Month: September 2012

Indianapolis Collected: Dear Brother, Please Send Money

On Febuary 5, 1828, a young man from Indianapolis dropped a letter in the mail to Peacham, Vermont. The cost of the postage was nearly half a day’s wages, but the writer was hoping his 25 cent investment would yield a big return. The content of the letter was short and to the point. “Dear Brother,” the letter began. “I like the situation of the country about here as well as the inhabitants. This place is settled with the best society from different States and it does not take so many hard knocks, turns and twists, to acquire a...

Read More

Sunday Ads: American Detective Agency

Tomorrow, we welcome October to our 2012 calendar and October is known in some circles as Family History Month. For those of us who are seasoned researchers or genealogists at any level, we would not balk if we were referred to as detectives.  And speaking of which…we have a genealogist starting to contribute to HI this coming month....

Read More

Friday Favorite: Helping Hands for Historic Homes

Ever thought you’d love to live in an historic home, except…it’s old, it’s drafty, it needs a lot of maintenance? Like the rest of us, existing architecture isn’t getting any younger, but there is something to be said for the sturdy craftsmanship of an historic home. The materials used to construct these homes tend to be higher quality—real wood, painstakingly layered construction, real plaster. But drafty? That can be addressed. Needs maintenance? Not necessarily much worse than a new home and can also be handled. If you have already taken the plunge or it’s been under consideration, now is...

Read More

Heritage Steward: Benjamin Clark

Benjamin Calrk and his wife, Sarah, in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral at Red Square in Moscow NAME: Benjamin Clark TITLE: Chief of Cultural Resources for DNR’s Division of State Parks and Reservoirs SINCE? I’ve been in my current role since the fall of 2011, but I’ve been doing history and historic preservation for State Parks and Reservoirs since the summer of 2008. ORIGINALLY FROM? I grew up in the Central Ohio area and moved to northwest Indiana the summer before I started high school. I’ve been in Indiana longer than I lived in Ohio, but I’m still a...

Read More

Indianapolis Then and Now: Arsenal Building, 1500 E. Michigan Street

Since the US Arsenal in Indianapolis was one of three arsenals commissioned by Congress during the Civil War, it is not surprising that the main buildings followed the same plan. The sturdy storehouses or arsenal buildings were built to convey a strong military presence and all three survive today–over 140 years after construction. On July 11, 1862, an act established national arsenals “at Columbus, in the state of Ohio, at Indianapolis, in the state of Indiana, and on Rock Island, in the state of Illinois, for the deposit and repair of arms and other munitions of war.” Congress budgeted $100,000...

Read More

Room With a View: Fountain Square Theatre Building

As I die-hard instagramer, I come across plenty of locals and visitors who share the unique views they’ve had from various Indy windows. This pic popped up in recent meanderings through instagram. Local graphic designer and photographer, Rachael Baumgartner was kind enough to share her recent view of the downtown skyline from … Her instagram handle is @rhbaumer if you’d like to see more of her stuff. Thanks for sharing, Rachael! If you have a unique view of the city to share, please send your photo, who to credit, and from where the photo was taken to feedback (at)...

Read More

Building Language: Italianate

Italianate. Driving through the older historic neighborhoods of Indianapolis, you will realize that Indy has some amazing examples of the Italianate style. To give you a better understanding of the Italianate, let’s look at the major features of the style. The Italianate was popular in the United States from approximately 1850 to 1880 – and most notably in towns throughout the Midwest. The style recalls the Italian farmhouse and gained popularity in the US through the pattern books by Andrew Jackson Downing. So, what are the basics of an Italianate? Two or three stories Low-pitched roof with widely, overhanging...

Read More

Disappearing Indy Auto Landmarks

As little as 15 years ago, Indianapolis had over 40 existing buildings that housed the movers and shakers of its automotive industry.  Sadly, every few years we lose one or two of these reminders of our transportation era. Sometime in early 2011, the Premier Motor Manufacturing Co. plant at 3500 East 20th Street was leveled.  Thus, we lost another Indianapolis automotive landmark. Let’s look at this little known automaker. George B. Weidley and Harold O. Smith organized the Indianapolis-based Premier Motor Manufacturing Company in 1903 with a capitalization of $50,000 for the production of air-cooled cars.  Premier’s early claim to...

Read More

Friday Favorite: 6 Trivia Bits, Scottish Rite Cathedral

* This is the largest Scottish Rite cathedral in the world. * It was designed by George F. Schreiber, architect and member, 1926. * The Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral cost $2.5 Million to build. * Construction was completed in 1929. * The tower reaches 212 feet high. * To become a member, you must be a Master Mason in good standing. Why it’s a favorite: The Scottish Rite is one of the best of our city’s models for Indiana Limestone–watching it throughout the changing lights of days and nights is...

Read More

Heritage Steward: Doria Lynch

NAME: Doria Lynch TITLE: Court Historian and Administrative Specialist FOR: The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana SINCE? June 2006 ORIGINALLY FROM? Detroit, MI YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? I wear many different hats at the court. Some of my responsibilities include giving tours and handling public outreach and education; overseeing construction projects on behalf of the court; researching historically significant cases and presenting that research at community events at the courthouse; and assisting with special events like our annual Black History Month program. I’m also the contracting officer for the court as well as our...

