Month: July 2013

WTH: You Say It’s Your Birthday?

Photo courtesy Jeff Noffsinger Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday to you  Happy Birthday, dear… …………… Oh. Dear. If this isn’t a CakeWreck, what is it? No, seriously–anyone got any ideas on how this happened or what it the intention may have been? Adding vinyl over brick to install those half circle windows?...

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Indiana City Brewery (Home Brewing Company Bottling Building)

Three original Home Brewing Company bottles in the Indiana City Brewery tasting room. – Photo by Ryan Hamlett Earlier this year, our own Joan Hostetler featured the Home Brewing Company for a Feburary “Indianapolis: Then and Now” feature. Today in A Room with a View, we revisit the remaining Bottling and Distribution building which is once again responsible for creating delicious libations for circle citizens. The men behind one of Indianapolis’ first major breweries spread far and wide throughout the history of the city. Organized in 1891, Home Brewing Company’s first brewmaster and principal organizers was a german immigrant named August...

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HI Mailbag: University of Indianapolis

Reader’s Question: Can you tell me about the Garfield Park neighborhood?  I know the University of Indianapolis is in the area, as well as the city park, but what is the history of the area? When was it settled and by whom? ~ Sara Gill, Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The answer to this week’s HI Mailbag question is a continuation of last week’s column.  Since information about the Garfield Park area more than filled the space last week, I decided to split the main subjects mentioned in the Mailbag question into two articles.  As Garfield Park is located in Center Township, while the University of Indianapolis is located...

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A Brief History of Downtown Indy’s Canal

In the early 1800s, transportation and trade in Indiana and the United States as a whole was extremely limited.  People mainly traveled by foot, horseback, wagons pulled by animals or by water when possible.  Hoosiers developed a strong interest in improving water transportation when New York’s Erie Canal was successfully completed in 1825.  This canal served as an inspiration and a model for expanding travel and trade in Indiana. In 1836, the General Assembly passed the Mammoth Improvement Act to provide a general system of internal improvements.  The passing of this act provided funding for eight major projects to...

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Sunday Adverts: Stokely Brothers & Co.

By the time William Burnett Stokely, Jr. moved his family’s canning plant to Indianapolis in 1933, Stokely Brothers & Co., started by William’s mother, Anna, had been in existence for thirty-five years and was likely a household name.  The move, first from its origins in Tennessee, then to Kentucky, and finally to Indianapolis, was prompted by a merger with the Indianapolis-based Van Camp canning and food packaging company, in operation since 1861.  The merger was a result of Van Camp’s lingering sales during the depression.  It could be reasonably inferred the deal was brokered by William’s brother, George, who,...

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Sunday Prayers: Dearborn Building

“Cheery” is a word I would use to describe a front-yard flower garden, not an abandoned building. But when it comes to the property at the corner of 10th and Dearborn, it’s hard to attach another description. The plywood boards—which stretch across some two dozen windows and doors—are slathered with sky-blue paint and a slew of airplanes. It’s certainly not something I’m used to; I’m usually tiptoeing up and down sidewalks, squinting up at uneven roofs and crooked front doors. This … this is different. This is art where you’d least expect it. Developed by Public Art Indianapolis and...

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Indianapolis Collected: Showdown at the Odd Fellows Lodge

Lewis Baum was an unhappy man.  The old building where he rented office space was set for demolition in June 1907, which just didn’t seem fair since he had a lease that ran through 1908.    So he did something that in retrospect seems a little crazy.  On the day that demolition started, he went to his office, or at least what was left of his office.  And for the next five days, he worked calmly from his desk, refusing to leave even as the walls crashed around him  and plaster rained down on his head. The story of Baum’s...

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Flashback Fridays: Luther Duke

Indianapolis history is not just made up of buildings, historic homes, and age-old events. After all, it IS people who make history happen, so what better way to know Indianapolis history than to hear from life-long Indy residents? HI will be featuring some of Indianapolis’ oldest residents to unlock the personal memories and nearly forgotten stories of this great city. — Though an unassuming man, Luther Duke is familiar to anyone who works at St. Vincent Hospital on 86th Street. Why, do you ask? Well, Luther happens to be the longest-serving employee at the hospital. Come September, he will have worked...

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Sherwood Forest

Scrapbooks of the Forest 1959: It was a different era, though many readers will remember it well. …a time before the conveniences of the Internet and social media, when people were social in real space and time — door-to-door and in each other’s homes. …a time when folks dressed elegantly for parties. …a time when invitations were handmade with care and creativity. …a more “cohesive” time. It was in that year that the Sherwood Forest neighborhood was developed. Situated in far-Northside Indianapolis, in the Nora area, on beautifully-forested grounds and adjacent to farm land — a suburban community sprang forth that would...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Second Presbyterian Church and World War Memorial, East Vermont Street

Some of the earliest images of Indianapolis streets and buildings are found as stereoviews, two views of the same subject photographed from slightly different angles. When the mounted side-by-side prints are viewed with a special device called a stereoscope, the images appear to pop off the photograph with a slightly three-dimensional effect. Several photographers made stereoviews of Indianapolis in the 1870s and one of the most prolific appears to be Charles Ingraham, who worked with partner David Claflin in the early 1870s. Specializing in landscapes, the photo gallery documented houses, parks, stores, and churches, including the new Second Presbyterian Church...

