Month: October 2012

Room With a View: Gatling Gun Club

Despite the appearance of this building on Illinois, we may at least allow that it is conveniently located and offers some unique views of the city! Above, looking south from the fire escape. And below, looking due east towards the American Legion; above looking northeast to the Central Library. These views and this building could be yours…if the price is...

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Building Language: Steeple

Steeple. The architectural term steeple refers to the entire tower and spire as found on religious architecture. The steeple will rise above the roofline of the building and can vary in height. The tower is determined to be the base of the steeple and often may house the church bells. Then, the polygonal/ circular/ square/ octagonal pointed structure on top of the tower is known as the spire. A spire may be topped with a finial featuring some type of cross. The tower will often retain the architectural design and materials of the primary structure, while the spire may use...

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Kickstart Your Family Tree: Records of Death

With Halloween just two days away, what better time to talk about death…death records, that is. They are the last of the vital records; the last remaining to be discussed here and the last our relatives leave behind. Though it may seem a bit morbid, there is actually a lot to be learned in discovering our ancestors death records. As always, this article will focus on death records in the state of Indiana. Though many of the basics discussed will ring true across the country, the specifics will differ greatly. For information pertaining to death records in other states,...

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Indy Halloween 1917, What Did Ladies Wear?

Ever pondered what the gals of yesteryear Indianapolis donned for Halloween? Guaranteed she wouldn’t have been an overt strumpet like the vast majority of 21st century costume-clad characters, but let’s look at the creative dressing-up repertoire of 1917 from the young ladies of Tudor Hall: From the above photo, other than a troupe of harlequins, there appear to be a couple farmers, ballerina, and young ladies dressed in some kind of mens’ riding gear? What else do you see here? From this grouping, a multi-cultural contingent emerges–Dutch for one, gypsies second and beyond that, ok, not so sure. Sailor,...

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What’s in a Name: Ray Street

Ray Street Named for: James Ray, early settler, First Marion County Clerk James Ray was born in Caldwell, New Jersey in 1800. He studied at Columbia University before moving to Lawrenceburg in 1818 and later Connersville. He served as a deputy clerk in both towns. The job of clerk of public land auctions brought him to Indianapolis in October 1821. In that role he was the clerk at the original sale of lots in the new town of Indianapolis. In 1822, he was elected as the first Marion County Clerk. He ran against another early leader, Morris Morris. Both...

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Indianapolis Collected: SAWS – a Halloween history tale

Whether you believe the old superstition that bad things happen in threes or take the more optimistic view that the third time is a charm, just about everything in E.C. Atkins’ life – good or bad – seemed to happen in threes. Elias Cornelius Atkins arrived in Indianapolis in 1856 with a third grade education and $300 in his pocket. He was a third generation sawmaker, so he opened a small saw factory on South East Street. After the building burned in 1857, he moved his sawmaking operation to the old city foundry, which was destroyed by fire in...

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Heritage Steward: George Hanlin

NAME: George Hanlin TITLE: Consultant FOR: FlashPoint SINCE? 2004 (before this I was an assistant editor at the Indiana Historical Society from 1993 to 2004) ORIGINALLY FROM? Pennville, Jay County, Indiana YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? In my current role I write our business development proposals, edit our deliverables (reports, training handouts, presentations, etc.), and assist on some of the consulting projects. In my previous role at the Indiana Historical Society I was part of the team that produced the society’s books, documentary editions, and illustrated history magazine Traces. YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? Working for the historical society,...

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Then & Now: Majestic Building / Charles H. Black’s Carriage Manufacturing / Century Building, East Maryland Street

Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, Herman List Collection The Herman List Collection at the Indiana Historical Society gives us a glimpse of Indianapolis at a time of transition around 1900 when the old one- and two-story houses and stores were being removed to make way for skyscrapers. List, an amateur photographer and baker by trade, made nitrate negatives of views around town, including the intersection of East Maryland and South Pennsylvania Streets. List, like most of Indianapolis, was probably impressed by the recently constructed Majestic Building, which he photographed in about 1897-1900. The ten-story headquarters for the Indiana...

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Flats Lost: The 300 Block of North Street

The Arlington, Marina, & Clarina Flats circa 1905 Courtesy Bass Photo/Indiana Historical Society If you ask anyone to list a few important or eye-catching buildings downtown, I’m sure you would hear the Murat Theater and the Riley Towers often. While this isn’t intended to be another lecture about how the parking lot explosion of the mid 20th century did this or that, please consider a time when such grand buildings could have co-existed alongside quaint apartments. These three apartment buildings on the south side of East North Street are mirror images of each other, built in the Beaux-Arts style...

