Month: June 2011

Then and Now: Meadowbrook Diner, 5151 E. 38th Street

The Meadowbrook Diner at 5151 East 38th Street is one of several authentic diners that once fed the hungry masses in Indianapolis. Located just east of North Emerson Avenue, this diner has served eastsiders for over fifty-three years. The Meadowbrook was manufactured in 1954 by Mountain View Diners in Signac, New Jersey. The streamlined, stainless steel building came to Indianapolis via the railroad and opened in July 1958 as the Meadowbrook Diner, but was renamed Dick’s Diner in the 1960s. The sleek interior featured lots of Formica, a vaulted ceiling, booths, and a counter with stools. According to the...

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Landscape Architecture: Vintage brochure from Ohio

When I chanced upon this vintage brochure of architecture, I squealed with joy–how cool is this? I couldn’t resist sharing this one for our ‘great outdoors’ themed month… You don’t see a lot of vintage marketing collateral like this, or for this industry, in my limited experience. It looks to be circa 1915 based on a cursory google search. Wagner Landscape Service of Sidney, Ohio isn’t too far away– between Dayton and Lima, Ohio–about 2.5 hours drive from Indianapolis. I presume there were similar companies established in our fair metropolis. Actually, I think one of our awesome contributors, Connie...

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Room with a View: Garfield Park Pagoda

The 1903 Pagoda (also known by many as the Pavilion) in Garfield Park is a historic outdoor room at the top of the park. Disappointingly, the observation deck is no longer open, but still the main floor has some great views of the oldest city park (yes, Military Park is older, but is a state-owned park). Looking south from the Pagoda, at the wooded parkland that has always comprised most of Garfield Park. The walk seems to lead to an idyllic destination somewhere in the forest. Looking north from the Pagoda, on a vibrantly blue stormy day earlier this...

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Building Language: Pleated Roof

Pleated Roof.  The pleated roof on this building in the 1800 block of English Avenue is distinctive, especially on a street otherwise populated with late 19th and early 20thCentury homes and commercial buildings. Pleated roofs look like they’ve been folded to created peaks and valleys. Like pleated skirts, pleated roofs come in and go out of fashion. Roofs like this were popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This building makes good use of other trendy materials and elements of design that mark it as a mid-century building. Those include concrete posts, the metal grille on the second...

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Ladies Lounge: Women’s Magazines

Ever a lover of ephemera, old advertising, magazines and the like, parts of my house resemble a ferret hut. Or the hut of whatever burrowing animal revels in lots of paper goods. I can’t pass up the chance to peruse the mold scented pages of vintage magazines. Not only do I have an obsession with vintage fashion, but I find the manner of speaking, topics and advertisements infinitely entertaining. After finding that “The Ladies Mercury” started on this day in 1693, published by John Dunton in London–and that it was the first magazine marketed to women (and featured a question...

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Sunday Prayer: Woodruff Place West Drive

Today’s Sunday Prayer is this potentially marvelous home in Woodruff Place, which stood out to us when we were recently out perusing the neighborhood because of its largely still intact original windows, doors, siding and trim. There have been changes made over the years, like replacement siding on the lower story, but fortunately nothing to an irreversible degree. We hope that someone can find this home and lovingly restore it back to its original...

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The Indianapolis-Yosemite Connection

What does our fair industrial city of Indianapolis, Indiana have in common with the majestic Sequoia trees towering in the Yosemite of California? Both places were homes to the “Father of the National Parks” and founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir. John Muir was born in Scotland in 1838, the third of eight children. He and his family emigrated to Wisconsin in 1849, starting a farm near Portage. His father was a strict and deeply religious man, and the Muir children memorized the Bible early in their lives. While loosening the strict Christian beliefs as he matured, John...

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Woodruff Place Statuary

From the awesome series by Anton Scherrer- May 28, 1938, Indianapolis Times. Too bad so many of the statues have been damaged or removed over the years. At least there are a few left… One article published in the Indianapolis Star in 1975 suggested that the fountain on East Drive was either the very one on display or an exact replica of a fountain displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. It is also believed that the famed Mott Company from New York created the iron statuary and fountains of Woodruff Place. A few of the beauties left...

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Early History of Woodruff Place

I am not going to reinvent the wheel here. One of my favorite writers of Indianapolis past, Agnes M’Culloch Hanna, did it so well, that I will leave it to her to fill you in on the origins of Woodruff Place for those of you who don’t know already. Sadly, the Woodruff mansion no longer stands–razed many years ago. And in a profoundly pathetic and destructive coincidence, William LeBaron Jenney–architect of my favorite doomed Indianapolis beauty, also designed Woodruff’s home. In the meantime, support this lovely neighborhood by attending their home tour this weekend, “Windows of Woodruff.” June 25-26, 2011 12-5pm....

