Month: July 2014

Indianapolis Then and Now: Indiana State Fair, 1202 E. 38th Street

Among a group of old photographs found in the attic of an Indianapolis home were these three faded snapshots identified as the 1900 Indiana State Fair. Many people might have tossed the small, poorly processed, dog-earred prints, but luckily Elizabeth Robb saved them and when assembled through the magic of Photoshop they blend together to become the earliest known panoramic photograph of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Indiana State Fair had only been held at the new location at E. 38th Street and Fall Creek Parkway for eight years when this unknown amateur photographer attended on September 20, 1900....

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Penny Post: Circle Theatre, 1918

Interior, Circle Theatre, Indianapolis, IND. When the Circle Theatre opened in 1916 on Monument Circle, it was a movie theater grand enough to write home about. Today, the Hilbert Circle Theater at 45 Monument Circle is home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND., May 15 – 3 PM Message: May 15, 1918 Wed. Dear Mother, This is where we would shine. Fred and I were here twice and it was great. I think we will stay here for a little while. I like it real well. We are still at Hotel Severin. Will change tonight. Will go...

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The Scot Butler House and the Office in the Round

The former Board of Church Extension Building or “office in the round” at 110 South Downey Avenue. Photo: courtesy  Irvington Historical Society This edition of A Room with a View is going to be a little bit of a departure from the norm. As I am about to take a little time off from HI to begin a long imagined, finally realized journey– pursuing a Masters in Historic Preservation at Ball State, I’d like to take you to one of the first buildings that meant something to me growing up in Indianapolis. My sister and I are first generation...

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Sunday Adverts: Ballard Ice Cream Company

It’s Christmas in July! Business: Ballard Ice Cream Company Year of this Advertisement: 1921 Location:  Originally on North Delaware Street; at the time of this ad, located at 315 N. Alabama Street Neighborhood: Downtown What they did: Sold ice cream and milk Years of operation: 1877-1952 Notable: In 1900, the owner of Ballard Ice Cream Co., William Hadley Ballard, donated land and a building to the Friends’ Boarding Home for Girls, a boarding house for girls who were forced to earn a living on their own.  The organization changed its name to the Bertha Ester Ballard Home, after Ballard’s daughter who passed away...

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Indianapolis Collected: A Stitch Back in Time

In the earliest days of Indianapolis, young John Wilkins was a favorite of the ladies. He arrived from Ohio in May 1821, and built himself a one-horse carriage, the first of its kind in Indianapolis.  Despite a complete lack of ornamentation, Wilkins’ novel conveyance was still the most fashionable carriage in the pioneer settlement, and an invitation to ride with Wilkins was, according to historian John Nowland, viewed as a great compliment by the town’s single women. All that changed in 1825, when Wilkins returned from a visit to Ohio with a new bride on his arm. Within a year, Eleanor Wilkins gave birth to...

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In The Park: Edna Balz Lacy Family Park

Lacy Park is located at 700 Greer Street in the Fletcher Place neighborhood. Nestled into the quiet corner of Greer and East streets lies Edna Balz Lacy Park.  This two-acre neighborhood park in Fletcher Place opened in 1917 and was originally known as Greer Street Park. In 1995 the city honored local teacher and businesswoman Edna Balz Lacy by renaming the park after her.  Edna Balz, an Indianapolis native, began teaching for the Indianapolis Public School System in 1927.  In 1934 she married Howard J. Lacy II, son of U.S. Corrugated-Fibre Box Company co-founder Howard J. Lacy.  Lacy II...

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Friday Favorite: Service, Unsung

Is this what you think of when you think of the DAR? You’re only about 1/10th correct… but NOT for the reason you probably think! Image credit: Larry Gottheim MythBusters: Tell me what you think you know about the Daughters of the American Revolution, also known as D.A.R. Does the name conjure up certain images… a sea of grey hair, perhaps? Tables of tea cozies and scones? Knitting needles, reading glasses and a dusty old family tree? Well, my friend, you might want to update your files! With 3,000 chapters worldwide, and 179,000 members, the Daughters of the American...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: First Moravian Episcopal Church, 2502 N. College Avenue

Moravian Church and house at 666 E. 25th Street (The Indiana Album: Loaned by Dortha C. May) Us local history lovers frequently drive by empty lots in older neighborhoods and wonder what stood there before the current gas station or parking lot. Photographs and postcards help us envision the buildings that have long since disappeared. Thanks to Dortha C. May for sharing this ca. 1920 postcard of the First Moravian Episcopal Church that once stood on the northwest corner of N. College Avenue and E. 25th Street. Dortha’s mother had saved this undated photographic postcard of a church captioned...

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HI Mailbag: Deaconess Hospital

Reader’s Question: My 92-year-old neighbor told me that she was born in Deaconess Hospital.  I had never heard of this institution before.  I’m wondering if it still exists today but is known by a different name?  ~ Kathy Z., Indianapolis  HI’s Answer: The full name of the institution commonly referred to as Deaconess Hospital was Protestant Deaconess Hospital and Home for the Aged.  The hospital was established in 1895 in a former residence, the address of which was 118 North Mississippi Street at the time it was built.  After the renaming of Mississippi Street and the renumbering of out-of-sync properties, the address became 202 North Senate Avenue.  The property was...

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Sunday Adverts: Indianapolis Tent and Awning Company

Business: Indianapolis Tent and Awning Co. Year of this Advertisement: 1900 Location:  20 S. Alabama Street Neighborhood: Downtown What they did: Manufactured and sold tents and related items Years of operation: 1890 – early 1950’s Notable: The company’s trademark was “We fool the sun.”  Indianapolis Tent and Awning made tents and other related items during World War II. Additionally:  In city limits, camping is sometimes relegated to the backyard.  Do you remember camping in the backyard?  Share your memories in the...

