Month: March 2014

William H. Coleman Hospital

 William H. Coleman Hospital Photo: Ryan Hamlett Coleman Hospital Location: I.U.P.U.I Campus Named For: William Henry Coleman   In 1927, William H. Coleman endowed the hospital for women, in memory of his step-daughter who died from pregnancy complications. Coleman was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in New York.  He moved to Indianapolis in 1880, where he started a booming lumber business that grew to have additional operations in Terre Haute and Tennessee as well, even making barrels for the Standard Oil Company. Coleman married Sallie Downing Vajen, who had a daughter, Suemma, from her previous marriage to John Henry...

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Sunday Adverts: The Freeman Newspaper

In July 1888, Edward Elder Cooper, originally from Florida, founded The Freeman, the first illustrated African-American newspaper in the United States.  Cooper was born in 1859, and arrived in Indianapolis at age nineteen.  He was the only African-American graduate of his high school class.  In 1883, he founded The Colored World, which was later bought by Levi Christy, who changed the name to The Indianapolis World. The Freeman was one of three African-American newspapers in Indianapolis; The Indianapolis Leader being the first in August 1879.  The Indianapolis Leader was a Republican-oriented weekly newspaper, and The Freeman was its Democratic...

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Friday Favorite: The Battle of Irvington

The first Irvington school began as one room in 1874 and grew to two stories with a tower by the time this picture was taken in the late 1890s. The building stood immediately east of Irving Circle Park on the south side of Grand Avenue, later renamed University. Photo: courtesy Larry Muncie collection, Irvington Historical Society Drama Teacher? By all accounts, Miss Lydia R. Putnam, school mistress, was no push-over. In the fall of 1877, the quiet and comparatively upscale community of Irvington where Putnam made her home would soon be able to testify to her grit. A 40-year-old disciplinarian originally...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Plaza Service Station, 121 E. Maryland Street

Is that a government building or a gas station? Cartoonists of the 1920s often made light of the fact that service and filling stations were so ornate that they were confused with buildings with a grander purpose. (Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company Collection #92298) During the 1920s people grew leery of shoddy gasoline shacks, especially near residential areas and city centers, so movers of the nationwide City Beautiful Movement promoted monumental-looking filling station designs. One local example is Vonnegut, Mueller, & Bohn’s little-remembered architectural design for the Plaza Service Station, formerly located at 121 E. Maryland Street. The building...

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Penny Post: I Am On Skates

This real photographic postcard features the Broad Ripple Masonic Temple on Guilford Avenue in 1908. Postcard courtesy of Tom Keesling, Hoosier Recollections. This Penny Post, sent from a young Indianapolitan on skates, features the newly constructed, soon-to-be dedicated “Masons Hall” and bespeaks of daily life of the city’s youngest residents. For 86 years, Mustard Hall was home to the Broad Ripple Freemasons’ monthly Friday night meetings, community banquets, and shelter from White River flood waters.  Dedicated June 19, 1908, the stone building at the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford was built with $25,000 from the Jacob S....

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Indiana City Brewery (Home Brewing Company Bottling Building)

In case you missed it the first time we published it… Early last year, our own Joan Hostetler featured the Home Brewing Company for a February 2013  “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 Hook, father of the John Hook who...

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What’s in a Name – H. Lauter Lofts

photo by Ryan Hamlett Location: West Washington and Harding Streets Named for Herman Lauter, Furniture manufactuer The former home of the H. Lauter Company is now condominiums on the city’s near westside. Herman Lauter was a successful furniture manufacturer who founded the Lauter and Frese Furniture Factory, which later became the H. Lauter Company, at the corner of Washington and Harding Streets.  It was the largest furniture company in the city at the time and made an extensive line of office desks, ladies’ desks, center and dressing tables, art dressers, chiffoniers, washstands and music stands. Lauter was born near Berlin,...

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Sunday Adverts: Real Silk

In 1922, brothers Jack and Lazure Goodman formed the Real Silk Hosiery Company, one of the first companies to sell women’s hosiery door-to-door.  At the height of their success in 1929, Real Silk sold over 12 million pairs of women’s silk hosiery, or 6% of all United States sales of the product.  Real Silk had production mills in Indianapolis; Linton, Indiana; Dalton, Georgia; and Mississippi.  At the time, it was one of the three largest manufacturing units of hosiery in the United States. The company took a brief downturn due to rising silk prices and the Great Depression, and...

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In The Park: The Monon Rail-Trail

Springtime brings blooming trees, March Madness, and longer days to Indianapolis.  It also means increased traffic at one of Indy’s most popular parks, the Monon Rail-Trail.  You may not think of the nearly 17-mile paved pedestrian thoroughfare extending from downtown Indianapolis into Carmel and Westfield as a park in the most traditional sense, but it’s one of the most popular outdoor recreation spots in the city.  With an estimated 4,000 users per day, the Monon is one of the busiest urban greenways in the United States. Long before it became the Monon Rail-Trail, The Chicago, Indianapolis, & Louisville railroad...

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Friday Favorite: Frivolous Feats of Fancy

March Madness is not the only kind of madness found in the history of Indianapolis! Hoosiers and Indianapolitans show no lack of quirk and whimsy. We come by that trait quite honestly, as our forefathers and mothers have certainly exhibited a “flair for the fun” over the years. Consider the following: Flights of Fancy Speedway President Carl Fisher loved leading-edge technology, and he was almost as fascinated with aviation as race cars. This passion led to the first major balloon race in Indiana on June 5, 1909, where a crowd of 40,000 observed six balloons ascend from the Speedway. The winner of the...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Volney T. Malott House, 536-558 N. Delaware Street

In about 1867 David Macy and his wife built a house at 558 N. Delaware Street for their only daughter Caroline and her husband Volney T. Malott, who had lived with the Macys since their marriage in 1862. But after a year the older couple missed her so much that the mere one-block walk between houses seemed too far. So they moved into their daughter’s corner home and built her family another nearly identical house next door. The homes remained in the family for over sixty years. Today the brick dwellings are long gone and the site serves as...

