Thursday, February 14, 2013

Irvington – Jewel of Indy’s Eastside

Irvington is a historic neighborhood on Indianapolis’ eastside. The beautiful homes of Irvington, mostly built from the 1880s to the 1930s, housed residents who worked a wide variety of professions. Grocery store owners, journalists, writers, artists, railroad officials, engineers from Indianapolis’ once thriving auto factories, academics, politicians and military officials.

It was also the home of Butler University from 1875 to 1928.

The winding, tree-lined streets make Irvington one of the most scenic neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

The Bona Thompson Memorial Center served as Butler's library from 1901 through 1928 and is now home to Irvington's historic archives. It’s the only surviving building from the old Butler University campus. The center houses a permanent collection of the Irvington Group of Artists, including such names as William Forsyth, Clifton Wheeler, Dorothy Morlan and Helen Hibben, of whom some were contemporaries of such Hoosier Group greats as T.C. Steele. It also features rotating exhibits of contemporary work by central Indiana artists, historical displays, dramatic readings, book talks and guided tours of Irvington. Below are items featured in the center.

The foyer to the Bona Thompson Memorial Center.

A model of Butler’s campus circa 1914. It’s a shame these beautiful structures didn’t survive. It’s been said that IPS was offered the campus to form Irvington High School. It would have been much like Arsenal Technical High School in having a large campus with multiple structures. IPS turned down the offer and the buildings were razed in the 1920s and a neighborhood built on the site.

One of the rooms displaying art in the center.

A vintage railroad flagman’s hat. The Pennsylvania Railroad used to run through the middle of Irvington. The community had even had a train station. Hawthorne Yards is just to the south of Irvington and at one time employed many of the area’s residents.

A caboose lantern found along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

Howe High School memorabilia.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ohio River Autumn

A drive along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana is especially beautiful during fall. This is a just west of Madison in mid-October.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Narrow-leaved purple coneflower

Purple coneflowers growing along a rural road in southeastern Indiana. Legend has it that native American discovered medicinal purposes for the flower. It’s said to prevent the flu and respiratory diseases. Native Americans learned of the properties of the plant by observing elk seeking out the flower and consuming them when sick or wounded.  Native Americans identified the plants as "elk root"

Moscow, Indiana's rebuilt covered bridge.

On June 3, 2008 an F3 tornado ripped through Moscow, Indiana and the town's historic covered bridge was torn from its piers and thrown into to creek bed of the Big Flatrock River. Volunteers came together to rebuild the bridge at Moscow. This is how the bridge looked in October of 2011.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Central Indiana's Swampy Woodlands

Central Indiana was settled much later than southern Indiana. One of the biggest reasons was the swampy woodlands that dominated the area. For much of the spring and early summer in pre-settlement days this is the way central Indiana looked. In addition to making travel difficult, the stagnant swamps promoted mosquito-born diseases. Today few areas of the swamp woodlands remain. Most areas have been drained over the years by a large network of ditches.
Swampy woodlands dominated central Indiana in pre-settlement days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Headwaters of the Wabash

The headwaters of the Wabash River.
The mighty Wabash is just a tiny stream at
its source south of Fort Recovery, Ohio.
The Wabash River is the largest river in Indiana. Many songs and poems have been written about the lazy river that meanders its way from northeast to southwest across the state. Numerous towns sprang up on its banks; the river providing both a reliable water supply and an early mode of transportation for crops, produce and livestock produced in its fertile valley.

The Wabash is without doubt Indiana’s river, even though its mighty waters start modestly in the state of Ohio. This is a photo of the headwaters of the Wabash taken at its source just south of Fort Recovery, Ohio.

While Hoosiers will always claim the Wabash their own, we should offer thanks to our eastern neighbors for giving us such a great gift.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Indiana’s High Point: Hoosier Hill

Perhaps one of the more humorous places to visit in Indiana is Hoosier Hill, the highest point in Indiana. Before you break out your climbing gear you should know that you can drive your car right up to a little parking spot just a few feet away from the highest point in the state of Indiana. There’s a short path that leads to a picnic table where you can take in the glorious views.

The truth is there are no views because Indiana’s high point is in a small patch of woods and it only rises a few feet above the surrounding countryside. If you’re a high pointer you can easily visit Ohio’s highest point just east of Bellefontaine, only about 80 miles east of here.

To get to Indiana’s high point take Highway 227 north out of Richmond, Indiana, about 13 miles to County Road 1100S. Turn left (west), go to the first road Elliott Rd.and turn left (south) again. The little patch of woods you see on the right-hand side of the road is where Hoosier Hill is located. There’s a small parking lane just on the southern part of the woods patch.

Be sure to sign the visitors register. There are humorous quotes in the book, things like – “We made it. What a climb!” or “Can’t stay long- forgot oxygen mask.”
This is what you’ll see at the summit of Hoosier Hill.

The “spectacular” view from the parking lane of Hoosier Hill.