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NAME: Marsh Davis

TITLE: President & CEO, Indiana Landmarks

SINCE? 2006

ORIGINALLY FROM? Lake County, Indiana.

YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Oversight of nation’s largest statewide historic preservation non-profit organization

YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? 60+

PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Preservation of Lyles Station School;  Rush County covered bridges;  Indiana Landmarks Center

OTHER PROJECTS YOU’RE WORKING ON THAT WE MIGHT RECOGNIZE? West Baden Springs Hotel (saved by Indiana Landmarks in the ‘90s), former St. Vincent Hospital, Thomas Taggart Memorial, Bush Stadium

WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? The privilege of working with wonderful people and communities and seeing positive change.

WORST PART OF WHAT YOU DO? Having to tell people, regularly and with regret, that there is no pot of gold out there for preserving historic places. There are resources, to be sure, but it takes hard work and often a long time to secure them.

HOW YOU DEFINE PERSONAL SUCCESS? Improving a place—a building, neighborhood, community—or an organization by way of historic preservation. It’s a means to a greater end.

ADVICE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO WHAT YOU DO? Do it.

IF YOU WERE GRANTED ONE WISH RELATING TO YOUR JOB/CAREER/ORGANIZATION, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’d rather not answer this. It calls to mind “The Monkey’s Paw”.

WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT TO WHERE YOU ARE WITHOUT? The wonderful organization and people I am privileged to work with.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? See answer to previous question.

WHO WERE/ARE YOUR MENTORS AND HOW DID THEY HELP? Reid Williamson, President Emeritus of Indiana Landmarks, for setting the standard for professionalism in historic preservation, and Henry Glassie for awakening an awareness of the importance of every-day places.

WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN HISTORY? Respect for my elders.

MOST INTERESTING BIT OF INDIANAPOLIS HISTORY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED? The city once had excellent public transportation and passenger rail service!

YOU CAN HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE FROM INDIANAPOLIS PAST? WHO? Carl Fisher.

ANY INTERESTING FAMILY CONNECTIONS TO INDIANAPOLIS PAST? None

View from Riley’s Burial Tomb

FAVORITE VIEW IN THE CITY? It’s hard to beat the view from Riley’s tomb.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN INDIANAPOLIS? Turner’s, at the Canterbury. The sea bass is superb.

FAVORITE CITY BESIDES INDIANAPOLIS? Galveston, Texas

FAVORITE HISTORY RELATED BOOK OR MOVIE? Henry Glassie: Folk Housing in Middle Virginia.

ULTIMATE BEVERAGE? Sun King Osiris Pale Ale

COLLECT ANYTHING? Used to.

FAVORITE QUOTE? Ogden Nash: “Progress may have been alright once but it has gone on too long.”

IF YOUR LIFE HAD A THEME SONG, IT’D BE? “Im Abendrot” by Richard Strauss/Joseph von Eichendorff

5 responses to “Heritage Steward: Marsh Davis”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Would like to follow Marsh Davis’ work here…wow! It’s amazing how many people are working the Hoosier State for historic preservation…and as an economic development tool, which is GOOD…

  2. Tom Davis says:

    As an only semi-related tangent, it’s said that in his last years, Kurt Vonnegut (the architect father, not the author son) would sit in his Brown County log cabin and listen to German classical records, his favorite being a recording of Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. Im Abendrot is the 4th song in that song cycle.

  3. Molly Head says:

    Marsh does think he’s a rock star for historic preservation and I’d have to say . . ya . . that’s kinda right! And his book “99 Historic Homes of Indiana” is incredible.

  4. basil berchekas jr says:

    Definitely interesting; let’s keep it going! (Or as those of German heritage may say, “wir gehen!”)

  5. Tiffany Benedict Berkson says:

    Are you sure you don’t mean YOU think Marsh is a “rock star” Molly? That would make more sense to me– I’ve never met anyone so down to earth, humble and quick to praise everyone around him–not how I’d define someone thinking they are a “Rock Star” but perhaps I’ve misunderstood?

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