Author: Sharon Butsch Freeland

HI Mailbag: Musical Families in Early Indianapolis

Reader’s Question: I noticed a promotion for an upcoming concert by the DePue Brothers Band.  It made me wonder if Indianapolis has any history of musically talented families in earlier times.  ~ Steve L., Indianapolis     HI’s Answer: Indianapolis does indeed have a number of musically talented families in its history.  Among the surnames of musicians who performed with relatives in the late 1800s and early 1900s were Bassett,  Berthelson,  Danner,  Ernestinoff,  Floyd,  Frenzel,  Hendricks,  Jose,  Ketcham,  Krull,  McGibeny,  Lieber,  Mueller,  Pierce,  Recker,  Schellschmidt,  Steffen,  Willard,  Woodbridge, and  Woollen.  In most cases, they were duets made up of husband and wife, parent and child, or two siblings....

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HI Mailbag: Northwest Corner of Illinois and 34th Streets

Reader’s Question: I’m interested in knowing what the building used to be that is located on the northwest corner of Illinois and 34th Streets.  I look forward to seeing what you discover. Thank you. ~ Mark M., Indianapolis  HI’s Answer: The seemingly single structure on the northwest corner of North Illinois and West 34th Streets actually consists of four separate buildings.  Roofing and siding materials added to three of the original buildings conceal their original identities.  The buildings that are closest to the intersection were constructed a decade earlier than the building that is the farthest away from it.  Some details on each...

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HI Mailbag: The Sidewalks of Randolph Street

Reader’s Question: I lived all my childhood in the 2400 block of S. Randolph St.   On every corner was the name of the street in the sidewalk.  But on our street it said Nelson.  I know there is a Nelson not too far from there.  Could someone tell me why they had the wrong name on it?  ~ Barbara B., Indianapolis  HI’s Answer:  The City of Indianapolis was laid out in 1821, in a mostly symmetrical grid that was only one square mile in size.  When areas outside the original Mile Square were established, the people in those settlements named the streets according to their...

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HI Mailbag: Halloween circa 1914

Reader’s Question: While doing Saturday morning errands at the hardware, grocery, and drugstore last weekend, I was amazed to see how commercial Halloween has become.  I was inundated with Halloween products everywhere I went.  It made me curious as to how the holiday was celebrated in earlier times.  Would you have any information on what Halloween was like in Indianapolis, a century ago?   ~ Chuck F., Indianapolis    HI’s Answer:  You are justified in thinking that Halloween has become highly commercial.  According to numerous sources, it’s the second-highest grossing holiday of the year.  Every Halloween, between 4 and 5 billion dollars are spent in the United States on candy, costumes,...

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HI Mailbag: Music Memory Contest

Reader’s Question: I remember participating in a grade school activity back in the 1950s, called the Music Memory Contest.  I haven’t heard of it for many years, so I assume that the program no longer exists.  Can you provide a little history of it?      ~ Edward P., Carmel     HI’s Answer: The concept of a Music Memory Contest had its origins in the nineteen-teens in a private home in Westfield, New Jersey.  A music teacher named Charles Milton Tremaine started it as a parlor game with his children.  In 1916, Tremaine described the game to the city’s supervisor of music, who decided to try a version of...

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HI Mailbag: New Augusta

Reader’s Question:  Since moving back to Indianapolis, after living out west for a number of years, I have enjoyed rediscovering parts of the city I knew when I was growing up.  The other day, I found myself in New Augusta and was overcome by a feeling of having stepped back in time.  Could you give a little history of the area? ~ Pam M., Indianapolis    HI’s Answer:  The area of Pike Township that would later be named New Augusta was purchased from the federal government in 1834 by Thomas Reveal Jr.  Reveal lived in Highland County, Ohio, at the time of the land purchase.  He and a number of...

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HI Mailbag: Pentalpha Lodge

Reader’s Question: In a couple of obituaries I’ve read, the people were listed as having been members of the Pentalpha Club.  What was the significance and history of the group?    Was it connected with the Columbia Club?  Only for business women? ~ Carol G., Woodridge, Illinois HI’s Answer: The organization about which you have inquired is a club in a manner of speaking, but the word “club” is not part of its name.  Pentalpha is a Masonic lodge.  Its full name is Pentalpha Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons #564.  It was founded in Indianapolis 133 years ago, next month. Masonic lodges were instituted in Indianapolis in 1848. ...

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HI Mailbag: Haverway Farm

Reader’s Question: What can you tell me about Mary Stewart Carey’s Haverway Farm?  Do you know how big the farm was originally?  ~ Thanks, Steve P., Indianapolis  HI’s Answer: For readers who may not be familiar with her name, Mary Stewart Carey (1859-1938) was an Indianapolis civic leader, philanthropist, art patron, business woman, and socialite.  Best known as the founder of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Mary was also a founder of Orchard School, the Indianapolis Garden Club, Flower Mission, and possibly some of the other organizations to which she belonged. In addition to founding the abovementioned organizations, Mary was a member of the Propylaeum,...

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HI Mailbag: The Esplanade Annex

Reader’s Question: Our company has been renovating the Esplanade Annex for the past two-and-a-half years.  We are interested in learning a little of the building’s history, as well as who some of its past residents were.  ~ Christopher C.,  Fishers, Indiana    HI’s Answer:  If its walls could talk, the Esplanade Annex would no doubt have many interesting stories to tell about the people who have lived in the building since it was constructed more than a century ago.  As its name and physical proximity to The Esplanade Apartments and Flats imply, the name of the Esplanade Annex was derived from its slightly older sibling just across the street.  Both were built by the...

