Month: July 2012

Building Language: Italian Renaissance

Italian Renaissance residence on North Meridian Street at 46th Street Italian Renaissance. Another revival style found in Indianapolis is the Italian Renaissance – which draws its details from traditional Italian architecture. American architects in the last decade of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century used Italian architecture as the inspiration for major residential projects. Visits to Italy by American architects during the period directly resulted in the Italian Renaissance style employing more traditional Italian features. Residential architecture, primarily in large metropolitan areas, were most likely to feature the style. An Italian Renaissance residence typically features...

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Ladies Lounge: Swimwear of Olympic Proportions

credit: Roger Viollet Watching the current Olympic swimmers got me pondering the evolution of the bathing suit, especially as it pertains to sport. Couldn’t help noticing last night that the suits Olympian ladies wore bear a remarkable resemblance to this circa 1900 suit. The materials have advanced, but look how styles get recycled… The material of swim suits started as wool, but eventually evolved to incorporate some form of latex, jersey or other fabric. Imagine trying to swim in wet wool… Even the ubiquitous swimwear brand Speedo started life as MacRae Knitting Mills, renaming itself Speedo in 1928 and...

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Sunday Adverts: L. E. Morrison & Co

“TRUNKS.  BEE HIVE TRUNK FACTORY.  GOODYEAR’S RUBBER GOODS. RUBBER”  lined the top of the window at 27 West Washington Street. This L. E. Morrison & Co. advertising postcard, circa 1910, shows a wide variety of bags and luggage on display for those in need of housing and/or moving stuff. The Indiana State Museum has an actual artifact from the store: an example of a trunk fabricated by this company. (Be sure to click on the photos and check out the beautiful label lining the interior.) No trace remains of this storefront, which would have been in the block of...

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Indianapolis Collected: Whiskey – it’s good for what ails you

A little brown jug of whiskey shoved under a kitchen table cost pioneer historian John H.B. Nowland his own place in the city’s history books. In 1910, the school board was planning to name a new school after Nowland, who arrived in Indianapolis as a child in the winter of 1821 and later distinguished himself by penning two of the city’s earliest histories. Unfortunately, some ladies from the near-eastside neighborhood where the school was located caught wind of Nowland’s fondness for the drink and the rest is NOT history, at least as far as Nowland is concerned. As a...

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Friday Favorite: Harding Street Lofts

Historic Indianapolis.com can only exist through the generosity of partners like Core Redevelopment. Many thanks to the Core team for their sponsorship and their preservation of historic pieces of Indianapolis. Industrial and residential collide with compelling results at Harding Street Lofts, officially opening tomorrow: July 28, 2012. What once housed the J. Solotken Recycling facility, has been lovingly restored and repurposed into 124 unique loft style apartments. It’s the kind of place you’d expect as the hip digs for the hero in a Heartland Film entry. Young professionals and new arrivals to the city in search of the antidote...

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Heritage Steward: Suzanne Stanis

NAME:  Suzanne Stanis TITLE: Director of Heritage Education and Information FOR: Indiana Landmarks SINCE? 1985 ORIGINALLY FROM? Born in Winterpark, FL but moved to Indianapolis at age 2 YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Developing entertaining, educational programs for all ages, managing our reference library and speakers bureau, and supervising the Morris-Butler House. YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? Varies with programming, but essentially whatever it takes to get the job done. That inevitably includes evenings and weekends. PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Our Experiences give participants an in-depth look at a subject through lectures and...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: West Ohio Street at Indiana Avenue / OneAmerica Tower

A good day for me is finding a new, old photograph of Indianapolis that sheds light on our city’s history. Sadly, a last-minute sniper outbid me on this photograph that appeared on eBay last year, but the dealer was kind enough to email his digital files of this not-often photographed intersection in Indianapolis. Although the location and date were not noted, the photograph contains many clues. The angling street and Brevort Hotel sign are dead giveaways that this view looks northwest up Indiana Avenue. West Ohio Street is in the foreground, with the trolley tracks curving north to go...

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WTH Weds: Spanish Unrevival

  These Spanish Colonial Revival houses on Winthrop Avenue could have a lot going for them. The architectural style is fairly unique in the Midwest and adds interest to this street of homes from the 1920’s. These unfortunate houses now have vinyl siding and their historic windows have been ripped out and replaced with windows ignorant of the original stylistic intent. In one instance, the historic windows remain propped against the house, as if to taunt preservationists! Generic doors and added walls disrupt historic entrances. A sort of exterior wainscoting “decorates” one house with faux stone. Thankfully, these changes...

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Building Language: Chimney

Chimney. I highly doubt many of you are using today’s Building Language term – the chimney – in the midst of our July heat. Although buildings old and new feature chimneys, there’s still plenty to explore about something as simple as a chimney. A chimney is a masonry structure, hollow to allow the exit for smoke and fumes for fires, cooking, or heating units. Chimneys can feature wood with clay, stone, or brick construction. A chimney can be placed in the center of the structure, with only part of the chimneystack visible rising from the roofline. Chimneys that rise...

