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NAME: Raina Regan

TITLE: Architectural Historian FOR: Indiana Army National Guard

SINCE: June 2010

ORIGINALLY FROM: Fenton, Michigan, although I was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania

YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE: Widespread cultural resources management, including advising civilian and military staff to comply with Section 106 of the National HistoricPreservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, completing projects related to Section 110 of the NHPA.

YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY: 40 + 10-15 on freelance work.

PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Surveying and researching the former Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home, now an Indiana National Guard facility. My research assisted in the effort to get the campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2011.

OTHER PROJECTS WE MIGHT RECOGNIZE? I frequently work with the historic resources at Stout Field, a historic airfield on the southwest side of Indianapolis.

Administration Building, former Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home

WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO (JOB)? Working with a wide variety of historic structural resources on a daily basis. The Indiana National Guard manages a great diversity of resource types, including the former Children’s Home historic district, several historic armories, historic aviation facilities, a handful of historic bridges, and the oldest White Castle in Indiana. With each project, I learn something new about preservation and about history in Indiana.

WORST PART OF WHAT YOU DO? I have found there are a lot of misconceptions about what Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires. Not only from federal agencies, but also from the public, and other groups. It’s difficult bridging the gap.

HOW YOU DEFINE PERSONAL SUCCESS? Not being satisfied with the status quo. Trying new things, learning something new.

ADVICE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO WHAT YOU DO? Be able to think creatively, but rationally. Be patient. I find I have to act as part educator, part advocate, part lawyer, part historian when I’m working on a project.

IF YOU WERE GRANTED ONE WISH RELATING TO YOUR JOB/CAREER/ORGANIZATION, WHAT WOULD IT BE? More time? There are so many great things I’ve discovered bits and pieces about that would be great to research in depth.

Hangar, Stout Field (1941)

WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT TO WHERE YOU ARE WITHOUT? In high school, I had my first visit to the National Museum of American History, which greatly impacted how I see the importance of history. Things I thought were cool, such as the Manhattan Project and Cold War history, had exhibits alongside other major parts of American History. To me, this validated popular culture aspects of American history and continued in my love and interest in exploring the ‘weird.’ The exhibit “Science in American Life” had a major influence on my own personal research, as it later inspired my graduate thesis, which explored the development of the residential fallout shelter in the United States.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? Knowing the work I do will help historic buildings remain viable for organizations and users for years to come.

WHO WERE/ARE YOUR MENTORS AND HOW DID THEY HELP? There are so many! All the professors at Ball State’s Historic Preservation program helped in some way – whether supporting my wacky graduate thesis to providing great opportunities for us to learn about preservation.

WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN HISTORY? During a design theory course my sophomore year of college, I fell in love with the architect Eero Saarinen. After some more research, I realized the field of historic preservation existed and it became my mission to pursue a career in historic preservation… and the rest is history!

MOST INTERESTING BIT OF INDIANAPOLIS HISTORY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED? The Indianapolis White Castle #3, owned by the Guard, is the third oldest White Castle (and yes, I mean the restaurant) extant in the United States, but the best preserved of the three. I think it’s one of those unique architecture resources that people don’t even realize exist, especially since it’s so small and you can easily pass it without noticing it on Fort Wayne Avenue.

YOU CAN HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE FROM INDIANAPOLIS PAST? WHO & WHY? The architects McGuire and Shook. They designed so much during the 1930s, including a lot at the Children’s Home, and I would love to learn more about their business.

YOUR CAREER IN AN ALTERNATE LIFE? Theater manager.

ANY INTERESTING FAMILY CONNECTIONS TO INDIANAPOLIS PAST? No, I’m a first generation Hoosier.

FAVORITE VIEW IN THE CITY? The manuscripts room at the Indiana State Library, looking out toward downtown and the State Capitol.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN INDIANAPOLIS? Ichiban Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar on the southside on US-31

FAVORITE CITY BESIDES INDIANAPOLIS? Washington, DC

FAVORITE HISTORY RELATED BOOK OR MOVIE? Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

ULTIMATE BEVERAGE? Iced coffee

COLLECT ANYTHING? Pins from the Olympic Games, Historic Postcards

FAVORITE QUOTE? Lyrics from the song “Fallout Shelter” by Mike and Bernie Winters (1961). One of my favorite stanzas: “Build a bomb bungalow, one of your own / With no down payment and a government loan / Let the tests go on in the atmosphere / In my fallout shelter, I’ll have no fear.”

IF YOUR LIFE HAD A THEME SONG, IT’D BE?  “Someone to Fall Back On” by Jason Robert Brown

One response to “Heritage Steward: Raina Regan”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    This is MOST interesting; always wondered about the older armories that appear like castles with turrets and towers, etc., and how they’re “doing” today, hopefully as recognized historic structures…

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