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Outside the Circle: Columbus

Sometimes it’s a treat to be a tourist in your own hometown. Last month, I got to do just that as I embarked on the two tours currently offered by the Columbus Area Visitors Center. Best known for its Modern architecture, you can still find many examples of older styles lining the streets of Columbus. Although I moved away from Columbus at age 4, I spent many summers visiting family here and the city took on a magical quality in my young imagination. Columbus represented my family’s history—our place in this big world—and Columbus is a city that has...

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Then and Now: Spades Park and the Feast of Lanterns

This charming stone bandstand with a tile roof once graced the grounds of Spades Park on the northeast side of Indianapolis. The land, formerly known as “Shoestring Park” for its linear shape, was donated to the city in 1898 by real estate developer Michael Spades. Older neighbors recall that a small basement room stored musical instruments and tennis racquets. Sadly, although residents fought to save the structure, it was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced with a metal gazebo. Remnants of the bandstand are said to be buried under a slight mound in the park. (Postcard from CardCow.com)...

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WTH Weds: In Woodruff Place

Who would have thought that we could find a WTH in Woodruff Place? Admittedly, it is not easy–there are so many great restorations and waiting-to-be-restoreds that it was pretty hard actually. Today’s selection has been restored, but suffers from typical mid-20th century renovations. Metal storm door and windows frames, metal porch columns and railings, concrete porch floor, replacement windows on the second floor, fake shutters, and replacement siding all steal from the house’s historical architectural character. Yet, even for the remuddling, many original elements have been preserved, like the leaded glass and chimneys, that could be highlights in a...

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Room with a View: Woodruff Place

Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to look out a window along the esplanades of Woodruff Place? Check out this view of the Woodruff Place Middle Drive fountain, as seen from 736 Middle Drive. Too bad we don’t have video on this one to capture the sound, too! Check out the fountains and homes of Woodruff Place during their home tour this weekend–Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26- 12-5pm, rain or shine! Thanks to Debbie Pidgeon for this photo!...

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Building Language: Fenestration

Fenestration. From the Latin word “fenestra,” which means window, fenestration is used to describe the arrangement and type of windows is a building. The fenestration of The Gramse apartment building at 22ndand Broadway is varied, including casement, double-hung sash, and fixed sash (in the basement and dormers) windows. There are even some arched openings with windows configured to fit perfectly into the arches. In 13th Century Prague an angry mob threw a judge and 13 members of the town council out the windows of the town hall. That window-related event is called the Defenestration of Prague. (There was also...

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Ladies Lounge: Auction of a Lifetime

As someone obsessed with vintage fashion, and especially old Hollywood glamour, I anticipated this past weekend’s auction much as a lover of football does the SuperBowl. Glad to see the art and craftsmanship of vintage clothes getting their due. Unlike most of the cheap dreck forced upon women these days, vintage fashion was skillfully constructed, a composition created to complement a woman’s assets. And the materials and colors were far superior to anything you’ll encounter in the shops of today. Debbie Reynolds’ famed collection of Hollywood costumes and memorabilia were sold off after the idea of a Hollywood Museum in which to...

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Mad Men: The real ones

In honor of Father’s Day, thought I’d share this amazing article about the real “Mad Men.”Ok, no, it did not take place in Indianapolis, but as someone obsessed with history and stories of the past, this show is thought-provoking and inspiring. Before it was a a fabulous t.v. show, it was real life for some–my father included. He worked in that part of midtown Manhattan, in research and development from 1959 to 1963, and asserts that the show “Mad Men” precisely captures the zeitgeist of that mad-ad world. The pinnacle of the advertising world could be boiled down to...

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Sunday Prayers – Woodruff Place- West Drive and Cross Drive

It’s not that this one is about to cave in on itself or anything, but when you consider this sprawling front porch and flat out potential this place has, you definitely start thinking how great this West Drive home will look when it’s repainted and those insulation caps (?) or whatever they are aren’t such a prominent feature in the overall look of this place. In Victorian times, there were often “porch parties” and this place is screaming for one! The Woodruff Place Home Tour is going on next Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26, so take a gander in...

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Sunday Ad: Father’s Day in the 30s and 40s

Happy Father’s Day! Today, we have a few advertisements celebrating dads. First is a Father’s Day 1945 advertisement for the Meridian Furniture Company. As the ad says, “Furniture makes a GREAT GIFT…one he can enjoy every day in his leisure hours at home.” Despite the world war still going on, they had great deals on All-Metal Lamps, Dandy Desks, and “Genuine Early American Style” (images of a smarmy salesman saying that come to mind) Secretaries. 1712 N. Meridian Street is now the location of a modern office building and a PNC bank. In 1940, Harry Levinson was advertising soft...

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