2011 was an interesting year for HI, to be sure… and while there may be more commentary forthcoming, for now let’s KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) and dive into your favorite posts of 2011. Since our audience is constantly growing and the redesigned/ current look of the site didn’t launch until late September (Grazie Mille again to Silver Square Marketing) I thought I’d do the top 5 faves from the site of Feb-Sept and Sept-Dec.

So here goes with the Feb-Sept 2011 most read/ viewed/ liked/ loved/ you get what I’m saying…

1. Where Butler was born – Thanks for the love from all you Blue lovin’ Dawgs. It’s nice to see some pride. Wish there was more of that in the preservation department…

Where Butler University was born...

2. White Castle No. 3 – For Preservation month, we did “preservation affirmed,” or “preservation denied” every day of the month–will plan to do the same this coming May.  If it takes a burger to garner interest in preservation, I’ll take fries with that.

3. Preservation denied- The Bates-Allen-Parry-McGowan Mansion– My longtime followers know this is my “obsession mansion,” and has to be in the top 3 most egregious losses to this city’s architecture, history and heritage. Read it and weep. I do.

4. Crazy-cracky House on Kessler– You all think it, I said it. WTH? The term “hot mess,” was invented for just such things.

5. Paging Vintage Shoppers- “Where’d You Get That?” – To hell with my ‘Little Black Book,’ this is way more intimate and personal–sharing my most coveted list: where I shop for vintage frocks. If you’re my size and I see you in one of these places, I call 1st dibs. It’s only fair. Oh and p.s. Minx is going to be sponsoring Ladies Lounge through January and Harloh’s moved almost next door to another love, White Rabbit Cabaret.

View of Fountain Square from Harloh's

Sept-Dec 2011- After our sleek makeover, awesome new logo and new layout…and I’ll do this one in reverse order.

5. Mapleton-Fall-Creek – You gotta admit, when people meet in this city, the conversation inevitably arrives at the question about what part of town you inhabit. Various judgments follow. Glad to see the neighborhood and directional-parts-of-town pride, but sorry, Carmel, Fishers and East side, west side, south side, north side–none of you would exist without Big Mama Indianapolis at the center. I love the notion of filling that beautiful and bursting-with-fruit-flavors center back up with people and pockets of commerce. And ‘burb dwellers, I urge you to come back towards the center in 2012–be included in our reindeer games. I often say that if we had a nuclear holocaust/ disaster/ emergency, people would be doing everything possible to huddle as close together in a pack, not spreading out to the outer reaches of no-man’s-land. Help be part of the solution.

Another WTH...never did figure out what this thing was

4. WTH Wednesday- Now That’s Cuckoo – Gotta say: I’m shocked at this one. There are far better/ funnier WTH posts in our repertoire. I think this post got a boost because it debuted right when the redesigned site went live. And while I’m on the subject of WTH–I’ve had 2 or 3 people say that they think this column detracts/ doesn’t fit with HI. Those same people also seem to think we are making fun of poor people, and I want to go on the record as saying: that is not how we roll. It has nothing to do with who is poor or not poor. I find it more odd that people make assumptions like this about someone’s finances. Just because someone has poor taste doesn’t necessarily mean they are poor.  Undoubtedly many fugly homes in the citylook a fright on the outside but are outfitted on the inside with a movie theater size, flat screen tv, foosball table and all kinds of other jazzy stuff. The HI stance is preservation and restoration of homes–as they were intended to look. (Also why we added Sunday Prayers–lots of homes are in sad shape, but still have beautiful bones). The National Trust feature “Yikes,” was what inspired this feature. I believe “This Old House” features bad re-muddling jobs too. Please skip if you don’t like. Who knows? Maybe we’ll nix it at some point, but for now, majority rules.

3. Heritage Photo’s Joan Hostetler is an Indianapolis gem and kindred spirit and I always look forward to her ‘Then & Now’ feature. Her most recent post got an amazing response and lands on this list! The Government Center and Star Store may have been a response to some earlier chatter on the Historic Indianapolis facebook page – Joan has an amazing ability to file small references to historic people or places in the back of her mind and then voila! It crops up somewhere in her travels and is shared with others. (Follow her on fb and get info on a scan-a-thon she has coming up at the Harrison Center next week)

2. WTH- a Gas Station? “They” say the personal stories are best…and I’m quite serious in my desire to understand how the various cogs and wheels work together, dear City of Indianapolis. I know government people in particular, love nothing better than smoke and mirrors everywhere, so it’s harder for the rest of us to discern what is going on behind the vast waste of time and resources. I’m gonna go back to something I’ve heard since I was a wee lass: “Honesty is the best policy.” Laughable, I know, to place this statement anywhere near a mention of government, but if there were more  transparency and honesty, maybe there wouldn’t be so many contentious battles to wage. And I wouldn’t have even had to write this post. Because I’d have an understanding of zoning versus land use versus the city’s comprehensive plan, etc. Thank goodness it’s New Year’s, because even thinking about this has me thinking it’s time for a drink!

1. The overwhelming and enthusiastic response to the recent 10 Reasons Fountain Square would be my next Indianapolis neighborhood gave me my 11th reason: some unabashed pride in your home and ‘hood. Go on with your bad self, Fountain Square! You are like everyone’s favorite movie where we, the viewer, know the quiet strength and inner beauty of the hero/ heroine and get to watch a transformation unfold before us, as he/ she prevails in the end. Got nothing to share but tears of joy, uproarious laughter and a big kiss for you, Fountain Square–keep on keepin’ on. We may not live together yet, but I will still visit often and bring more friends to show you off!