(Photo courtesy David Buchanan)

Today is the second annual Hoosier Chapter, Victorian Society in America¬†and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana sponsored “The Game is Afoot,” an architectural treasure hunt to get people looking at things they typically whiz right by. Representatives of local Sherlockian Society “The Illustrious Clients” will also be on hand to offer sleuthing tips as Sherlock himself might have done. Starting at the James Whitcomb Riley Home from 10am-3pm and taking approximately an hour to complete, the event should keep ages 6+ entertained. There is a large prize drawing at the end–one gift basket for adults, valued at $100 includes gift cards for The Rathskellar, Sun King Brewing Company, Global Gifts on Mass Ave, as well as goods from the Mass Ave Starbucks and some James Whitcomb Riley Books and goods.

Prizes for the children include a toy basket and gift card from Mass Ave Toys, one of our sponsors and the final stop of the treasure hunt. All participants receive 2 complimentary passes to the James Whitcomb Riley Home to be used when so desired.

A few years ago, I researched the brick double at the northeast corner of Lockerbie and East Streets.

Heading to The James Whitcomb Riley Home today got me thinking about a story unearthed about a young man who grew up in 1/2 of that double who knew the great Hoosier poet, himself.

Among the many former residents, Charles E. McKee, a printer for William B. Burford, resided in the northern half of the property from 1892-1896. Charles McKee’s son, Earl, later wrote an article reminiscing about his boyhood and growing up on Lockerbie Street in ‘the Gay Nineties’: “When I was a child our family lived on the corner of Lockerbie and East Streets, and I was an active member of the ‘Lockerbie Street gang,’ composed of boys living on Lockerbie Street or in the immediate vicinity…” He speaks of interactions with the famed poet: ” …Every one of our gang had at least a speaking acquaintance with Riley, and he frequently was an interested spectator at our more spectacular activities. He knew all our names, but took a huge delight in addressing each boy by the wrong name. We were slightly in awe of the poet and seldom had the temerity to correct his apparent lapse of memory. Riley at that time would usually go downtown on the East Michigan street car, walking from his home to East Street and a block and a half down East to Ohio to the car line, returning the same way, so we would frequently meet him as we played on Lockerbie Street. Sometimes he would stand and watch a marble game for as long as half an hour, offering comment on various shots that, when not too slyly subtle, gave us lots of laughs.”

“As I slowly walked down the old street the other day, dusk was approaching. Half closing my eyes, I could almost see the gang pilling autumn leaves in a great heap on the cobblestone gutter for a bonfire, as the lamplighter raced along, ladder under arm, to light the street lamps, one at each end of our street.”

Something to ponder as you enter Lockerbie…