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HI – 5! We’re 5- Some background and our Top 5 Articles EVER

It’s important to mark milestones. Heck, it’s one of the most common ways we keep history alive–noting, year after year, the birthday or anniversary of significant events. With that in mind, we just wanted to note that 5 years ago today, what would become HI, began. And to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey! **BTW, Stay tuned or sign up for our weekly newsletter–in September, HI will have an actual party at The Hall to celebrate our first 5 years.** My name is Tiffany, and I moved to Indianapolis from Los Angeles in 2003 without...

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Friday Favorite: Sweet Caroline

How Do You Not Know This Woman? Not just “Benjamin Harrison’s wife,” she was accomplished and elegant. She was a deft leader among women at a time when the idea of women’s rights was just beginning to gain traction. The National First Ladies’ Library has pronounced her THE most under-rated of all the First Ladies… and yet, she’s hardly a household name. Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison was born in the sleepy town of Oxford, Ohio in 1832. Her father, John Witherspoon Scott, was a Presbyterian minister and perhaps most providentially, also a teacher at Miami University. Contrary to norms of the day, John Scott...

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Indianapolis Then and Now: Freund’s Pharmacy, 502 N. Highland Avenue

Freund’s Pharmacy as it appeared in about 1907-1908. The man in front is possibly William C. Freund. (The Indiana Album: Loaned by Joan Hostetler) Just east of Pogue’s Run sits a nondescript little triangle of land containing a rickety block building. It is bordered by E. Michigan Street, Michigan Place, and Highland Avenue between Holy Cross and Cottage Home Neighborhoods. The property was developed in the 1860s by the heirs of Governor Noah Noble who owned farmland from College Avenue (then Noble Street) east to Arsenal Avenue, and between Washington and St. Clair Streets. This area had been the...

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Penny Post: WM Brommer Saloon

The prohibition of alcohol in Indiana began with a 1790 – 1795 Northwest Territory law that prevented the sale of alcohol to soldiers or Native Americans. Over the next 118 years, the state legislature and local authorities implemented and repealed a variety of alcohol related regulations. In 1908, ten years before the entire state of Indiana went dry, a local option was established, allowing individual counties to vote on the issue. Marion County and Indianapolis did not “go dry,” prompting Frank Naegele to send a teasing Penny Post to his friend in dry Grant County, encouraging him to come...

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New Life at Central State Part Two: Restoring and Repurposing

Window restoration is always a key element to preserving old buildings. This view peers north from the top floor of the Administration Building at the Central State Hospital site, photo taken earlier this year.  This is the second piece of a three part series covering the revitalization of Central State Hospital, the former insane asylum that closed its doors in 1994. The first piece touched upon some of the history of the 160 acre mental health complex on Indy’s near westside. This week, we cover some of the new developments at Central State, focusing on the restoration of a...

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Misc. Monday: Porch Parties

Good news for those of us who love old traditions. A beloved early Indianapolis ritual has returned–drum roll please:     the porch party. A quick and brief backgrounder on the front porch, in case you were wondering: From about the mid- 1800’s, porches became a more prevalent architectural element on homes. In the few decades following, the popularity and use of porches continued to grow. Socially, porches became a prime gathering place, and became seen as almost an extension of the home’s interior. As you might guess, those were the days before the invention–and noise, smell and accidents–...

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Sunday Adverts: Pink’s Pharmacy

Business: Pink’s Pharmacy Year of this Advertisement: 1907 Location:  550 Indiana Avenue Neighborhood: Downtown, Indiana Avenue What they did:  Pharmacy and soda fountain Years of operation: 1896? – 1916 Notable: Herman Pink, the owner of Pink’s Pharmacy, was a Prussian immigrant and taught anatomy and physical therapy at The Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union, a Turnverein located at Das Deutsche Haus, which is now the Athenaeum. Additionally:  Pink’s claimed, “Our aim is to serve the best soda in town . . . High-grade soda . . . It’s pure and good . . . we carry all flavors.”  Do you remember ever...

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Indianapolis Collected: Finding Maxwell Parry

In July 1918, The Indianapolis Star launched a series of articles about war mothers who kept the home fires burning while their sons were fighting overseas.  The third installment ran on July 12 – exactly 96 years ago today — and featured Hessie Parry, the widow of prominent industrialist David M. Parry, along with their three soldier sons, Maxwell, David and Addison. The bulk of the article focused on Max,  a combat pilot who had made headlines a few days earlier when he shot down a German plane during a fierce aerial dogfight.  The Star noted that upon receiving...

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In the Park: Tarkington Park

Welcome to Tarkington Park!  The 10.32-acre neighborhood park is found near the intersection of 39th and Meridian Streets.  The Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood on Indianapolis’s old northwest side is rich with history.  It draws its name from two of its most well known residents: Butler University and Pulitzer-prize winning author, Booth Tarkington. When Indianapolis experienced a population boom in the 1890s, downtown became more crowded and industrialized.  Wealthier residents moved north to escape the fast pace of city life.  In the ensuing years, their transition was facilitated by the growing popularity of the personal automobile and the expansion of the city’s...

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Friday Favorite: Grave Concerns

Is that Cemetery Cymbal-ism? A walk through any graveyard will draw the eye and the imagination to the most unique monuments. Many of these memorials would have plenty to reveal about their plot’s occupant —  if only the rocks could talk! Take, for instance, the marker on Fannie Martensen’s (1865-1895) grave. Was she a spinster piano teacher? Big Band leader? A roadie for Frank Sinatra? Was she a world renown glockenspielist? Or, is this merely a cenotaph — a monument erected in memory of a person (or a group) whose remains are elsewhere. Well, According to the April 6, 1895 Indianapolis Journal, Mrs. Fannie...

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