Home | About us | Support the show | Contact us | Archives | Listen

Hoosier History Live

Or mail a check to "Hoosier History Live" at P.O. Box 44393, Indianapolis IN 46244

Hoosier History Live is brought to you by:

 

Lucas Oil logo.

Story Inn logo.

Indiana Historical Society logo.

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.

Weekly podcasts now available! If you missed last week's show, just look for the podcast link below the Hoosier History Live banner at the top of this page.

Also, see below for outstanding older shows we've made available online for your listening pleasure! These shows and others are also available on our "Listen" page.

Early railroads in Indiana - April 1, 2017. Nelson is joined in studio by two guests, Andy Olson and Francis Parker, to explore the vital role played by railroads in the Hoosier state during the second half of the 19th century.

Shortridge High School history - March 4, 2017. To explore the rich history of Shortridge, Nelson is joined by four knowledgeable guests.

Live from Hoosier Homecoming - Oct. 15, 2016. Hoosier History Live was amid the hoopla at the Hoosier Homecoming bicentennial celebration at the Indiana Statehouse for a live broadcast as Nelson interviewed an array of attendees. Online audio underwritten by Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

World War II vets look back - June 4, 2016. Online audio underwritten by Gordon and Mark Dreyfus in honor of their parents, Walter N. and Catherine F. Dreyfus, both WWII veterans.

Persian/Iranian heritage in Indiana - Oct. 17, 2015. Online audio availability underwritten by ShowCase Realty.

Ernie Pyle and John Bartlow Martin, journalists - May 23, 2015. Online audio availability underwritten by Ernie Pyle World War II Museum.

HIV history in Indiana - April 25, 2015.

Guinness World Records and Hoosiers - Jan. 31, 2015.

James Whitcomb Riley: before he was famous - Nov. 22, 2014.

Historic women's groups - Oct. 25, 2014.

World War I and Indiana - Sept. 27, 2014.

From family grocers to supermarkets - July 19, 2014.

Victorian-era and ethnic holiday traditions - Dec. 21, 2013.

Winona Lake, Warsaw, orthopedics and Grace College - Aug. 31, 2013.

Former Indy Mayor Bill Hudnut - June 8, 2013.

Frank Lloyd Wright show - March 30, 2013.

L.S. Ayres and Company history - Jan. 19, 2013.

Full show descriptions are on the Archives page.

  Nelson Price at microphone, 2011.  

Welcome. Hoosier History Live is a weekly radio adventure through Indiana history, live with call-in, hosted by Nelson Price, historian and author of Indiana Legends and Indianapolis: Then and Now. Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Each week, the program includes a featured guest and topic, a call in from The Roadtripper with a tip about a Hoosier heritage-related road trip, and a Hoosier History Trivia question, complete with a prize for the correct answer. Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.It is the nation's first and only call-in talk-radio show about history, premiering as a live weekly show on Jan. 12, 2008.

Call-in number is (317) 788-3314.

The program airs live on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Time on WICR at 88.7 FM from the University of Indianapolis. You can listen to Hoosier History Live on WICR Online.

Books by Nelson Price

Book cover of The Quiet Hero, A Life of Ryan White, by Nelson Price.

Indiana Legends book cover.Book cover of Indianapolis Then and Now, 2016 edition, by Nelson Price and Joan Hostetler, featuring photos by Garry Chilluffo.

Email newsletter

Acknowledgments

Hoosier History Live thanks our partners who help the show to go on!

Monomedia
Website design, email marketing and PC consulting.

Fraizer Designs
Graphic design and illustration.

Visit Indy
Promoting Indy and providing us with wonderful prizes for our History Mystery contest, including museums, sporting venues and great places to dine.

WICR
Our anchor radio station, on the campus of University of Indianapolis.

Heritage Photo and Research Services

 

July 22, 2017 show

Little-known stories of Hoosiers in the Civil War

Letters written by Indiana children to their fathers who were dying on the front lines of the Civil War. Orphanages and homes for widows that were championed after the war by women civic leaders, including one who had served as a spy. (She escaped from a Confederate camp with a gun hidden in her skirts.)

