women's," Sandy is quoted as saying in 19 Stars of Indiana: Exceptional Hoosier Women (IU Press, 2009), a book of profiles by Michael S. Maurer. "No one was answering my questions. In fact, no one was asking them."

She was referring to her growing interest in becoming a rabbi during her youth in Philadelphia, her home town. Rabbi Sandy Sasso at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indianapolis Monthly.Sandy and Dennis Sasso were both just 31 years old when they were chosen to lead Beth-El Zedeck, 600 W. 70th St., and made history.

Sandy went on to earn a doctorate from Christian Theological Seminary and has received honorary doctorates from several Indiana colleges.

Since her ordination, women rabbis are no longer unusual. A total of more than 700 women across the country currently serve as rabbis from the various streams of Judaism, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star when Sandy retired at Beth-El Zedeck. (In Orthodox Judaism, women are not ordained.)

Her newest book, Creation's First Light, has just been published. An illustrated description of the Earth's creation that's inspired by the biblical chapter of Genesis, Creation's First Light been called "a perfect jewel of a book" by another distinguished Hoosier History Live! guest who also is an ordained member of the clergy: Quaker pastor and author Phil Gulley. (Known for his folksy stories about a fictional town that resembles his hometown of Danville, Phil was Nelson's guest for a show last May.)

Her other books for children - many of which cover religious issues in a non-denominational way - include God Said Amen, For Heaven's Sake, Noah's Wife and In God's Name, which invites young readers to come up with their own names for God based on what they value most. Sandy's adult books include Midrash: Reading the Bible with Question Marks.

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso in 1970.She met her husband, Dennis, who was born in Panama, when they were seminary students. Neither of the Sassos knew much about Indy when they moved to the Hoosier capital for what turned into 36 years of serving together at Beth-El Zedeck.

"I have come to care deeply about the future of Indianapolis, its problems, and its vision for overcoming them," Sandy wrote earlier this year in an account for Indianapolis Monthly magazine. "There are matters that require attention: hunger, healthcare, transportation, education, caring for those who are marginalized. But there are also people who are trying to create change, who fashion venues for civil conversation, who believe that diversity enriches us, that culture is good for the soul and for business."

Her civic endeavors include serving for three years as the board chair for the Spirit & Place Festival, the annual collaboration in November that celebrates the arts, culture and spirituality.

History nugget: In 2002, Sandy was the editor of Urban Tapestry: Indianapolis Stories (IU Press), a collection of insights and essays about the Hoosier capital. Contributing writers included our host, Nelson.

Learn more: Sandy Sasso has just launched a new website, www.allaboutand.com.

Roadtrip: Duckpin bowling in Fountain Square

Gary BraVard goes duckpin bowling in the Fountain Square Theatre in Indianapolis. Hoosier History Live photo.Guest Roadtripper Gary BraVard suggests we take the Roadtrip to play a little duckpin bowling (like regular bowling but everything is smaller!) in the Fountain Square Theatre Building. That's at the intersection of Virginia Avenue at Shelby and Prospect Streets just southeast of downtown Indianapolis.

And yes, Fountain Square has a replica of its original 1880 fountain, "Lady Spray," back squarely in the square! The statue "Pioneer Family," which had occupied the square for some time, was moved just across the street.

Fountain Square continues to grow as a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood; it grew up around the end of the old Virginia Avenue streetcar line.

But Roadtripper Gary suggests you try a little duckpin bowling at the Fountain Square Theatre Building. The building sports two bowling facilities, Action Duckpin Bowl on the fourth floor and Atomic Bowl Duckpin in the basement.

Building owner Linton Calvert said he started collecting pieces of old duckpin bowling facilities some 20 years ago, all across the country. He says that most of the pieces from the Action Duckpin Bowl on the fourth floor were harvested from a defunct facility in Columbia City, Ind. Tune in Saturday for more!

History Mystery

Amid controversy in 1977, an Indianapolis resident became the first woman ever ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Her ordination on New Year's Day at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Old Northside neighborhood drew national attention, including opposition from other Episcopal priests. Before her ordination, the trail-blazing priest had worked as a licensed practical nurse and as a prison chaplain.

Interior of All Saints Episcopal Church at 16th Street and Central Avenue in Indianapolis.Question: Name the Episcopalian priest whose ordination made headlines in 1977.

The prize is admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, a gift certificate to Le Peep Restaurants, and two passes to the Crown Hill Cemetery public tours, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Last week's answer

By request, we are publishing the answer to last week's History Mystery, in case you didn't catch it on the air. The Oct. 12 History Mystery answer is: GEORGE McGINNIS.

In 1969, many sports analysts considered him the best high school athlete in the country because of his basketball exploits at Washington High School. He propelled the team to an unbeaten season, then drew headlines with a 35-point scoring "eruption" during the state championship game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

After leading the Big Ten in scoring at Indiana University, McGinnis - who, at six-feet-eight, became known as "Big Mac" - thrilled fans of the Indiana Pacers. He played for the Pacers for four seasons (1972-75), before leaving to play for teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, then returned to the Pacers in 1979.

Since retiring as a player three years later, George McGinnis has remained in the public eye as an Indianapolis-based business executive and, for many years, a TV and radio sportscaster.

Coliseum and Clowes Hall histories

The 1943 IHSAA boys basketball tournament featured Lebanon and another team competing at the Coliseum at the Indiana State Fair grounds. Image courtesy Indiana State Fair.

(Oct. 12, 2013) - The Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds - site of some of the most joyous and colorful events in Indy history, as well as some of the most tragic episodes - is undergoing a $63 million renovation.

Clowes Hall, which opened in 1963 at Butler University amid great uncertainty about its chances for success, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

What better time to explore the histories of these two landmark venues?

Chapters in their stories include concerts in 1964 by the Beatles; an explosion during an ice show on Halloween night in 1963 that remains among the most massive tragedies in state history; performances by household names ranging from Bob Hope, Judy Garland and Liberace to the Bolshoi, and public speakers including Coretta Scott King, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Indy native Kurt Vonnegut.

Edith Whitehill Clowes smiles during the opening-night gala at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University in October 1963. Image courtesy Clowes Memorial Hall.To explore the events, crises, celebrations and backstage stories that have unfolded at the Coliseum and Clowes, Nelson is joined in studio by three guests. They are Justin Armstrong, director of advancement at the Indiana State Fair Foundation, James Cramer, community relations manager at Clowes, and Christine Thacker, the Clowes archivist.

The Coliseum, which opened in the fall of 1939, was constructed under Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Works Administration. Its 11,000 seating capacity made the Coliseum the largest event facility in Indy then.

Three years later, the venue hosted its first basketball game, during which the Indiana High School All-Stars defeated the Kentucky High School All-Stars by one point. In 1967, the Coliseum became the home court of the Indiana Pacers, then playing in (and, eventually, three-time champions of) the American Basketball Association.

According to guests James and Christine, the opening of Clowes was a "huge gamble - they bet the farm." But the venue went on to host appearances by Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, John Travolta and other entertainers who either were (or became) icons.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Clowes, artwork by Hoosiers will be displayed as part on an on-going "mosaic of visual art" throughout the 2013-14 season. James Cramer.The public is invited to a free open house and mosaic unveiling on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. For more info about other 50th-anniversary festivities, visit cloweshall.org.

At the renovated Coliseum, which is scheduled to reopen next summer, the Art Deco exterior is being restored. The new interior will include double-tiered seating, a new video scoreboard and a modern sound system.

Christine Thacker.If the Coliseum endured wear and tear over the decades, it shouldn't be a shocker, given some of the events that were staged in the venue. In 1974, the Coliseum was the setting for the first - and largest - indoor tractor pull in the country.

Longtime listeners of Hoosier History Live! will recall that we explored the 1963 Holiday on Ice explosion at the Coliseum during a show in October 2008 with Lawrence "Bo" Connor, a retired managing editor of The Indianapolis Star. He reported from the scene of the tragedy, during which 74 people were killed and about 400 more were injured.

And during another show, we delved into the Beatles appearances with two guests who, as ardent teenage fans of the wildly popular "Fab Four," attended their 1964 concerts at the Coliseum. Both guests recalled they could not "hear a note of music" because of the screaming teens.

Justin Armstrong.Both the Beatles concerts and the tragic explosion will be explored during our upcoming show. A plaque near the Coliseum's main doors memorializes the victims of the explosion, which occurred 50 years ago this month. Propane - being used to keep popcorn warm - leaked from a faulty valve into an unventilated room beneath the grandstands. The blast hurled a 50-foot section of spectators, chairs and concrete into the air and on the ice.

That same year of 1963, Clowes Hall opened. Built for $3.5 million and designed by a partnership that included Indianapolis architect Evans Woollen, the performing arts hall became the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. (The orchestra moved to Circle Theatre on Monument Circle in 1984 following a major renovation of what is now known as the Hilbert Circle Theatre.) As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the symphony will return to Clowes with a Pixar in Concert performance on Oct. 27.

As the venue for productions ranging from touring Broadway shows to ballet, opera and pop concerts by the likes of Duke Ellington, Big Bird and the Four Tops, Clowes Hall "ushered in a new era in the city's cultural history," as the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis puts it.

Then-U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy speaks at the Coliseum while campaigning for president, Oct. 4, 1960. Image courtesy Indiana State Fair.According to a recent Indianapolis Monthly article, the Clowes staff arranged for a Rolls Royce to shuttle opening weekend performer Bob Hope. But the famous comedian was a spokesman for Chrysler and could not be seen in any other vehicle, according to an anecdote that the magazine attributes to our guest Christine Thacker. During our show, Nelson has Christine explain how the awkward situation unfolded.

We also will explore behind-the-scenes stories associated with the Coliseum, which has been a home of Indy's various pro hockey teams since it opened. Currently, it is the home of the Indiana Ice of the U.S. Hockey League.

During their colorful "ABA years" at the Coliseum, the Pacers won national championships in 1970, 1972 and 1973; they became the most successful team in the history of the former league, which played with red, white and blue balls. Coached by Terre Haute native Bobby "Slick" Leonard, the Pacers captivated crowds at the Coliseum until 1974, when Market Square Arena replaced it as the team's home.

Interior of Clowes Hall, on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis. Image courtesy theater-works.com.The massive renovation of the Coliseum that's currently underway began in October 2012. Part of the project, the new Youth Arena ice rink, opened this week. After the fully renovated Coliseum reopens next August, it is expected to host everything from major livestock shows and the concert series during the Indiana State Fair to high school graduation ceremonies and touring national concerts.

Fun facts:

  • The Coliseum cost $1.2 million to build in 1939. Initially, its major purpose was to be a livestock pavilion. Construction employed hundreds of Hoosiers, with the federal government picking up 55 percent of the cost because it was a WPA project.
  • According to the Indianapolis Monthly article, actress Faye Dunaway made multiple demands before a 1997 performance at Clowes. She also commandeered a dressing room intended for 30 people.
  • The largest crowd for a sports event at the Coliseum occurred in 1951. Nearly 13,680 spectators packed the venue to watch the Harlem Globetrotters.

Roadtrip: Crispus Attucks Museum in Indianapolis

The Crispus Attucks Museum is in downtown Indianapolis. Image courtesy AroundIndy.com.Guest Roadtripper is Kisha Tandy of the Indiana State Museum, who suggests that we take the Roadtrip to the Indianapolis Public Schools Crispus Attucks Museum, located at Attucks High School in downtown Indianapolis.

Crispus Attucks (c. 1723-1770) was an African American who is believed to be have been the first person shot to death by the British during the Boston Massacre prior to the Revolutionary War.

The Crispus Attucks Museum is located at 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. on the newly renovated campus of the historic Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.

The museum is filled with historic treasures that date back to the late 19th-century African American experience in Indianapolis, and particularly that of the first all-black high school in the state of Indiana.

History Mystery

During the American Basketball Association era, when the Indiana Pacers began thrilling spectators at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum, a future star on the team was causing a sensation at the high school level.

Indiana Pacers logo.Born in Indianapolis, he led a local high school team to an unbeaten season and the state championship before being named "Mr. Basketball" of 1969 by the Indianapolis Star.

He went on to hoops triumphs at Indiana University before becoming an outstanding pro player in the 1970s, beginning with the Indiana Pacers of the ABA. The hometown star eventually helped take the team to championship titles in the ABA league.

Question: Who is he?

The prize is admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, and a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Amish in Indiana

A road sign in Amish country. Image courtesy Amish America.(Oct. 5, 2013) - Only two states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, have larger Amish populations than Indiana.

The 49,000 Amish residents here live in about 22 distinct communities scattered across the state, from Elkhart and LaGrange counties in northern Indiana to settlements near the towns of Washington in southern Indiana, as well as Berne and Geneva in the northeast.

"What is it about the Amish that both enchants and perplexes us? ... Could a horse-and-buggy people be more satisfied than the rest of us, with all our modern conveniences?"

Those questions are posed in a new book whose co-author, Steven Nolt, a history professor at Goshen College, is Nelson's guest to explore all aspects of the "intensely private and insular" folks, who, as his latest book puts it, are "known for their simple clothing, plain lifestyle and limited technology."

Steve's co-authors of The Amish (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) are Donald Kraybill and Karen Johnston-Weiner. In addition, Steve is the author or co-author of several other books about the Amish and has collaborated on multiyear research projects about their religion, history and distinctive culture.

Inside an Amish one-room school in Elkhart County, Ind. Most Amish children attend private Amish schools and end their formal education with 8th grade. Almost all Amish schools have Amish teachers. This is school is very unusual in that the Amish school board hired a non-Amish teacher. Image courtesy Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College.We explore aspects of the ever-increasing population of Amish (the average family has seven children), ranging from their values and schools to their shift from an almost exclusive focus on farming to jobs in factories and businesses such as the RV industry in the Elkhart area - even though the Amish do not own or drive motor vehicles.

According to The Amish, about two-thirds now support themselves in Amish-owned small businesses or by working in non-Amish factories and shops.

Steve also addresses misconceptions about the Amish, who recently have become, as his book puts it, "popular culture icons of tourism and reality TV shows, even as they have deftly learned to flourish in a digital world."

He points out that the Amish are not homogeneous. Some communities in Indiana include families who send their children to public schools until the eighth grade; children in other communities almost exclusively attend private schools. The Amish book cover.(In Adams County, our host Nelson recently was part of a group that visited a one-room Amish schoolhouse attended by students ranging from 6 to 15 years old, all instructed by a single, bearded teacher.)

