Month: February 2016

Architect for Theaters

It would be fair to say many an architect or architectural firm gets known for designing a predominant genre of building, and that appears to have been the case since the earliest days the trade first appeared in Indianapolis. Of course, this would never preclude an architect best known for designing one type of building from taking on another genre. Work is work, after all–but a satisfied client is likely to be a returning client. And if the returning client dominates one area of development, it follows that the favored architect would be asked to crank out more of...

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Sunday Ads: Selig’s

When considering Indy’s shopping legacy, many think of longtime institutions, L. S. Ayres, William. H. Block’s, or Wasson’s. While those venerable names are still remembered fondly by many, other retailers offered similar experiences and had a fine reputation not only in the circle city, but across the country. Unfortunately, many stores did not survive the Great Depression. One of those was the Selig’s Dry Good Company, which offered fine women’s apparel and other items from 1890 until disbanding in 1932. In 1908, the store moved into the high rent retail district along West Washington Street. After the move, the...

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HI Mailbag: Indianapolis Victim on the USS Maine

Reader’s Question: Last week, I tweeted some photos that I took at Crown Hill Cemetery of the grave of Harry Keys, an Indianapolis resident who was on the ill-fated USS Maine. My tweets got the attention of a high school history teacher who had done research on the mass burial of the casualties.  She had discovered that there was only one person on board from Indiana, and that he is not buried at Arlington National Cemetery with the other sailors. I wondered if this might be something you’d want to investigate further.  ~ Tom D., Indianapolis    HI’s Answer:  The USS Maine...

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At Your Leisure: On Tour

The La Tour dining room in all of its swanky seventies glory. (Image: eBay) Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Many a couple enjoyed a romantic dinner downtown on the holiday of love. Wonder what options you might have had in years past? In the Seventies, you had several options for skyscraper dining, including The Eagles Nest atop the Hyatt Regency and the Carousel overlooking Monument Circle in the Hilton. Probably the most notable locale for budding lovers was La Tour, perched high above the Indiana National Bank Building. The French restaurant was a go-to destination for nearly two decades....

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At Your Leisure: Hamming it Up

Indy natives believe that Shapiro’s is the first, last and only name in delicatessen dining. First timers may walk away disappointed, however, if they are craving a certain Hoosier-beloved ham sandwich. No Kosher deli worth its salt would carry anything pig on its menu. For over seventy years, there was an alternative to the south side favorite. Weiss Deli was a staple for downtown lunch goers for years, dishing out succulent ham sandwiches with a sweet, crispy glaze, on chewy egg buns. The business began in 1920. Ironically enough, it was a German Jewish immigrant by the name of Martin Weiss who created...

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Then & Now: “Colored” Knights of Pythias, 701-703 North Senate

While many people consider Indiana Avenue the epicenter of early black culture in Indianapolis, few may realize how far from “The Avenue” it stretched. Bordering the Cultural Trail at Walnut Street and Senate Avenue is a mysterious old brick building, yet to be renovated, but brimming with potential. The large window openings fronting Walnut Street have long-since been closed up, along with the former doors and windows circling the rest of the building. This building and the organization that brought it into being, were a bustling intersection of black culture in Indianapolis. It was built by the “Colored” Knights of...

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HI Mailbag: Warfleigh

Reader’s Question:  I have lived on the south side of Indianapolis my entire life, so I am not very well-acquainted with other parts of the city.  Recently, I had an appointment on the north side and was driving through an area just off North Meridian Street.  I noticed that a number of the homes had signs in their front yards that said, “SAVE WARFLEIGH.”  Who or what is Warfleigh?  ~ Beverly W., Greenwood   HI’s Answer: Warfleigh is the legal description of the lots in a popular neighborhood in the center of Washington Township. The area has a long and interesting history, going back to the...

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