A Copperhead grave robbery near Rochester, Ind.

And captured Confederate battle flags that helped expand collections of the Indiana State Museum, which had its humble origin as a cabinet of mineralogical samples assembled by State Librarian R. Deloss Brown in 1862.

They are among the little-known Civil War stories involving Hoosiers that are described in a new book we will explore during our show. Nelson's guests will be three Civil War experts who have contributed to the new book, A Cabinet of Curiosities from the Civil War in Indiana: Important, Moving, and Sometimes Odd Stories of the Human Side of the War (Hawthorne Publishing). The guests will be:

  • Nancy Baxter, the author of 11 books about Indiana history and the editor of the new book.
  • Steve Towne, the archivist at IUPUI and an expert on Copperhead activity and spies in Indiana.
  • And Dale Ogden, the recently retired chief curator of cultural history at the State Museum, which has an array of Civil War-era photos and artifacts.

Nancy BaxterThe State Museum's artifacts include a 90-pound shell fired by Confederates at the 18th Indiana Light Artillery, which was led by then-Captain Eli Lilly. The shell was unidentified until recent years.

After its establishment during the Civil War, the State Museum quickly became the repository of Confederate regiments' flags captured by Indiana soldiers. During the early 1960s, Gov. Matthew Welsh decided the captured flags should be returned to the South.

Indiana sent nearly 210,000 men and teenage boys to fight for the Union cause, the second highest percentage of any Northern state in proportion to its population. As A Cabinet of Curiosities notes, diseases such as dysentery and typhoid fever in the soldiers' camps killed far more Hoosiers than battle.

At some of the camps, Lovina Streight of Indianapolis joined her husband (who rose to become a brigadier general) and his troops. She nursed wounded soldiers and spent time as a spy.

Steve TowneA Cabinet of Curiosities describes how after the Civil War, Mrs. Streight and other women became benefactors of soldiers' widows and orphans in Indiana. Mrs. Streight was buried with full military honors in a ceremony at Crown Hill Cemetery attended by 5,000 people.

The grave robbing near Rochester involved the return of a Union Army soldier's body to Fulton County, where he had been a prosperous farmer.

As our guest Steve Towne recounts in A Cabinet of Curiosities, the soldier's widow wanted to see her husband's corpse. But his coffin, a metal box, could not be pried open. Southern sympathizers in the community speculated the coffin contained ammunition - resulting in their efforts to dig it up. During our show, Steve will explain what unfolded.

Nelson and his guests also will explore the bizarre "Battle of Pogue's Run" in Indianapolis. An urban stream with stretches that disappear into the city's sewer system (parts of the 11-mile creek were rerouted underground after the Civil War), Pogue's Run "played its part in Copperhead agitation midway through the war," as A Cabinet of Curiosities puts it.

Dale OgdenThe conflict - not truly a "battle" - unfolded when Democrats, many of them Southern sympathizers, held their state convention in Indianapolis in 1863. Delegates and Union soldiers clashed. Then, dozens of the delegates boarded trains with their weapons and fired shots out of the windows.

After soldiers stopped the trains to confiscate the guns, Copperheads threw as many as 1,000 revolvers into Pogue's Run. (Hoosier History Live explored Pogue's Run during a show titled Bygone Natural Landmarks in July 2016.)

The Confederate regimental flags captured by Indiana soldiers - and stored for decades at the State Museum - were returned to the South amid much fanfare during the early 1960s by Gov. Welsh. They are now housed in a museum in Little Rock, Ark.

History Mystery

In addition to being called Copperheads, Southern sympathizers in Indiana and other Northern states during the Civil War were often called by another name. The name also was used to refer to Confederate soldiers in general. That's because the one-word nickname was derived from the color of the uniforms that Confederate soldiers often wore.

Question: What is the nickname?

Hint: The uniform color that inspired it is not gray, although that was a standard color for Confederate soldiers, particularly during the final years of the Civil War.

