Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast. And, beginning this week, you can join our new listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show.
You are invited!
Anniversary soiree rescheduled for Feb. 18 due to winter storm warning
We at Hoosier History Live! are delighted to invite you to our 2nd anniversary party, now scheduled for 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 (instead of Feb. 5) due to the winter storm warning for Indianapolis.
As we celebrate two years on the air, please do stop by the Morris-Butler House at 1204 N. Park Ave. in Indianapolis for birthday cake and cupcakes, History Mystery questions with prizes, and a demo of our new website with an ever-growing audio library.
We thank Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana for hosting.
And do please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 6 show
Terre Haute in the 1920s
With our rotating series about town histories, we typically don't focus exclusively on a single decade. This show will be an exception because Nelson's guest – Tom Roznowski, a musician and radio personality – has spent years researching a new book with an unusual format that's as much a social history of American life in the 1920s as it is a close-up look at Terre Haute.
Written in the form of an old-fashioned city directory – and using Terre Haute's 1927 Polk Directory as a starting point – An American Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana 1927 (Indiana University Press) examines the city on the Wabash River that in 1927 had 400 grocery stores, three daily newspapers, speakeasies, cigar stores and a self-sufficiency that meant, as Tom puts it, more than 40 percent of the food consumed came from area farms.
He also notes most music was heard live, with four theaters in Terre Haute maintaining house orchestras in 1927, upright pianos in most living rooms, and radio sets just beginning to "pre-empt" entertainment. Through vignettes of individual residents' stories – ranging from a local teacher and a fashion editor to a boxer, a chicken plucker and an inn keep – his book also depicts disturbing aspects of Terre Haute life in 1927. Those include the segregation of blacks into a neighborhood derisively called "Baghdad" and the disdain for destitute residents of an institution known as the County Poor Farm in an era before Social Security and worker's comp.
Although Tom is based in Bloomington, where he hosts a radio show on WFIU-FM, he long ago began immersing himself in Terre Haute of the 1920s, an era when the country was, as he puts it, "completing the transition of a rural nation into an urbanized one." Many of the social changes are reflected in the vignettes captured in his book. Observations and insights from An American Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana 1927 include:
- Horse-drawn vehicles were still a common sight in downtown Terre Haute in 1927. Milk delivery wagons, farm wagons loaded with produce, and peddlers with wagons relied primarily on horses. As a result, the major duties of a resident who listed his job as "street cleaner" in the city directory would have involved cleaning up after horses.
- An extensive mass transit system during the 1920s included electric trolleys that carried about 30,000 passengers daily in Terre Haute.
- The Ku Klux Klan had regular, weekly marches down Wabash Street in Terre Haute in 1927 and supported two local chapters. A veterinarian, whom Tom describes as "bald and bespectacled," reaped local publicity when he was named the Imperial Wizard.
- Among more than 100 physicians in the city in 1927, only one was a woman.
- Boarding houses and rooming houses, often owned by widows, were still prevalent. According to Tom, boarding houses would gradually be phased out because of zoning regulations, occupancy restrictions and insurance requirements.
- "The nearby Wabash River – a repeated subject of story and song – was an integral part of the city's identity. Excursion boats carried passengers to picnic grounds and wooded retreats."
A little thing called the Super Bowl
Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA will be calling in from the Super Bowl action in Miami and will be suggesting the best fan gathering spots for listeners for Sunday night's game. Of course we expect to see our Indianapolis Colts make Hoosier History! again with a second Super Bowl win!
Speaking of the Colts, did you know that the Hoosier History Live! audio library includes an interview with Mark Herrmann, currently of the NCAA, who played quarterback for the Colts in both Baltimore and Indianapolis? This show aired originally on Feb. 2, 2008, and Mark talked about Colts history in Indianapolis, and the history of the RCA (formerly Hoosier) Dome. This show aired while the RCA Dome was still standing, and before the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Wouldn't you like to be able to hear the Mark Herrmann show on the Hoosier History Live! website? Friends, remember that we are an independently produced show and are self-supporting through sponsorships and individual contributions. For a small sponsorship amount, you can sponsor the podcast of the Mark Herrmann show, or any other show, on our website, and you'll get a credit on the podcast. For details, contact Molly Head, or see "Support us" on our website.
