Month: December 2015

HI Mailbag: Christmas, A Century Ago

Reader’s Question: Could you provide some details about the ways in which Christmas was celebrated in Indianapolis, a century ago? ~ Mary A., Indianapolis  HI’s Answer: Many of the facets of Christmas as it is celebrated today existed a century ago. Although the holiday customs observed in 1915 have gone through some changes, current-day practices can be recognized in their erstwhile forerunners. The greeting cards, decorations, carols, toys, games, food, advertising, entertainment, philanthropy, and church functions that are part of modern Christmas celebrations all had analogous precursors one-hundred years ago. The popular song, “I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas,” wasn’t composed until a quarter of a century later, but...

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At Your Leisure: Flying Around the Track

Indy has been abuzz about aviation in the news this past week. First, the ultimately aborted downtown ‘buzz-by’ from a Boeing 747, which featured locally produced Rolls-Royce engines. Second, and perhaps the bigger news, was the announcement of a new event at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On October 1st and 2nd of 2016, IMS will feature a Red Bull Air Race. According to the Red Bull website, the air races began in 2003 and feature 14 pilots running elimination rounds, pairing the field down to a final four who compete for the podium.  Planes will take off from Hullman Boulevard,...

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The World League for a Sane Christmas

Indianapolis News, July 18, 1911. Oh, tired Christmas shoppers!  Burned out on commercial Christmases?  So were people back in 1911, when a league that sought to call a halt to unfettered Christmas gift-giving established its national headquarters in Indianapolis. If the date of an Indianapolis News article is any indication, the World League for a Sane Christmas was busy well in advance of that year’s holiday shopping craze.  “Hurrah! Now Cometh Sane Christmas Idea” was published on July 18, 1911. Many religious folks would agree that the true spirit of Christmas has been lost in the welter of shopping malls and fancy gift wrap.  A few...

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At Your Leisure: At the Y

As the ribbon is cut on the sparkling new YMCA on South and Delaware Streets in downtown Indianapolis, many youthful downtown residents are eagerly awaiting spacious new digs to serve their fitness needs. The “M” in said organization stands for Men, and prior to the 1970s, only those with a Y chromosome could enjoy their services and facilities. What was a young lady to do? For over a century, a counterpart dedicated to the fairer sex provided a support network for Indy’s young women. The Young Women’s Christian Association can trace its roots in Indianapolis back to 1895. Much...

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HI Mailbag: 1037-1039 East Tabor Street

Reader’s Question: My brother and I have purchased 1037-1039 East Tabor Street and are completely redoing it.  We would like to know when the structure was built, who built it, and any information you might have about people who lived in it over the years. ~ Louis M., Indianapolis   HI’s Answer: The property that your brother and you are renovating is located in a residential area known by the legal description of Metzger’s Garfield Park Addition.  The building sites were laid out in 1905 by Albert E. Metzger (1865-1931).  At the time, Metzger was a relatively young businessman who sold real estate and insurance, made...

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Die Weihnachtseinkäufe

Die Weihnachtszeit ist nahe.  Christmas time is near. That’s not an ad from overseas.  At the turn of the 20th century, Indianapolis had a thriving German-speaking population. The major local German newspaper in 1900, the Indiana Tribüne, also happened to be the third most widely read in the city. Before the downtown business district died a miserable death at mid-century, you would have done probably all of your Christmas shopping there.  Black Friday wasn’t a thing back then, but here’s some ads for a few popular Christmas items. While most of these are strictly auf Deutsch, many are actually...

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