The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call in to 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, and you must answer the question on the air. The prize is a Family 4-Pack to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, including four rides on the 1859 Balloon Voyage, courtesy of Conner Prairie, and two admissions to the Indiana History Center, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.

Roadtrip: Gravity Hill near Mooresville

Guest Roadtripper and educator Ken Marshall says we should explore Gravity Hill near Mooresville to determine if, as the story has gone for decades, cars and other earth-bound objects will defy gravity and roll uphill there.

Explanations abound: Is it an optical illusion in which the road is actually going down although it looks like it is going up? Is it a huge magnetic field of some type, pulling objects counter to Newton's law of universal gravitation? Or does a Native American mystic buried at the top of the hill exert a magical influence over the area?

To explore the phenomenon of Gravity Hill, you can watch WFYI's Across Indiana segment exploring the eerie phenomenon. The story was produced by Dave Stoelk and features Mooresville historian Don Adams, a former Hoosier History Live guest, as well as physics professor Bennett Brabson of Indiana University. If your curiosity still isn't sated, you can learn more about Gravity Hill from a file of news clippings provided by Mooresville Public Library.

To investigate the phenomenon first-hand, take a road trip to Gravity Hill yourself. Plug in the following address to Google maps or your preferred GPS gadget: 705 Keller Hill Rd., Mooresville, Ind. 46158. If you're coming from Indianapolis, the route will take you west on I-70; turn south on Highway 267, go southwest on S.R. 42 in Mooresville, and then turn west on Keller Hill Road, which is also County Road 1200 North.

If you do go to investigate in person, be careful to watch for cars coming up and down those funny hills!

Spotlight: WICR student engineer Skylar Sigman

Although Hoosier History Live host Nelson Price and his guest experts get all the glory, a live call-in radio show takes a good deal of behind-the-scenes labor to stay on the air. We are very grateful to a rotating group of outstanding communications students at WICR at UIndy, under the leadership of program director Henri Pensis, for providing this support.

UIndy communications student Skylar Sigman of Monticello, Ind., takes calls from the listeners of Hoosier History Live.
Courtesy Molly Head/Hoosier History Live.Meet one of those students, senior Skylar Sigman, from Monticello, Ind., who says that "Most of the calls into Hoosier History Live are good, and it's fun!"

Skylar did say he took extra care in screening the calls for our July 9 show on "Brothels and streetwalkers in pre-1920 Indy," wary that the unorthodox topic might attract some jokesters (a fear that proved unfounded: all our calls that day were respectful!)

As producer Molly Head says, "We insist on being a gentleperson's show. That goes for our guests, hosts, and callers. We'd like to be a fresh alternative to the talk-radio vitriol out there. Besides, you might learn a thing or two while you are tuning in!"

We'd like to encourage more callers to phone in during the show and pose their questions or comments to Nelson and his guests. Don't be shy! You'll have to give your first name to Skylar or another student engineer and will be asked to wait a few moments on hold until Nelson can take your call, but we'd love to hear your thoughts on the day's topic.

 

July 29, 2017 show - upcoming

Massachusetts Avenue in Indy history

This 1906 advertisement in the Indianapolis Star was part of the efforts of George Marott, one of the city’s wealthiest businessmen, to promote the shopping district where he had just built a five-story building. 
Courtesy Historic Indianapolis.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the diagonal Indianapolis street running through the northeast quadrant of the Mile Square was a vibrant retail and commercial district.

By the mid-1900s, however, Massachusetts Avenue was known for fortune tellers and merchants who sold trinkets in struggling storefront shops. Dive bars eventually replaced many of these, along with boarded-up windows and vacant storefronts. By the 1980s, art galleries and "urban pioneer" merchants were popping up and the street was regaining some of its former panache.

Today, "Mass Ave" is one of the most bustling, pedestrian-packed areas of the state, with an eight-block stretch providing a home to more than 40 restaurants. Condos, apartments and a range of retailers add to the vibrancy. More rejuvenation is on the horizon, with a massive, $260 million renovation project planned for a former Coca-Cola bottling plant constructed in 1931 in the avenue's 800 block.