History Mystery question - redux
Lincoln speech at Indianapolis hotel
The History Mystery is a carry-over from last week, when there was no correct answer during the show.
In February 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln traveled through Indianapolis en route from Illinois to Washington D.C. for his inauguration. During his stay in the Hoosier capital, the president-elect delivered a speech that made national news. Lincoln made the speech to thousands of Hoosiers from the balcony of a hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The hotel, located on the corner of Washington and Illinois streets, was demolished in 1901.
Question: Name the historic hotel. Hint: It was not the Claypool Hotel, which opened in 1902 on the former site of the historic hotel where Lincoln spoke. A listener last week incorrectly guessed the Claypool.
The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call in if you have won a prize on WICR within the last two months. The prize is a gift certificate to Easley Winery, courtesy of the ICVA.
Your friends in Hoosierdom,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Armstrong Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Richard Sullivan, tech and web director
Garry Chilluffo, online editor
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.
Acknowledgments to Scott Keller Fine Art and Antiques Appraisals, Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia Inc., Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek, and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.
Feb. 13 show:
Medical treatments of early settlers
To help cure a family member struggling with a disorder, would you serve a delicacy known as fried mice pie? Believe it or not, that was a treatment suggested to pioneers in the Old Northwest Territory, including early Indiana.
To find out what disorder the repulsive-sounding pie was supposed to cure, you will have to tune in to the show. Nelson will be joined in studio by Hoosier storyteller Sue Grizzell, who has extensively researched medical "treatments" practiced during the late 1700s and early 1800s, often using archives at the Indiana Historical Society.
In fact, the IHS and Storytelling Arts Indiana recently commissioned Sue to put together a presentation she titled "Root Doctors, Midwives and Fried Mice Pie: Medicine in Early Indiana." She has uncovered the story of a so-called "root doctor" who was run out of early Connersville, for example.
According to Sue, many of the bizarre or crude early folk remedies were the result of desperation on the frontier. "Early Hoosiers only occasionally had access to doctors. ... They mostly lived in isolation, faced economic uncertainty and practiced self-sufficiency as much as possible."
A lifelong storyteller, Sue has collaborated with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on various projects; in 2002, her story "Porch Swings and Prairie Wings" became part of the "Sharing Hoosier History Through Stories" series. You won't want to miss this fascinating show, during which Sue will explain how our ancestors dealt with ailments and terrifying illnesses such as malaria and cholera.
Visit our website!
Our newly revamped website is chock-full of Hoosier history, including details of past and upcoming Hoosier History Live! shows. We are gradually adding a richer audio section with full-length shows for your listening pleasure. Recently added:
- Old National Road - U.S. 40 - With guest James Glass, Aug. 1, 2009.
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher's colorful life - With public historian Glory-June Greiff, May 16, 2009.
- Winter survival skills of pioneers and Native Americans - With guest Jim Willaert of Conner Prairie, Jan. 10, 2009.
- A town under water: Elkinsville - With long-ago Elkinsville residents Forrest, Carol, Connie and Brenda Lucas, June 7, 2008.
There's treasure buried everywhere in the Hoosier History Live! website — and ironies ...
In the Elkinsville show audiocast (in bold above), you can hear the thunder and lightning in the background. It was recorded from 11:30 a.m. to noon on the day of the June 6, 2008 flood. The basement of the home of one of the sisters was flooded when she came up from Columbus, Indiana to Indy to do the show, and it took the sisters something like 10 hours to drive back down. And all for a show called "Elkinsville: A Town Under Water."
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