NAME: Connie Zeigler
TITLE: President/Owner FOR: C. Resources, Historians
ORIGINALLY FROM? Greensburg, Indiana, with the world famous tree on the Courthouse Tower.
YOUR JOB DUTIES INCLUDE? Preservation consulting, researching buildings, preparing National Register of Historic Places Nominations, writing a monthly column for Urban Times in Indianapolis, researching and writing museum exhibits. I’m a hired gun historian.
YOU WORK HOW MANY HOURS WEEKLY? Take the total number of hours available in a week and divide in half. It’s about that many.
PROJECT/S YOU ARE MOST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN PART OF? Preparing the nomination that placed Avriel Shull’s Mid-1950s subdivision, Thornhurst, on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 – the first Mid Century Modern addition in the state to be listed. And, hopefully, being in some way responsible for saving some buildings that might otherwise have been demolished.
OTHER PROJECTS WE MIGHT RECOGNIZE? I’ve prepared National Register nominations for the Gramse at 22nd and Broadway, Emerson Heights Historic District (with more than 1400 buildings!) 2 historic districts in Edinburgh, Indiana, and lots of others. Hopefully lots of people are also aware of my “Stop the Demolitions, Indianapolis” Facebook page.
WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO (JOB)? I love old buildings, good design, and history. I get to work with all three in my job.
WORST PART OF WHAT YOU DO? Creating site plans on Photoshop!
HOW YOU DEFINE PERSONAL SUCCESS? Tangible evidence that I’ve made a difference.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO WHAT YOU DO? Focus on a general area (like History), but don’t get stuck on just one path within it. I get just as much satisfaction researching appropriate paint colors and landscaping for old house owners as I do writing a magazine article on history or preparing a National Register nomination. And I’ve needed to do all of those to make my business work. I rarely say no to a project.
IF YOU WERE GRANTED ONE WISH RELATING TO YOUR JOB/CAREER/ORGANIZATION, WHAT WOULD IT BE? More projects that take me outside of Indiana; preferably one that required me to work in Paris or Southern Italy.
WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT TO WHERE YOU ARE WITHOUT? The notion that I can learn to do most anything, and careful budgeting.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? Loving what I do. I’ve found that getting paid is a good motivator, too.
WHO WERE/ARE YOUR MENTORS AND HOW DID THEY HELP? My mother who had an unflagging interest in everything (passed on to me) and my dad who knows and remembers just about everything (about Decatur County, Indiana, at least); Liz Monroe, who gave me a lot of Encyclopedia of Indianapolis entries to write on the Built Environment when I was a non-traditional grad student, and many others who took a chance on me along the way.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN HISTORY? It’s in my DNA, I think, aided by lots of books in my home, family vacations that always took us someplace where we could learn, and although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, two parents who are interested in history.
MOST INTERESTING BIT OF INDIANAPOLIS HISTORY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED? “Most interesting” is hard to pick, but I especially enjoyed stories like the Irvington War, about a school teacher who had to be dragged physically out of her classroom when the school board changed. She literally hung onto the door frame and had to have her fingers pried loose as they tried to carry her out with one of the board members “boosting with his foot from behind.” Or the one about the Battle of Pogue’s Run when a bunch of southern sympathizers were stopped on a train during the Civil War and had to divest themselves of various weapons, which they threw into Pogue’s Run—that’s all the “battle” consisted of. Here in Indianapolis, where we’ve never really been exposed to war, we seem apply warring language to very small incidents, it seems.
YOU CAN HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE FROM INDIANAPOLIS PAST? WHO & WHY? Mayor Thomas Taggart—at the French Lick Inn. He was an incredible forward-thinker, significantly boosting the parks system in Indianapolis. But frankly I don’t care what we talk about, I just want to go back in time to see the hotel in its heyday right after he built it.
YOUR CAREER IN AN ALTERNATE LIFE? Archaeologist without a doubt. Put me on a boat diving into an old city in the Aegean. That may still become a career of mine – the day is young.
ANY INTERESTING FAMILY CONNECTIONS TO INDIANAPOLIS PAST? Not that I know, although my dad, who was a truck driver in his youth, seems to have a story about every destination in the city where he dropped off cattle or picked up crates of apples, or ate a cheap meal.
FAVORITE VIEW IN THE CITY? From my living room in Fountain Square. The city unfolds before me to the northwest.
FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN INDIANAPOLIS? Lots of favorites for different reasons: for pure food enjoyment, Siam Square; for fish tacos, La Parada; for being a part of Indianapolis history on a late night, Peppy Grill.
FAVORITE CITY BESIDES INDIANAPOLIS? Out of the city’s I’ve been to so far…San Francisco.
FAVORITE HISTORY RELATED BOOK OR MOVIE? Gone with the Wind (the book) meant a lot to me as a kid. So did Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which I read again every few years. It was science fiction when written but now it’s history.
ULTIMATE BEVERAGE? Champagne with fresh raspberries. Mmm.
COLLECT ANYTHING? Not really, unless you count cat hair.
FAVORITE QUOTE? I’m not much for remembering others’ words, but “that’s the trouble with those things, you have to watch them every minute” which Jeff Goldblum says to Glenn Close as she’s staring into the refrigerator in the Big Chill, seems to have come in handy quite a bit in my life.
IF YOUR LIFE HAD A THEME SONG, IT’D BE? The Lady is a Tramp? But not for the obvious reason. 😉 The lyrics are pretty close to my philosophy of life.