Hoosier History Live!
Books by Nelson Price
Sept. 24 show
Landmark buildings reborn as schools
Shaped like a ship in some ways, one building is on the banks of the White River and was used to train radio operators in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Another building was the home of an art institute and a gallery that preceded the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
And a third historic building housed generations of children who were abused, neglected or abandoned.
All three landmarks in Indianapolis have been - or will be - converted into charter schools.
The newest, to be called Riverside High School, is expected to open next fall in the former Heslar Naval Armory, a white Art Moderne structure built in the 1930s on West 30th Street. It will be the second campus of Herron High School, a widely acclaimed charter school that opened in 2006 on the former site of what began as the John Herron Art Institute in 1902.
The Marion County Children's Guardian Home opened the building in 1918 for children in need of emergency shelter. (According to an article in Connections magazine, a publication of the Indiana Historical Society, an earlier structure that served as a county guardian home on the Irvington site was destroyed by a fire.)
To share insights about the three landmark buildings and the process of converting them into schools, Nelson will be joined in studio by three guests:
The Naval Armory trained naval officers until 2015. When radio operators were being trained in the building during World War II, "it is believed that top-secret planning for important battles occurred there," according to an article in Indiana Preservation,a magazine published by Indiana Landmarks.
After World War II, the armory trained naval reservists. The building also served as a meeting space for reservists and their families.
Many students in the new high school in the historic building are expected to come from the Riverside neighborhood, where the former armory is located. Even before the armory was built during the Great Depression, the site along the White River had distinctive uses. In the early 1900s, the Indianapolis Canoe Club was located there.
The beginnings of the Marion County Children's Guardian Home even predate that. An emergency shelter program for neglected, abused and abandoned children in Indianapolis was begun in 1889.
"Thousands of children went through the home's program over its 120-year history. ... For many, it was the only stable home they had ever known," according to the Connections article.
"This was a new concept. It was not an orphanage or reformatory, but a rescue program for children, initially ages newborn to 15 years, who were neglected, abused or abandoned by family or guardians."
The Connections article notes that the last child to reside at the Marion County Children's Guardian Home departed in 2009. The guardian home - now Irvington Prep - is located at 5751 E. University Ave.
At the Herron site, generations of students from across Indiana and beyond studied at what became the John Herron School of Art. Now part of IUPUI, the art school moved to the main campus - along with the Herron Gallery - before the launch of the charter school.
With a classical liberal arts curriculum, Herron High requires all students to take Latin, grammar, logic and rhetoric. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Herron in the top one percent of the country's public high schools.
So, with the waiting list, the need for a second campus has been apparent. The Naval Armory has been owned by the city since the Navy moved out. The city has been shifting ownership to Indiana Landmarks, which, in turn, will transfer the title to the high school. Herron High officials are in the midst of fund-raising for the conversion project.
Another example of the evolution planned for the Naval Armory: A mess hall - with paintings done by the WPA during the Depression - will be converted into a student cafeteria for the Riverside High School students.
Roadtrip: Thorntown, Stookey's and Serum Plant Road
Guest Roadtripper Bonnie Carter of Zionsville suggests a visit to Thorntown in Boone County, just northwest of Indianapolis. Thorntown is celebrating its Festival of the Turning Leaves this weekend. Enjoy a parade, a corn hole tournament, and a banjo and fiddle contest; all that a small Indiana town has to offer as we celebrate the coming fall season.
Hungry? Bonnie recommends Stookey's Family Dining in Thorntown for home cooking, including steaks, catfish and onion rings.
And don't forget to drive down Serum Plant Road; Bonnie became fascinated with the name of this road and did a little research. It turns out that hog cholera was a huge problem in the country a hundred years ago, and in 1916 a group of local hog breeders put together the Swine Breeder's Pure Serum Company, which had a big manufacturing plant along this road. The plant no longer exists, but Bonnie will share a little more local history on Saturday.
A historic structure built of limestone in downtown Indianapolis has had several vastly different uses. It opened in 1901 as a Protestant church. In the late 1940s, though, the congregation moved to the north side.
The limestone building became an educational institution, offering post-high school training. Even though the structure housed a training institution for more than 50 years, minimal alterations were made to its interior, which included a sanctuary from its decades as a church. The training institution moved out in 2003.
In recent years, the limestone structure in downtown Indy was converted into condos.
Question: Name either the church that initially was housed in the historic building or the training institution that was located in it for more than 50 years.
Hint: The historic building is near the downtown (central) branch of the Indianapolis Public Library.
The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call into the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months. You must be willing to give your name and address to our engineer and be willing to be placed on the air.
The prize is a Family 4-Pack to Conner Prairie, including 4 tickets to the 1859 Balloon Voyage, courtesy of Visit Indy. Still some nice weather left in the season to soar up in the sky with this tethered balloon!
Underwriting the project
We are not staff members of any organization; rather, we are a small, independent production group trying to keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web and in your inbox. Your gift goes primarily to support those individuals who are working so hard on the project, as well as to help defray the costs of maintaining our website, our email marketing software and our audio editing costs.
If you believe in supporting local artists, writers, historians and performers, look no further!
It takes only seconds to help us out. Just click the yellow "Donate" button, above. Or, if you prefer the paper method, you may make out a check to "Hoosier History Live" and mail it to Hoosier History Live, P.O. Box 44393, Indianapolis, IN 46244-0393.