Founded more than 300 years ago in Europe as an offshoot of the Anabaptist Christians, the Amish Church faced persecution. The first Amish settled in Pennsylvania during the 1730s. According to The Amish, many families headed west - including to Ohio and Indiana - during the 1800s because of rising land prices in the eastern United States.

In northern Indiana, the towns of Nappanee and Shipshewana- both with Amish communities that date to the 19th century - have been popular in recent decades for tourists and shoppers intrigued by products such as quilts and baked goods. The Amish typically refer to outsiders as, simply, "the English."

Steve also is the co-author of Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). That book documents how many Amish communities strived to remain pacifists and refused military service in the Civil War.

Voting patterns, though, often reflected those of their "English" neighbors. Amish in Holmes County, Ohio, which today has the country's largest concentration, tended to vote Democratic, the dominant political party in that region during the Civil War era. In LaGrange County, where the GOP dominated, Amish tended to vote Republican.

An Amish family travels in a buggy on an Indiana road. Image courtesy Indiana Business Network.In The Amish, Steve and his co-authors explore Rumspringa (which translates as "running around"), the rite of passage when adventurous teenagers in many Amish communities enjoy the freedom to experiment with cultural influences before deciding whether to be baptized and officially join the church.

During our show, Steve and Nelson explore misconceptions about Rumspringa, which drew widespread attention in the late 1990s following a series of alcohol and drug arrests of "wilding" Amish teenagers.

Typically, Rumspringa ends with marriage, according to The Amish. Activities during the rite of passage vary widely among Amish communities, with many youth never engaging in mischief.

"In other communities, some youth own cars, hit the party scene and give their parents anxious nights."

Other insights, courtesy of Steve Nolt and The Amish:

  • Steve Nolt.The U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 upheld the rights of Amish parents to end their children's education after the eighth grade. Before that, Amish families were prosecuted in some states.
  • The Amish practice "shunning" to shame adult members who violate a community's beliefs. As with Rumspringa, the manner and severity of shunning (social avoidance) varies greatly among Amish groups. "Members may shake hands with offenders, but not accept anything - gifts, payments or money - directly from their hands," according to The Amish.
  • About two-thirds of the Amish live in the northern part of the state, with LaGrange and Elkhart counties having the largest concentrations. Nearly 22,000 Amish people live in those two counties. The Amish population in Adams County is 7,200; in Daviess County in southern Indiana, it is 3,805.
  • Overall, only about 14 percent of the Amish today are full-time farmers, according to some reports. In contrast, 61 percent were farmers in 1970. In addition to holding jobs in RV factories, many Amish in Indiana work in furniture-making and home construction.

Learn more: Watch the PBS documentary The Amish. Steve Nolt's new book is a companion to the PBS documentary, which is part of the American Experience series.

Roadtrip: Summit Lake State Park

Autumn hues at Summit Lake State Park in Henry County, Indiana. Image courtesy rvwheeloflife.com.

Guest Roadtripper is Ken Marshall, an adjunct professor of communications and lifelong Indiana state park lover. He suggests we take the Roadtrip just a little north of New Castle to a hidden treasure, Summit Lake, which he says is never crowded.

The name "Summit Lake" comes from the fact that the area has the highest point of elevation in the immediate region. The area also has excellent fishing -and swimming, boating, hiking and camping - and it's also a great birding area.

Tune in on Saturday for more from Ken!

History Mystery

The Swiss heritage town of Berne in northeastern Indiana is located in Adams County, where some estimates indicate 12 percent of the population is Amish. In late July, Berne hosts a Swiss Days celebration that salutes its heritage. The town, which has about 4,000 residents, also includes Swiss Heritage Village, an outdoor museum.

Children dance together at the Swiss Wine Festival. Image courtesy in.gov.In another region of Indiana, a town on the Ohio River also has a Swiss-themed festival. The 42nd annual Swiss Wine Festival was held during late August in the town, which is celebrating its bicentennial this year. The wine festival is a salute to a Swiss immigrant family whose vineyard in the fertile soil near the Ohio River began in the early 1800s.

Question: What is the Ohio River town that celebrates a Swiss Wine Festival?

Hint: The town, and the county in which it's located, were the focus of a recent Hoosier History Live! show.

The prize is a gift certificate to the Hard Rock Café in downtown Indianapolis, two tickets to GlowGolf, a miniature golf course across from the food court at Circle Centre mall in Indianapolis, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of Glow Golf and Visit Indy.

Interurbans: Their rise and fall across Indiana

A vintage postcard shows the Indianapolis Traction Terminal.(Sept. 28, 2013) - With the fate of Amtrak service in Indiana making recent headlines, and mass transit always a hot topic, consider this:

Interurbans were intercity electric railways popular 100 years ago - and, believe it or not, the Hoosier state had one of the most extensive systems in the entire country.

The first interurban line in Indiana opened in 1898, from Anderson to Alexandria. The first interurban to Indy opened on New Year's Day in 1900 and brought passengers from Franklin and Greenwood to the Hoosier capital.

Interurban lines connected small towns with most of Indiana's big cities and the cities with each other. Lines radiated from Indianapolis to Fort Wayne, Louisville, Lafayette, Peru, Terre Haute and Richmond (and six other routes). These interurbans then connected with others, reaching Chicago, Toledo, Columbus, and even farther. A separate hub centered on Evansville.

The restored interurban depot in Amo, Ind., in Hendricks County was built in 1907. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The bygone Traction Terminal in downtown Indianapolis - which opened in 1904 - was easily the nation's largest interurban station. A nine-story building with a train shed, the Traction Terminal was demolished in 1972.

Today, the only remaining passenger interurban in the state - and one of the few left in the country - is the popular South Shore line that links South Bend with Chicago. The final interurban departed from Indianapolis in September 1941, bound for Seymour.

What happened to the electric railways beloved by earlier generations of Hoosiers? Why was Indiana in the national forefront with them? And why did interurbans vanish from the Indiana landscape?

This abandoned interurban power station is in Azalia, Ind., in southern Bartholomew County. Image courtesy Historic Columbus.To explore the rise and fall of the interurban system, Nelson is joined in studio by two experts:

  • Nathan Bilger, the planning director for the town of Whiteland in Johnson County. Nathan grew up in Columbia City, lives in Greenfield, and has extensively researched interurban and railroad lines throughout Indiana. Here is the website about Indiana railroading that Nathan maintains.
  • And Craig Berndt of Fort Wayne, the author of The Toledo and Chicago Railway Company (2007), a book about one of the interurban lines that served travelers in northeastern Indiana, including residents of towns in his home turf of DeKalb County.

According to Electric Railroads of Indiana (Hoosier Heritage Press, 1980) by Jerry Marlette, a total of 111 different interurban companies operated more than 3,000 cars in the Hoosier state during the interurban era. Nathan Bilger.Only Ohio had more miles of interurban lines than Indiana's 2,100 miles under wire.

Vestiges of the interurbans do still remain. In southern Marion County, the contemporary names of some streets - Stop 11 Road, for example - date to their heritage as stops on an interurban line.

As our guests Nathan and Craig join Nelson, they explore everything from the reliability of the interurban lines to various wrecks, including an accident that involved some of the cars on the final Indy-to-Seymour segment.

Craig Berndt.Fun fact: Although the interurban system was designed to shuttle passengers between (not within) towns, travelers in Indy during the early 1900s rode the interurban to Broad Ripple and Irvington. That's because they were distinctively separate villages then, not having been annexed yet into the Hoosier capital.

Of Indiana's 92 counties, 68 were served by at least one interurban line. In addition to the massive Traction Terminal in downtown Indy, Muncie was known for its impressive interurban station.

Interurbans competed for passengers with steam railroads whose terminals included the majestic Union Station in Indy. Running much more frequently during the day than passenger trains, the electric interurbans were tethered to power lines running above their tracks. According to several sources, few systems of transportation ever developed as quickly as the electric interurbans, and probably none disappeared as quickly.

Could the interurban system be successfully revived? Nelson poses that question to Nathan and Craig.

Roadtrip: Feast of the Hunters' Moon, Oct. 5-6

French “voyageurs” come ashore in a re-enactment at the annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon at Fort Ouiatenon near West Lafayette, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper and photo historian Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo & Research Services suggests we take a Roadtrip to the West Lafayette area for the annual Feast of the Hunters' Moon celebration coming up on Oct. 5-6.

The festival is a re-creation of the annual fall gathering of the French and Native Americans that took place at Fort Ouiatenon, a fur-trading outpost, in the mid-1700s. It is held annually in early autumn on the banks of the Wabash River, four miles southwest of West Lafayette, Ind.

Joan tells us that Historic Fort Ouiatenon Park is a primitive country setting on South River Road, and the grounds stretch across more than 30 acres along the banks of the Wabash River.

Thousands of participants re-enact this event, creating a feast for your senses: Smell the wood smoke, hear the report of the rifles, savor authentic food and more.

History Mystery

Amid much fanfare, the Traction Terminal opened in 1904 at a high-visibility site in downtown Indianapolis. It was by far the nation's largest interurban station. The nine-story building and train shed remained at the site for nearly 70 years.

Designed by the D.H. Burnham & Company architectural firm, the Traction Terminal was a downtown landmark for generations of Hoosiers as the hub of the state's electric rail system.

Dachshunds are on hand for the wiener-dog race at the Athenaeum’s German Fest. But little attention was paid to its demolition in 1972, decades after the last interurban had departed from the Hoosier capital.

Question: Name the high-visibility site - the downtown Indy street corner - of the bygone Traction Terminal.

The prize is two tickets to the 5th Original and Fabulous GermanFest on Oct. 12, 4 tickets to GlowGolf, a miniature golf course across from the food court at Circle Centre mall in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy and GlowGolf, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

On the roads: Lincoln Highway and U.S. 40 heritage

Old National Road engraving plate, 1825, pictures Indianapolis' Washington Street.

(Sept. 21, 2013) - Tune in for a history road trip as we cruise through the heritage of two east-west highways that span the entire width of the Hoosier state. Both have a billboard-high heap of other distinctions as well.

This 1928 photo shows a tavern on an unimproved section of the Old National Road near Richmond, Ind., just west of the Ohio state line. Image courtesy the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.In fact, the Lincoln Highway, which opened in 1913 as a result of a national crusade spearheaded by a famous Hoosier, is celebrating its 100th birthday. Extending from New York to San Francisco - and cutting completely across northern Indiana - the Lincoln Highway became, as USA Today recently put it, "the nation's first truly transcontinental road."

Beginning in the 1920s, U.S. 40 also traversed the entire country, including Indiana, where the highway stretches from Richmond to Terre Haute. For much of Indiana, U.S. 40 follows the route of the Old National Road, which pioneers in covered wagons used to settle in western frontiers after the roadway was created across Indiana in the 1830s.

You can listen to our 2009 show about the Indiana National Road with historic preservationist Jim Glass here.

For this radio road trip, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests:

So, who kicked off the national crusade to create the Lincoln Highway?

The Old National Road, at its 1839 state of completion.None other than Greensburg native Carl Fisher, the entrepreneur who, with various partners, built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and launched the Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

Glory-June was Nelson's guest in 2009 for a show about Fisher's colorful life; listen to that show here.

As the founder of the Lincoln Highway Association, Fisher advocated the creation of a transcontinental roadway during an era in the automobile's infancy, when long-distance travel almost always was by railroad.

Joe Frost."Paved roads existed only in cities and towns, and auto travel on rutted, unpaved byways was not for the faint of heart," the USA Today article notes.

Some nuggets:

  • The Old National Road was the nation's first federally funded highway. When construction of the dirt road through the wilderness began, starting in Maryland in 1811, civic leaders dreamed it would span the rapidly expanding country. Alas, the pioneer road ended in Illinois - at the town of Vandalia - when funds dried up.
  • In Indianapolis, U.S. 40 - and, before its construction, the National Road - takes the name Washington Street.
  • In addition to Indy, Richmond, Cambridge City and Terre Haute, Hoosier cities located on U.S. 40 include Centerville, Knightstown, Greenfield, Plainfield and Brazil.
  • In some towns, such as Plainfield and Greenfield, U.S. 40 is known by the local name of Main Street. In Brazil, U.S. 40 is called National Avenue.
  • Glory-June Greiff.To spotlight the Lincoln Highway, Carl Fisher arranged for statues of Abraham Lincoln to be placed along the route.

There is an Indiana Lincoln Highway Association. Hoosier cities located on the Lincoln Highway included Fort Wayne, South Bend, Valparaiso and Elkhart. Beginning in the 1920s, the name "Lincoln Highway" began to disappear as the numbered highway system was established across the country.

Lincoln Highway 100 years 1913-2013 logo.And beginning in the mid-1920s, Indiana had the distinction of offering two "routes" for the Lincoln Highway with the creation of a second option that traversed the state farther south, running from Fort Wayne to Chicago through Columbia City and Warsaw.

Contemporary highways in Indiana that reflect the routes of the Lincoln Highway - or portions of them - are U.S. 20, U.S. 30 and U.S. 33.

On U.S. 40 across the Hoosier state, landmarks range from historic farmhouses to skyscrapers and suburban strip malls. Looking west, the Lincoln Highway runs right through downtown New Carlisle, Ind., in western St. Joseph County. Photo by Glory-June Greiff.They include the Huddleston Farmhouse in Cambridge City, a brick residence built in the 1840s by a Quaker family with eleven children. The farmhouse, which offered overnight lodging for travelers headed west on the historic National Road, today includes a museum as well as Indiana Landmark's regional office, where our guest Joe Frost works.

In Richmond, U.S. 40 passes a monument known as Madonna of the Trail. Dedicated in 1928, the monument at the edge of Glen Miller Park is a memorial to pioneer mothers of the covered-wagon era; it depicts a steadfast woman holding an infant, with a toddler clinging to her long dress.

Other landmarks on U.S. 40 include the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home and Museum in Greenfield; Circle Centre mall and Victory Field in Indy, and the Metropolis shopping mall in Plainfield.

In the Wabash Valley between Brazil and Terre Haute, roadside landmarks include a large billboard for Clabber Girl Baking Powder that has been on the site since the 1930s.

Across much of the state today, U.S. 40 runs nearly parallel to I-70.

The 1916 Lincoln Highway Official Road Guide included this overview map of the road.

Roadtrip: Greencastle's buzz bomb and DePauw's Nature Park

Guest Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson tells us that just a hop, skip and a jump from the Old National Road west of Indianapolis is the historic town of Greencastle. The hometown of DePauw University has something unique on its courthouse square: an authentic WWII buzz bomb, the V-1 rockets that Hitler used to bomb London.

