Month: April 2014

HI Mailbag: Woodland Cemetery

Reader’s Question: Would you have any information about a cemetery that once existed on the east side of Indianapolis, called Woodland Cemetery? ~ Mike B. HI’s Answer:  Although the name “Woodland Cemetery” ceased to exist nearly a century ago, the cemetery is nonetheless still very much in existence today.  It just is known by a different name.  The burial ground was established in 1913 by a group of businessmen who formed a corporation called The Cemetery Company.  Located on the historic National Road aka US 40 aka Washington Street, the land the board members acquired for their venture was at that time well beyond the city limits in rural Warren Township. The...

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What’s in a Name? – Propylaeum

The Propylaeum Location:  Old Northside Greek for “entrance” or “gateway” Propylaea are any monumental gateways based on the original Propylaea that serve as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. When used by the Indianapolis Propylaeum, it means “gateway to culture.”  The Indianapolis Propylaeum was founded by May Wright Sewall in 1888 as a social and cultural center for Indianapolis women. On January 21, 1891, 800 guests attended the opening and dedication of the Propylaeum on North Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets.   In 1924, The Propylaeum–the oldest private club owned and operated by and for women, purchased and moved...

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Sunday Adverts: Metropolitan Theater

Earlier this week, Historic Indianapolis featured the Metropolitan Theater in “A Room with a View,” Metropolitan Hall: Indianapolis’ First Theater. The theater’s proprietor, Valentine Butsch, is a forebear of Historic Indianapolis’ own contributor, Sharon Butsch Freeland, and it is with her assistance that this week’s “Sunday Adverts” provides HI readers with a brief glimpse of the man who made such an impact on the Indianapolis theater community. Valentine Butsch was born in Flömersheim, Rheinpfalz, Bavaria, Germany, on November 12, 1827.  The Butsch family immigrated to New York City from the Port of Le Havre-de-Grace, France, arriving in the United States on June 22,...

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Friday Favorite: Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Historic Legacy * Education Resource * Local Treasure To some avid HI architecture fans, he might not be considered  the “favorite Indy Vonnegut,” but to others, it will always be author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. –who emerged as an “overnight success” in the 1960s. The truth is, it’s hard to pick a favorite, since the Vonnegut family has many colorful characters and has been a local institution for over a century. The Great-grandfather:  Clemens Vonnegut, Senior (1824–1906) emigrated from Germany in 1850 and built the Vonnegut Hardware store, an extremely successful business venture that elevated and magnified the immigrant family’s finances and social standing. The Grandfather: Bernard Vonnegut, Senior (1855 –...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Tansy Motor Service Station, 802 N. Delaware Street

Tansy Motor Service Station on the northwest corner of N. Delaware and St. Clair Streets, 8 Feb. 1949 (Courtesy of the Indianapolis Fire Department) This Indianapolis Fire Department photograph depicts fire damage at the Tansy Motor Service Station at 802 N. Delaware Street (northwest corner of N. Delaware and St. Clair Streets). Four employees escaped from a window after an explosion and fire early in the morning of February 8, 1949. As a precaution, firemen stirred residents from the fourteen adjacent apartments and ordered them to vacate the building. An article in the Kokomo Tribune reported that owner Loral R. Tansy...

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Penny Post: The Importance of Being Ernest

I only stay in a city 3 or 4 days. Aqueduct, Indianapolis, Ind. Runners, bikers, and paddle boats are commonly spotted along Indianapolis’ Central Canal as it stretches from Broad Ripple to the downtown Canal Walk. A stretch of the canal that is infrequently seen by towpath is the aqueduct that allows the waterway to cross Fall Creek, between Bursdal Parkway and 16th Street. A view of the Indianapolis aqueduct is captured along with Ernest’s request for Mrs. Adin Haverly not to write him … yet. Postmarked: MAY –, Indianapolis, IND. – 5:30 PM Message: Dear Adis. If you...

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Metropolitan Hall: Indianapolis’ First Theatre

While the Hilbert Circle Theatre and the Indiana Repertory Theatre are the last remaining structures of what was once a vast network of downtown theaters, neither can boast as having been the city’s first. That distinction goes to Metropolitan Hall, which once stood on the northeast corner of Washington Street and Tennessee Street (now Capitol Avenue). For the first few decades of Indianapolis’ existence, regular theatrical entertainment wasn’t on the top of most Hoosiers’ priority lists. When the occasional traveling production would make its way through town, it set up in a tavern, private home, or — after 1850 — the city’s first Masonic...

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What’s in a Name? – Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Fieldhouse at sunset – photo by Ryan Hamlett Hinkle Fieldhouse Location:  Butler University Campus Named for: Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, multi-sport coach and athletic director, Butler University The iconic Butler fieldhouse takes its name from Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, whose shadow still looms large over the history of Butler University.  Born in 1899 in Logansport, he attended Calumet High School and graduated in 1916. He also attended the University of Chicago, where he was a three sport athlete, who graduated in 1920. In 1921, Hinkle began coaching baseball at Butler, and remained a coach there until 1970. He also coached basketball...

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Indianapolis Collected: The Secret in the Old Book

I first saw the old book three weeks ago, stacked on a dusty table at a popular downtown antique mall.  It was a decorator’s dream, the sort of leather-bound book that you might see casually strewn on a coffee table at an upscale store that sells overpriced vintage-inspired “authentic antique reproduction” furniture. I promised myself a long time ago that I would never buy an old book for its cover.  Not because I am deep and intellectual, but because I’m running out of shelf space. So while I am not immune to the faded charms of a beautiful old book, it’s not coming home with...

