Month: December 2011

Top 10 Posts of 2011- Thanks for Making it a Great One!

2011 was an interesting year for HI, to be sure… and while there may be more commentary forthcoming, for now let’s KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) and dive into your favorite posts of 2011. Since our audience is constantly growing and the redesigned/ current look of the site didn’t launch until late September (Grazie Mille again to Silver Square Marketing) I thought I’d do the top 5 faves from the site of Feb-Sept and Sept-Dec. So here goes with the Feb-Sept 2011 most read/ viewed/ liked/ loved/ you get what I’m saying… 1. Where Butler was born – Thanks...

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Friday Favorite: East Street, Willis-Tate House

Who doesn’t love this one? It’s a beauty–just ignore the addition to the north. Known as the Willis-Tate House, it’s commonly available information that the home was designed by architect Charles G. Mueller circa 1891-92. It’s a bummer that East Street is a one way south right here, because unless you’re outside  Earth House, the gorgeous details of the south side of the building are easily missed....

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Then and Now: The Star Store and Indiana Government Center South, 360-70 West Washington Street

L. S. Ayres & Company, Wiliam H. Block, and H. P. Wasson are the most beloved and remembered Indianapolis department stores, but many smaller stores catered to the middle class. One of them was the Efroymson and Wolf Department Store, better known as the Star Store. Brothers Gustave A. and Meyer Efroymson, along with their brother-in-law Louis P. Wolf, opened the Star Store in 1888 in a small wood structure on the northeast corner of W. Washington and Missouri Streets. Some thought it unwise to locate a store outside of the traditional Washington Street business corridor between Illinois and...

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WTH Weds: ‘Tis the Season for Window Shopping

Hope everyone had a nice holiday!  My granddaughter and I traveled to Chicago to do a little pre-Christmas window shopping along Michigan Ave.  Obviously such activities would not be as enjoyable if all of the businesses along Michigan Ave. looked like this local beauty: While in Chicago, my granddaughter gave me my Christmas present a bit early.  I am now the proud owner of one of those new fancy iPhone thingies.  And while I have yet to learn how to make a call on it (Where are the buttons?) I have mastered my new CatPaint...

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Building Language: Pilaster Columns

Fountain Square Theater Building, Pilaster Columns Pilaster Columns. This post will attempt to dabble into the many types of architectural columns found in Indianapolis. As each type of column has a different name and standard characteristics, we’ll wet our feet today with the pilaster column. The pilaster column is characterized as a rectangular feature found slightly projecting from a primary wall. The pilaster column can include features found on other columns, such as a base (the bottom) and a capital (the top). The pilaster column is frequently used as an ornamental feature, serving as decoration or to break up...

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Ladies Lounge: Labels of Indianapolis Past- Need Your Help

Each city has a lengthy list of beloved local brands that existed over the decades. Do you take note when chancing on an old Indianapolis brand? Whether it be clothes, hats, furniture or anything else– who’s heart doesn’t skip a beat when spying a William H. Block, L. S. Ayres or H. P. Wasson label? But even more exciting is chancing upon a lesser known label of yesteryear. Recently stumbled on a gorgeous soft black fur coat, labeled “Marilyn Furs.” Who knows and recalls any other Indianapolis brands of clothing outside the usual?  Anyone recall this Laura Martin dress...

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Holiday Thank you’s from Historic Indianapolis

Rather than our usual Sunday features, in honor of the holidays, it seemed like a good time to share a small sampling of my vintage Christmas post card collection (wish I had some Chanukah ones also, but haven’t come across many of those). Also seemed like an ideal time to thank all of you present and future stewards of history. Who are we thanking? How do you qualify? Let’s review : Genealogists, and researchers of the family tree Those who save family photos, records and ephemera Anyone who has ever owned or  lived in an historic home and taken...

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Indianapolis Collected: Miracle on Washington Street

Long before Ralphie told a bearded man in a red suit about his secret desire to own a Red Ryder BB Gun, American children have been sharing their Christmas lists with department store Santas. The long-standing marriage of Santa and shopping got its start in 1841, when Philadelphia merchant J.W. Parkinson hired a man to dress up in a “Criscringle” outfit and climb down the chimney of his store. This novel marketing concept failed to catch on, however, as store patrons were likely terrified by the vision of a soot-covered man crawling out of the fireplace. It took 20...