Greencastle, Ind., features a buzz bomb on the courthouse square.These are the bombs that were used before the silent rockets that were launched by Wernher Von Braun's team. This is the only authentic V-1 that exists in America!

And across from their 1905 courthouse is a really outstanding local restaurant, Almost Home. And if you like desserts, you're a short drive from a 1950s ice cream shop, Dairy Castle.

Eric also tells us that one of the real hidden gems in Greencastle is the DePauw Nature Park, which he says is a great example of outdoor historic re-use. The area was an abandoned gravel pit that had been excavated as close to all the neighboring roads as possible, and the university bought it and turned it into a fascinating nature park. If you like a short hike, you can see places that look like New Mexico, Hoosier swamps, butterfly gardens, frog ponds and two different creek beds. And you can see all kinds of wildlife, even more than you might find at some state parks!

History Mystery

A roadside diner built in the 1950s on U.S. 40 has generated considerable attention in recent years because the once-popular eatery is considered endangered. Designed in the Streamline Moderne style in New Jersey and transported by rail to a town in central Indiana, the diner closed in 2009.

The Cheyenne Diner in New York City also is an example of Streamline Moderne design. Photo by Wally Gobetz.The next year, the vacant diner was named to the "10 Most Endangered Places" list compiled by Indiana Landmarks.

The history and possible fate of the diner - which still has its 1950s interior with pink tiles - has been discussed on two Hoosier History Live! shows and sparked a Facebook crusade to save the landmark. The name of the diner reflects the town where it's located on U.S. 40.

Question: What is the town in central Indiana with the endangered diner?

The prize is a gift certificate to Le Peep Restaurant and two tickets to the NCAA Hall of Champions, courtesy of Visit Indy, and admission for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Party pics!

Lots of smiles at our 5-year anniversary fest

Some nice coverage of our five-year anniversary soiree came from Cathy Kightlinger of the Indianapolis Star, who gave the party a nice writeup:

"When Nelson Price talks history, people listen. That was apparent Thursday when his show, Hoosier History Live!, celebrated its fifth anniversary with a soiree of the state's notables and fans of the show. The event included a few trivia questions (something the Saturday show, which airs at noon on WICR-FM (88.7) is known for) and lots of shoulder rubbing."

Special thanks to Bill Holmes, who took all of the photos below.

History gurus gather at the Hoosier History Live! five-year anniversary fest. From left are Joan Hostetler, Tiffany Benedict Berkson and David Willkie, all known for their contributions to history in Indianapolis.

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Chris Worden, district director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, speaks to a full crowd at the Cook Theater, Indiana Landmarks Center, on the evening of Feb. 21, 2013 to celebrate Hoosier History Live's 5th anniversary.

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Pam Fraizer of Fraizer Designs smiles for the camera at the Hoosier History Live! five-year anniversary soiree.

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Producer Molly Head hands out a prize to the lucky winner of one of the five-year Hoosier History Live! anniversary fest’s history-trivia question prizes. Photo by Bill Holmes.

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Garry Chilluffo (left) and Nelson Price bring out the cake for the five-year Hoosier History Live! anniversary fest celebration. Photo by Bill Holmes.

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Michael Freeland, Nelson Price and show supporter Sharon Butsch Freeland smile for the camera at the Hoosier History Live! celebration of five years on the air, Feb. 21, 2013, at the Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis. The Freelands hauled home some history-mystery prizes! Photo by Bill Holmes.

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Show supporter Roz Wolen engages with host Nelson Price at the Hoosier History Live! five-year celebration in Indianapolis. Photo by  Bill Holmes.

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Rita Kohn shares a moment with Andy Hein and Dona Stokes-Lucas at the Hoosier History Live! celebration of five years on the air, Feb. 21, 2013, at the Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis. Both Rita and Dona have been studio guests twice, Rita for shows about the Delaware Indians (Lenape) and Indiana’s beer heritage, Dona for shows about roots-tracing and the Underground Railroad. Photo by Bill Holmes.

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Amy Summer, newspaper librarian at the Indiana State Library, was a guest at the Hoosier History Live! celebration of five years on the air, Feb. 21, 2013, at the Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis. Photo by Bill Holmes.

Extra thanks to Bill Holmes (who has done photography for five years), Emily Barker, Jeanne Blake, Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Media, Mark Szobody, Suzanne Stanis, Hoaglin to Go, Lockerbie Pub, Pam Mitchell (who made the cake), Lorraine Vavul (who made the elegant donation box), Richard Sullivan of Monomedia, Pam Fraizer of Fraizer Designs, Molly Head, Nelson Price, Charlotte Carmichael, Kathy Riester, Mary Kummings, Barbara Goddard, and Lynn Herold.

We thank the following new individual donors to Hoosier History Live! Paul J. Fouts, Jr., Rita Kohn, Margaret Sabens, Richard Vonnegut Jr., Margaret Smith, Sharon Butsch Freeland, Don Gorney, Alice Roettger, Maureen Dunlap, Peggy Hollingsworth, Monica Thompson-Deal, Clarke Kahlo, Janet Gilray, Barry Glazer, and Bruce and Julie Buchanan.

We thank those whom we count on to keep Hoosier History Live! on the air, on the web and in your in-box! If you’d like to know how to support us, visit our website at Hoosier History Live!

We look forward to being around for next year's sixth anniversary - and on into the future with our ever-growing body of history journalism!

Dan Ripley's Antique Helper

Thanks to Antique Helper, corporate sponsor for the Hoosier History Live! fifth-anniversary party!

Cuban immigration to Indiana

Click here to listen to this show!

Click to listen to show.(Sept. 14, 2013 - online-only encore presentation) - For Sept. 14, Hoosier History Live! was pre-empted on WICR-FM so the radio station could broadcast Yom Kippur services from the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. So as a special treat, we made available one of the most popular programs from our Hoosier History Live! archives.

The featured program is a show in our rotating series about ethnic immigration to the Hoosier state. We have explored our German, Irish, Italian, Greek, Scottish, Brazilian and even our Sikh heritage in Indiana, among others, during our five-and-a-half years on the air. If you'd like to have a look at our rich archive of past weekly enewsletters, click here.

Sofia Lopez, show guest Danny Lopez and host Nelson Price were joined by Lopez friends Melissa and Roberto Flores in the WICR studios after the May 26, 2012 broadcast. Hoosier History Live photo.To explore Cuban immigration to Indiana, Nelson is joined in studio by Danny Lopez, who was executive director of the Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs when this show originally was broadcast on May 26, 2012. All four of Danny's grandparents left Cuba in 1960, fleeing political and economic upheavals.

Since he shared intriguing details about our state's Cuban heritage on this show - including identifying Fort Wayne and South Bend as the cities that have had the most concentration of Cuban immigrants - Danny has a new job title, although he remains an administrator with state government. Since the election of Gov. Mike Pence, Danny has been special assistant to the governor.

During our show, he notes that the number of Hoosier with Hispanic/Latino heritage has nearly doubled since the turn of the new century, climbing to 389,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. About 85 percent are of Mexican heritage. Daniel Lopez 1997 photo in Miami at remembrance ceremony for Cubans who died trying to escape.The next largest ethnic groups of Hispanic/Latino heritage in Indiana, according to Danny, are Puerto Ricans, followed by Cubans.

Cuban-Americans here (there are 4,300 of them, Danny reports) differ from their counterparts from other Latin homelands in several ways.

He attributes the concentrations of Cubans (for several generations) in South Bend and Fort Wayne to, respectively, the University of Notre Dame and to Catholic parishes in Fort Wayne that assisted Cuban families, including children during the early 1960s who were evacuated because of the Fidel Castro regime. In terms of the overall Hispanic/Latino population, the largest concentrations are in Indianapolis and in Lake County.

Danny has been a Hoosier since 2008. He grew up in Miami and graduated from an all-male, Jesuit-run preparatory school there that had been attended by his ancestors in Havana. Danny's wife, Sofia, also is Cuban-American; her grandfather graduated from Notre Dame.

Danny's paternal grandfather attended his alma mater, the Jesuit-run prep school, but it had a different setting then. As Danny discusses during the show, the prep school was based in Havana, not Miami, during his grandfather's era.

With increasing waves of Hispanic/Latino immigration to Indiana and other states, concerns have been expressed about "linguistically challenged" children in schools. In some immigrant households, as Danny notes, young children are the only English speakers among the family members.

Daniel Lopez speaks at Indiana State University about challenges facing Latino Hoosiers. Courtesy Terre Haute Tribune-Star.But Danny also emphasizes that a reverse effect has the potential for unnecessarily limiting the advancement and talents of Hispanic and Latino children.

"We have concerns that many Hispanic families are not encouraging their kids to develop, or even keep, their fluency in Spanish," he said. "The parents want their children to assimilate so badly that they are discouraging their Spanish language usage. Obviously, though, fluency in Spanish will be a tremendous asset for professional opportunities later in life."

Unlike surrounding Midwestern states that have experienced only slight population increases or, in the case of Michigan, even lost residents since the turn of the 21st century, Indiana’s population climbed 6.6 percent. According to an Indianapolis Star analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data, Hispanics accounted for 43 percent of the population increase in the Hoosier state.

Click here to listen to this show!

"Learn more" web links:

  • A video of an interview with guest Danny Lopez on Newsmakers from WNIN in Evansville, Ind., about Hispanic and Latino affairs.
  • An article from the Miami Herald about "Operation Peter Pan" or "Pedro Pan." From 1960 to 1962, about 14,000 Cuban children were flown to Miami as refugees without their parents because their parents feared for their safety under Castro.
  • A report from the Kelley School of Business about Indiana's Latino population.
  • A Youtube about the history of Operation Pedro Pan.

Thanks to UIndy student Derrick Lowhorn for editing this podcast.

Roadtrip: Ernesto Gonzalez on Indy Latin dance scene

Ernesto Gonzalez.Cuban-born Indy resident Ernesto Gonzalez steps up to talk about one of his personal passions, the Latin and salsa dance scene in Indy. An active dancer himself, Ernesto tells us about the Jazz Kitchen, the Red Room, and other hot spots around town on this online show.

Ernesto came to Indy in 1980 as a 17-year-old, being sponsored by the Indiana Catholic Conference at 1400 N. Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis.

"I came as a political refugee, completely by myself, speaking no English, with only the clothes on my back," he says.

Ernesto has worked in Indianapolis as a hair designer for 33 years.

"America provides opportunities," he says. "I believe in hard work, and in reaping the rewards of hard work. I also believe that it is very important for everyone coming to this country to learn English."

Ernesto's parents and three siblings still live in Cuba, and 16 years ago Ernesto sponsored one of his brothers in moving to Indianapolis.

History Mystery contest on Facebook

During the 1990s, a city in Indiana elected a Hispanic mayor, one of the first in the state. He won two terms in office as mayor of the Hoosier city, serving from 1996 to 2003. A Democrat, he is the son of Spanish immigrants and was just 35 years old when he first won election as mayor of the city, which has been gaining population for several years. question markDuring his second term in city hall - in 2002 - the mayor launched an unsuccessful campaign for Indiana secretary of state.

Question: Name the city in Indiana that had a two-term mayor of Hispanic heritage beginning in 1996.

Please do not try to win if you have won any prize on WICR, or on our Facebook contests, within the last two months, so that others can have a chance. By the way, our Facebook winners last week were Wanda and Jane! Be sure to "like" us on Facebook if you haven't yet. And, we're also on Twitter at @hoosierhistlive. A big shout-out to our youthful and beautiful Tweeter, Allison DePrey Singleton; she is a former show guest who told us that we needed to be on Twitter!

Pioneer music in early Indiana

(Sept. 7, 2013 - encore presentation) - The jaw harp was popular. So were the fiddle and dulcimer. Community bands played flutes, whistles and drums.

There even were pianos before 1840 in Indiana, despite the significant challenges of transporting them to frontier communities via horse-drawn vehicles and river boats.

This ad for singing instruction appeared in the Indiana State Journal on Jan. 20, 1838.Musical instruments that weren't widely seen (or, in some cases, not present at all) in the Hoosier state of the 1820s, '30s and '40s: the guitar, banjo, harmonica, mandolin, ukulele and accordion.

To explore all aspects of the music played by pioneer families in Indiana, Nelson is joined in studio by Erik Peterson, an Indianapolis-based musician and historian, on this encore show. (The original air date was Jan. 26, 2013.) Erik has performed at Prairietown at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and at other history-focused sites.

"Keep in mind that, during the pioneer era, Mozart had not been dead for as long as Buddy Holly has been gone today," Erik says.

He has researched pre-1840 music of central Indiana for a postgraduate degree, thanks in part to a fellowship from the Society of Indiana Pioneers. Adept at various instruments, Erik often performs traditional Irish, American folk and Celtic music with various ensembles, including Hogeye Navvy, an Indy-based band known for sea chanteys.

During our show, he performs a few musical interludes to convey a flavor of the music heard in pioneer Indiana. He has gained insights by tracking down diaries, letters and journals of pioneer families.

Erik Peterson holding a banjo."People in that era were incredibly musical," he says. "Music was a daily part of their lives, and it served as a way to build community among neighbors."

The jaw harp, a hand-held instrument about the size of a harmonica, was played frequently. Erik performs a tune on the instrument during our show, a rare opportunity to hear it. He notes the jaw harp primarily is relegated today to the soundtracks of cartoons.

"The fiddle was king of instruments here during the pioneer era," he says. "It’s loud, and it's portable."

As Hoosier History Live! guests discussed during a show last month about Switzerland County and Life on the Ohio River, the first piano was brought to Indiana in the early 1800s; the historic instrument is exhibited today at Switzerland County Historical Museum in the far-southeastern county on the Ohio River.

The extraordinary efforts undertaken to transport pianos here decades before railroads underscores the importance of music in the lives of pioneers, Erik emphasizes. He points out that many pioneer towns in Indiana even had community bands.

Like later generations, early settlers differed along gender lines when playing musical instruments. But the gender preferences often were reversed from those that unfolded later, Erik says. Many men tended to play flutes and violins, while women played guitars and banjos once those instruments finally made their way to Indiana, primarily after the Civil War.

Before that, advertisements for academies such as the Indianapolis Female Institute touted instruction in piano for young women.

During our show, Erik plays a few verses of a song that would have been played frequently in early Indiana: Hail, Columbia!, the unofficial national anthem of the era. The Star Spangled Banner was not adopted as the official national anthem until 1931, about 100 years after the era that is the focus of our show. Since then, Hail Columbia! primarily has been played to introduce the American vice president.

