Month: January 2013

Indianapolis Then & Now: 1931 Indianapolis Home Show Model House / 3701 Forest Manor Avenue

Since 1922, the annual Indianapolis Home Show has introduced the latest trends in home design and landscaping. Many of the centerpiece homes, originally constructed in the exposition building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, were later rebuilt on lots around the city, including the 1931 model home now located at 3701 Forest Manor Avenue on the northeast side of town. The home show, then known as the Indianapolis Home Complete Exposition, was celebrating its tenth anniversary in 1931 when this brick Germantown Colonial was constructed as the centerpiece of the show. Since 1922, over thirty of the houses have been...

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WTH Weds: Won’t you (not) be my Neighbor?

Something is missing here, and it’s not just windows. There’s got to be a back-story–perhaps some long, drawn out Hatfields vs. McCoys level animosity between neighbors? …Because wow: why would you remove most all windows and openings on one side of your house? Also: what’s up with the vertical on the front, horizontal (and different color) on the sides, do you think? Location: West...

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A Room with a View – City-County Observation Deck (western view)

When were you last on the observation deck of the City-County Building? There’s a hodgepodge collection of Indianapolis memorabilia and newspaper clippings on the floor available for an extra dose of nostalgia. The observation deck offers a superb panoramic view of the Circle City and is staffed by the friendliest people you’ll find anywhere. The City-County Building itself opened in 1962 and came to house what was deemed “Unigov,” a consolidation of city and county wide government proposed by then mayor Richard Lugar in the late 60’s. At 28 stories, the City-County was the first building in Indianapolis to be taller...

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HI Mailbag: Marshall “Major” Taylor

Reader’s Question:  I recall that cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor was born in Indianapolis.  Do you have any details about his early years?  ~ Caroline Cunningham, Los Angeles, California    HI’s Answer: Marshall Walter Taylor was an American cyclist who set numerous world records during his relatively short professional career.  He was the first black cyclist to win a world championship in his chosen profession and one of the first black athletes to win a world championship in any sport. Taylor was born in Indianapolis on Thursday, November 26, 1878, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day that year.  His parents were...

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The American Underslung – “The Safest Car On Earth”

American Eagle During its eight years in business, the American Motors Company of Indianapolis became well known for its “underslung” design, conceived by chief engineer Fred I. Tone.  In those years, the company produced over 45,000 automobiles, ranking them third inIndianapolis’ Top Ten auto producers. American’s genesis was at 910 State Life Building,Indianapolis, in 1905.  Founders V.A. Longaker and D.S. Menasco invested in the company after making a fortune in the lumber business in the Northwest.  Soon they hired Harry C. Stutz to design the first conventional chassis American cars, which premiered in 1906. American offerings were assembled cars...

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Sunday Ads: Landscape Architect

One of the wonderful surprises of old city directories is finding adverts in the margins and below the regular listings. This one from 1940 advertises Indianapolis Landscape architect, Alembert W. Brayton, Jr. Not being from the world of landscape architecture, and knowing that much landscape architecture doesn’t withstand time as does regular architecture, how does one judge the longevity and success of this arena? Would love to have someone explain...

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Family Tree: Our Female Ancestors

My great-granmother, Anna Buttchen, and her sister, Lizzie. As family historians, we often focus on our male relatives. After all, they are the ones who give us our surnames, and they are often much easier to locate in records. However, by focusing on the males in our lineage we are neglecting 50% of our ancestry. We are as much the product of the women in our families as we are of the men. Researching our female ancestors does come with a unique set of challenges. Often we are able to find nothing more than a first name. Even with a...

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Flats Lost & Saved: Northwest Quad

The St. Clair, built at 107-109 West St. Clair Street in 1899, is a true example of a flat saved then lost.  According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for apartments and flats, John James Cooper of 740 North Meridian Street purchased the undeveloped plat in 1897; he constructed the flat for $12,000 two years later.  Cooper (1830-1906) moved to Indianapolis in 1868 and ran unsuccessfully for Marion County sheriff eight years later; he was however state treasurer in 1882 and 1884 (NRHP Nomination Form, 1983).  He was also the owner of the Indianapolis Sentinel in...

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The Least You Should Know About the Athenaeum

The location of what we now know as The Athenaeum was chosen for its proximity to a main transportation line, in one of the most densely populated sections of the city and near “Germantown,” which was bounded by New York Street and Market Streets and East and Noble (now College) Streets. Gymnastics played a major role in the life of Germans in Indianapolis, who appreciated Jahn’s idea of restoring the spirits of his countrymen by developing their physical and moral powers through the practice of gymnastics. Jahn and many German-Americans were part of the Turnverein (gymnastics association) movement and...

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Then & Now: Das Deutsche Haus / Athenaeum

Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, copyright 1904 As a short history for Historic Indianapolis.com fans who plan to attend the International I-Spy Game this Saturday, we repeat Joan Hostetler’s Das Deutsche Haus / Athenaeum Then and Now article from October. Befitting a city with such a strong German heritage, the Athenaeum, located at the corner of Michigan and New Jersey Street and Massachusetts Avenue, is one Indianapolis’s oldest clubhouses still used for its original purpose. Many German immigrants contributed to the business and cultural life of Indianapolis, including a group who left Germany after a failed revolution...

