I've been perusing some books on Indianapolis history lately, and in Indianapolis: Hoosier's Circle City came across this editorial from the Indiana Centinel written in 1821, on the naming of the city of Indianapolis, when the city was originally founded. It made me laugh, and I thought it was worth reproducing here.
Continue reading "A Name Like No Other"
Book Review: Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America
On August 7, 1930, the courthouse square in Marion, Indiana was the location of one of the most shocking events in the town's history -- the lynching of two young black men who were dragged from the city jail and brutally beaten before being hung from a tree in the square. A third young man escaped being lynched to tell the tale. Because of him, and because of an infamous photo of the scene showing hundreds of perpetrators and spectators viewing the crime, (a photo that was sold by the thousands in the days after) the event has never been forgotten, although it is spoken of rarely and with trepidation amongst the residents of the town. Journalist Cynthia Carr, who grew up in Marion and who's family has a long history there, set out to examine that event, the history of race relations in Indiana that led up to it, and the unspoken resonance from it that has haunted the town every since.
Indianapolis has several historic neighborhoods that are under the jurisdiction of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, a city agency design to "preserve the character and fabric of historically significant areas and structures for all present and future citizens of Marion County, Indiana."
In addition to providing information and oversight about correctly preserving home exteriors for people living in historic areas, IHPC did much of the research on the history of many homes in these areas, and has, over the past 30 years, written "Historic Preservation Plans" or books about the residential neighborhoods under it's care. The plans provide not only information about how to correctly preserve the neighborhoods, but lots of valuable research and information about the history of the houses, the neighborhoods and the city itself; they are a fascinating insight into the birth and early years of our city. Now those plans are online in downloadable PDF format for everyone to read and enjoy.
Here's a nice website that displays old penny postcards of Indianapolis landmarks, some of which are no longer around. I have a nice collection of these that I purchased from both eBay and from antique stores around town. Some of the really fun ones are of Broadripple Park, which used to contain an amusement park and miniature "White City" like Chicago's World's Fair, and Garfield Park, which had a small Zoo, complete with bear cages.
The really interesting (and more expensive) postcards to look for are real photo postcards like this one, which are one-of-a-kind.
One of the buildings I wish were still around is this one: The Pythian Building, which was the home of one of the many men's clubs in Indy in the 1900's.
The Indiana Historical Society will be showing the classic Christmas special "A Christmas Story" (set in Indiana) on family days throughout the holiday season. (Family days are December 3, 10 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
In addition, they have a display of Christmas scenes from the past, including a depiction of the "leg lamp" living room scene from the movie.
And, to top it off, you can buy A Christmas Story merchandise through the IHS store, including your very own "major award" leg lamp. (Click on the "A Christmas Story" link in the left column.) Rumor has it that at one time there was a snowglobe of Flick with his tongue stuck on the lamppost, but it's not in the store now.
Of course, if you don't want to visit the Historical Society, you can always turn on whatever television station it is that broadcasts the movie 24 hours a day on Christmas day, like my family does. I think the year that I saw the movie 8 times in the same day and no one would let me change the channel really changed the way I feel about it.
Maybe if I read the book (author Jean Shepard is an Indiana native who's books are also available in the store) I regain my fond feelings for Ralphie and his Red Ryder.
Sometimes a building style is so identified with its original business that it's hard to shake the association, even when the business is long gone. Here's our photo gallery of bad building conversions around Indianapolis. Let us know about the ones you've spotted around town...
This Indian Restaurant on east 38th Street doesn't disguise its former existence as a Pizza Hut very well.
Continue reading "Nice Try, Though"
Several members of the IndyScribe team have been perusing Indianapolis and Indiana literature during research for the writing we're doing, and for education and entertainment about the city we live in. Since we've been passing books around between us, I thought it might help us (and maybe you) to put together a list of books that have a Circle City connection.
Continue reading "Books about Indianapolis and Indiana"
Herron-Morton Place is an historic residential neighborhood in Downtown Indianapolis, comprising a 25 square block area just east of Meridian Street, and north of the bustling downtown area. It is beautiful, quiet, pedestrian-friendly, and is just close enough to downtown to walk or bike to major events, but just far enough north to be outside of busy downtown traffic.
Continue reading "Herron-Morton Place Neighborhood"
Long-time Indy residents vividly remember when Tony Kiritsis wired a sawed-off shotgun to the neck of Richard Hall and held the police at bay for 63 hours in February 1977. Kiritsis defaulted on a loan and blamed Hall, a mortgage broker. The ordeal ended peacefully, but not before Kiritsis ranted profanity on live television in an impassioned speech. Expecting a climatic end to the speech, many network TV stations pulled the plug. Kiritsis gave up, but not before firing the shotgun into the air to prove that it was loaded the entire time.
When I first moved to Indy a few years ago I wanted to get a book about the history of the city to help me get to know my new home town. I wanted to scratch under the surface and learn more about how the city became what it is today.
I was more than a little disappointed when I started my search for an Indianapolis history book; it seemed that every one I found was focused on the history of the Indianapolis 500. It appeared the city didn't have a history separate from the famous race.
Continue reading "Book Review: Indianapolis Then and Now"
John Wesley "Jack," "Pebbly Jack" Glasscock is considered by many to have been the best shortstop of the nineteenth century, earning him the accolade "King of the Shortstops." His contemporary, Al Spink, founder and editor of The Sporting News, wrote of Glasscock "he was acknowledged by all his fellow players to be the greatest in his position" and "one of the greatest players from a fielding standpoint the game has ever known."
Continue reading "Captain Jack Glasscock"
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