Month: February 2013

Indianapolis Then and Now: Progress Laundry, 422-26 E. Market Street

Courtesy of the Indiana Album, ca. 1911 lantern slide from the collection of Joan Hostetler This week I showcase two lantern slides that I purchased on eBay of the Progress Laundry Company. Lantern slides were an early form of slides projected onto a wall or screen to an audience. Since many of the fifty or so 4 x 3.25 in. glass slides show smokestacks, factories, and laundry companies, I wonder if the subject of the slide presentation might have been pollution, but the wood box containing the images has no label to indicate who presented the program. [In case...

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WTH: Stone Cold (Whiskey Tango) Fox…

Vinyl on top, stone on the bottom? The porch alterations look like tiny toothpick ‘columns’ shoved into a large stone boot … But then, onto the south elevation of the house and the bedrock story continues… …and the side view. There’s stone, there’s vinyl, there’s another toothpick and…it’d be perfect for any of the three little piggies, anyway. What does this say to...

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A Room with a View – Municipal Gardens Park

This week’s A Room with a View is really more of an Area with a View, in two parts. After scoping out the Lohrmann House at 16th and White River that Sharon Butsch Freeland highlighted in a recent HI Mailbag article, I turned north and drove up a stretch of Lafayette Road I had never before traveled and came across the Municipal Gardens Family Center. Wanting to check out more of the Gardens, I tuned up Cold Springs Road to turn around and found myself even more intrigued by a random stone gate and a boulder, set on a pedestal, up away...

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HI Mailbag: House at 75th and College Avenue

Reader’s Question: Do you have any history on the house on the SW Corner of 75th and College?  ~  Ed Alexander, Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The house that’s located on the southwest corner of E. 75th and N. College Avenue has captured the attention of passersby for many years.  Perched on a hill, the imposing brick home has more than 6,000 square feet, when the space in the attic and basement are included in the calculation.  The current owners, a local attorney and his wife, bought the home in 1983 and have reared four children there.  They have enjoyed the feeling of being in the country,...

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Indianapolis’ Early Automotive Roots

Carl G. Fisher, Photo courtesy LHA/University of Michigan The story of Indianapolis’ early automotive heritage begins a little over 120 years ago.  It actually started with bicycling. In the summer of 1890, 16 year-old Carl G. Fisher and a dozen or so like-minded young cycling enthusiasts formed their own social club, the Zig-Zag Cycle Club.  The club rented a large brick house adjoining the Empire Theater on East Wabash Street.  Members participated in riding events to towns located 20 or 30 miles from Indianapolis and back.  At the time, riding a high-wheeler bicycle was an athletic challenge on the...

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Sunday Prayers: 430 N. Walcott

(photo by Dawn Olsen) Lloyd D. Hammond was a working man. He was a travel agent for at least a decade, servicing the citizens of Indianapolis from the late 1800s through the 1910s. He was a junior manager, too. A man of position at C. Dow Rector. And, of course, he lived in the city. Lived in the same house for approximately 20 years, in fact. In 1913, at the same time Hammond was encouraging vacations and getaways, William E.R. Hesselgrave was working as a clerk at Kingan & Co. Hesselgrave had been living in Indianapolis for just two...

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Family Tree: No Love Sincerer

Cover of a cookbook compiled by Marie Wanee Schuster“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” ~ George Bernard Shaw As I recreate the stories of my ancestors I often wonder how they approached the topic of food. Did they have favorite family recipes? Did they eat simply or did they create complicated concoctions? And for those who were pioneers, I sometimes wonder how they found any food at all. Many are lucky to have recipes passed down through the generations. These small cards and books can tell us a lot about our ancestors, how they lived,...

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Flats Saved: North Pennsylvania Street

Limestone detailing of the Sylvania, 2013, (c) photo by Kurt Lee Nettleton What’s your favorite apartment building on Pennsylvania Street? Many flats, including the Sylvania and Glencoe, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places Apartments & Flats and are also included in the NRHP St. Joseph Neighborhood.  Did you know that the Apartments & Flats nomination is the largest historic district for apartment homes in the United States?  These structures received a great deal of TLC when 25% tax credits for rehabbing historic homes was still available on a federal level in the early 1980’s. The St....

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Friday Favorite: Saving Old Housing Stock

2515 North Broadway For those of us who are both sentimental and care for the aesthetics of Indianapolis, we’d be hard-pressed to consider buying anything but an older home. Older homes get a bad rap—deemed ‘hard to care for,’ ‘require lots of maintenance,’ ‘are drafty’ and ‘just old’—as if mere age renders a building undesirable. Based on personal experience, it is not age, but home ownership in general that’s a never-ending, time and money sucking monolith. No domicile can go sans updates and fixes for decades without having the infrastructural breakdowns. (You have to go to the doctor every now and...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Union Laundry Company / Union Laundry Lofts, 735 Lexington Avenue

  The Union Laundry Company building, on the corner of Lexington Avenue and Pine Street, was built in 1911 on the old site of Fulmer’s Livery Stables. Otherwise known as the Union Cooperative Laundry, this two-story building was specially built to house the modern laundry equipment on the first floor, ironing and presses on the second floor, and roof-top water purifying tanks. With concern for their workers’ well being, the facilities including restrooms with showers, a men’s smoking room, and a basement lunchroom for their 25 male and 50 female employees.   By 1915, the business was named Sterling...