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Building Language: Window Sash

Window Sashes on 1060 Virginia Avenue, Fountain Square Window Sash. You might have heard the term “sash” used in reference to windows, but were you unsure exactly what the term indicated? Have no fear – we’ll clear that up in today’s Building Language. A window sash is one (singular) frame used to house the glass panes and muntins of a window. Another way to look at it – the sash is the individual, moveable section of a window. Windows may have multiple sashes (many have two) to create an operable window that can open and close. A window with...

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Kickstart Your Family Tree: Marriage Records

As you may have discovered, census records provide us with some clues regarding our ancestors’ marriages. Beginning with the 1880 census, asking a person’s marital status became a standard question for census takers. In 1900 & 1910, they tell us the number of years our ancestors have been married. And in 1930 & 1940, they give us the age at which our ancestors were first married. All of this information provides us with clues about when and where our ancestors married. However, in order to get the full story, we must look to separate marriage records.  About Marriage Records...

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Who’s on first? Charles H. Black?

Working as an Indianapolis carriage builder, Charles H. Black helped to herald the entry of the self-propelled motor wagon into Indiana.  It has even been speculated that he may have built Indiana’s first automobile in 1891.  Unfortunately, no contemporary newspaper accounts of the time exist to corroborate this claim.  Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, Indiana, is generally accepted as one of the first to demonstrate a gasoline-powered automobile in America on July 4, 1894. Black asserted in an article in the December 27, 1913, issue of the Indianapolis News that “In 1891, after making most of my parts in my...

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Sunday Adverts: Stout’s Shoes & the Circular Nature of Styles

This article and a portion of this website is generously sponsored by Stout’s Shoes If someone asked you to name the oldest business in Indy, what are the chances that Stout’s Shoes would come to mind?  No person on this earth was alive when Stout’s wasn’t alive and kicking on Mass Ave–think about that.  However, there may possibly be someone living who recalls shoe styles of 100 years ago, but even if you don’t, you’d have to concede that vintage looks are constantly reinvented. As often demonstrated on this site, life and history operate in a somewhat circular fashion–and...

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What’s in a Name: Meikel Street

Meikel Street was named for local brewer John Meikel.  Meikel was born in Nassau, Germany in 1814 and married to Mary Weaner Meikel, who was born in Germany in 1820.  She moved with her family to Cincinnati where she met and married Meikel. Meikel came to Indianapolis in 1840.  At the time, the railroad industry had yet to be firmly established, so Meikel engaged in the freighting business and later became a prominent contractor.  With Butch & Pottage, they built Washington Hall, the city’s first large assembly room. He later bought the Gause & Embery Brewery and became one...

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12 Facts About the Federal Courthouse You Probably Didn’t Know

If you ever have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and go visit the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse–the space is breathtaking. Between the mosaics, stained glass, miles of marble and undulating spiral staircase, prepare to have your breath taken away. In the meantime, check out this week’s video and a few photos from our recent visit. (With special thanks to Doria Lynch and the GSA) * The Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse was renamed in 2003, formerly known as the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office * The Beaux Arts style original structure was designed...

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Friday Favorite: Rink’s Store

It’s funny how circular life on this planet appears over a series of years; Indianapolis, is no exception to coming full circle. As a note of possible interest to the those munching popcorn in the back row, there is a local movement afoot to spur and support a local fashion scene and movement–see: Fashion Arts Society at the IMA and Pattern, a local organization involved in all things Indy fashion related. What’s so “circular” here, you ask? For the uninitiated- Indianapolis of yesteryear was a hotbed of burgeoning fashion and industry. As one who celebrates, lives and loves vintage...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: IOOF Lodge and John Koch Furniture / Interstate 65-70, 824-30 Virginia Avenue

Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, William H. Bass Photo Company Collection, Neg. 35980-F John Koch’s furniture store occupied this ca. 1900 brick building located between Fountain Square and Fletcher Place for over five decades. Today most of us have driven past the ghost of the building as we speed by on Interstate 65-70 southeast of Indianapolis. At the time the store was photographed by the Bass Photo Company in 1914, the John Koch store sold stoves, furniture, Hoosier cabinets, rugs, and dry goods. Koch (1866-1918) was the son of a German-born cabinet maker. He started his furniture store...

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