Reader’s question: There is a large white frame house on Kessler Boulevard, a couple of blocks east of the Monon Trail, that I have admired for years. It appears to be much older than the homes around it, as well as on a bigger lot. Would you have any information on its history? ~ Lois H., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The address of the house to which you refer is 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive. At approximately 130 years of age and with more than 4,100 square feet on nearly two acres of land, it is definitely older and larger than most of...Read More
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James W Kern’s Bicycle and Motorcycle Repair Shop at 1921 Howard Street, ca. 1915-1920. (Can anyone date these motorcycles?) This view looks southwest toward the intersection of Hiatt Street. James W. Kern is 2nd from the right. (The Indiana Album: Loaned by Nancy Netter) Strict zoning laws, while necessary to protect residential districts from incompatible businesses, have perhaps deprived us of one aspect what makes neighborhoods interesting and walkable…the corner store. In the early part of the 20th century, most neighborhoods were dotted with drug stores, taverns, house parlors converted into restaurants and shops, and small grocery stores. Reader Nancy...Read More
The Indianapolis News Souvenir Post Card Indiana Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument Das Deutsche Haus – Indianapolis, Ind. This past weekend the Athenaeum and the Rathskeller celebrated all things German culture with GermanFest. But when Indianapolis’ German community formed the Sozialer Turnverein Aktiengesellschaft to construct a social, music, political and athletic clubhouse, Das Deutsche Haus (now the Athenaeum) it was home to gymnastic feats like those detailed in this 1905 Penny Post. Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND., JUN 1905 – 2:30 PM REC’D: Cleveland, O., JUN 24, 1905 – 4 AM Message (front): Just got through jumping and running. jumped 17.6 Run in...Read More
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...Read More
Trade card in public domain; scanned by the Boston Public Library Business: William F. Piel & Co. Year of this Advertisement: late 1800’s, between 1873 – 1899 Location: 1050 W. Raymond Street Neighborhood: South What they did: Starch production Years of operation: The business operated under the name in this advertisement, William F. Piel & Co., from 1873 – 1899. However, the company was formed by Piel in 1867 and still exists today as the National Starch and Chemical Company. It was originally located on the west bank of the White River on Morris Street, then moved to the east bank of the White...Read More
One of the first of its kind: an automotive technical institute in the early days of the car – immortalized on a postcard. The Thing About Postcards… You could almost think of them as proto-Twitter: the fastest and easiest way to communicate in as few words as possible since 1893, when the Postal service changed regulations to allow images on one side of what had been known as a postal card. But, for decades, the postcard served as much more than a mere communication device. For businesses, they were an excellent advertising medium. For hobbyists, they were treasured souvenirs of travel, events, alma maters, and celebrities — prized, collected,...Read More
William H. Coleman Hospital Photo: Ryan Hamlett Coleman Hospital Location: I.U.P.U.I Campus Named For: William Henry Coleman In 1927, William H. Coleman endowed the hospital for women, in memory of his step-daughter who died from pregnancy complications. Coleman was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in New York. He moved to Indianapolis in 1880, where he started a booming lumber business that grew to have additional operations in Terre Haute and Tennessee as well, even making barrels for the Standard Oil Company. Coleman married Sallie Downing Vajen, who had a daughter, Suemma, from her previous marriage to John Henry...Read More
This real photographic postcard features the Broad Ripple Masonic Temple on Guilford Avenue in 1908. Postcard courtesy of Tom Keesling, Hoosier Recollections. This Penny Post, sent from a young Indianapolitan on skates, features the newly constructed, soon-to-be dedicated “Masons Hall” and bespeaks of daily life of the city’s youngest residents. For 86 years, Mustard Hall was home to the Broad Ripple Freemasons’ monthly Friday night meetings, community banquets, and shelter from White River flood waters. Dedicated June 19, 1908, the stone building at the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford was built with $25,000 from the Jacob S....Read More
In the Good Old Winter Time at Riverside, Indianapolis, Indiana Image courtesy of Tom Keesling, Hoosier Recollections. January 2014 will go on record as one of the coldest months in Indianapolis’ history. Pipes burst, the Central Canal froze over, car engines wouldn’t start, and ice formed on the White River. In the early 1900s, Riverside Park was a well known summer destination for Indianapolis residents. However, as this week’s penny post depicts, the frozen waters of the White River drew skaters to Riverside Park in the winter months too. In 1907, one article noted that hundreds of skaters were...Read More
Editor’s Note: As you will note in this article, the name of the road is spelled both “Mitthoeffer” and “Mitthoefer.” The correct spelling is explained in an earlier article – HI Mailbag: Mitthoeffer Road and German Church Road Mitthoeffer Rd. Location: Warren Township John H. Mithoefer, early landowner Mitthoeffer was also called Flowing Well Road. From 1885 prospectors who were digging for natural gas but found an artesian well around the corner of the present-day Mitthoeffer and 10th streets. The street was named after an early landowner John Henry Mithoefer. He was born around 1826 in Hanover-Saxony Germany. He and...Read More
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