Month: April 2016

Deja Vu Tuesday: Would a Hoosier by any other name smell as sweet?

In a rare display of bipartisanship during a campaign season otherwise marked by epic ugliness, Indiana’s two U.S. senators recently banded together to take on the entrenched bureaucracy in Washington’s all-powerful Government Publishing Office. Earlier this month, Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joseph Donnelly penned a letter to the GPO’s Style Board, asking it to change the designation of Indiana natives to “Hoosiers” in the 2016 GPO Style Manual. This style bible for bureaucrats requires the use of the term “Indianan” to refer to Hoosiers in all official publications of Congress, the White House and other federal agencies. But as Coats and Donnelly...

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Sunday Ads: Burlesque at Empire

Name of Business: The Empire Theater Date of Ad: April 13, 1913 Date Established: 1892 Neighborhood: Downtown Notable: Promising a bevy of pretty and sprightly girls, the star attraction, Zallah, featured her own company. A review from George Slaughter republished in the Indianapolis Freeman shortly before the engagement promised “the most meritorious and original show to ever be performed on the burlesque circuit.” A Cabaret Rehearsal” and “The Un-kissed Oriental” where the titles of the two musical reviews performed. Zallah was an Egyptian dancer whose act catered to African American audiences. Also of Note: The Empire Theater had a...

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Celebrating 200 years of history repeating itself

In 1905, philosopher George Santayana penned the oft-repeated maxim, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” To which Indy native Kurt Vonnegut promptly retorted (some 80 years later), “I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive.” As Indianapolis approaches its bicentennial, you’ll read a lot of articles about how much the city has changed over the past two centuries. This isn’t one of those articles. Today — and on future Deja Vu Tuesdays — we’re going to celebrate 200 years of history repeating itself. Or as rocker Jon...

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Sunday Ads: More Than Just Jewelry

Goodman Jewelers at 30 West Washington Street dabbled in “slenderizing” equipment back in the 1950s. (Image: Indiana State Library) Business: Goodman Jewelers Date of this Advertisement: April 12, 1959 Location: 30 West Washington Street Neighborhood: Downtown Goods: Jewelry and more Years of Operation: 1949-1999 Notable: Believe it or not, swimsuit season is just around the corner. Wouldn’t it be great to get that bikini bod without all the necessary running, lifting, and squatting? Who wants to bother with exercising, when you could just have a machine do all of the work? It appears a long-standing jeweler saw the sales...

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Then & Now: Hawthorne School- 75 North Belleview Place

Circa 1911 or later – note the Carnegie Library in the background (courtesy While it’s no longer called Nathaniel Hawthorne School Number 50, it still serves students today. Now the Providence Cristo Rey High School, the school has been through a few changes through the years. At the corner of Germania and Ohio Streets. Sometimes history’s mysteries aren’t so quick to yield their secrets, and this one is no exception. While an announcement was made on Hawthorne’s birthday anniversary, July 4, 1904, that School Number 50 would be named in honor of the famous author, and that building was in...

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HI Mailbag: St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild

Reader’s Question: My daughter-in-law recently became a member of St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild. Could you provide some history of the organization and its activities? ~ Carol C., Carmel     HI’s Answer: St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild is an Indianapolis area volunteer organization that is now into its second century of supporting the city’s oldest hospital. The guild was founded in 1907 by a handful of young women who were members of  St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. At that time, St. Paul’s was located downtown on the southeast corner of West New York Street and North Illinois Street. Today, St. Paul’s is located just north of Kessler Boulevard, at 6050...

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Sunday Adverts: Saving for a Rainy Day

Name of Business: Fidelity Trust Company Date of Advertisement: April 1, 1956 Neighborhood: Midtown Service Provided: Banking Notable:  The Fidelity Trust Company began banking in Indianapolis in 1909, with William Fogerty serving as the first president. The organization had an eight-story building constructed in 1915 at 148-150-152 East Market Street, which still stands today. By 1956, the local institution had grown to eight branch locations scattered across the city. In July of 1959, Fidelity was absorbed by local banking heavyweight American Fletcher National Bank. AFNB became a part of Bank One in the mid 1980s before succumbing to national giant...

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Friday Favorite: Brick Double, Fletcher Place

There are so many special buildings and places to love in Fletcher Place, but this one is a standout, as it is so unusual compared to other homes in the area. The earliest listing for the property found in old city directories were from 1877, where residents on both sides of the double did not yet seem to have an address number, but were listed as living “ne corner Harrison and Concordia.” Those first listed occupants were railroad engineer, Charles W. Tyler, who worked for the I. C. & L. Railroad company in the western half and Orpheus Williamson,...

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