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HI Mailbag: Hetherington & Berner

Reader’s Question: The columns at the City Market have the name “Hetherington & Berner” imprinted on them.  Did that company help build the facility?  What is their story? ~ John R., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: In the early years of its operation, the Indianapolis City Market provided only simple market stalls for its vendors.  In 1886, the architectural firm of D. A. Bohlen & Son designed a larger, sturdier, much more impressive brick building with stone trim for the city’s main public market.  Among the companies that collaborated on the construction of the new facility was the iron foundry of Hetherington & Berner. The interior of the Indianapolis City Market was supported...

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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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HI Mailbag: H. Lieber Co.

Reader’s Question: I bought a painting at an auction that has a tag on the back of it that says “H. Lieber Co.”  What is the story of that company? ~ Katherine R., formerly of Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The H. Lieber Co. began its existence in 1854 as a bookbinding business and stationery store.  The name of the establishment was derived from its proprietor, Hermann Lieber. Friedrich Hermann Lieber was born on August 23, 1832, in Düsseldorf, Germany, to Johann Richard Lieber and Clara Carolina Melbeck Lieber.  Hermann and his younger brother Peter came to the United States in June of 1853.  They initially resided in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Hermann Anglicized the...

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HI Mailbag: Tab Recreation

Reader’s Question: I played several different sports at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church back in the 1950s.  I remember hearing that Tab’s recreation program was one of the oldest and largest church-sponsored athletic departments in the country.  Can you provide a little history?  ~ Becky in Florida HI’s Answer:  Tabernacle Presbyterian Church’s Recreation Ministry can be traced back to the 1920s, soon after the church relocated to its present site at 418 East 34th Street.  Prior to that time, the congregation had been located at 1101 North Meridian Street for more than thirty years. Founded in 1851 as Third Presbyterian Church, the congregation first worshipped in Temperance Hall on the north side of Washington...

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HI Mailbag: Lux Laundry Fire

Reader’s Question:  I have recently moved back to Indianapolis after living most of my adult life in Virginia.  I still have vivid memories of a fire in a business near my family’s home, when I was about three or four years old.  I am haunted by memories of the charred remains of the building and the smell of smoke that hung in the air for days afterward.  I don’t know the exact date or the exact location of the fire, but it would have been in 1950 or 1951 and in the Meridian-Kessler area.  The name of the business was Lux Laundry.  Can you provide any information on that...

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HI Mailbag: Rhodius Park Area

Reader’s Question:  A friend of mine has asked me about the history of the Rhodius Park area, since she has just moved into a house across from the park. I tried searching the HI website, as well as the HUNI website, and came up with nothing.  Does HI have something on the area around Rhodius? ~ Anna B. HI’s Answer: Although Rhodius Park did not open until 1924, the area surrounding it began to be settled nearly a century earlier.  In 1822, the land that became the city park was purchased from the federal government by James H. McClure and William Myers.  A few years later, their properties...

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HI Mailbag: Ovid Butler Jameson House

Reader’s Question: I recall having come across a photo of a mansion on either Meridian or Pennsylvania Street that belonged to a member of the Jameson or Tarkington family.  If you are familiar with the house, can you share its story?  What happened to it? Thanks!  ~ Theresa, Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The mansion to which you refer was located on North Pennsylvania Street.  The house had several different addresses during its 101 years of existence, as a result of the City’s periodical updating of its numbering system.  The final address by which the home was known was 1035 North Pennsylvania Street.  The property belonged to members of both the Jameson and...

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HI Mailbag: Woodland Cemetery

Reader’s Question: Would you have any information about a cemetery that once existed on the east side of Indianapolis, called Woodland Cemetery? ~ Mike B. HI’s Answer:  Although the name “Woodland Cemetery” ceased to exist nearly a century ago, the cemetery is nonetheless still very much in existence today.  It just is known by a different name.  The burial ground was established in 1913 by a group of businessmen who formed a corporation called The Cemetery Company.  Located on the historic National Road aka US 40 aka Washington Street, the land the board members acquired for their venture was at that time well beyond the city limits in rural Warren Township. The...

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HI Mailbag: Beach & Arthur, Inc.

Reader’s Question: I’d love to know what Beach & Arthur, Inc. was, which was located in an industrial building at 2906 Columbia Avenue.  ~ Jeff C., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The deserted looking building at 2906 Columbia Avenue belies the many years of productive service the property provided to the community in years past.  The structure, which is nearly a city block long and backs up to the Monon Trail, was the site of a number of different businesses for nearly a century. From about 1910 to about 1923, W. S. Bennett & Company operated a storage and hauling business on the unimproved land.  The proprietor’s ads advertised its proximity to the Lake Erie & Western Railroad (known in later...

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HI Mailbag: Typographical Terrace

Reader’s Question:  What can you tell me about the residence that once stood in the 2800 block of North Meridian Street and served for many years as the headquarters of the International Typographical Union?  ~ Manny B., Indianapolis        HI’s Answer:   The residence that formerly stood at 2820 North Meridian Street graced the landscape along the prominent northside thoroughfare from 1906 until 1965.  The commercial building that replaced the demolished home was completed early in 1967. The residence was built by Frank Van Camp (1863-1937), the youngest of the six children of Gilbert Cortland Van Camp (1817-1900) and wife Hester (Raymond) Van Camp (1828-1912).  Gilbert Van Camp was the...

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HI Mailbag: 25 McLean Place

Reader’s Question: I would love to hear the history of the building at 25 McLean Place.   I think it may have originally been a stable.  Jeff C., Indianapolis HI’s Answer: The building at 25 McLean Place was indeed a horse livery in its early years.  The first Indianapolis City Directory in which the property appeared was in 1900, so it was likely to have been built earlier that year or late in 1899.  The proprietor of the establishment was named H. H. Gates.  The building originally had addresses of 19 and 21 McLean Place, but today all of the structures on the south side...

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