Roadtrip: Wabash and Erie Canal Park in Delphi

Going too fast? You can take the relaxing and slow ride on the Delphi, a replica canal boat, until the end of September. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Guest Roadtripper Glory-June Greiff, Indianapolis public historian, has made the day trip several times to the old canal town of Delphi in Carroll County, about 15 miles northeast of Lafayette.

There's plenty of hiking and history at the Wabash and Erie Canal Park in Delphi, which is open year-round and includes an Interpretive Center, lots of trails for hiking and biking, and canal boat rides that continue through the end of September.

Don't miss the Latrrope and Ruffing Opera House and adjacent shops. Glory-June also has an eye for great small-town restaurants; she says Delphi has the Stonehouse Restaurant and Bakery. And for your dining pleasure either coming or going, there is Treece Restaurant in Rossville.

History Mystery contest on Facebook

Harps of all kinds are built in a factory that has become a tourist attraction in a small Indiana town. Located in a former speakeasy, the factory building also includes a venue for concerts of harp music. The family-owned business makes instruments ranging from large symphonic harps to smaller harps, which they call "harpsicles," that are made in an array of colors. The former speakeasy-turned-harp factory is located on Main Street in its scenic hometown.

Question: Name the Indiana town. Since this is an encore show, you won't be able to call in. But if you are the first person to post the correct answer on the Hoosier History Live Facebook page (reference History Mystery in your post), you will win a gift certificate to Le Peep Restaurant, courtesy of Visit Indy, as well as a pass for four to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana Historical Society. You must also be willing to supply your postal address so the prize can be mailed to you.

Winona Lake, Warsaw, orthopedics and Grace College

Winona Hotel, in Winona Lake, Ind., appears in 1908. The building now contains condominiums. Courtesy Morgan Library Archives, Grace College & Seminary.(Aug. 31, 2013) - A scenic county in far-northern Indiana includes a city known as the "orthopedics capital of the country," a lakeside community with a long heritage as a spiritual retreat (one of the country's best-known evangelists of the early 1900s had deep connections to the region) and an evangelical Christian college.

We explore the rich history of Winona Lake, the orthopedics industry and its impact on Warsaw, the heritage of Grace College & Seminary and other aspects related to Kosciusko County, including links to the Potawatomi Indians, colorful evangelist Billy Sunday (1862-1935) and a Bible conference internationally known as the Second Wave.

Nelson is joined in studio by three guests:

  • Terry White, co-author of Winona Lake at 100: Third Wave Rising (BMH Books), a book published in connection with the centennial of the resort town of Winona Lake's incorporation in 1913.
  • Brad Bishop.Brad Bishop, executive director of OrthoWorx, a non-profit devoted to ensuring the Warsaw area remains the country's "orthopedics capital." In the 1890s, Warsaw-based DePuy Manufacturing became the world's first manufacturer of orthopedics appliances. Since then, major businesses such as Zimmer and Biomet have been founded in Warsaw, making the city a hub for devices associated with hip and knee replacements.
  • And Bill Katip, the president of Grace College & Seminary, which describes itself as "an evangelical Christian community of higher education."

Bill Katip.According to Terry's book, the "first wave" of flourishing activity around Winona Lake began during the 1800s with the Potawatomi culture. This wave also included early white settlement and, from 1896 through the 1930s, a Chautauqua Days festival that included secular programs of lectures, recitals and plays often featuring famous Americans. Booker T. Washington spoke at Winona Lake in 1897, as did Helen Keller in 1915 and humorist Will Rogers in 1928.

The Chautauqua concept - derived from an ongoing cultural festival every summer in western New York - has been revived at Winona Lake in recent years.

Terry White.Although Billy Sunday grew up in Iowa and primarily was based in Chicago during most of his preaching years (he first achieved fame as a Chicago baseball player), he settled for part of each year in Winona Lake at a home he called Mount Hood. Built in 1911, the restored home is known today as the Billy Sunday Home Museum.

The first Bible conference in the area started in 1895, according to Winona Lake at 100; it was begun by Presbyterians. Brethren Church groups also began having general conferences in the resort town in the 1890s.

Subsequently, a corporation was formed to manage Winona Lake's summer Bible conference, which exploded in growth; it was overseen by a board that included household names such as politician William Jennings Bryan and wagon and auto-maker John Studebaker of South Bend. In 1944, Winona Lake also was the setting for the launch of Youth for Christ, an early employer of evangelist Billy Graham. (Historians now often describe Billy Sunday as "the Billy Graham of his era.")

The massive Billy Sunday Tabernacle, seating more than 7,500, was the largest venue in northern Indiana for many years. Built in 1920, it was razed in 1992. The charismatic Billy Sunday is the man standing up on the right in the white coat. This photo is from circa the late 1920s. Image courtesy Reneker Museum of Winona History. Photo research by Heritage Photo and Research Services.Just like the Bible conference, the orthopedics industry in the region dates to 1895. According to an article in The Indianapolis Star in 2004, entrepreneur Revra DePuy, the founder of DePuy Manufacturing, began a splint-making business "with one key innovation: He used metal instead of wood." One of the company's top employees, J.O. Zimmer, left in the 1920s to form a competing medical device manufacturing company in Warsaw. Our guest Brad Bishop formerly served as Zimmer's director of public affairs.

According to Winona Lake at 100, Biomet was founded in 1977 by four young entrepreneurs in the orthopedics industry and began pioneering technological advances early on; within three years, it achieved $1.1 million in net sales.

The orthopedics industry now employs more than 6,800 workers in the region, accounting for nearly one in four jobs in Kosciusko County, according to a video on the OrthoWorx website.

For several decades, many students at Grace College in Winona Lake have had internships in the orthopedics industry, according to the Star article. A four-year liberal arts and sciences college with a seminary for masters and doctoral study, Grace College is Brethren-affiliated and began in 1937.

Winona at 100 book cover.Our guest Bill Katip shares details about Grace College's early days, as well as its recent expansion, through the college's Weber School, to sites in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and other cities. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Grace College, its history department will sponsor a seminar Sept. 10 at Westminster Hall on the Winona Lake campus. And as part of Winona Lake's centennial celebrations, our guest Terry White will be among the speakers at a community appreciation dinner Nov. 14, also in Westminster Hall.

According to Terry's book, Winona Lake in the 1960s and '70s was a far cry from its earlier heyday. The resort village, he writes, had "declined remarkably, with much of the summer seasonal housing now ramshackle and unsightly."

That era of decline, though, was followed by a resurgence that Terry describes as a "metamorphosis." When he moved back to Winona Lake in 2003 after 26 years away, he discovered a "third wave" that included flourishing arts and culture. The town's historic street, Park Avenue, had become "lined with solid, quaint shops inhabited by artists, photographers, glass blowers, potters and woodworkers."

History Mystery

This Trail of Death sign appears along the Old Michigan Road in northern Indiana. Courtesy jimgrey.net/Roads/MichiganRoad.To commemorate the Potawatomi heritage across much of northern Indiana, a Hoosier city hosts a Trail of Courage Living History Festival every September. Like Warsaw and Winona Lake, this "mystery" city has a deep, historic connection with the Potawatomi.

When the tribe was forcibly removed from northern Indiana in 1838 by the forces of Gen. John Tipton, the Potawatomi were marched, single-file, down the city's Main Street. In what became known as the Trail of Death, the Potawatomi were led 900 miles to Kansas.

The Trail of Courage Living History Festival in the "mystery" Indiana city includes Native American music and dance, canoe rides, crafts, historic re-enactments and pioneer food cooked over wood fires.

Question: What city in northern Indiana hosts the festival?

Roadtrip: Glory-June's northern adventure

We’re just going to go with public historian Glory-June Greiff's words here for a few notes about her Roadtrip this Saturday:

"I always love a chance to go to the northern part of our state where the glaciers left behind lots of lakes and rolling terrain. Pokagon State Park in Steuben County is a good excuse. It offers all the activities you'd expect in a state park, but swimming in a real lake is a plus. All this and history, too: The park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its many examples of the work of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).

The stone and brick gatehouse at Pokagon State Park was built by the Civilian Conversation Corps. Plans are being made to turn the building into a mini-museum showcasing the work of the CCC at the park. Photo by Glory-June Greiff."The park inn is a fine place to eat," says Glory-June, "but I strongly recommend Clay's Family Restaurant (7815 N Old 27, Fremont) just a few miles north of the park, just south of the Michigan state line. Their food is just darned good and their pies are heavenly! Clay's is, after all, the home of the annual Pie Day in June, when, for a fixed price, they offer unlimited samples of every pie they make.

"The area is lovely to explore, what with its lakes, small farms, and small towns. Orland is a very small village, about 10 miles west of Clay's on SR120, but boasts a fish hatchery constructed by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). It, too, is listed in the National Register If you're there on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, check out the Joyce Library in downtown Orland. It's charming, but ask to see the second floor, where the library first started. Many of us remember when most public libraries looked like this.

"If you’re going up from central Indiana, it's a goodly drive, although you can make Pokagon in less than three hours on I-69. I'd recommend going at least part of the way on the old highways, however, and if you get hungry, stop for a bite at Pembroke Bakery in downtown Fort Wayne.

"Don't let the fact that they offer healthy food deter you - it's really good! But if you’re not convinced, you can always go back in time to Powers Hamburgers at 1402 South Harrison, which was built around 1940. Don't confuse their hamburgers with a certain long-lived chain's sliders. These are meaty and loaded with onions grilled fresh. They also usually have a goodly supply of sweet rolls and doughnuts from the New Haven Bakery (or visit the bakery itself on the old Lincoln Highway! It's at 915 East Lincoln Highway. Enjoy!"

'Ask Nelson' and special-events-in-Indy insights

Chris Gahl and Nelson Price of Hoosier History Live and Gary BraVard of Too Many Cooks appear at an event at Indiana Humanities in 2008 in Indianapolis celebrating locally produced radio programs. Hoosier History Live photo.(Aug. 24, 2013) - A couple of times every year at Hoosier History Live!, we like to take full advantage of the fact that we are a live, call-in show - indeed, the only radio show about history in the entire country that offers listener call-in. That means we're able, periodically, to turn the tables on our host, author/historian Nelson Price, open the phone lines and give our listeners an opportunity to question the interviewer who calls himself "a garbage can of useless Hoosier trivia."

Along with our invitation to listeners to call the WICR-FM studio - the number is (317) 788-3314 - and pose questions to Nelson, we offer a bonus. In addition to questioning Nelson, who writes books about famous Hoosiers (both historic and contemporary notables) and Indianapolis city history, listeners of this show were able to ask questions of a special guest co-host.

Nelson is joined in studio by special-events impresario Gary BraVard, who has planned scores of the most glittering soirees in Indy for more than 25 years. From private parties to weddings, bar mitzvahs and black-tie fund-raisers featuring visiting celebrities, Gary has been the planner of a staggering array of events in the Hoosier capital.

Gary's credits include events attended by Liza Minnelli, Carol Channing and the late Ted Kennedy.

Nelson's books include Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman (Hawthorne Publishing) and Indianapolis Then and Now (Thunder Bay Press), a visual history about his hometown.

Indiana Legends, by Nelson Price, book cover.In between phone calls from listeners, Nelson and Gary ask each other questions.

By the way, Gary is no stranger to WICR - or to questions from Nelson. For several years, Gary was the co-host of our "sister" radio show on WICR-FM, Too Many Cooks!, which featured chefs, restaurant owners, dietitians, cookbook authors and foodies as studio guests.

Recently, Gary has been featured on-air as one of the rotating Roadtripper correspondents on Hoosier History Live! Did you catch his report last month about Crown Hill Cemetery, the third-largest private burial ground in the nation? Crown Hill also is one of about 70 sites depicted in Indianapolis Then and Now, which involved a collaboration among Nelson, photo historian Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo & Research Services and photographer Garry Chilluffo.

Other sites in the book - which may provide fodder for listener questions - include Conseco Fieldhouse, now renamed Bankers Life Fieldhouse (do you know what was on the site 100 years ago of today's arena for the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever?), Broad Ripple, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Union Station, Lockerbie, Garfield Park and Massachusetts Avenue.

Nelson Price with Indiana Living Legends winner Patricia Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley, Inc. of Fort Wayne, at the 2008 Living Legends gala at the Indiana History Center. Hoosier History Live photo.For his books about famous Hoosiers, Nelson interviewed notables such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Reggie Miller, violinist Joshua Bell, artist Nancy Noel and former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, who just was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Nelson has researched the lives of Little Turtle, Madam Walker, Carole Lombard and popcorn king Orville Redenbacher, who was the focus of a recent Hoosier History Live! show.

Fun fact: When Nelson was a feature writer/columnist for The Indianapolis Star and its bygone sister newspaper, The Indianapolis News, he interviewed Gary BraVard. Twice, in fact.

Two years ago, Gary was shot on the Monon Trail during an attempted robbery. Gary BraVard appears with singer/actress Carol Channing at an event in the mid-1980s. Channing performed a one-woman show at the Civic Theatre, then at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The staging of the performance was "reverse," with Channing positioned on a platform in what was the audience area, and the audience seated on the stage itself. Image provided by Gary BraVard.During our show, he shares details about the crime, the trial of the 15-year-old who shot him, and Gary's ongoing recovery. He still has several bullets lodged in his body, including his spine.

On a much lighter note, Gary also shares behind-the-scenes details of a posh event - the retirement party of an Indianapolis business leader - that went awry. (A teaser: The disaster involved wet paint.)

Plus, Gary has a parade of anecdotes from Indy events that he planned with a guest list of visiting celebrities. In addition to the previously mentioned notables, including Carol Channing, attendees at his parties have included Lucie Arnaz, who was visiting the Hoosier capital for a theatrical performance.

So, with their trove of anecdotes about Hoosier places, notables and special events, Nelson and Gary field an array of questions from callers, and from one another.

Roadtrip: Indiana Dunes, town of Beverly Shores and South Shore Line

A vintage poster for the South Shore Line trip to the Dunes beaches.Roadtripper Nikki Martin will call in with a taste of what to expect when traveling up to the Dunes area in northwestern Indiana on Lake Michigan. Did you know that the South Shore Railroad Line historically has brought happy sun worshippers from the Chicago area to the Dunes?

The town of Beverly Shores also has some interesting landmarks, including several "modern" homes that were relocated to the town after Chicago's 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair. Tune in Saturday for more!

