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 or you can join our new listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show.
March 6 show
Danville town history
On Good Friday of 1948, the town was devastated by a tornado that flattened almost everything in its path. By that time, the Hendricks County town of Danville for generations had been the home of Central Normal College, which brought prestige to the community. Never heard of it? Unaware that Danville in 1878 "stole" the entire school – including equipment, faculty, students and baggage – from the town of Ladoga?
Find out more during the next show in our rotating series about Indiana towns that already has explored Fort Wayne, Greensburg, Greenfield, Sheridan and many others. Nelson will be joined in studio by Danville lawyer and civic leader Jeff Baldwin, the author of Danville, a visual history published last year as part of Arcadia Books' Images of America series. A lifelong resident of the town founded in 1824 as the county seat of Hendricks County, Jeff writes that evidence of the 1948 tornado still is discovered when digging in many yards. "Pieces of tin roof and glass from that day," he says, "are turned up with a shovel."
On a more lighthearted topic, he points out that Danville found itself in the national spotlight a few years ago when a mysterious "Danville Turkey" showed up in the middle of Main Street and stopped traffic by strutting back and forth for days. The turkey could not be shot because it was not in season. As a protected animal, it also could not be adopted.
Needless to say, there's much turf to cover as we explore the heritage of the town that once was home to perhaps the heaviest married couple in the country (they toured with P.T. Barnum's circus) as well as an Indiana governor during the 1890s who refused to relocate to Indianapolis and instead took a passenger train daily. Tune in to find out his justification for not moving from Danville.
We also will explore the impact of Central Normal College, which specialized in training teachers. There were no dorms or fraternity houses, so most students roomed with local families. That meant the construction of spacious homes with multiple entrances – and, as Jeff puts it, "a lifestyle that we now would call upscale" for many Danville residents until the college closed in 1951. (At the turn of the last century, Central Normal had trained more teachers than IU, Purdue, and the forerunners of Ball State and Indiana State combined, according to Jeff's book.)
And then there's the Mayberry Cafe, a diner in Danville that pays tribute to the classic TV series The Andy Griffith Show. A popular tourist destination, the cafe is easy to find. Just look for the unattended squad car parked nearby.
Chris Gahl of the ICVA says "All aboard! Make tracks with the presidential train!" He'll suggest that we head to the President Benjamin Harrison Home on March 23 to participate in Benjamin Harrison Day.
Harrison was our centennial president, inaugurated 100 years after George Washington. It's timely to visit, as the home is also hosting a unique exhibit chronicling presidential travel by rail, including the journeys of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, Hayes, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. In addition, the exhibit includes many items from the hundreds of gifts presented to Benjamin Harrison's party when making its 10,000-mile train trip in 1891 to the West Coast.
History Mystery question
One of Indiana's best-known contemporary authors grew up in Danville and continues to live there today. The author, a Quaker minister, writes nationally distributed books that include a series of folksy, humorous vignettes set in the fictional town of Harmony; it is quite similar to Danville. In addition, the author also writes theological books and is a popular speaker across the country.
Question: Name the contemporary author based in Danville.
The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a pair of tickets to the President Benjamin Harrison Home, courtesy of the President Harrison Home.
Your friends in Hoosierdom,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly 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, 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.
March 13 show
Traveling in time down the White River
Jim Willaert, guest experience general manager at Conner Prairie, will take us on a tour in time down the west fork of the White River in Central Indiana. Bereft of mountains and seashores (although you will incorrectly see mountains in the 1956 movie Friendly Persuasion starring Gary Cooper, set in Indiana during the Civil War), the Wahehani once boasted 12 or more Delaware settlements along the river between what is now 96th Street in Indianapolis and Muncie.
Beyond the Native American connection to the river, Jim will take us through the progression of European settlers arriving in flatboats. He will tell us a bit about the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836, which provided for making rivers more navigable, as well as for construction of canals, roads and railroads, but it also nearly drove the state bankrupt. And did you know that much of the proud early citizenry of Indianapolis, from the 1820s right up until after the Civil War, firmly believed that Indianapolis could be a thriving river port? They thought White River could handle steamboat and barge traffic coming up from the Wabash. We'll hear about a couple of accidents and disasters.
More recently, the White River fish kill downstream from Anderson in December of 1999 brought further attention to the need to preserve and protect one of Central Indiana's most precious natural resources, the White River. Tune in next week to learn more.
Two years on the air and going strong
Proudly two years (on the air) old, Hoosier History Live! celebrated on Feb. 18 with a soiree at Morris-Butler House in Indianapolis. Party attendees enjoyed cake and refreshments and got to meet and greet fellow history lovers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Several on-air guests made appearances, including Sue Grizzell, Chris Connolly, Bo Connor and Rita Rose.
Host Nelson Price, producer Molly Head and event sponsor Marsh Davis of Historic Landmarks gave brief talks, and Nelson quizzed participants on Hoosier history, with prizes to several winners. Webmaster Richard Sullivan of Monomedia presented a slide show featuring some photos from the program's two-year history and some tidbits about the making of the show and the website.
As we progress into our third year on the air, we continue to build an impressive online audio archive, with 105 shows available to be put on our website as audio files. We are doing this gradually, with some shows already published, but we sure could use some sponsorship assistance as we edit and publish audio for each archived show. Take a look at the master list on our home page 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!, email or call Molly Head at (317) 927-9101 for more info.
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