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Penny Post: Interurban Station

The Interurban Station in Martinsville, IND. was located at 110 N. Main Street. Postcard courtesy of Tom Keesling, Hoosier Recollections. The Indianapolis and Martinsville Rapid Transit Company was incorporated April 24, 1901. The City of Indianapolis Board of Public Works ratified an ordinance on August 14, 1902, authorizing the I&MRT Company to run its interurban cars on city streets. The I&MRT operated independently until 1907, between Indianapolis and Martinsville until it was leased, along with the Indianapolis & Northwestern Traction Company to the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company. The THI&E operated the railway, which ran along present...

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HI Mailbag: 25 McLean Place

Reader’s Question: I would love to hear the history of the building at 25 McLean Place.   I think it may have originally been a stable.  Jeff C., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The building at 25 McLean Place was indeed a horse livery in its early years.  The first Indianapolis City Directory in which the property appeared was in 1900, so it was likely to have been built earlier that year or late in 1899.  The proprietor of the establishment was named H. H. Gates.  The building originally had addresses of 19 and 21 McLean Place, but today all of the structures on the south side...

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What’s in a Name – The Kemper, Pierson-Griffiths, or Wedding Cake House

Kemper House or (Pierson-Griffiths House) Location:  St. Joseph Historic District, Delaware Street Right Reverend. Jackson Kemper, Indiana first Episcopal Bishop Charles Clark Pierson, the owner of a dental supply company originally built this house as a wedding gift for his wife, Mary Alice Scofield in 1873.  They lived in the home for about nine months before selling it.  Another owner who has lent his name to the house was John Griffiths, a noted orator who served in the Indiana House of Representatives and as a general consul in Liverpool and London. He owned the house from 1897 to 1914. After a...

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Sunday Adverts: Stark, Wetzel, & Co.

It is often the case that individuals who excel as lower-level employees in one business will leave that business and start their own enterprise (unless, of course, there exists a non-compete agreement).  Such is the case of George W. Stark and Erwin K. Wetzel, both of whom worked for Kingan & Co. Meat Packing prior to forming their own meat packing company named Stark, Wetzel & Co. Stark, Wetzel & Co. produced a variety of meats, ranging from the bacon advertised above, to the “Grand Duchess Steak,” which the company claimed could go from the freezer to the plate...

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Friday Favorite: To The Beat of a Different Drum

  … a Bigger and Better Drum! Tucked away among the over-tight streets of the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood near Fountain Square, the SENSE Charter school lovingly serves children in grades Kindergarten through seventh. The school inhabits an interesting building. Rough, inconveniently-placed concrete pillars and incongruous, echo-y public spaces are cheerfully adorned with youthful art and voices. It’s apparent that this structure was not originally built to be a school. This building was “industrial” before “industrial” was cool. The structure was built upon four lots in 1903 to be the home of the Leedy Manufacturing Company, Inc. — the “World’s Largest Drum Company” and the maker of the...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Pantzer Drugstore, 1601 S. East Street

Postcard from the collection of Evan Finch / July 2011 Google Street View The corner store at 1601 S. East Street had a long life as the Pantzer Drugstore in what is now the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood on the southeast side of Indianapolis. John George Pantzer, Jr. (1869-1934) was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, but was one of the many German families in the medical field in Indianapolis. His older brother Hugo Otto Pantzer was a physician (and father of art collector and philanthropist Kurt Pantzer). Another brother, Frederick William, moved to Indianapolis and managed the Bates House Pharmacy but died...

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Penny Post: Time is Money

Busy Tourist’s Correspondence Card: Public Library from War Memorial Plaza, Indianapolis, IND. Too busy to hand write a hello? Anxious to avoid writer’s cramp? The Busy Tourist’s Correspondence Card series (printed by postcard publishers around the country) turned messages into quick, often humorous checklists. Postmarked: Indianapolis IND. AUG 22, 1947 10:30 PM Message: Hi Jack, I am having a swell time. Have you and Norman been getting any good chocolate milk shakes at Corbs(?). Be home soon and see you. Love, Janet Addressed to: Mr. Jack Overly Tipton St. Huntington, Ind. A penny for your thoughts … Checklist cards,...

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The Indianapolis Chain and Stamping Co.

Photo courtesy of Diamond Chain Co. There is a building on Indianapolis’ near southwest side that is easily forgettable as one drives into downtown on Kentucky Ave. Yet, the story behind this century old factory has roots in America’s bicycle, motorsports and aeronautical industries, plus, another relocated cemetery to boot. Though the “high-wheeled” or “penny-farthing” bicycle had been all the rage since its 1869 premier, it was a dangerous and unwieldy contraption. By the 1880s, the more rider friendly “safety-bicycle”  with a rear wheel that was similarly sized as the front and chain driven by a crank replaced the...

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What’s in a Name: Lockefield Gardens

Lockefield Gardens Location:  Downtown Locke Street: Erie Locke, Indianapolis City Councilman Before becoming market rate apartments, Lockefield Gardens (designed by William Earl Russ) was one of the first public housing projects in the nation, with construction beginning in 1935. The project takes its name from “Locke Street” which was the western boundary of the site and named in honor of Erie Locke, a city councilman representing the area in the 1860s and 1870s.  “Field” was added to reflect the openness of the project’s site and give the project a bucolic image.     Major Erie Locke was born in 1822 in Cecil County, Maryland to Elam, who hailed from New...

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