History Mystery

Several of the famous Hoosiers featured in Indiana Legends, the book by host Nelson Price, also have been guests on Hoosier History Live! They include a jazz musician and educator who is credited with pioneering the use of cellos in jazz music. A native of Indianapolis, he talked on our radio show about his teenage years at Attucks High School when, although under-age, he was able to slip into nightspots on Indiana Avenue during the area's post-World War II heyday as a jazz mecca.

Later in life, the musician and educator primarily has been based in Bloomington. He has enjoyed the distinction of serving as the conductor of the first orchestra funded by the Smithsonian Institution.

Question: Who is he?

Longtime sponsor

A fond farewell to marketing partner Aesop's Tables on Mass Ave.

For many Saturdays after the airing of Hoosier History Live, show participants have dined at Aesop’s Tables on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indy, a longtime show sponsor. Here, Darryl Jones and Donald Pitzer, collaborators on the book New Harmony Then & Now, appear with host Nelson Price and Connie Pitzer after a September 2012 show. Hoosier History Live photo.

Aesop's Tables will be open for its last day of business on Saturday, Aug. 24, after 20 years in business. It has sold the lease on its stellar location at 600 Massachusetts Ave. in downtown Indianapolis. The landmark independent restaurant will be offering specials on Saturday.

Hoosier History Live has enjoyed a sponsorship trade with Aesop's for many years, which has made it possible for us to treat our fascinating Saturday show guests to lunch after the show, and also to be able to do a little business entertaining. Many loud and lively conversations over great food and drinks have taken place over the years at Aesop's. Thank you!

Christ Church Cathedral, Zion and Second Pres in Indy

This 1932 photograph shows the First Baptist Church (foreground left) and Second Presbyterian Church (foreground right) just south of the Indiana War Memorial on Vermont Street in Indianapolis. Both church buildings were demolished in 1960. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.

(Aug. 17, 2013) - Three historic congregations in the Hoosier capital - each with a heritage of more than 150 years and each celebrating a significant milestone - are the focus of this show.

Located on a high-visibility site on Monument Circle, Christ Church Cathedral was built in the 1850s; the Gothic Revival building is considered the oldest religious structure in the city. This wood carving of the Last Supper was dedicated in 1930 at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ in Indianapolis. Photo by Hoosier History Live.The Episcopalian congregation, though, dates back even further, to the 1830s, and is currently celebrating its 175th anniversary.

Sometimes called "the Little Church on the Circle," Christ Church remained at the heart of downtown even as neighboring churches moved or closed. Christ Church is known for its support of the arts, annual Strawberry Festival and renowned choirs, which sang at the Indiana State Capitol when Abraham Lincoln lay in state during a stop on his funeral procession to Illinois.

Rev. Stephen Carlsen, dean and rector at Christ Church Cathedral, join Nelson in studio. So does Rev. Jonathan Basile, senior pastor at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ, which has a deep German heritage in Indy.

Christ Church Cathedral interior. Photo by Hoosier History Live.Founded in 1841 by German immigrants and considered to be the city's second-oldest Protestant congregation, Zion is celebrating 100 years at its current building on the corner of New Jersey and North streets. The church's neo-Gothic style building includes a sanctuary with wood sculptures of the disciples (a rendering of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper") by a German woodcarver. The sanctuary also boasts a 1940 Kimball pipe organ with 3,022 pipes.

One of Indy's largest congregations also is celebrating its 175th anniversary. Second Presbyterian Church, which has been known for decades for the "movers and shakers" in its pews, was founded in 1838.

Initially located on Monument Circle, followed by a building near the Indiana War Memorial, Second Pres has been at its current site at 7700 N. Meridian St. since the late 1950s. Rev. Stephen Carlsen.Since then, several wings and other additions have been added to the massive structure, most recently a music and fine arts department addition, youth area and social activities room called McFarland Hall. The church's historian and archivist, Fred Kortepeter, joins Nelson and the other guests in studio.

Jonathan Basile.According to a history Fred has put together, the minister at Second Pres in the 1860s galvanized civic leaders to start the Indianapolis Public Library. The crusade began when the minister proclaimed during a Thanksgiving Day sermon that the lack of a public library was "a deficiency that is really fatal to the city's character."

Christ Church Cathedral also has been actively involved in civic affairs. Congregation members helped start public schools in the city during the 1800s and, more recently, have been involved with the Julian Center, the Damien Center and Second Helpings. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the cathedral was the setting for a citywide memorial service.

Some history nuggets:

  • Bill Hudnut moved to Indy in 1963 to become senior minister at Second Presbyterian, then served a record-setting four terms as Indy's mayor. When former Mayor Hudnut was a guest on our show in June, the History Mystery focused on his well-known predecessor from the 19th century. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher served as the Second Pres pastor beginning in 1839, then moved to New York City and became one of the most famous spiritual and civic leaders in the country.
  • Fred Kortepeter.The caller who answered that History Mystery was current civic leader Henry Ryder, a member of Second Pres and retired lawyer who is a well-known re-enactor for his performances as Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.
  • At Christ Church Cathedral, the acclaimed Choir of Men and Boys, founded in 1883, has toured Europe, performing at Westminster Abbey in London and Notre Dame in Paris; the Cathedral Girls' Choir also has appeared overseas and performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
  • Although there's no longer a regular German-language service on Sundays at Zion, services in German continue to be offered during Lent and Advent.
  • Irish immigrants in the 1830s are credited with founding St. John's Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic parish in Indy. The heritage of the church at 126 W. Georgia St. was the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show in October 2010.
  • The architectural firm that designed St. John's, which is located near Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, also had a connection to Zion. D.A. Bohlen & Son designed Zion's current building, which opened in 1913. In addition to the wood carving of the disciples, the sanctuary features 100-year-old stained glass windows.
  • Regular worshipers at Christ Church included the late business leader and philanthropist Eli Lilly (1885-1977), who squashed attempts by banks and others to purchase the cathedral's site on Monument Circle.
  • Not only is Christ Church the oldest religious structure in Indy, it's the oldest building on Monument Circle. The cathedral is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Learn more: Zion's stained glass window renovation by Conrad Schmidt Associates.

History Mystery

Among several Methodist congregations that founded churches in downtown Indianapolis during the 1800s, one has a special distinction in the city's public-safety history. This downtown Indy church was built in the 1870s. Hoosier History Live photo.The Methodist congregation initially met in a chapel on the corner of Pennsylvania and Market streets in the 1840s and '50s. The chapel had a tower with a bell that called the congregation to worship; because the city had no fire bell then, the congregation allowed firefighters and other residents to ring the bell if a fire erupted in Indianapolis.

During the 1870s, a new church elsewhere downtown was built for the Methodist congregation, which continues to worship in the building today. Like Christ Church Cathedral, the church building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Question: What is the Methodist church?

Roadtrip: CCC legacy at McCormick's Creek State Park

Roadtripper Suzanne Stanis of Indiana Landmarks suggests we attend a daylong program coming up at McCormick's Creek State Park near Spencer, Ind., to explore the legacy of the Civilian Conversation Corps.

The gatehouse at McCormick's Creek State Park in Indiana was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Image courtesy Indiana Landmarks.The CCC was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal Depression-era employment program that put men to work creating charming structures in Indiana's parks - lodges, picnic shelters, bridges - using locally available materials.

Says Suzanne: "It was a sustainable design program ahead of its time!"

McCormick's Creek State Park, Indiana's first state park, offers several examples of CCC. From 1933 to 1935, Company 589 of the CCC constructed shelter houses, a gatehouse and magnificent stone-arch bridge still visible today.

On Saturday, Aug. 24, Indiana Landmarks is offering a daylong Landmarks Experience exploring the CCC legacy at McCormick's Creek State Park, with tours and lectures by historians, landscape architects and naturalists. You can register online for Landmarks Experience.

This event is co-sponsored by Indiana Landmarks, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Owen County Preservations.

Ancient people here - and agricultural beginnings in Indiana

Awl, 10,400 years old, from Carroll County, Indiana, found in 2003.(Aug. 10, 2013 encore presentation) - Never let it be said Hoosier History Live does not dig deep into our rich heritage. As evidence, our focus during this show is on the so-called "Very First Hoosiers," or ancient people who lived more than 10,000 years ago in the densely wooded forests that became the site of Indiana.

During this encore broadcast of one of the most popular shows in our archives (its original air date was Sept. 29, 2012), Nelson's guest is Dr. Christopher Schmidt, an archaeologist, biological anthropologist and director of the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory at the University of Indianapolis.

In addition to sharing insights about the ancient people who lived in what became the Hoosier state, Chris also discusses the beginnings of agriculture here. He is credited with discovering the oldest known man-made tool in Hoosier soil, an awl (used for making clothes) found during a dig near the town of Flora in Carroll County. Christopher Schmidt.The awl is estimated to be about 10,400 years old.

During the show, Chris, a popular U Indy faculty member who has overseen excavations across Indiana, shares details about the ancient Hoosiers of nearly 11,000 years ago, as well as information on the animal and plant life that surrounded them.

After many centuries, the ancient people began to develop agriculture, a move that, according to Chris, also meant an increase in various diseases. He discusses the correlation, as well as the origin of maize in Indiana.

Chris describes the ancient people as biological ancestors of Native Americans, although they differed culturally from the Native Americans who were living in the Eastern Woodlands when white settlers arrived.

According to Chris, the first evidence that Eastern Woodlands people manipulated plants - the beginnings of agriculture - occurred about 3,000 years ago. The ancient people, who lived in structures similar to wigwams, initially cultivated four varieties of plants that, according to Chris, today might be dismissed as "weeds."

Conclusions about the ancient people's diet and agricultural cultivations come from analyzing a variety of sources, including fossils found in Indiana.

Referring to the early cultivation of maize - a term Chris says is generally synonymous with corn - he explains that the ancient people often selected floodplains as sites of their fields. Floodplains provided a way to irrigate their crops.

"The actual corn they cultivated to eat was very similar, nearly identical, to the corn we eat today, except smaller," Chris says.

Initially, though, the plant did not produce multiple seeds in cobs. In what Chris describes as a "huge achievement," ancient people selectively bred their maize to produce cobs filled with corn kernels.

Switzerland County and living on the Ohio River

The Schenck Mansion in Vevay, Ind., now operates as a bed-and-breakfast inn. The 35-room home was built by “hay king” Benjamin Franklin Schenck in 1874. Photo by Kendal R. Miller.(Aug. 3, 2013) - Even though it's one of our smallest counties, the history is deep and rich, the views are scenic, and Switzerland County, with its county seat of Vevay, turns 200 this year.

Not only does Hoosier History Live! explore the county's heritage, which includes Swiss immigration, an entrepreneur known as the "Hay King" and a popular wine festival, we also explore the impact of the Ohio River on towns and farms in the far-southeastern corner of the Hoosier state.

For this journey in advance of the Vevay Switzerland County Bicentennial, Nelson is joined in-studio by three guests:

Considered to be the home of the country's first commercial winery, Vevay hosts the annual Swiss Wine Festival. The four-day event, which will be Aug. 22-25, features a parade, riverboat cruises, music and a grape stomp.

Martha Bladen, 2013.The county's early Swiss settlers, who included John James Dufour Jr., his family and descendants, initially called their land on the river "New Switzerland." They set up vineyards and, in 1813, established the town of Vevay. Thanks to the ease of shipping goods by riverboat, the town and surrounding farms flourished for several decades. Farmers constructed flatboats and keelboats from nearby timber.

Kendal R. Miller, 2013 photo.A history nugget, courtesy of bicentennial material: "Due in part to its easy accessibility to the Ohio River, other forms of transportation were slow to develop in Switzerland County." No railroad companies ever laid track in the county. Major roadways also were slow to be built.

The result was that later in the 1800s, when railroads trumped river traffic such as steamboats as the primary way to transport products and people, the region's economy declined.

At the "Life on the Ohio" River History Museum, riverboat models and artifacts from the heyday of steamboats are displayed.

Switzerland County's “Musee de Venoge” is a museum and nature park celebrating the county’s French-Swiss heritage. This small house may be more than 200 years old and is an example of the distinctively French post-on-sill style of construction. Photo courtesy Indiana Landmarks.In addition to overseeing the museum and creating artwork, our guest Martha Bladen is a retired elementary school teacher. She also oversees the under-development Agricultural Museum Center, which will showcase a hay press barn. Invented in Switzerland County, the hay press was patented in 1843.

"The hay press was a three-story, animal-powered machine that, using a pulley and screw, pressed 300- to 400-pound bales," Martha explains. "The defining characteristic was the large wood 'driver' that dropped from heights of 20 feet or more into a hay-filled box, thus pressing the hay into large bales."

Switzerland County resident Ulyyses P. Schenck, who became known as the "Hay King," had a fleet of eight steamboats and barges. Even before that, the ancestors of our guest Barry Brown had settled in the county. Both sides of his family, which included Scottish immigrants, as well as Swiss and French, arrived in the early 1800s.

Vintage artifacts from various early settlers displayed at the Switzerland County Historical Museum include the first piano brought down river by flatboat to Indiana.

Roadtrip: Hoosier Theater in Vevay, plus good eats

The Hoosier Theater in Vevay, Ind., features a mural of the Ohio River on the side of the building. Photo by Lee Lewellen, courtesy Indiana Landmarks.Roadtripper and film historian Eric Grayson will report on adventures to be had in Vevay, Ind., including visits to the famous Hoosier Theater there. Built in 1837, it is notable for its balcony, which is suspended from the ceiling by cast-iron rods.

The 1974 TV movie A Girl Named Sooner was shot in Vevay, and Eric even ran a showing of the film at the Hoosier last year!

Right next door to the Hoosier Theater is Roxano's Restaurant, a popular local eatery that specializes in pizza and Italian cuisine.

Eric also reports that just up the State Road 156 is Shell's Ice Cream and Grill, which he says is open late and is great for someone who just finished watching a long movie and wants to take a shake home for the road.

Eric also says Vevay has a very strong Main Street program, which we surely will hear more about from our show guests.

History Mystery

The “Life on the Ohio” River History Museum in Vevay, Ind., features a rare and diverse collection depicting life and work along the Ohio River, from the earliest flatboats to the rise and fall of the steam packets and towboats. Photo by Kendal R. Miller.

Switzerland County is one of the state's smallest counties, but it's not the smallest. That distinction goes to another county in the far-southeastern corner of the Hoosier state; it borders Switzerland County. And it's the smallest county in Indiana, both in population and in area.

Question: What is the county?

The prize is a couple of tickets to the Switzerland County Historical Museum and the Life on the Ohio River History Museum in Vevay, Ind., courtesy of the Switzerland County Historical Society, and a gift certificate to Dick's Bodacious Bar-B-Q in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy.

