Month: March 2012

Indianapolis Collected: The Old House on the Corner

It was the sort of eBay listing that I easily could have missed. “Drawing of an old house,” the seller posted, along with a photo of a ramshackle cabin that looked like a place the Beverly Hillbillies might have called home in their less prosperous days. But then I saw the handwritten inscription on the back of the frame. “Old James Blake homestead, N.W. corner of New York and Tennessee St. (now Capitol Ave.),” it read. At the risk of losing any credibility I might enjoy as an amateur historian, I have an admission to make. When I spotted...

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Heritage Steward: Leah Orr

Leah in her art studio, weaving one of her artworks. TITLE: Archivist and Historic Researcher FOR: Myself and Riley Area Development Corporation (RADC) SINCE: 2000-RADC received a grant to hire me to Archive over 50 Bank Boxes of loose material. At this time I also did all of the Historic research for each building that (RADC) was in the process of reconstructing. RADC has won several National Awards for our work on Historic buildings. When the year’s grant was over, I continued without pay. ORIGINALLY FROM : Hammond, Indiana YOUR JOB ENTAILS: I volunteered my time at RADC. I...

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Friday Favorite: Scottish Rite Cathedral

Scottish Rite Cathedral is one of everyone’s favorites, isn’t it? Visitors to the city who make their way to the 600 block of North Meridian will inevitably inquire about this gorgeous limestone structure. Or, I caught this vantage from the Cultural Trail! What can you tell them? Here Building completed in 1929 (good thing they started on this before the Stock Market tanked!) It’s the largest Scottish Rite cathedral in the world It’s a Masonic organization (might explain why the Masonic Temple is across the street?) Designed by one of their members, George F. Schreiber Cost $2.5 Million dollars...

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Indianapolis (Almost) Then and Now: Cantor Drive-In Restaurant

In honor of the birthday of architect Mies van der Rohe (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969), I have digressed from the usual “then and now” theme and mourn the loss of a Mies van de Rohe-designed drive-in that never came to be. During the late 1940s Joseph Cantor, whose family owned a string of theaters, drive-ins, and roller skating rinks in Indianapolis, wanted to build a drive-in restaurant on West 38th Street near Speedway. According to a+u Art & Urbanism magazine, Cantor stated that “the best architect in the world doesn’t charge me any more in fees...

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WTH Weds: Red all about it!

A third story addition, replacement windows, and a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference. Pertinent Address:  51st Block of Park Ave., Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Salt box roof on a third story addition???? *Park Avenue was originally written as Park Street, and was corrected on...

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Room With a View: Indiana School For the Blind

It’s one of those places you’ve passed hundreds of times, but have probably never seen: the Indiana School for the Blind tucked away off College north of the 7700 block. The Indiana School for the Blind had been situated downtown, between Meridian and Pennsylvania Streets between North and St. Clair Streets, but had to move when plans for the World War I Memorial moved forward with a comprehensive plan. (The 1923 legislature enacted a law for moving the school to a new site) The American Legion Mall and all the buildings and monuments are indeed lovely, but so were...

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Building Language: Spanish Colonial Revival

Spanish Colonial Revival. The Spanish Colonial Revival, or as it’s also known, Mission, is a revival style dating from the first decades of the Twentieth Century. Although there are not many Spanish Colonial Revival structures left in Indianapolis, I believe it is a unique style worth exploring. The style drew from the design ideals represented in early American/New World Spanish structures. The revival gained popularity in California in the late 1890s and eventually spread across the entire United States. The Spanish Colonial Revival usually includes features such as an ornate parapet or dormer, arched entranceways or openings, widely overhanging...

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IndyView Revisited: The Circle, 1942

A blustery rainstorm blew through Indianapolis in January, 1942. Photographer John Vachon was in Indy on assignment for the Farm Security Administration, and he chose to document street scenes with his small rangefinder Leica as the storm blew through.  70 years later in January, 2012 I found where he stood and re-photographed the scene. Aside from the fedoras and more chrome on the cars, little had changed. Over the next weeks, I will find and  re-photograph more historic photos and share them. I enjoy the hunt, and there is a visceral thrill in standing exactly where past photographers stood...

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Sunday Advert: Indiana Workforce, 1965

Normally at HI, the goal is to keep subject matter at least 50 years old. (Hey, if it’s good enough benchmark  for the National Register of Historic Places, it’s good enough for us). However, considering that my favorite current television series, Mad Men, premieres Season 5 tonight and that Season 4 left off in 1965–I’m going to make an exception. This advert is from Fortune magazine, 1965. Presumably,  Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price would have had a subscription to Fortune.  Wonder what Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce would have come up for marketing Indiana’s workforce? And if you missed it, we featured an article that David Weiner...

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Sunday Prayers- 104 Puryear

By bike and on foot, you tend to notice things within the city that you’ve passed hundreds of times without ever noticing. Life is just whizzing by too quickly. Such is the case with buildings that border the little in between streets that many of us look on as alleys. This view is looking southeast to a property set back from 10th Street (the position of which has changed sometime in the last few decades) and fronting where Talbott runs through and meets Puryear Street. It took quite some time to find the 1915 Sanborn map with the structure...

