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Some historical context for the coronavirus pandemic

News that the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus has reached the status of a global pandemic has caused fear and panic across the world. 

And while the reality of the flu-like virus, also known as Covid-19, is likely to be something less than apocalyptic, the threat it poses is certainly worthy of serious attention.

Does history offer any lessons in taking on the challenges of a viral threat? Hoosier History Live invites you to listen to the podcast of our show on Epidemics in Indiana History, which originally aired in 2015 amid intense concerns about the Ebola virus. 

Host Nelson Price and his guests discuss not only the infamous 1918 flu epidemic that killed millions worldwide (including many in Indiana), but lesser-known outbreaks of such diseases as cholera, tuberculosis, polio, and AIDS, as well as the measures that were taken to control their spread.

Click here to listen to the podcast!


April 4, 2020 - coming up

Tree planting crusades in Indy, beginning in 1850s

Volunteers with the Keep Indianapolis Tree Tenders program practice the art of urban forestry. Courtesy Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

Ed FujawaBecause April includes Earth Day, Hoosier History Live will take the opportunity to explore tree planting crusades in Indianapolis, which have far deeper "roots" than many folks assume.

Clear back in the 1850s - when the pioneer era wasn't even a distant memory and the Hoosier capital was not yet 40 years old - some residents were concerned about the loss of the city's tree canopy. In the spring of 1858, they organized the Shade Tree Association of Indianapolis to beautify the rapidly growing urban area with trees.

Nelson's guest, Indianapolis attorney Ed Fujawa, has researched their crusade - as well as subsequent, periodic efforts to increase the city's tree canopy - for his blog about Indy history, Class 900. Ed is vice president of the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association and a member of the Meridian Street Preservation Commission.

This bur oak in the eastside neighborhood of Irvington, known as the "Kile Oak," is regarded as the oldest tree in the city of Indianapolis.He notes the Shade Tree Association - which encouraged the planting of locust trees, maple trees and other hardy species - "fizzled as quickly as it appeared." Even so, Ed adds: "Interestingly, locust trees are still prominent throughout downtown, including around Monument Circle."

Flash forward to the spring of 1990. That's when the city of Indy launched a Trees for Tomorrow program, a local version of a national endeavor kicked off by then-President George H.W. Bush. He visited Indianapolis to plant an American elm tree.

"It was a descendant of a tree planted in the 1820s during the presidency of John Quincy Adams," Ed writes on his Class 900 blog. "The tree was planted in what turned into Presidential Place Park, a pocket park adjacent to the present-day Julia M. Carson Transit Center. The tree is still there."

In recent decades, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has spearheaded the plantings of thousands of trees across the city.

A sampling of history facts:

  • Calvin Fletcher, the most prominent civic and business leader in early Indianapolis, was heavily involved in the Shade Tree Association.
  • Class 900, the name for Ed Fujawa's blog, is derived from the Dewey Decimal classification used by libraries. History-related books typically are found in the 900 section.
  • The oldest tree in Indianapolis is generally considered to be a bur oak in the eastside Irvington neighborhood. Known as the Kile Oak because a family named Kile owned the property during the early 1900s, the tree may be about 400 years old, according to the Irvington Historical Society.



Want to support Hoosier History Live?

We offer a permanent and growing archive of quality online content, including easily accessible podcasts available a week after live air. Thanks to associate producer Mick Armbruster for directing our online audio distribution.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, click here or call Molly Head at (317) 927-9101. Sponsorship includes logos and links on our enewsletter and website, and voiced credits in the show. You can also of course make an individual contribution on the yellow "Donate" button on the left side of this page. Support local journalism!


Hoosier History Live has been providing e-learning for 12 years

With concerns about the coronavirus keeping kids home from school, we're hearing that parents and educators are making use of Hoosier History Live as a teaching tool. 

Students can research the week's upcoming show on our website, listen to the live broadcast, and perhaps even call in to solve the History Mystery or contribute a question or comment. 

We know that kids learn best when the material is relevant, engaging and interactive. After more than a decade of putting on a popular weekly radio show, we think we've got those qualities nailed!

Parents and teachers: if you're looking for more history lessons for your young scholars, we encourage you to look over our huge archive of past shows, many of which are available as podcasts. The archive is searchable, and you're certain to find topics that will fascinate listeners of all ages.

If you appreciate all that Hoosier History Live is doing to educate, enliven, and elevate the public discourse in Indiana, please consider a contribution by clicking here or on the yellow "Donate" button below. 

And finally, a big thanks to WICR for providing the dedicated student engineers who allow us to broadcast live on Saturdays at noon. Even during these times of "social distancing" and "shelter in place," these hard-working UIndy students keep important information and ideas flowing over the airwaves.


Get involved with Hoosier History live!

Would you like to contribute prizes for our History Mystery? It's a great public relations move for your business or organization. Hoosier History Live listeners are an educated, sophisticated bunch - just the kind of customers or supporters you'd like to reach.

If you would like to contribute a History Mystery prize, we prefer items that can be mailed in a standard business envelope, such as a gift certificate or tickets.

Also, we are looking for a downtown or southside (near UIndy) restaurant that would like to host our show guests for lunch about 1:30 pm Saturdays after the live show. In exchange we will offer show underwriting.

And finally, if you would like to start a listening group to listen to the live show Saturday from noon to 1, it's a fun way to get people into your business or organization. Great for libraries, small businesses, and senior centers, too.  All you need is a quiet room and a listening device. And an organizer.

Interested in any of these ideas? Contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for details.



Feedback from our supporters


"... a compelling and engaging media project..."

"Molly Head and Nelson Price are Indiana-based visionaries who have created a compelling and engaging media project with Hoosier History Live. Podcasts, website, enewsletter, and live call-in radio show; it’s all there!"

- Keira Amstutz, President and CEO, Indiana Humanities


"...best Americana-themed show..."

"Hoosier History Live is the best Americana-themed show anywhere on radio!"

-John Guerrasio, former IRT actor

"...great value to sponsors..."

"Hoosier History Live has amassed a vast library of content over the years, both with the show audio and newsletter material. I believe that the Hoosier History Live content has great value to sponsors and advertisers via widespread online distribution. Nowhere else do you find the fresh new material each week, the depth of stories, the richness of detail, and the long-term consistency."

- John McDonald, CEO, ClearObject in Fishers, Indiana, Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing IT company in Indiana for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


"...always a great show"

“Hoosier History Live is always a great show.  We did a small  sponsorship as a gesture of support, and I didn’t think a little history show would have much impact. But many people mentioned to me that they had heard our credit on the radio.”

G.B. Landrigan, Realtor, Certified Residential Specialist 


"...a great way to represent what I do..."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with Nelson Price and the Hoosier History Live team. I feel being on the show was a great way to represent what I do with motorsports history. I am particularly excited by the show's new distribution through a podcast and making it accessible live through the Web.”

-Mark Dill, owner, FirstSuperSpeedway.com


"...'Live'--and 'Lively' as well..."

"Hoosier History really is 'Live'--and 'Lively' as well. The program brings to new audience the delight and wisdom that comes with knowing more of our past and our connections as Hoosiers."

James H. Madison, Emeritus History Professor, Indiana University


"...does more to promote Indiana history..."

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

Andrea Neal, Indianapolis author and educator


"...fun and interesting..."

"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


"...infuses joy into the pursuit of history..."

"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


"...interactive, more entertaining and more 'relevant'..."

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

Glynis Worley, rural Bartholomew County listener


"...enthusiastic, curious and knowledgeable..."

 "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


"...a great way to learn more about history..."

"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

"...I want to call in!..

"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



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