To explore the colorful history of Massachusetts Avenue, Nelson will be joined in studio by guests including:

  • David Andrichik, an architect who purchased the Chatterbox Jazz Club in 1982 when the landmark was known as Chatterbox Tavern. Located in the 400 block, the tavern opened in the late 1930s. More recently, the Chatterbox has emerged as "a vital cog in the decades-old renaissance that has resulted in a more-vibrant-than-ever Mass Ave," as a cover story in the July issue of Urban Times puts it.
  • And Connie Zeigler, a historian, writer and columnist for Urban Times, a monthly newspaper serving downtown Indy. Connie is the owner of C. Resources Inc., a preservation consulting and research firm; she owned a vintage furnishings shop on Mass Ave in the 1990s.

In addition to boutiques, public artwork and restaurants serving cuisines ranging from Irish, Thai and Scottish to gourmet hamburgers, seafood and fried chicken, Mass Ave also has landmark buildings and businesses that are more than 100 years old. They include Stout's Shoes (the oldest shoe store in the country) and the Athenaeum, the German-American cultural center built in the 1890s; it houses the Rathskeller, the city's oldest restaurant. During the early 1900s, Marott's Department Store in the 300 block opened in a building that later was renamed Marott Center (not to be confused with the Murat Temple, now renamed the Old National Center, the oldest extant theatrical venue in downtown Indianapolis, located at the corner of Mass Ave, Michigan Street, and New Jersey Street).

Although storefronts along the avenue declined in the 1940s and '50s, Massachusetts Avenue remained busy with motorists: before the construction of interstate highways during the 1960s, thousands of northeast side residents used the diagonal thoroughfare as a major artery to commute downtown.

They would have passed the distinctive Coca-Cola bottling plant, which has an Art Deco exterior of white terra cotta. When the building opened during the Great Depression, it was considered the world's largest bottling plant. Like Mass Ave itself, the structure has had a colorful history, serving as a storage facility for vintage automobiles in the 1960s, and later as a central kitchen, bus depot and training center for Indianapolis Public Schools.

The massive redevelopment project is expected to include retail shops, apartments, movie theaters and a boutique hotel.

 

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!

To Whom it May Concern:

Last Spring, my wife and I were interviewed by Nelson Price on his Hoosier History radio program, as authors of frontier and Native American history books. Mr. Price's program was so well prepared and conducted that we feel it should be made available to students and general audiences as widely as possible. His program is well-researched, all questions pertinent to the chosen theme, and moves along briskly. Listeners called in with questions and comments that were intelligent and relevant, a sign of an avid audience.

As historical writers, we try to overcome the public's indifference to history, to bring alive in any way we can the important lessons of the past, and are enthusiastic about programs and writings that make those lessons interesting. The Hoosier History Live program does that so well that we hope to see it broadcast far and wide over this historically significant State of Indiana. It is an excellent program, worthy of extensive distribution and strong support.

James Alexander Thom & Dark Rain Thom, authors
Bloomington, Indiana
July 14, 2011

Help keep Hoosier history alive!

Thanks for your support

No, we're not going to rattle a tin cup, but if you'd like to be among those individuals and sponsors who value the fresh perspective that Hoosier History Live offers, please consider clicking the big yellow "Donate" button above, or visit our website's "Support the show" page and make a contribution.

Or, 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

Your support goes toward our ongoing expenses, including website hosting, email marketing software, audio editing, audio archiving and a long list of other items that a media team of any size must have to keep operations going.

We are a small creative/technical group that keeps our history-journalism reporter, Nelson Price, working - creating an Indiana-history archive that grows each week in heft and value. Nelson gets the interviews, and he gets the facts right.

We have produced more than 400 episodes - and counting - of original Indiana history journalism.

We are swimming against the tide, in a media landscape where ethical and objective reporting, without bias, has for the most part fallen by the wayside.