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Favorite Fridays: North & Cincinnati

One of my favorite occurrences when out and about somewhere in the city: chancing upon an unexpected architectural gem. I can’t remember how many years ago I first passed this beauty on North Street (a block off Mass Ave), I was dumbfounded. It’s a stunner and even more so due to context–it’s behind the lofts formerly known as the Real Silk Factory, and between a defunct church and a...

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Then and Now: College Avenue and 54th Street

As Indianapolis grew and streetcars headed north on College Avenue toward Broad Ripple, clusters of commercial buildings sprung up every four or five blocks. One such shopping hub was located at the intersection of College Avenue and 54th Street. The one-story structure on the southeast corner has had many incarnations and still thrives in the neighborhood known as SoBro (South Broad Ripple). This commercial block, located on the southeast corner of College and 54th, was developed in about 1928 and designed by the architectural firm of Pierre and Wright (Edward D. Pierre and George C. Wright). The eight-section brick...

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WTH Weds: Bonus Stocking Stuffer

Since the holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d give a little extra this week and offer up a bonus WTH today. Behold!  I have found Santa’s Workshop!  Ho Ho Help Us.    ...

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WTH Weds: Why Do We Hate the Window Edition?

I don’t get it.  In my mind, windows can make or break the beauty of a house.  And I’m not just talking about stained glass, or leaded-glass, or 24-over-1’s or any other fancy-pants styles.  Plain old historic windows can be just as beautiful as a Tiffany if done well and placed correctly.  Window placement in a home used to be an art form.  Now it’s like an afterthought….at best. Now I’m not going to tear into those suburban cookie-cutter homes about their windows because that’s like picking on the slow kid in grade school. It’s just mean. But, after driving around...

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Room With a View: Harloh’s New Digs in Fountain Square

If you never visited Harloh’s in Fletcher Place, you may not fully appreciate how much more spacious the new place is. Now located at 1110 Prospect, Harloh’s Vintage has doubled its space. Now it’s a vintage wonderland with breathing room. And fyi, while they are still powdering their nose, so to speak, they are offering a 25% discount. They will also be open Christmas Eve. Head on over and tell Tammy you heard on H.I....

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Building Language: Cartouche

Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Cartouche, Northeast Corner Cartouche. One might be familiar with the term cartouche as the ellipse frame surrounding a group of Egyptian hieroglyphs. However, the term cartouche can also be applied to the oval or oblong objects, typically carved to resemble a scroll of parchment, with a circular center containing some type of inscription or relief decoration. In American architecture, cartouches are frequently found above entrances or on a primary facade. This allows the cartouche to feature decoration or information identifying the history or use of the structure; for example, the date of construction. Cartouches...

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Sunday Adverts: Pettis Dry Goods, E. Washington

Pettis Dry Goods–as you can see here:  “Established 1853,” and at the time of this advert, the Christmas holiday of 1896, the business was at 25-33 E. Washington Street. What must shopping have been like 115 years ago here in Indianapolis? Or anywhere for that matter? Would love to go back in time and find out! And yikes, we have less than 10 days til Christmas! Have fun shopping!...

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Sunday Prayers: Girls Inc. former Indianapolis HQ

If you are running a successful operation, with constant growth, outgrowing a workspace is inevitable. And though it raised their coolness factor another 10-fold, to be located in this gorgeous old building on Central (Meridian-Kessler) it seems Girls Inc. had to recently move onto new digs.  This leaves behind a vacant gorgeous vintage building and we wonder what is next for this. What kind of business would work well here? Thoughts? Fingers crossed it gets new tenants to fill and love it again very soon!...

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Then and Now: Union Station’s Santa Colossal

At Christmastime in 1949, a large and unusual singing Santa Claus made a short appearance in Union Station, the city’s 1888 Romanesque revival train station. The Chamber of Commerce organized the Indianapolis Industrial Exposition to promote local industries and scheduled the show during the holidays when thousands of visitors would travel through the bustling station. Committee members felt that the exposition needed a drawing card to play up the holidays, thus the concept of “Santa Colossal” was born. Walter Dean Dowell, artist for the Chamber, was charged with bringing Santa to life. He convinced Dow Chemical Company to donate...

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WTH Weds: Stop and Smell the Flower Box

Well that is beautiful. While the use of window flower boxes can be a great way to add a little splash of color and pizzazz to your home, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to build it out of particle board.  That thing won’t last through the winter.  And if, by some miracle it does, the bottom will fall out the first time you go to water it in the spring. And you may not have heard, but about oh, I don’t know…at least 5,000 years ago, someone invented a very useful tool called a saw.  You can use a saw to...

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