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WTH Wednesday: Commercial Disaster

Homes aren’t alone in their subjection to heinous makeovers. There is no lack of commercial (former) gems in our fair metropolis, either. Look at the lovely bricks framing this westside storefront. Disastrous polyglot of plywood and dead wrong window openings, this wants for a mega-makeover…. how would you change this if it were...

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Landmark for Peace Memorial, MLK Park

The Landmark for Peace Memorial at Martin Luther King Jr. Park – Photo by Ryan Hamlett While HistoricIndianapolis.com is by no means a platform from which to editorialize on current events whether they be they local, national or global, the way the past few weeks have gone has me thinking that a visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 17th Street and Broadway is in order. On April 4th, 1968 New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy brought his presidential campaign to Indiana, first making stops at Notre Dame in South Bend and Ball State in Muncie. As he...

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HI Mailbag: The Garfield Park Area

Reader’s Question: Can you tell me about the Garfield Park neighborhood?  I know the University of Indianapolis is in the area, as well as the city park, but what is the history of the area? When was it settled and by whom? ~ Sara G., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: Garfield Park was the very first park owned by the City of Indianapolis.  Its establishment as a public space clearly contributed to the development of the residential and commercial areas around it.  For its role in the history of Indianapolis, Garfield Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Both the park...

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What’s In a Name: Sam Jones Expressway

Sam Jones Expressway Location: Former Airport Location Sam Jones, first president of Indianapolis Urban League The road was originally known as the Indianapolis Airport Expressway.  When the new midfield terminal was under construction, it became clear that the original Airport Expressway would no longer led to the airport terminal.  Federal and state officials notified then Mayor Peterson that the street needed a new name to avoid confusion.  Peterson selected Sam Jones, the first director of the Indianapolis Urban League. Jones was born on March 3, 1928, in Heidelberg, Mississippi to Henry and Sallie Belle Jones.   He graduated from Clark...

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Sunday Adverts: Killinger Bar Fixtures

In 1890, at the corner of Market and Missouri, which is now the State Government Center North, George Killinger ran his Bar Fixture and Refrigerator production and sales business. Founded in 1881, Killinger’s designs were well known in both the Indiana and Illinois areas.  While not much is known of George W. Killinger, Sr., except that he was involved in a legal dispute over a promissory note in 1896. However, his son, George W. Killinger, Jr., may have been the victim of George Earl “the kid” Northern and Henry Pierpont, two Prohibtion-era robbers, who allegedly used the younger Killinger’s...

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The Multi-Family Italianate on Olive

You don’t even notice the house at first. It’s the lush, green thicket that catches your eye. The overgrown bushes, the heavy vines. The path to the alleyway that has been devoured by grass. Once your eyes have woven through the jungle, you see the tire swing. And the shopping cart that blocks the front sidewalk. And the graffiti. On every wall, on every slice of plywood, there are spray-painted signs that “tag” the home. There’s been a graffiti war. There’s also been activity. Despite the weeds and the boards and the darkness, there have been people here. The shopping...

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What Exactly is… Nora?

Defining “Nora” is a little bit like nailing jello to a tree: slippery, frustrating and inefficient. However, today we persist! Regardless of whether you describe the Far-Northside Indianapolis location (generally considered to be contained within Meridian Street on the west, Castleton on the east, Ravenswood to the south, and the Hamilton County line to the north) as a city, suburb, community, neighborhood, hamlet, town, village (or if you’re like me and you just call it… HOME) here’s what I can tell you for sure: At this writing, Nora is 141 years old. Before Nora was “Nora,” though, the somewhat swampy and heavily-forested...

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HI Indy Lovers- Changes Afoot at HI

  Hi there HI loves~ Want to know what the heck is going on here on the HI-Line? Last week, our server had a power outage that had all sites they host down for almost 48 hours. I think we can all agree that technology is grand. When it works. This week, there was some malware that was able to penetrate the site, causing it to go down again for the best part of a day. We don’t want these sort of interruptions as long as the site is still up, so we made the big decision to change...

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Sunday Adverts: Kingan & Co.

These days, bacon is everywhere – on sandwiches, in omelettes, and in cupcake icing.  Back in the 1920’s, when this ad appeared, Kingan’s Bacon was “reliable.” Kingan & Co., featured in this Indianapolis Collected article, not only made bacon, but also virtually every product which could be rendered from pork or beef.  Samuel Kingan opened his first meatpacking plant in Northern Ireland.  He later immigrated to the United States, where he opened meatpacking plants in Brooklyn and Cincinnati, both of which were destroyed by fire.  In 1862, Kingan settled in Indianapolis and opened a meatpacking facility in the area...

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Sunday Prayers: the Shortridge-Voss house (1301 Broadway)

“A country whose buildings are of wood can never increase in its improvements to any considerable degree.” Thus spoke Thomas Jefferson. The quote, part of a discussion on the durability of architecture, appeared in Jefferson’s book “Notes on the State of Virginia,” which was first completed in 1781. Jefferson added that when buildings are constructed of durable materials, such as brick and stone, “every new edifice is an actual and permanent acquisition to the state, adding to its value as well as to its ornament.” For a few days, I mulled over Jefferson’s statements, and asked myself what I...

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