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Rainbow hair in 1949?

Redheads like Lucille Ball weren’t the only ones to dye their hair in the 1940’s or before. Check out this article from October 1949, talking about pink, blue and other colors in New York from the Helena Rubinstein Salon. Matching dresses as well as hats was being tried amongst society ladies. Katy Perry and and Kelly Osbourne didn’t start the trend–though it well could have been their great-grandmothers. If you’d like to try a radical change in color or an expert vintage hair style, we know of one local expert–Laura Piercefield of Be Salon who can turn any hairstyle...

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Sunday Ad: Cajun meets Birdseye view Artists

This vintage advert for the Edward Mason Company (circa 1910?) at the southwest corner of Wabash and Delaware Streets shows a building that luckily still stands, now home to  a “Southern” restaurant called Miguel’s. Elsewhere on the net, found an artistic “Birds Eye” rendering for sale, created by the Edward Mason Co. Even the IUPUI Library has this postcard of the Eli Lilly & Company Biological Library. Clearly, the Edward Mason Co. handled some big corporate accounts. The methods may have changed some, but there are still some awesome illustrators and artists out there. (I’m partial to Fraizer Designs...

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Indy’s Freemasons Hall

Where is Indiana Freemason’s Hall?  It’s the beautiful limestone building you’ve undoubtedly passed countless times, heading north out of downtown at 525 North Illinois. The least you should know: The building was designed by the architecture firm of Rubush & Hunter in Ionic style and faced with Bedford Limestone with filled in windows facing north, east and south. The cornerstone was placed in 1908 and the building dedicated in 1909. It cost $461,000 to construct the building. The dimensions are 130 x 150 feet on ground level and reaches 107 feet tall and 8 stories high. The theater on...

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Friday Favorites: Your votes

There are so many beautiful historic places to love in Indianapolis, but we all have different favorites, so I put it out to the twitterverse and faceplace for a day to get some inspiration from you the readers, on your favorite bits of Indy history–still present or long gone– so I’m just going to recap for you! Top mentions: Individual homes- It’s great that people are so invested in individual homes and how lovely that people would note their own home as a favorite! Union Station, old City Hall and Crown Hill got a couple of nods (and Gothic...

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Heritage Steward: Raina Regan

NAME: Raina Regan TITLE: Architectural Historian FOR: Indiana Army National Guard SINCE: June 2010 ORIGINALLY FROM: Fenton, Michigan, although I was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE: Widespread cultural resources management, including advising civilian and military staff to comply with Section 106 of the National HistoricPreservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, completing projects related to Section 110 of the NHPA. YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY: 40 + 10-15 on freelance work. PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Surveying and researching the former Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home, now an Indiana National Guard...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Kroger Grocery and Big Al’s Superstore, 4601 N. College Avenue

Courtesy of Ball State University, University Libraries, Drawings + Documents Archive,                                         Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection Indianapolis was expanding in all directions in the 1920s when the 46th and College Realty Company hired architects Pierre and Wright to design their new commercial shopping structure. In a 1927 article, an Indianapolis newspaper described the new building at 4601 N. College Avenue as “truly American” with English details. “The exterior is faced with Variegated Buff and Blue Indiana Limestone, layed in...

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WTH Weds: The Large and Small of It

  The building facade looks intact…   A nondescript commercial building…. Like many houses on this portion of Washington Boulevard, today’s property was repurposed for commercial use. However this building has been seriously transformed through a series of additions. On one hand, the additions are proportional, and brick cornices hint at the original intent. On the other hand, the conglomeration is too visually overpowering, because it is visible from over a block away, due in large part to the football field just south of the building providing no cover. The additions overwhelm the original house, plain and simple.  Another detail that is very distracting...

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Room With a View: ISTA to ISH

Say what? Eh, since everyone loves an acronym, thought I’d join in for a mo. I shan’t leave you in suspense: this view, courtesy of our regular contributor, Libby Cierzniak, looks at the Indiana State House from the Indiana State Teacher’s Association building. The view is certainly captivating in this...

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Building Language: Casement Windows

Casement Windows.A casement window is a window opened on hinges either on its side, top, or bottom. Those casement windows with hinges on the top are known as awning windows, while those with hinges on the bottom are known as hopper windows. A casement window can feature a single bay, or range up to two, three, four, or more sections of windows. The casement is an extremely versatile window – not only can you decide which way the window opens, the number of panes, the size, material, and placement – it was used on a variety of building types....

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Ladies Lounge: Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Sew Me

With all the talented women who have lived and do live in Indianapolis, I’m guessing the number of capable seamstresses, in total, is astronomical.  A few such accomplished locals have started an organization called Pattern if you want to stay in the know in the now. (Fingers crossed for an up and comer with an eye for vintage  style). So, speaking of “pattern” … A stack of dusty vintage patterns were my treasure from this weekend’s Old Northside Treasure Hunt–and in my size–no easy feat when you’re an Amazon woman. One problem down, a few to go: not exactly...

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