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5 Reasons To Come Play This Saturday

The International I-Spy Game is the second in the continuing “HI Life” series (the first being the City Market Pajama Game in June 2012).  Why should you come out to play this weekend–and exactly what does that mean? What are we playing? 1. First 100 tickets purchased include a complimentary adult beverage. Tickets are only $15 per person. 2. If you like Easter egg hunts or playing games, you’ll like this. Rather than parking your tush on a backless bar chair all night, you could be hanging with friends, drinking and/or snacking your way through the Athenaeum (and evening)...

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WTH Wednesday: Suffering Symmetry

If School House Rock had created a series of songs about architecture in addition to numbers, science and America, there would have surely been one about symmetry in design. It’s been said that beauty is based on or characterized by the excellent proportion offered by symmetery. Except… as noted above, the bays are equally divided, as the second floor windows appear to be, but let’s face it: The devil is in the details. With the various materials, doings, undoings and all, you have to wonder: WTH did this originally look like? Location: West Michigan...

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HI Mailbag: The Tomlinson Family

Reader’s Question: I was wondering how much information you have on the TOMLINSON family and the history of Indiana?  Please contact me, so that I can find out more and fill in a lot of blanks concerning my family.  I have been told quite a bit, but some of it just seems to be too unreasonable to be true. ~ Paul Edward Tomlinson, Indianapolis HI’s Answer:   You have not provided enough details about yourself or your known relatives for me to be able to fill in any blanks in your genealogy.  Neither have you elaborated on the information you’ve been told that seems unreasonable, so that I...

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Ladies Lounge: 200 years of Walking Indianapolis

It’s not something we contemplate often, but people have been walking through Indianapolis land since before there was an Indianapolis. The first to make tracks through our geographic coordinates were native Americans, presumably wearing moccasins on their feet, if anything. After the city had been platted by Ralston and Fordham, a stream of “European Americans”  poured into what would become Indianapolis, altering it forevermore. Among the known arrivals of 1820 and 1821, the businessmen included two shoemakers: James Kittleman and Isaac Lynch; for the curious there were also: a miller, wagon maker, carpenter, baker, plasterer, farmer, merchant, justice of...

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1910 Indianapolis Veterinarian

Though its unknown exactly when the first veterinarian came to Indianapolis, it was interesting to chance upon this city directory advert. It makes sense, there would have to be someone to take care of the multitude of horses in Indianapolis at the time. One wonders how many horses populated the city at the turn of the century? Hmmm…....

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Family Tree: A City of Immigrants

Whether they came from Germany, Ireland, Asia, or South America, odds are that at least some of your ancestors were immigrants. People came from all over the world to settle in Indiana, and they did so for a variety of reasons. Regardless of their country of origin, in order to become United States citizens, they all had to go through the process of naturalization. The earliest naturalization records in Indiana date to 1807. Throughout the years various county courts handled naturalization proceedings. Even the Indiana Supreme Court naturalized people for a time. The process required foreign born peoples to...

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Indianapolis Collected: The Day the “Big Bugs” Came to Town

In 2012, a bill that would have cleared the way for the teaching of “creation science” in our public schools passed the Indiana Senate with bipartisan support.  But enough about that.  Because this is a blog about Indianapolis history, I’ll leave it to the Legislature to debate the origin of life.  Instead, I’m announcing today that through rigorous scientific research and a half-hour in the Supreme Court Library, I have been able to discover the origin of Indianapolis.   I challenge any legislator to dispute THIS  evidence.   That’s right – you read it here first.  On the 6th day of January, 1821, the Legislature...

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Heritage Steward: Sarah Cole Halter

NAME: Sarah Halter TITLE: Director of Public Programs  FOR: Indiana Medical History Museum SINCE? 2007 ORIGINALLY FROM? Indianapolis YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE?  A bit of everything really…programs, exhibits, human resources, collections management, research, tours…dusting and changing light bulbs. YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? I work 20+ hours a week in the museum, and I manage to get work done at home, the library, and occasionally in my car, as well. I also work full time at a warehouse. WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? So many things come to mind! We have a great group of very...

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Then & Now: Anheuser Busch Brewing Association and Capitol City Fence Company, 920-24 E. Ohio Street

Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company Collection 26612 Many have understandably mistaken this gem of a building for a Carnegie library, but it was built sometime around 1900 as the Indianapolis branch of the Anheuser Busch Brewing Association. German native Eberhard Anheuser, later joined by his son-in-law Adolphus Busch, built their Saint Louis-based Anheuser Busch Brewing Association into one of the most successful breweries in the United States. The company offered lager (from lagern meaning “to rest”), a beer requiring time to age in wooden casks. Budweiser (1876) and later Michelob (1890s), their best known brands,...

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WTH: Darling, Do These Posts Make My Top Look Big?

Not only does the wholly sided top above this porch look odd without some sort of window, the toothpick posts holding ‘er all up look like they may snap any second from the weight being put upon them. This broad is top heavy–time to slim up the upper or bulk up the lower, the sense of imbalance hurts. Location: West side, Mount...

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