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18 Seldom Recalled Facts about Crown Hill Cemetery

This morning, I’ll be back on WISH-tv to share some highlights of a recent tour of the Crown Hill Cemetery Waiting Station and as a companion, thought you might enjoy 18 fun facts about Crown Hill Cemetery. It’s hard to discern which are widely known–I presume most people know about the national cemetery within; the moving of Civil War soldiers from the previous Greenlawn Cemetery to Crown Hill and general acreage–but feel free to leave a comment if you think we should have put other tidbits in this list! The majority of acreage first purchased had been part of...

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Heritage Steward: Tina Connor

Today we introduce a new (but long-dreamed of) weekly series that will acquaint you with local ‘stewards of history.’ From a wide variety of backgrounds, titles, and services performed, the goal is to inspire and recruit others to become stewards of our history and heritage, while getting acquainted with those currently making a difference. Since it’s women’s history month, it seemed an ideal time to debut with an extremely hard-working and talented female steward of Indianapolis history and heritage, Tina Connor. Whether you realize it or not, you have undoubtedly come into contact with projects in which Tina has...

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Friday Favorite: Woodruff Place Springtime

Oh the love and enthusiasm of Woodruff Place in the spring…this early (record-breaking, history-making) spring is making it hard not to be madly in love with the city–especially the historic neighborhoods. What is better than tons of fragrant blossoms surrounded by historic homes? Not much we can thing of. Look at these colors! A Woodruff Place turret, as mentioned in this week’s Building Language… Notice the carriage house almost hidden at the back. Bright and cheery! Hard not to love this gorgeous apartment building… And what looks more romantic and serene than this sweet setup? Woodruff Place, you will...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Plaza Service Station 121 E. Maryland Street

These 1925 photographs show one of Vonnegut, Mueller, & Bohn’s less-remembered architectural designs: the Plaza Service Station at 121 E. Maryland Street. During the 1920s people grew leery of shoddy gasoline shacks and movers of the City Beautiful Movement promoted monumental-looking filling station designs. (Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company #92298) The first St. Mary Catholic Church, parsonage, and academy stood on this site from the 1850s until at least the 1910s. After the new St. Mary Church (1910) and Academy was constructed on the southeast corner of New Jersey and Vermont Streets, the old church structures were used...

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WTH Weds: Trying to Make Moderne Classic

When driving through a neighborhood of Bungalow, American Four Square, and Revival houses in Irvington, it completely shocked us to find this rare Art Moderne (Streamline Moderne) house on Bolton Avenue. No, it’s not a former gas station or commercial building. It’s a relic of the Modernist movement of the 1930s. Aerodynamic-inspired features gave this style its name, but this house looks about as aerodynamic as grandma’s attic. Below is a quick-and-dirty list of features found in Streamline Moderne houses compared to the features found in our WTH house. -Art Moderne is characterized by horizontal emphasis and is often asymmetrical. In this...

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Room With a View: City Market

If you haven’t been recently, do yourself a favor and go to City Market! Indianapolis is so lucky to have a thriving city market–and what an awesome collection of vendors and international foods. The second level is perfect for observing the hustle and bustle or just for a different vantage point on the beautiful remaining historic elements of the space. There are even a few seats with views outside! We love City Market and have done a number of other articles featuring or including it–one of our favorites is “To Market, To Market” by contributor, Libby Cierzniak, but as...

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Building Language: Turret

Turret. Today’s Building Language term should be no stranger to fans of historic architecture in Indianapolis. A turret is defined as a small tower attached to a larger structure, typically found in the corner or at the angle of a building. Although towers on American architecture are a common feature across many styles, the turret will imply a circular form attached to a corner of the primary façade. Turrets will rise above the roof level or the highest story of the structure. A turret may begin at the ground level or cantilever out from an upper story. Although we...

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Ladies Lounge: Manicures of the early 20th Century

On the 3/11 Sunday Advert, we showed “Manicures in the 1890’s,” and whilst conducting research, found that in its early years, starting circa 1925, nail paint/ polish/ varnish was applied in the “half-moon” style. Not only were the ‘moons’ near the cuticle not painted, but frequently, the tips were also left without color. See the example from Glazo from a June 1934 advert below. Love the names of the colors offered: Natural, Shell, Flame, Geranium, Crimson, Mandarin Red and Colorless. Only 25 cents per bottle! The marketing from Cutex says: “Are College Professors’ Wives Wearing the New Bright Cutex...

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Sunday Prayers: Commercial Building at Alabama & 19th

Due to the surprise unearthed in today’s Sunday Advert–knowing Taggart Bread formerly had a shop where this little gem sits–it seemed the perfect time to bring up something that ruffles my inner Polyanna a bit. Undoubtedly, there are myriad factors that contribute to this occurrence, but right, wrong or neutral–isn’t it a little sad when a place isn’t living up to its full potential? Of course, there are many streets and neighborhoods we could point to in exploring that theme, but we must start with one property at a time. (Just like the crusade to be more thoughtful relating...

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Learned something new? Question answered? New connection made? Generally inspired or entertained? Love Indy more?

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