Author: Tiffany Benedict Browne

Historic Indianapolis Hero: J. Scott Keller

Lockerbie Court (1901) one of numerous structures Scott Keller helped save Preservation and service to the community is just in some people’s blood. Scott Keller, an indefatigable preservationist and community contributor happens to have come from a long line of Hoosiers who helped shape Indianapolis as we know it today. From a great-grandfather who was a state senator to a grandfather who helped found Goodwill Industries here in Indiana, to his great uncle Frank who started Flanner House and a brother who works for the United Nations—Scott Keller propagates a long-held family tradition of community service and admirable commitment...

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Happy Birthday Virginia Keep Clark!

Virginia Keep Clark, artist and  illustrator, 17 February 1878- 13 September 1962. Dearest Virginia Keep Clark, object of my obsession since 2004, lived in the house next door to mine in Herron-Morton Place. She’s taken me all over the country in search of her stories and many connections. Born in New Orleans, but raised from age four in Indianapolis, she married a Chicago native and lived in Evanston, Chicago proper, and then onto Oyster Bay, Long Island, midtown Manhattan, Mackall, Maryland, New Hampshire, Winter Park, Florida and summers in Nassau–the lady got around. Virginia illustrated a series of children’s books–...

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Introducing The Hoosier Chapter, Victorian Society in America

Back in October, Indianapolis joined an exclusive list of places around the country when it was granted a chapter of the Victorian Society in America. There are only 18 other chapters in the nation, and we are proud of this accomplishment. The new “Hoosier Chapter” of the Victorian Society in America is headquartered at the Morris-Butler House, 1204 North Park Avenue in the Old Northside Historic Neighborhood. The group’s inaugural event will be Saturday, March 6, 2010, at the Morris-Butler House. The “Victorian Antiques Appraisal Show,” featuring renowned local appraiser, J. Scott Keller, will start at 10 am. Members,...

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Help Identify the Mystery Houses

HI would like to identify these mystery Indianapolis houses. A very clever reader shared their observations about this photo. The clues to consider: • The sun is coming from behind the photographer, so you know the houses can’t be facing north • The houses stand where a road tees into another road (i.e. a three-way intersection) • A peculiar shadow is being cast over the street. The shadow is cast partially in the middle of the teeing road, which suggests they the teeing road is very short. It is entirely plausible that these are homes that stood where the...

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News: January 4, 1910–Death at the Murat yesterday

Have you ever contemplated the whole story of the buildings you admire? Sure, you wonder when something was built, who desgined it and attempt to identify the style without reference books. But how often do you ponder what dramas may have played out during the creation of some glorious piece of architecture or inspiring work of art? To what have these inanimate objects borne witness? One of the Murat’s earliest observances: Hard to believe anyone would have to work on a slick and icy roof in freezing temperatures. And what would have became of poor Mrs. Cunningham? How did...

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100 Years Ago today…1/3/1910- Mayor Shank Sworn In

Samuel Lewis Shank, Mayor of Indianapolis from 1910 to 1913 and again from 1922-1925, seen here on the front of City Hall 100 Years Ago today, Mayor Shank was sworn in at what was then the new (and yet to be occupied) City Hall, now known as the Old City Hall. From the Indianapolis Star report: “In spite of the fact that he and former Mayor Bookwalter left the new City Hall by way o fone of the large windows, Mayor Shank spent some time receiving the congratulations of friends before he stepped into his automobile to proceed to...

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Old City Hall

Formerly the New City Hall After years of having offices in the basement of the beautiful old Marion County courthouse, the city offices had to relocate to make space for the expanding county business. Indianapolis Mayor Bookwalter determined that a city hall should be constructed. His original concept included a coliseum to be built in conjunction with this new city hall to provide a space for large gatherings. Following a couple of lawsuits, the coliseum plan was nixed and plans to erect the new city hall proceeded. Early on, it was suggested that the location for the building should be...

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Monument Observation Tower Reopens!!

 The observation deck of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument reopened this weekend, so let’s revisit this postcard from August 1906. If you can’t read the scrawling across the bottom it says “W.H.C. arrived all ok at 10:30. Took the Monument, Capitol and P.O. this P.M.” I think the author meant “took in” or else he had the good sense to put them all right back where he found them! We all know that the view has changed substantially in the last 103 years. When did you last visit and which side has your favorite...

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Odd Fellows in Downtown Indianapolis

A book published in 1870 featured this depiction of the old OddFellows Hall. It stood on the Northeast corner of Washington and Pennsylvania Streets. It cost $30,000 to construct in addition to the $17,000 for the real estate and “was planned by Francis Costigan and finished with a dome by D. A. Bohlen.” It was described as “…a sort of cross between a Gothic chapel and the Taj Mehal, but it is the most attractive building on Washington street for all that.” The ground floor rented to a bank and other businesses, the second story for offices and the third was used...

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Destruction at College and Fairfield

Nearing 38th Street, just south of Fairfield, on the west side of the street, something seemed off.  An expanse of bald land, large earth moving equipment in its vicinity, it hit me: another historic corner building was gone. The regret of never taking a picture was heavy. As an obituary, here are a few highlights of the recently departed: For all of its early life, this building was home to a variety of Pharmacy Companies or Druggists. Built circa 1914 Harry W. Hodson’s home address (of 3424 N. College) was the last address before “Fair Ground Avenue” on the west...

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Friday Fave: Propylaeum Marked!

Tomorrow, September 24, , is the 7th anniversary of the installation of the  Propylaeum’s historical marker How often have you passed the beautiful building at 1410 North Delaware Street? Drop the word “Propylaeum” in a conversation anywhere but Indianapolis, and you’re bound to get confused stares. But long-term locals know the place relates to women, and if they’re really into history, perhaps even the name May Wright Sewall. May Wright Sewall is a local “SHEro,” indefatigable in her mission to help elevate the women of Indianapolis as the city grew into a thriving Industrial Age city. She lead the Girls Classical...

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Wednesday, August 4, 1909- Mrs. Frank Carvin gave an informal luncheon at her home, at 2131 N. Central Avenue (where the liquor store currently stands on the South East corner of 22nd and Central)when she entertained a group of friends in honor of Mrs. John Wiles of Kansas City and Mrs. Lina Loder Long of Cleveland, O. After the luncheon the guests were taken to Bethany Park where they spent the evening. Mrs. Carvin was assisted by her daughter, Miss Lucie Carvin. Friday, August 6, 1909- Mrs. William Klapp of Jonesboro, Ark was the guest of her sister, Mrs....

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