Historic movie theaters, Act II

An audience gathers for opening day at the Emboyd Theatre (later the Embassy Theatre) in Fort Wayne, Ind., on May 14, 1928. The theater came with a Page theater pipe organ, and the seven-story Indiana Hotel was wrapped around the west and north sides of the theater. Image courtesy Historic Embassy Theatre.

(July 27, 2013) - Consider this a sequel to a popular show last February that focused on historic Indiana movie theaters that now are in a range of conditions, from lavishly restored to long-deteriorating. The Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Ind., opened in 1924 with 2,000 seats. Shows included vaudeville, big band and theatrical revues, plus newfangled talking pictures. Image courtesy Lerner Theatre.We also touched on a challenge that could imperil single-screen theaters built decades ago: a looming deadline to convert to digital projection, which involves considerable expense.

To explore additional movie theaters with rich histories, as well as delve further into the digital-era challenges and various issues involved in programming classic or other Golden Age movies instead of contemporary films, Nelson is joined in studio by two guests. They are Indianapolis-based architect Jim Kienle, director of historic preservation at Moody Nolan, and film historian Eric Grayson, who owns a vast collection of rare movies and has preserved and restored many of them.

New Moon Theater in Vincennes, Ind., now houses a church. Photo by Glory-June Greiff.Eric is known across the state for his vintage-film presentations, including the Vintage Movie Nights series at the Garfield Park Arts Center in Indianapolis.

During our show, Nelson and his guests explore the Circle Theatre on Monument Circle in Indianapolis; it was built in 1916 as one of the largest silent-movie palaces west of New York. Despite its highly visible location in the heart of the Hoosier capital, the Circle had deteriorated alarmingly through the 1970s. Our guest Jim Kienle was a key figure in the 1980s renovation of what's now known as the Hilbert Circle Theatre, the concert hall of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Jim Kienle.Jim Kienle also shares insights about the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, which opened in 1924 as a movie house and as a venue for vaudeville shows and big-band concerts. With an auditorium often likened to a European opera house of the 19th century, the Lerner has been the focus of national attention since an $18 million renovation that was completed in 2011.

But what about the long-deteriorated Rivoli Theatre on the eastside of Indy? We provide an update on the once-lavish theater on East 10th Street that seated 1,500 when it opened in 1927. Its disturbing saga, which included a stint as an X-rated theater, followed by decades of sitting vacant, was spotlighted during our February show.

Nelson and his guests also explore:

  • The Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, which was built in 1922 and shows vintage movies year-round.
  • The Paramount Theatre in Anderson (now the Paramount Theatre Center and Ballroom) that opened in 1929 and has a restored theater organ and an interior Spanish courtyard.
  • The Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne, which opened as a movie palace in 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Eric Grayson.At the Embassy on Aug. 9, our guest Eric Grayson will be involved in a gala to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of famous Hoosier novelist and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter. The event will include the showing of Laddie (1926), a rare silent movie (with its original score) based on her novel, which was published 100 years ago.

Initially known as the Emboyd Theatre, the ornate Embassy was built with nearly 3,100 seats, according to The Historic Fort Wayne Embassy Theatre (IU Press, 2009). Total seating capacity today is 2,470, including the balcony.

Many historic movie houses are far smaller and have just one screen. Their fate is uncertain as the movie industry quickly eliminates film in favor of all-digital distribution, an issue Nelson and his guests discuss. The Avon Theater in South Bend was torn down in 2012. Photo by Glory-June Greiff.Purchasing and installing digital projectors - estimated to cost more than $70,000 per screen - far exceeds the resources of many historic movie houses in small towns.

Some history nuggets:

  • Even though the Circle has been the concert hall of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra since 1984, the theater occasionally reverts to its original use as a movie house. The Circle was the setting for the world premiere of Hoosiers (1986).
  • In the 1970s, the Embassy closed and was threatened with demolition. Outraged activists in Fort Wayne established a foundation that purchased the landmark.
  • In a Hoosier History Live! show last year about Tipton County history, we explored the Diana Theater, a movie house built in the 1920s by a Greek immigrant to Tipton. Generations of town residents have had their first dates at the Diana, a single-screen theater that retains its vintage ambience.

Roadtrip: Harrison Memorial at Crown Hill Cemetery

The President Benjamin Harrison Memorial under renovation at Crown Hill Cemetery is visited by Bob Milne, superintendent at Crown Hill, and Gary Bravard of Hoosier History Live! Photo by Hoosier History Live.Roadtripper Gary Bravard suggests we take the Roadtrip to one of his favorite bicycling spots as a youth, Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Established in 1863, Crown Hill is the country's third largest non-government cemetery, with 555 acres.

With its elegant landscaping and beautifully curved roads, and as the final resting place for one U.S. president, three vice presidents, Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley and infamous bank robber John Dillinger, Crown Hill is a virtual treasure trove for history lovers.

Gary spoke recently with Crown Hill President Keith Norwalk, who reported that President Benjamin Harrison Memorial (Indiana's only U.S. president) and gravesite at Crown Hill is getting a restoration, courtesy of a grant received through the Indianapolis Garden Club. A new walkway is being installed, with new steps and new landscaping. After the restoration is complete, visitors will be able to walk all the way around the memorial.

The renovation will be complete by the time of the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony for the Harrison Memorial, to be held at Crown Hill on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 10:30 a.m. in celebration of President Harrison's 180th birthday. Benjamin Harrison was elected to the presidency in 1888 and served one term (1889-93). He was the nation's 23rd chief executive. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

History Mystery

An extensively restored, historic movie theater reopened last April in an Indiana town that's a county seat. The theater, located on the town's courthouse square, opened on New Year's Eve in 1928 and drew crowds from surrounding communities for several decades. Vintage photo of mystery theater in mystery town.But a few years after a fire, the theater closed in the 1990s and sat vacant.

The landmark theater's restoration was spearheaded by Cook Group Inc., which is based in Bloomington - just one county away from the town where the theater is located. Cook Group, the medical supply manufacturer, also has a plant in the "mystery" town.

Question: What is the town?

Hint: The town and its theater on the courthouse square were discussed during a Hoosier History Live! show in February about vintage movie houses.

The prize is four entries to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana Historical Society, two tours of the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, and two public tours of Crown Hill Cemetery. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Roots-tracing tips and advice

A page from an 1858 Evansville, Ind., city directory lists residents in alphabetical order. Image courtesy Evansville City Directories Digital Archive.(July 20, 2013) - Maybe it happens more than once in a generation, but ask yourself: How often do you get free tips and advice about tracking down your family history?

Knowing that genealogy can be intimidating and overwhelming, Hoosier History Live! brings in some experts. They include an acclaimed Hoosier who not only is considered one of the top genealogists in the state, but among the best in the country as well.

Curt Witcher is manager of the renowned genealogy center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne; it's generally regarded as the nation's best resource for roots-tracing, except perhaps for the Mormon-affiliated resources in Salt Lake City.

Curt also is former president of the National Genealogical Society and a board member of the Indiana Genealogical Society. Founded in 1989, the Indiana Genealogical Society has more than 500,000 records on its website from all of the state's 92 counties.

Curt Witcher.In addition to Curt, Nelson also is joined in studio by two Indiana Historical Society staff members who will be leading an upcoming workshop about beginning genealogy.

Kendra Clauser."Start with What You Know" is the title of the workshop with Kendra Clauser, IHS oral history project archivist, and genealogist Allison DePrey, IHS assistant coordinator for education and community engagement, who will be guests on our show. For more information about - or to register for - the July 27 workshop, which will be 10 a.m. to noon at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, contact the historical society.

Elsewhere in Indiana, a major opportunity will be available for listeners interested in roots-tracing. The Federation of Genealogical Societies will have a national conference Aug. 21-24 in Fort Wayne. Allison DePrey.Our guest Curt Witcher is a board member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies; its upcoming conference at the Grand Wayne Convention Center is open to anyone interested in family history.

During our show, Nelson and his guests explore roots-tracing aspects galore. They include tips on:

  • Using ancestry.com and launching your research.
  • Assessing the accuracy of diaries and letters, as well as of notations in family Bibles and other family documents.
  • Dealing with special challenges that involve ethnic immigration, as well as the ancestry of African-Americans and other minority populations.
  • Interviewing relatives.
  • Delving into the resources at the Allen County Public Library. A sample: It has the largest collection of city directories in the country. The library also has one of the largest collections of Canadian genealogy material.

Vintage photograph of a boy and a girl in formal clothing. Old family photographs can be a great source for genealogists. Remember to always write as much information as possible on the back of the photos.Our guest Curt Witcher has worked at the Allen County Public Library for more than 34 years. And our guest Allison DePrey, an Allen County native, began her roots-tracing research at the library as a teenager. In recent years, Allison has given presentations at several genealogy workshops across the state.

Her colleague at the historical society, our guest Kendra Clauser, specializes in interviewing and "collecting individual life stories" of people who have witnessed significant events in Indiana's recent past.

This is an ideal show for listeners to call in at (317) 788-3314 and ask for advice in exploring family trees.

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Wabash, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper and historian-at-large Glory- June Greiff recommends we head north from Indianapolis to visit the historic town of Wabash, which was founded in 1834 on a high bluff.

Wabash lies above the river of the same name in the county of the same name and also was a port on the Wabash and Erie Canal. It was the first town in the world (!) to be illuminated by electricity, back in 1880. The lights were installed on the dome of the beautiful new courthouse, completed only the year before.

A 1,500-seat theater is the centerpiece of the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Ind. Image courtesy Honeywell Center.The historic courthouse still stands, and immediately to the west is the old GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall, guarded by two cast-iron Civil War sentries. The building, which until recent years housed the Wabash County Historical Museum, now contains county offices. The museum moved to a new location downtown at 36 E. Market and is well worth seeing. The staff there will be pleased to direct you to the numerous historic sites in the area.

Wabash is filled with many wonderful historic houses, and Glory strongly suggests simply walking, especially north and west of downtown. A very nice house museum is the Dr. James Ford Historic Home. And the Honeywell House is a beautiful bed-and-breakfast that also hosts several arts and educational programs and events throughout the year.

The Honeywell Center, an interesting building with Art Deco influences, is a community center and auditorium that offers top-notch entertainment throughout the year. And if you're hungry, don't miss lunch or dinner at the Charley Creek Inn, a beautifully restored 1920s hotel downtown. You may very well want to stay the night!

History Mystery

In addition to being the site of the renowned Allen County Public Library and its genealogy center, Fort Wayne also hosts one of the largest annual festivals in northeastern Indiana. The festival is held every September to celebrate the life of an American folk hero.

Image of a festival in Fort Wayne's Archer Park.Many historians believe the folk hero died in the Fort Wayne area, probably in 1845. A memorial to the folk hero on his likely gravesite is in Archer Park and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

He has been celebrated in literature as well as pop culture, including Walt Disney cartoons.

Question: Who is the folk hero celebrated at the Fort Wayne festival?

The prize is four entries to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana Historical Society, two tours of the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, and a pair of tickets to the Track Tour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Swedish and Norwegian immigration

This old Swedish “skola” (school) in Porter, Ind., was built in 1881.(July 13, 2013) - Much turf remains to be explored in our rotating shows about ethnic immigration to the Hoosier state, even though we already have explored German, Irish, Scottish, Cuban, Italian, Greek, Colombian, Brazilian and even Sikh heritage in Indiana.

Now the turf will involve scenic homelands with fjords, the midnight sun, seafood and ship-builders.

That's because Nelson and his guests explore Swedish and Norwegian immigration to Indiana, a topic that involves a legendary football coach at the University of Notre Dame, an organ factory in Chesterton, heritage groups scattered across the state and the Studebaker Brothers in South Bend, even though the wagon- and car-making brothers were of German ancestry themselves.

Show guest Jim Nelson in Oslo, Norway, in 2011, in front of the Norwegian parliament building.Our show is timely because the Indianapolis-area lodge of Vasa Order of America, which was founded to assist Swedish immigrants, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Named in honor of the first king of modern Sweden, King Gustav Vasa, Vasa has broadened its mission to welcome anyone interested in Nordic culture, including Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish heritage.

Full disclosure: Our host Nelson is particularly passionate about this topic because his ancestry is Norwegian. His maternal great-grandparents emigrated in steerage on ocean liners, separately, from Trondheim (Norway's third-largest city) and Bergen, a coastal town. Nelson's parents are members of the Circle City Lodge of Sons of Norway, a heritage group that also has lodges in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Chesterton.

Trade card for Hillstrom Organ Manufacturing of Chesterton, Ind., c. 1900. Owner Charles O. Hillstrom was Swedish, as were most workers.Nelson is joined in studio by three guests, one of whom also is a Sons of Norway member. Jim Nelson, a music teacher in Greenwood, is the descendant of Norwegian immigrants, grew up in Chesterton, lived in Norway for more than 18 years and has taught Scandinavian studies at colleges in Minnesota, Canada and Norway. He has given presentations about Norwegian immigration, as well as about Norwegians in the Civil War.

To share insights about our state's Swedish heritage, Nelson welcomes an old friend and colleague, Vasa member Jim Lindgren, a Fishers resident whose ancestry is 100 percent Swedish. Now an editor for Strategic Marketing and Research Inc. in Carmel, Jim Lindgren is a former colleague of Nelson from their years at the Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star, where Jim was known for propping up a Swedish flag on his desk.

Nelson and the two Jims also are joined by John Bevelhimer of Indianapolis, a retired IT specialist and past chairman of the local Vasa (Lodge Svea No. 253) who extensively researched its history for the recent centennial.

According to Peopling Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 1996), Swedes and Norwegians who eventually came to Indiana tended to settle first in Chicago, then filter into the Hoosier state as a result of a second move.

The grandparents of both Nelson and Jim Lindgren lived in the Chicago area. In fact, Jim's great-grandfather, Nels Lindgren, owned a Swedish tavern in Chicago. The Andersonville neighborhood of the Windy City is historically Swedish.

John Bevelhimer, 2013.Scandinavian immigrants typically arrived in Indiana decades later than their German and Irish counterparts, often lured by whatever farmland remained unclaimed during the late 1800s and early 1900s. For early groups of Swedes, that often meant farmland in Porter County.

In the 1880s, an organ factory in Chesterton became the town's main industry and employed many Swedes and Norwegians, according to Peopling Indiana.

"Swedes were so dominant in Chesterton that in the 1880s the Chesterton Tribune occasionally ran front-page articles in the Swedish language," the book notes.