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In the Park: Bertha Ross Park

Today we head north from our last featured Watkins Park,  on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, to Bertha Ross Park, at 3700 North Clifton Street.  Indianapolis purchased this twelve-acre green space in 1925 to provide a neighborhood park for residents living on the northwest side of downtown.  Originally named Golden Hill Park, its rolling hills and mature trees make it a picturesque gateway to the quaint Golden Hill Neighborhood. The same year Golden Hill Park opened its gates, Bertha Ross was born. Ross was an influential public servant, a member of the Northwest Civic Association, and The Arc of...

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Friday Favorite: The Quincy Kid Caper

Indiana National Bank, 1880’s. Built “when stumps dotted Washington Street.” Image credit: History of Indiana National Bank The earliest banks in Indianapolis did business on a handshake and not much more. College students, business moguls, working-class men and women — all made the trip from bedroom communities like Haughville and Irvington to the “downtown” banks for loans, deposits and withdrawals. The Indiana National Bank welcomed everyone including immigrants and former slaves who, for the most part, could not read or write. Since tellers had no way to verify identities, physical descriptions were sometimes written in the books, rather than signatures. Many such entries...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: 1939 and 1945 N. Pennsylvania Street

In the digital age, many young people have no memory or understanding of the role of negatives in photography, much less glass negatives. So a word of advice: should you find boxes of glass plates with negative images on them, save them. You might have discovered a treasure trove. That is what happened in about 1980 to graphic designer David Stahl when he and his wife bought the run-down house next to the home they were restoring at 1939 N. Pennsylvania Street in Herron-Morton Place neighborhood. The house at 1945 N. Pennsylvania Street, divided into eight apartment apartments, was...

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Penny Post: The Murat Temple from the State Fairgrounds

Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND. SEP 6, 1951 4:30 PM Message: Hi Folks: – Having a fine time running around the fair grounds. Still have lots to see if it doesn’t rain again. Jack has been busy working & hasn’t seen too much of the fair. Have seen good many Htgton people. Are staying over the weekend at Beech Grove. C.U. when we get back The Jacksons Addressed to: Mr. & Mrs. Chas. Overly E Tipton St. Huntington Ind. A penny for your thoughts … The 1951 Indiana State Fair ran eight days, from Thursday, August 30 – Friday, September 7....

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HI Mailbag: Beach & Arthur, Inc.

Reader’s Question: I’d love to know what Beach & Arthur, Inc. was, which was located in an industrial building at 2906 Columbia Avenue.  ~ Jeff C., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The deserted looking building at 2906 Columbia Avenue belies the many years of productive service the property provided to the community in years past.  The structure, which is nearly a city block long and backs up to the Monon Trail, was the site of a number of different businesses for nearly a century. From about 1910 to about 1923, W. S. Bennett & Company operated a storage and hauling business on the unimproved land.  The proprietor’s ads advertised its proximity to the Lake Erie & Western Railroad (known in later...

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What’s in a Name – Larue Carter Hospital

 Photo by Ryan Hamlett Larue Carter Hospital Location: 2601 Cold Spring Road Named For: Dr. Larue Carter, professor, Indiana University School of Medicine Dr. Larue Carter was born in Westfield, Indiana in 1880 and graduated from the Medical College of Indianapolis in 1904.  He interned at the Indianapolis City Hospital and the Philadelphia General Hospital and was a resident at Eastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane in Richmond, Indiana. In the late 1910s, he served in the Army Medical Corps, working on the Mexican border with General Joseph Pershing, and then as a surgeon and commanding officer in France.  After his...

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Sunday Adverts: Ad. Hereth & Co.

In 1852, John C. Hereth, a German immigrant who came to Indianapolis via Jefferson County, Indiana, opened a shop in downtown Indianapolis which sold anything needed to maintain a horse – at that time the main form of transportation.  John’s younger brother, Adam, joined him a short time later, and in the early 1860’s the name of the harness and saddle store was changed to Hereth and Bro.  Adam served in the Civil War in the Seventy-Ninth Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The location of the brothers’ business was quite convenient – it was located across the street...

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Early Indianapolis and Indiana Photography

With the help of smart phones, people have the ability to take decent quality photographs at a moment’s notice–quite different than 100 or so years ago. In today’s technologically advanced environment, it can be difficult to understand the art and science of photography, or to grasp how far the industry has come. Indiana has many rich and interesting stories based in the early stages of photography. In 1897, the James Bayne Company–a photography company known for their photographs and catalogues of local goods from Grand Rapids, Michigan– opened a satellite office in Indianapolis. The company only lasted two years before selling its operation to one...

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Friday Favorite: Hoosier Harem Beauty

Though it can’t be known for sure if this is Stella Murphy, it is a photo of a performer from the Turkish exhibit where Stella worked at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Image credit: James A. Watkins, Columbian Exposition Beautiful Mystery Maiden, Murphy… Perhaps no one in Indianapolis remembers Stella Murphy now, but she holds a unique claim to fame.* Born in Michigan in the late 1870s to James and Alice Murphy, Stella dreamed of rising above her hardscrabble existence. By the mid 1880s, Stella’s family had moved to Indianapolis and Stella, though still quite young, hoped to find a way to...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Pyle House / Board of Trade / Chase Tower, 143 N. Meridian Street

When the end was near for the delapidated Pyle House, newpaper writers looked back nostalgically at the former days when the building at 143 N. Meridian Street was a well-known inn. Situated north of Christ Church, the two frame buildings connected by a brick structure had formerly served as schools, a hotel, boarding house, and commercial building. According to Jacob Dunn’s trustworthy but long-titled book Greater Indianapolis: The History, The Industries, The Institutions, and The People of a City of Homes (1910),  the building to the right (south) in this 1901 newspaper photograph served as a boarding house for attendees...

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