Read More

Indianapolis Then & Now: Arsenal Guardhouse, 1500 E. Michigan Street

Visitors entering the grounds of the Arsenal, be it the United States Arsenal in the 19th century or Arsenal Technical High School since 1912, first had to check into the guardhouse on Michigan Street. This small but decorative brick Italianate structure has housed guards and security since first completed in January 1872. Soon after the Civil War, when the US Arsenal was constructed one-and-a-half miles east of downtown Indianapolis, the federal government ordered two guardhouses built on the grounds. The circa 1916 photograph above shows the first guardhouse, built in 1867, that stood in the center of the campus...

Read More

WTH Weds: Bad Prospect

While in the Fountain Square area, I came across this polyglot.   By all appearances this was a turn of the century house at one time.  The porch does not exist anymore, and by the looks of things, it seems to have become some sort of restaurant (going by the vents on the roof).  However, with no signage anywhere, your guess is as good as mine as to what kind of business it actually is today. So, what’s the problem here? -A house of this era and style would have originally had a porch. That has been removed. -In place of said porch is a commercial addition that extends well beyond the original footprint of where the porch would have been. -The window that is visible on the north side of the house has been covered over.   The rest of the visible window openings have been replaced or covered. -Newer red brick has been added out front in place of what could have been a simple/ appropriately scaled railing leading up to the house. -Part of this newer red brick creates a front patio effect, which would not have existed on a house of this era. -There appear to be three front entry doors, rather than one. And it’s not clear where that original one was located. Remedies: -Remove front addition. Restore appropriate porch–the original likely had a wood...

Read More

Room With a View: The Davlan to Mass Ave

Mass Ave has come to be known as one of the favorite stomping grounds in greater downtown, and I don’t know about you, but my favorite views always include the older buildings on the Ave. This view, from the Starbucks inside the historic Davlan looks out upon a row of other historic buildings.  Do you have a favorite? If you have a unique view of Indianapolis you’d like to share, please email feedback (at) historicindianapolis.com and include the location and your name, or to whom photo credit...

Read More

Building Language: Soffit

Soffit. A soffitdescribes an exposed underside of an architectural element, such as an arch, cornice, eave, staircase, balcony, or beam. The underside could be elaborately ornamented or unadorned. It’s likely you’ll find a soffit in almost every historic building if you are looking in the right place. This is an architectural term with a wide range of uses, so let’s dive into examining a few. The term soffit has ties to classical architecture, so we’ll start there. The Neo-Classically designed Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library (40 East Saint Clair Street) is a great example of a classical use of the...

Read More

Ladies Lounge: Warm Colors of Autumn

I don’t know about you, but this is the most eagerly anticipated autumn I can recall. Ever. And with it, the colors of fall will soon be moved back into my wardrobe’s repertoire. You could ease your way into the warmer tones of the fall with something like this large yellow swing coat from February 1953, exactly the type of thing you would have found at William H. Block Co. or L.S. Ayres some decades ago… Add accessories with grey or black to yellow–a timeless color combination. If the heat persists well into the fall, a style like this...

Read More

Sunday Ads: Graphophone, not iphone

It’s hard to recall a time before you could record a voice message for yourself on your iphone. The dictaphone, evolved after this invention, credited to Alexander Graham Bell. Check out a real, live, in full color Graphophone that looks just like the model featured in this 1890 advert. Was it mere coincidence that this one sold out of the WHEN Building, since the Indiana Business College was located there at that time as...

Read More

CONTEST: WIN a Personal History Package. How?

Looking for a meaningful holiday gift, wedding gift, or just want to go on an adventure of self-discovery where you are connected to the characters in the story? You couldn’t do better than shaking your family tree. How can you love anyone or anything if your acquaintance is only surface level superficial? One of the reasons this website exists is to help Indianapolitans fall more deeply in love with Indianapolis by knowing it more intimately. Indianapolis has amazing stories to tell. Let’s look at the past, not just as simple nostalgia, but as an instructor, an inspiration point, and...

Read More

Friday Favorite: Park it Like It’s Hot

A couple of months ago, one of the current and most oft quoted Hoosiers I’m aware of, “The Urbanophile” directed his attention to a banal new parking garage soon to be foisted upon the people of our fair metropolis in his article/manifesto “Why I don’t live in Indianapolis.”  I, too, am perplexed at how far the city has fallen from grace when it comes to design standards for contemporary construction here, nor do I understand how some of this new/ upcoming architectural schlock gets approved. Whatever the case, it may be time for a change. If you’ve gotten anything...

Read More

Heritage Steward: Mark Vopelak

NAME: Mark Vopelak TITLE: Manuscripts and Rare Books Supervisor FOR: Indiana State Library SINCE? 2007 ORIGINALLY FROM? Groton, Connecticut YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Running the day to day operations of the Manuscript section which includes patron service, scanning, preservation, processing and maintaining collections, creating finding aids, supervising interns, temps, and volunteers, creating exhibits, and answering questions via phone, internet and Question Point. YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? 37.5 PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Microfilming our most important and historically valuable collections. Digitizing the John Tipton Collection and our World War I posters. OTHER...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

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

Please consider supporting this community asset.

Pin It on Pinterest