Jim Lindgren, 2013.Primarily, early Swedish settlements were in a part of northeast Porter County known as Bailleytown and surrounding areas near the Lake Michigan shore. According to our guest Jim Nelson, Swedish settlements large enough to establish and sustain Lutheran congregations - in addition to Chesterton - were in Plymouth, LaPorte, Donaldson, Michigan City, Porter, Chesterton, Gary, East Gary (later renamed Lake Station), Hobart and Whiting.

A section of Michigan City became known as "Swedeville," drawing Scandinavians seeking jobs in shipping and lumber. Peopling Indiana notes that by 1890, three counties in northwest Indiana - Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties - included more than half of the state's Swedish-born residents.

Studebaker Brothers in South Bend actively recruited Swedish workers during the factory's heyday. Several of the mystery novels of contemporary author Jeanne Dams of South Bend focus on a resourceful Swedish immigrant working as a maid in one of the historic Studebaker mansions during the late 1800s.

This 1975 Norway stamp commemorates 150 years of Norwegian emigration to America.South Bend also became the adopted hometown of an icon in college football history. Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame coach who used the "win one for the Gipper" story as a motivational technique, was born in the Norwegian village of Voss. The South Bend Chocolate Company continues to market Knute Rockne lines of chocolates in tribute to "The Rock," who is credited with revolutionizing college football before his tragic death in a plane crash in 1931.

Some other fun facts:

  • The movie Song of Norway (1970), a musical about the life of classical composer Edvard Grieg, starred a famous Hoosier. Florence Henderson, a native of Dale, Ind., completed her role in the movie, which was filmed on location in Norway, just before she began the long-running TV series The Brady Bunch.
  • The former longtime mayor of West Lafayette is of Norwegian heritage. Sonya Margerum, who served as mayor for 24 years beginning in 1980, also was a longtime board member of her alma mater, St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
  • Col. Eli Lilly, the Civil War hero who founded the pharmaceutical business that became an international company, was of Swedish heritage.
  • Although the 30-year-old conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is Polish, Krzysztof Urbanski has a strong connection to Norway. Urbanski, the youngest person ever to lead a major North American orchestra, is simultaneously serving as chief conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in Norway.
  • On his right hand, our host Nelson always wears a family heirloom wedding ring from his Norwegian ancestors. His great-grandmother, Clara Jensen, gave it to his great-grandfather, Olaf Nelson, during their marriage ceremony.

"Learn more" websites include:

Roadtrip: Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and art playground in Columbus, Ind.

Children climb high in the air, with protective netting, at The Commons playground in Columbus, Ind.

Guest Roadtripper this week is one of Central Indiana's favorite foodies, Daina Chamness. She'll be reporting on a recent trip she took to Columbus, Ind., to check out the fabulous 1900 ice cream parlor Zaharakos in the 300 block of Washington Street there.

Right across the street is "The Commons," which boasts an elaborate children's playground.

Remember that the Columbus Visitors Center is in walking distance of these downtown attractions.

History Mystery

A well-known former political figure from Indiana is Norwegian-American on his mother's side. Her grandfather - the politician's great-grandfather - emigrated from Norway in the late 1800s.

The Hoosier politician, who won a series of statewide elections over a 20-year period beginning in the 1980s, took a trip with his mother to their ancestral homeland of Norway, as well as to other Scandinavian countries. The mother-son journey unfolded in the summer of 1978, following the son's graduation from Indiana University.

Indianapolis International Film Festival logo.Less than a year later - in April 1979 - the future politician's mother died of cancer. In her final years, she had crusaded to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Question: Name the former Indiana politician who is of Norwegian heritage in his maternal line.

Hint: His father, who is still living, also had a long political career and won statewide elections over a period of 20 years.

The prize is a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis International Film Festival and a gift certificate to Dick's Bodacious Bar-B-Q. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Orville Redenbacher and popcorn heritage in Indiana

(July 6, 2013) - Chew on this: Not only is "Year of Popcorn" the theme at next month's Indiana State Fair, but the farmboy-turned-entrepreneur who became internationally known as "the Popcorn King" was a Hoosier.

Orville Redenbacher was born in Brazil, Ind., in 1907 and became a famous popcorn entrepreneur with his namesake brand.Grandfatherly, bow-tied Orville Redenbacher (1907-95), who became a multimedia advertising icon, is far from Indiana's only link to the perennially, uh, pop-ular product that long ago became a household staple.

A farm agent who grew up near Brazil, Ind., Redenbacher studied at Purdue University and experimented for more 40 years with 3,000 hybrids of popcorn. He's credited with making the first significant changes in the treat since Native Americans introduced it to white settlers in the 1600s.

His adopted hometown of Valparaiso, where Redenbacher lived for many years, continues to host an annual Popcorn Festival in his honor. The event, which includes a popcorn parade, typically is attended by 75,000 people.

Another Hoosier town - Van Buren in Grant County - also hosts an annual Popcorn Festival that features a parade. Because so much popcorn is produced from the farms surrounding Van Buren (pop.: 864 in the 2010 U.S. Census), the town bills itself as "the popcorn capital of the world." According to the State Fair, Indiana is one of the country's top popcorn-producing states.

So not only do we explore the colorful life of Orville Redenbacher, the "king of kernels," Nelson and his guests also delve into the product's historic importance to the Hoosier state's economy and heritage.

John Norberg.Noblesville-based, family-owned Weaver Popcorn Company makes and distributes popcorn internationally (since 2010, Weaver Popcorn has even been sold at movie theaters in China) and is a leading maker of microwave popcorn.

To digest all of this popcorn talk, Nelson is joined by Purdue staff writer and historian John Norberg, who interviewed Redenbacher and also was a colleague of the late Robert Topping, author of the definitive biography Just Call Me Orville (Purdue University Press, 2011).

Andy Klotz.Nelson's guests also include Andy Klotz, public relations director of the State Fair, who shares details about the ways the product will be showcased next month. Andy also shares insights about Weaver Popcorn, which was founded in the 1920s by Rev. Ira Weaver, another beloved Hoosier entrepreneur.

Fun fact: When Nelson was researching Orville Redenbacher's life for his book Indiana Legends, he discovered the popcorn king always preferred his "salted, no butter."

At Brazil High School, Redenbacher captured state championships in 4-H club contests. He paid for his tuition at Purdue (which, as he put it, soon was "on the cutting edge of popcorn research") by scrubbing hog houses and tending chickens. Redenbacher became an agricultural agent in Vigo County, where he apparently was the first county agent in Indiana to broadcast live on radio from fields.

Orville Redenbacher as a member of the Purdue University Band with a helicon horn, 1924-25. Image courtesy Purdue University Libraries Archives.By the time Redenbacher died at age 88, he was a national celebrity, thanks to the use of his name and image on his product's label and in countless magazine ads and TV commercials. Even today, nearly 20 years after the death of Redenbacher (who is often described as popcorn's version of Col. Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame), ads and commercials still feature him, often accompanied by his grandson.

According to Just Call Me Orville, Redenbacher was named in honor of Orville Wright of the famous Wright Brothers aviators. (Orville Wright's brother Wilbur was born in far-eastern Indiana.)

At age 12, Orville Redenbacher began raising popcorn and selling it in 50-pound sacks to stores in Brazil and Terre Haute. In addition to studying agriculture as a Purdue student, he played the sousaphone in Purdue's renowned All-American Marching Band.

The decades he devoted to experimenting with hybrids are credited with producing a variety that popped significantly larger, lighter and fluffier. It became a marketing sensation as Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn and eventually was sold to California-based Hunt Wesson Foods, which continued to use Redenbacher as the brand's spokesman. (It eventually was swallowed up by ConAgra, the giant food conglomerate based in Omaha.)

At the State Fair, which will run from Aug. 2-18, the world's largest popcorn ball - weighing 5,200 pounds - will be on display. Popcorn festival float in Valparaiso popcorn parade.According to a recent article in the Indianapolis Star, Sac City, Iowa currently holds title for the world's largest popcorn ball with its 5,000-pound ball created by town residents in 2009.

Other aspects of the "Year of Popcorn" celebration at the fair will include a twist on a traditional corn maze: a popcorn maze that fair-goers can maneuver through.

Final fun fact: According to Just Call Me Orville, the "Popcorn King," who became a hit on the speaking circuit, occasionally would introduce his talk by saying, "My topic tonight is sex."

After his audience reacted with astonishment, he would share insights about "the sex life of a popcorn plant and the breeding methods required to obtain hybrids."

Learn more:

Roadtrip: Oldenburg, the village of spires

Most of the spired buildings in Oldenburg, Ind., are part of the complex of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis. Image courtesy Archdiocese of Indianapolis.Guest Roadtripper this week is William Selm, architectural historian, adjunct faculty member at IUPUI and expert on German heritage in Indiana. He suggests we visit another of his favorite German-settled small towns in Indiana, Oldenburg, which is right off I-74 going southeast Indianapolis in Franklin County.

William tells us that "Oldenburg is one of many towns and villages across Indiana, especially Southern Indiana, founded by and for German immigrants before the Civil War. What makes Oldenburg stand out is its townscape of spired buildings, most of which are part of the complex of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis."

Oldenburg was founded in 1837 by two immigrants from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg at the request of the Catholic priest, Fr. Joseph Ferneding, also an Oldenburger. A later priest, Fr. Franz Josef Rudolf from Alsace, had the vision of spires as he built the c. 1848 onion-domed stone church, the current brick 1860s parish church, and the first convent buildings.

This energetic priest also co-founded the convent and invited Beatus Gehring to establish his brick yard south of the village. He is honored with a crypt tomb in the parish church. Oldenburg's annual Freudenfest is this July 19-20.

History Mystery

The "mystery restaurant" in West Lafayette, c. 1940.Not far from the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette where Orville Redenbacher majored in agricultural studies is a landmark in Indiana food history.

Billing itself as the state's oldest drive-in, the restaurant has a memorable name. Known for burgers, shakes and root beer, it serves menu items such as Boilermaker burgers and peanut butter burgers. The restaurant opened in 1929, one year after young Orville Redenbacher graduated from Purdue.

Question: Name the landmark restaurant in West Lafayette.

The prize is a pair of tickets to the Children's Museum, courtesy of Visit Indy, and tickets to the Indiana State Fair, courtesy of the Indiana State Fair.

Underground Railroad reality and myths in Indiana

An 1838 Bardstown, Ky., newspaper advertisement offers a reward for the capture of a runaway slave. Image courtesy Library of Congress.(June 29, 2013) - If you believe folklore across Indiana, just about every historic house, inn and tavern - particularly those with hidden rooms, cellars or attics - were stops on the Underground Railroad.

Exaggerations and misconceptions abound regarding the movement before and during the Civil War to help escaped slaves, according to experts.

To share insights about the myths and reality regarding the extent and nature of the Underground Railroad network in Indiana - including what is and isn't confirmed - Nelson is joined in studio by two experts. They are historic researcher and genealogist Dona Stokes-Lucas of Indianapolis and Kisha Tandy, assistant curator of social history at the Indiana State Museum.

A board member of Indiana Freedom Trails Inc., a nonprofit established to pull together, verify and preserve information about Underground Railroad history in the Hoosier state, Dona has been a popular guest on Hoosier History Live!, as has Kisha.

Re-enactor DeAlden Watson tells the story of freedom seekers crossing the Ohio River into southern Indiana at the Progressive Journey Conference in October of 2011. He is standing outside the Second Baptist Church in downtown New Albany, which is believed to be a site that assisted escaping slaves. Hoosier History Live! photo.Dona has joined us for shows about roots tracing, as well as about various aspects of Underground Railroad heritage in Indiana. The Underground Railroad era generally is defined as beginning in the mid-1830s.

Oral histories, diaries, notations in family Bibles and letters have been crucial in figuring out the routes, buildings and people associated with the effort to help runaway slaves - or freedom seekers - as they passed through Indiana.

How, though, do you document something that obviously was kept secret?

In addition to tackling that issue - Nelson asks Dona and Kisha how people can determine the reliability of diary entries or letters - we also explore which regions of the state had frequent stops on the Underground Railroad. And which ones had very few.

Learn more: Clickable map showing Underground Railroad sites in Indiana.

According to several accounts, St. Joseph County, which includes South Bend, served an integral role with fugitive slaves as they headed north. And because of the prevalence of anti-slavery Quakers in Wayne County and other parts of far-eastern Indiana, that region also had a flurry of clandestine activity.

During our show, we also will discuss the frequency with which so-called slave catchers from the South - often mercenaries - combed Indiana in search of freedom seekers.

Kisha Tandy, 2013.Related to that, we will explore the frequency with which home and business owners were prosecuted for harboring escaped slaves or helping them in other ways. In some cases, abolitionists arranged for medical care. Small groups of Hoosier women secretly gathered to weave blankets and clothes for the refugees, who often fled with scarcely any possessions.

Also during the show, Dona and Kisha share insights about on-going efforts to preserve the Underground Railroad heritage across the state.

Dona Stokes-Lucas.For a program in 2011 with historic preservationist Maxine Brown of Corydon, Hoosier History Live! even explored freedom seekers in Indiana before the Underground Railroad was established - in some cases, several years before statehood was achieved in 1816.

Learn more: Click on these Hoosier History Live! show newsletters (2008 through 2013) with African-American history themes from our trove of 250 shows:

Roadtrip: Underground Railroad in Jeffersonville

Hannah Toliver historical marker.Guest Roadtripper and historic preservationist Maxine Brown of Corydon, founder of the Indiana African American Heritage Trail, suggests we take a Roadtrip to southern Indiana, that part of the state along the Ohio River rich with Underground Railroad activity because of its proximity to the slave state of Kentucky.

Hannah Toliver was a free black woman living in Jeffersonville before the Civil War and was an Underground Railroad activist. She was was arrested for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky, and she served time in the Kentucky Penitentiary in Frankfort before being released and returned to Jeffersonville. Her historical marker is on Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville.

Maxine Brown, who also known for having restored the Leora Brown Colored School in Corydon, will suggest Underground Railroad spots to visit in "her" part of the state.

History Mystery

In a small town near Richmond during the 1840s, a Quaker couple helped so many escaped slaves in their journeys to freedom that their home became known as the "Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad.

A bed can be moved to cover the small doorway to a hiding place in the historic home of our “mystery couple” in Wayne County. Image courtesy in.gov.Their red brick, two-story house in Wayne County had a cellar as well as a hidden, second-floor bedroom - actually, a large crawl space - where freedom seekers could hide.