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 molly@hoosierhistorylive.org, or (317) 927-9101, or Garry Chilluffo, our media+development director, at gchill@hoosierhistorylive.org.

Thanks again to recent individual contributors: Suzann Owen, Roz Wolen, Carol Bacon, Michael J. Quinn, Sr., Jinsie Bingham, Jennifer Smith, Theresa and David Berghoff, Stacia Gorge, Sally Cook, Margaret Smith, Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, John and Diana Iozzo, Margaret Smith, Tom and Linda Castaldi (Fort Wayne), Peggy Hollingsworth (Connersville), Jane "Janie" Hodge, Lorraine and Richard Vavul, Kathleen Angelone, Richard Vonnegut, Jim and Marjorie Kienle, Georgia Cravey and Jim Lingenfelter, Dennis Arbuckle, Rita Kohn, Don Willsey and Judy O'Bannon, John and Lena Snethen, Juliet Emanuel (New York City), Sharon Butsch Freeland, Daniel Craig, Chuck and Cheryl Hazelrigg, Stacia Gorge, and Jill Chambers.

Please consider taking a moment to support our unique-in-the-world content. No, we are not a non-profit organization - perhaps soon; that is an ongoing discussion - so we are not in a position to offer a tax deduction. Rather, we are simply a tiny corps of Indiana creators, private citizens who each week create an original radio show, newsletter and website about our great state's history.

Your support is our only support!

 

Volunteers needed

Listening-group host opportunity

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 molly@hoosierhistorylive.org, and please include your phone number.

Shows, we got shows

We have more than 400 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.

What people are saying about Hoosier History Live

"Hoosier History Live does more to promote Indiana history than does any single source."

Andrea Neal, Indianapolis author and educator

"Hoosier History Live is a fun and interesting way to learn about the heart and soul of Indiana. No boring classes or books here! The production team does an outstanding job."

Judy O'Bannon, civic leader and public broadcasting producer

"The folks at Hoosier History Live are able to find great stories and the people to tell them - people and stories that you seldom hear on the national air."

Dr. James H. Madison, author and Indiana University history professor

"As museums and educational institutions scramble to make their offerings more interactive, more entertaining and more 'relevant' to today's digitally obsessed consumers, Hoosier History Live seems to have mastered that formula."

Glynis Worley, rural Bartholomew County listener

"Hoosier History Live is a perfect place to consider and reconsider history ... not just what happened in the past, but what it may mean in the present. Nelson Price is the perfect host: enthusiastic, curious and knowledgeable. Tune in to Hoosier History Live and be prepared to be surprised."

James Still, playwright in residence, Indiana Repertory Theatre

"Hoosier History Live is a fantastic opportunity for people to not only learn about history, but also become a part of the conversation. Much like our mission, the telling of Indiana's stories, Nelson and his guests wonderfully connect people to the past!"

John Herbst
President and CEO, Indiana Historical Society

"The links on the Friday Hoosier History Live enewsletter are a great way to learn more about history, and from a variety of sources."

Jill Ditmire
Omni Media Specialist

"Distilling life experience into stories is an art. Telling stories of life experience for Hoosiers past and present will shape the lives of young people and enrich the lives of all in our state. Mr. Nelson Price brings alive the life experience of notable Hoosiers in Hoosier History Live."

David T. Wong, Ph.D., President
DT Wong Consulting, LLC
Former Lilly research scientist who developed Prozac

"Nelson Price, more than anyone I know, infuses joy into the pursuit of history. And that joy rings out loud and clear on the radio show, Hoosier History Live."

Marsh Davis
President, Indiana Landmarks

"No, I haven't heard of another call-in talk radio show about history. Our airwaves are now full of the worst vitriol! Give me the phone number for the show. I want to call in!"

Ken Burns, speaking at a preview of his film "The War" at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, April 18, 2007

 

Home | About us | Support the show | Contact us | Archives | Listen

© 2008-2017 Hoosier History Live. All rights reserved.