We also try to maintain some of those old-fashioned journalism principles about trying to keep editorial content separate from financial contributions.
For questions about becoming an underwriting sponsor (the underwriter level includes logos on our website and newsletter and spoken credits in the live show), contact our producer, Molly Head, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (317) 927-9101, or Garry Chilluffo, our media+development director, at email@example.com.
Also, the Irvington Library Listening Group continues to meet on a regular basis from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays to listen to and discuss the live show. If you think you would enjoy listening with fellow history lovers, just stop by the library at 5626 E. Washington St. in Indianapolis and ask for the listening group.
If you are interested in forming your own listening group, all you need is a relatively quiet room with comfortable chairs and either a radio or an online listening device. A weekly listening group is an easy way to get "regulars" into your organization or place of business.
The Central Library in Indianapolis is willing to provide a space for a listening group if someone would volunteer to host the group. For more info, contact producer Molly Head.
Oct. 1 show
All about Ben-Hur
First, it was an enormously popular novel of the 1880s written by Lew Wallace, an adventurous, flamboyant Hoosier who was a Civil War general, attorney, diplomat and politician. Many historians believe that, other than the Bible, Ben-Hur was read by more people in its era than any other book.
In the wake of yet another movie remake (released in August) of Ben-Hur, Nelson will be joined by three experts to explore all aspects of the cultural phenomenon associated with chariot races, the Roman Empire and slave ships.
Wallace (1827-1905), the son of Indiana's sixth governor, wrote Ben-Hur without ever having visited the Middle East - although, following his book's spectacular success, President James Garfield appointed him diplomat to Turkey. Earlier, President Rutherford B. Hayes had appointed him governor of the New Mexico Territory.
Our guests will be:
The title character in Ben-Hur is a Jewish prince who lives in Roman-occupied Jerusalem during the coming of Christ.
Some history facts: Wallace apparently wrote most of the novel underneath a beech tree near his Crawfordsville home; he completed it while serving as governor of the New Mexico Territory. (During his stint in the West, Wallace dealt with various gunslingers, including Billy the Kid.)
And by 1900, Ben-Hur had become the best-selling novel of the 19th century, exceeding the legendary Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Additional research courtesy Mick Armbruster.
8-year soiree on Feb. 25 was historical fun
Photos continue to roll in from the Feb. 25 Hoosier History Live party to celebrate our 8 years on the air. This week's featured image is of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett with the four fine young musicians of the Herron String Quartet who provided such lovely music in the entry hall at Indiana Landmarks Center as the event got under way.
If you have a good photo that you would allow us to use for publication in our e-newsletter and website, please consider emailing it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do include the name that is to receive credit.
Thanks also to individual contributors Anne Laker, Jim and Marjorie Kienle, Dennis Arbuckle, Joe Young, Kathleen Angelone, J. Scott Keller, Jennifer Q. Smith of AvantGarb, Georgia Cravey and Jim Lingenfelter, Barbara and Michael Homoya, Margaret Smith, Peggy Hollingsworth, Lorraine Vavul, Rita Kohn and William McNiece.
Presenters included CEO of Indiana Landmarks Marsh Davis, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, WICR program director Henri Pensis and Indiana Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Perry Hammock, as well as host Nelson Price and producer Molly Head of Hoosier History Live.
Catering was provided by Jacquie's Gourmet Catering, and entertainment was provided by Shirley Judkins, Herron High School String Quartet and Janet Gilray of Voices in Time. Thanks to corporate supporters Indiana Landmarks and Core Redevelopment.
As a nod to the many Indiana ethnic heritage shows produced by Hoosier History Live over the years, guests were invited to dress to portray their ethnic heritage. A shout-out to the Scots, Greeks, and Germans in attendance! And thanks to Jan Wahls for portraying May Wright Sewall.
Your encouragement and participation, on all fronts and in myriad ways, are what keep us going - on the air, in your in-box and on the web. Thanks!
Calendar itemkeeper, listening-group host opportunities
Would you be interested in placing the Hoosier History Live show topic and dates and times and ways to listen on the Bicentennial calendar and various other free community calendars across the state? This is rather detailed online weekly public relations work, but it would help get the word out about our show. If interested, please email email@example.com, and please include your phone number.
Would you be interesting in hosting or facilitating a listening group at Central Library in Indianapolis each week? You would be responsible for being there each week during the live show and making sure a listening device is available. And generally facilitating the discussion. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include your phone number.
A note of support
'We hope to see it broadcast far and wide'
A particularly nice letter of support came in some time ago from authors James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom. We like to re-read it from time to time!
Shows, we got shows
We have more than 300 Hoosier History Live! radio shows completed, as a matter of fact. And we need to get show audio onto the website, which we are doing by and by, but we sure could use some sponsorship assistance as we edit and publish audio for each archived show. Take a look at the list below and check out all the opportunities for sponsoring a slice of original Hoosier History Live! content on the Web.
No one else is doing anything quite like what we're doing. We are the nation's only live call-in radio program about history. We offer a permanent and growing archive of quality content, available for sponsorship opportunities.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Hoosier History Live!, click here or call Molly Head at (317) 927-9101 for more info.
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Ken Burns, speaking at a preview of his film "The War" at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, April 18, 2007
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