Feeling passionately that slavery was wrong, the couple convinced other Quakers in their town to join their crusade. A prosperous banker, mill owner and merchant, he prevailed on townspeople to help transport and conceal escaped slaves. She persuaded her friends to gather at her spinning wheel and help weave blankets and clothes for the refugees.

Today, their home is a popular destination for school field trips.

Question: Name the Quaker couple.

Please provide their surname and both of their first names.

The prize is a pair of tickets to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, four admissions to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center, and a gift certificate for Greatimes Family Fun Park on Indy’s southside. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Centennial in 1916, bicentennial in 2016

President Woodrow Wilson, Gov. Samuel Ralston and Mayor Joseph E. Bell view the Indiana centennial parade from Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis in 1916. Photo research by Joan Hostetler, Heritage Photo. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.(June 22, 2013) - As Indiana prepares to celebrate a big birthday, Hoosier History Live! look ahead and back. That is, we explore what happened in 1916 when Indiana celebrated 100 years of statehood. And we will explore plans under way for the upcoming bicentennial in 2016.

In one sense, the 1916 centennial hoopla will be hard to top: It's credited with sparking the process to create Indiana's first state parks.

To share insights about the 100- and 200-year celebrations, Nelson is joined in studio by Indiana's widely admired and award-winning historian, James Madison, a professor emeritus of history at Indiana University and the author of several books about various aspects of the state's history, and by Chris Jensen, executive director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

Chris Jensen.According to an article in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History magazine, the 1916 centennial was "conducted with great energy and little funding," although it ended up having a "lasting impact" on the 19th state.

President Woodrow Wilson spoke at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. A weeklong pageant (called the Pageant of Indiana) was held at Riverside Park in Indianapolis. James Madison.A silent movie (titled Indiana) was filmed in which Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley appeared (click link to view a portion of the film commission by the Selig Polyscope Co. All seven reels of this epic may be lost.)

And high school students across the state donned American Indian outfits and feathers.

Enthusiasm generated during the centennial eventually resulted in the purchase of Indiana's first two state parks, Turkey Run in Parke County and McCormick's Creek in Owen County. Civic leader Richard Lieber, who chaired the centennial's park committee, served as a "tireless advocate" of the purchases, as Traces put it.

For the 200th celebration, our guest Jim Madison is one of 15 distinguished Hoosiers who have been appointed to the bicentennial commission, which is overseeing the planning and execution of statewide events. Program cover from the Indiana centennial pageant in 1916.The commission is being chaired by former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, a Republican, and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat. The state's first lady, Karen Pence, is serving as the official bicentennial ambassador.

Jim Madison is the author of several books about various aspects of Indiana history, including The Indiana Way: A State History, A Lynching in the Heartland and Eli Lilly: A Life. He also is a trustee of the Indiana Historical Society and a board member of Indiana Humanities.

According to information from our guest Chris Jensen, the goal of the 2016 celebration is to "honor our state's 200 years of history, but to do so in a modern way that engages all Hoosiers and leaves a lasting legacy for future generations."

Plans are being developed for a Bicentennial torch relay that will run through all of the state's 92 counties. The relay will highlight passing the torch from one generation to the next.

The bicentennial commission also hopes to spark "legacy projects" across the state. Specifically, the commission wants to work with communities to identify local projects that are dedicated to the bicentennial, but that also will have a lasting impact. Under a Bicentennial Nature Trust dedicated to nature conservation, 35 projects in 28 counties already have received $8.1 million in grants, according to Chris Jensen. The trust is funded by money from the state and the Lilly Endowment.

In addition to the state park system that was kicked off in 1916, the centennial also spurred the formation of groups such as the Society of Indiana Pioneers, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and honoring the work of the state's pioneers. A Centennial Medal with the phrase “The admission of Indiana to the Union” was created by Hoosier sculptor Janet Scudder. The figure of Columbia represents the United States, and the child represents the new state of Indiana. The Corydon statehouse and Constitution Elm are in the background. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Bureau.Members are descended from settlers who arrived during the pioneer era, generally defined as before 1840. (Nelson is a board member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers.)

"Local historical societies were forming or reactivating across Indiana," Traces reported, referring to the impact of the 1916 centennial.

But the hoopla took awhile to ignite. According to a booklet published after the 1916 festivities, an initial challenge involved galvanizing Hoosiers about the state’s 100th anniversary.

"The people of Indiana as a whole knew little and therefore cared little about the centennial anniversary. ... There was the usual amount of inertia to overcome."

According to an Indianapolis Star account about the Pageant of Indiana in Riverside Park, its huge cast "nearly matched the number of onlookers," but it was nevertheless a "hit." The pageant, which reviewed the state's history, opened every afternoon for six days and continued after sunset, with electric torches providing the illumination.

Re-enactors - who included adults, as well as 1,500 high school students and children - portrayed French soldiers, Native American warriors, Quaker farm wives and famous Hoosiers such as Gen. Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur.

Roadtrip: Danville's Courthouse Square

The Royal Theater in Danville, Ind., in the Tudor style.Guest Roadtripper Eric Grayson, film historian, suggests we head just a bit west of Indianapolis on State Road 36 to visit Danville, which has a classic Indiana small-town courthouse square. The square boasts a wonderful 1907 courthouse and is home to one of the most moving Memorial Day displays in the area.

Crowning the square is the historic Royal Theater, which one of Indiana's only movie theaters in the Tudor style. The facility has been lovingly maintained and run by the Shearer family for the past several years.

Next door to the Royal is an outstanding Italian restaurant, Frank's Place, run by a real Italian. It's in a historic building, but the inside is all-new, and the smells are great.

Around the corner, of course, is the legendary Mayberry Cafe, a takeoff on television's classic Andy Griffith Show. The Mayberry Cafe has a 1963 police squad car parked in front, so you can't miss it!

History Mystery

One of Indiana's first counties to be organized already is celebrating its bicentennial this year. Located in far-southwestern Indiana, the county was organized in 1813.

Pictured is an Ohio River walkway in this “mystery” Indiana County that is celebrating its bicentennial.Its county seat is a town to which a teenage Abe Lincoln walked so he could sit in courtrooms and observe cases argued by a local lawyer, who mentored him. (The bicentennial county is located next to Spencer County, where the Lincoln family lived.)

Another town in the county is known for its historic Main Street and scenic "river village" ambience; the town is nestled on the Ohio River. Some of the county is considered to be part of the metro area of Evansville, which is located in another bordering county, Vanderburgh County.

Question: Name the far-southwestern county celebrating its 200th birthday this year.

Hint: It often is listed among the 10 fastest-growing counties in the state.

The prize is a pair of tickets to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and four admissions to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Indy Mayor Greg Ballard on Marines history and 'old' Cathedral High

Future Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is pictured as a Marine at Camp Pendleton in California, circa 1980. He is selecting a Mountain Dew. Image courtesy Office of Mayor Greg Ballard.(June 15, 2013) - An Indianapolis native, he grew up on the Eastside, attended the "old" Cathedral High School (when it was located downtown and had all male students) and eventually enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

So there's much local history to cover with Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis, 58, who was elected to his second term in 2011. As Hoosier History Live! segues from a former mayor of Indy (Bill Hudnut, the June 8 show guest) to his current counterpart, Mayor Ballard is Nelson's studio guest for a show that explores history topics that have been intertwined with his life.

They include the links between the Hoosier state and the Marines. After a 23-year military career, Mayor Ballard, a Republican, retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marines in 2001 and returned to his home town to enter private business.

He shares insights about who and what influenced him during his youth to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard meets with veterans at a Statehouse rally in 2012. Image courtesy city of Indianapolis.The future mayor joined the Marines after studying economics at Indiana University in the 1970s.

The decision eventually led to assignments in places such as Okinawa, Japan; Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War; and Stuttgart, Germany, as well as in Michigan, North Carolina and California, where he met his wife, Winnie Ballard, a native of the Philippines. During the first Gulf War, the future mayor was promoted to major.

Other links between the Marines and the Hoosier state:

  • Hoosiers who have achieved distinction in the Marines include David Shoup (1904-1983), a Tippecanoe County native who grew up on farms there and near Covington. A Medal of Honor winner during World War II, Shoup led the U.S. invasion during the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific Theater of the war. He rose to become the 22nd Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the top post during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Shoup was credited with emphasizing combat readiness and fiscal efficiency; he later became a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Greg Ballard.Specifications for many of the weapons, night-vision goggles and other equipment used overseas by the Marines are developed at Crane Naval Warfare Center in southwestern Indiana. (The Marines and the Navy both fall under the Secretary of the Navy.) Created during World War II, Crane Naval Warfare Center consists of 64,000 acres in Greene and Martin counties and employs about 5,000 people. Equipment used by the Marines also is tested at Crane.
  • Well-known living Hoosiers who have served in the Marines include Carol Mutter, a retired lieutenant general who lives in Brownsburg. (She was born in Colorado and became the first woman to receive the rank of lieutenant general in the Marine Corps.) Others include historic novelist James Alexander Thom, a Korean War veteran whose bestsellers include Follow the River, and Julia Whitehead, executive director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

Back in the mayor's hometown, we also will focus on Cathedral High School, where he was a member of the Class of '72.

Cathedral High School, shown in this 1926 photo, formerly was located at 14th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis. The building now houses the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Image courtesy Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Collection.Since its founding in 1918, the Catholic high school had been located at 14th and Meridian streets and attended only by boys. The future mayor's years there were preceded and followed by major changes.

In 1976, four years after he graduated, Cathedral merged with Ladywood, an all-girls Catholic academy located on the northeast-side, a decision that was presented as a financial necessity for both schools. The merged, co-ed school, which took the Cathedral name, is on the former Ladywood site on East 56th Street.

Previously, while the future mayor was attending Cathedral, Ladywood had merged in 1971 with Cathedral's "sister" school downtown, St. Agnes Academy. Located just to the south of the "old" Cathedral, the former academy now is the site of St. Agnes Apartments.

Greg Ballard, who grew up on the Eastside in a family of five children, attended Cathedral on a scholarship. In addition to graduating from IU, he obtained a master's in military science from Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va. His defeat of incumbent Bart Peterson in the 2007 mayoral election has been called one of the biggest upsets in Indy's political history.

Roadtrip: Monument Circle for kids

Urban explorers Bailey (left) and Sean Young roam around at Monument Circle in Indy. Image courtesy Kelly Young.Guest Roadtripper Kelly Young of Baise Communications reports that she took her kids for a recent tour of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and her children were fascinated by Christ Church Cathedral, with its early gothic revival architecture, Tiffany stained-glass windows and pipe organ.

Kelly's daughter, age 10, had studied President Lincoln in school this year and was fascinated to learn that the church bells had rung out as Lincoln's body lay in state at the nearly Capitol.

Kelly and crew then crossed the street, headed up the 330 steps (yes, walked!) to the observation level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for a great view of the city, and they visited the Civil War Museum in the lower level.

They topped off their Roadtrip with ice cream from the Chocolate Cafe, and then a quick trip back in time for Kelly at Rocket Fizz, a candy shop with nearly every type of novelty candy. Both of these sweet spots are right on the Circle.

History Mystery

More than 25 years before future Mayor Greg Ballard became a Marine, another well-known Indianapolis political figure served in the Marines. Shortridge High School in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Historic Indianapolis.As a Marine from 1950 to 1952, he served during the Korean War, saw combat and endured two fierce winters in Korea.

The future politician was born in Indy in 1932. He graduated from Shortridge High School in 1949, then served in the Marines. After that, he enrolled in Indiana University. In addition to a long political career - he held public office almost without interruption from 1964 until retiring in 1997 - he worked as a deputy sheriff in Marion County, a lawyer, an author and a college instructor.

Question: Who was he?

The prize is a pair of tickets to the President Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and four admissions to the Indiana Experience at the Indiana History Center. These prizes are courtesy of Visit Indy.

Former Indy Mayor Bill Hudnut

The NFL’s Colts move into town from Baltimore and are greeted by Mayor William Hudnut on March 28, 1984. Courtesy Institute for Civic Leadership and Mayoral Archives at University of Indianapolis.(June 8, 2013) - He served as mayor of Indiana's capital city longer than anyone else in history.

For 16 eventful years - a span of four terms that included unforgettable chapters, many of which have been the focus of previous Hoosier History Live! shows (such as the notorious Listen to show on the blizzard of 1978, Hoosier History Live!Blizzard of '78 and the massive Pan American Games of 1987 - William Hudnut III led Indianapolis and attained national prominence.

Although former Mayor Hudnut and his wife, Beverly Hudnut, primarily have lived in the Washington D.C. area since he left the top Indy office in 1992, he makes a return visit and - for our 250th show - joins Nelson in studio to explore what has become known as "the Hudnut era."

He didn't start out as a Hoosier. Born in Cincinnati in 1932, Bill Hudnut grew up in New Lebanon, N.Y., graduated from Princeton University and, like his father and grandfather, became a Presbyterian minister. He moved to Indy in 1963 to serve as pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, one of the city's most prestigious congregations.

By the time he left Indy, the city's skyline had been transformed - by, among other structures, the domed stadium that initially was known as the Hoosier Dome when it opened in 1984. Mayor Hudnut, a Republican, championed the sports facility's construction, even though the city did not yet have a National Football League team to play in it. William Hudnut, 2013.The Hoosier Dome was still not quite finished in late March 1984 when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indy on Mayflower Van Lines trucks late at night. The move beat a looming deadline in Maryland, where the team had been squabbling with lawmakers and civic leaders.

The history of what later was named the RCA Dome was the focus of our third Hoosier History Live! Show after our debut in early 2008, shortly before the stadium's demolition. That program followed a show about the 30th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78, the worst in city history, during which the lanky, 6-foot-4 mayor rode on snowplows and urged residents to persevere.

An unabashed cheerleader known for his willingness to do just about anything to rally his adopted hometown - including donning a leprechaun outfit on St. Patrick's Day - Bill Hudnut particularly advocated the resurgence of downtown and Indy's unofficial designation as the country's amateur sports capital. During his terms as mayor (1976-92), he also served as president of the National League of Cities.

Nelson asks the former mayor to identify his greatest accomplishments, as well as his biggest disappointments. A recent article in the Indianapolis Star about the 25th anniversary of the concert venue initially known as Deer Creek Music Center (now Klipsch Music Center) indicated then-Mayor Hudnut unsuccessfully pushed for it to be built in what became White River State Park, rather than its eventual site in Hamilton County.

"What would you do if you were called to lead a city known as Naptown, India-No-Place or Brickyard in a Cornfield?" Bill Hudnut asks in his book The Hudnut Years (IU Press, 1995). His other books include Minister Mayor (Westminster Press, 1987).