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WTH: Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of…

We’ve all seen plenty of these around Indy, a home or commercial building covered in Insulbrick. This one, on West New York Street looks as though it was once a store front–and despite its decrepit condition, captures the imagination: fodder for fascinating daydreams, imagining how a little neighborhood place like this once served its nearby community.  If this place could talk, what would it have to say about Indy? This sort of  asphalt covering was a popular alternative to repairing or replacing wood siding from the 1930’s- 1960’s and the city still has much property swathed in the stuff....

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Bush Stadium

Bush Stadium, Pre-demolition – Photo by Ryan Hamlett As many of you may well know, Indianapolis’ historic Bush Stadium, once a mainstay on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 most endangered list, has been saved from total destruction and is currently transforming into the Stadium Lofts (see below), scheduled to open summer 2013. This looks to be a pretty unique and cool set up. You can check out a few more images from Bush Stadium’s pre-demolition state. It IS a timely opportunity to send out some unsolicited support for a local organization doing some pretty cool things around town, People for Urban Progress. The...

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HI Mailbag: Linwood Square

Reader’s Question:  When was Linwood Square built?  Before Linwood Square was there, this was the location of Newburg (sp?) Field, where we loved to play.  Why was this section not developed like the rest of the surrounding subdivisions?  And do you have any history regarding the Newburg (sp?) family?  ~ Kevin J. Brewer, Kokomo  HI’s Answer: Construction of Linwood Square began in November of 1963.  The architectural firm for the project was Beaman and Associates, Inc.  The first store to open in Linwood square was Zayre Department Store, which opened in 1964.  Zayre was part of a discount chain, headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, that was in...

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Ladies Lounge: The Evolution of Block’s Branding

Does your heart skip a beat when you chance upon an old hometown brand while out vintage shopping–especially when it’s a long-time favorite like Block’s or Ayres? With a beloved company such as Block’s that lasted almost 100 years, let’s look back at the evolution of their branding through the decades. The above is one of the earliest found, from 1898, when the original storefront was still on Washington Street. By 1940, this cursive script represented the brand, and much of the marketing images included a sketch of the entrance to the store (on Illinois Street) And in 1951...

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What’s in a Name: McCarty Street

McCarty St. Location:  Downtown, Southeast Named For: Nicholas McCarty, one of the first white settlers of Indianapolis McCarty was born September 26, 1795 in Moorefield, Hardy County, Virginia (now West Virginia) but moved to Pittsburgh after his father’s death.  He had very few opportunities for a formal education, so as a young man, he moved to Newark, Ohio and worked for one of Ohio’s most successful merchants.  There, he learned the mercantile business and became extremely successful and adept at running a business. At 28, he moved to Indianapolis in the fall of 1823 and established one of the...

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Sunday Ads: Echoes in Time, Indy Brand Names

It’s hackneyed but true: “history repeats itself.” And when you’re plugged into a bit of then and a bit of now, you recognize the echoes in time, repetitions and continuations. Knowing there is currently a company in Fountain Square called “Pivot Marketing,” this 1910 Pivot Realty Company advert made me smile. Got any brands you recall from the past that connect to one in the...

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Sunday Prayers: Illinois Building

The Illinois Building in June 1926, shortly after completion. Designed by Indianapolis architects Rubush & Hunter, the building was constructed on the corner of Illinois and Market streets. (Photo © 2008 Indiana Historical Society) Behind me, the sounds of the city echoed—people walking. Cars honking. The wind swirling. But before me, in the shadow of Market Tower’s 32 stories, was the Illinois Building. I stepped up to a window and cupped my hands around my eyes, squinting into the darkness. It was empty, of course. Empty and unkempt. I saw unfinished projects, a checkerboard pattern of there-not-there ceiling tiles....

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Family Tree: DNA (Part 1)

I recently purchased two DNA kits. One was from Ancestry DNA, a part of the larger Ancestry.com. The other was from a much lesser known company with a very similar name, Ancestry by DNA. My plan is to use the Ancestry DNA kit myself and send the other to my brother, since there is different information to be gained by testing a male member of the family. The two tests are quite different. For instance, the Ancestry by DNA test (on the right above) contains a simple swab that you use on the inside of your cheek. Once the swab has...

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Join the Celebration for Indy History

If you didn’t know, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be holding its national conference in Indianapolis at the end of October/ beginning of November 2013. It’s kinda like the Superbowl of preservation–well, except there is deeper meaning and longer term impact for our community and many others. As with the Super Bowl, there will be a need for volunteers. If you are interested, please post a message here or email us and we will get you in touch with the right people! Check out this video, which showcases Indy in a way we’ve never seen before–what do...

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