Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on 88.7 FM, WICR in Indianapolis.

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.


May 1 show

From marble quarries of Italy to Indiana limestone


A stonecutter's limestone headstone in Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford, Ind., represents tools of the trade. Photo by Molly Head.Next up in our popular series about ethnic immigration and heritage, we will explore the legacy of Italian stonecutters who came to southern Indiana to carve our famous limestone. Nelson will be joined in studio by a descendant of stone carvers from Carrara, Italy, Indianapolis author and speaker Carol Faenzi. Her dramatic account of her great-grandparents' journey from Italy to the Hoosier state, The Stonecutter's Aria (Aperto Books), was selected by the Indianapolis Opera Company for its "One Book, One Opera" celebration and was selected by the Columbus Area Arts Council for its Community Read.


Carol will share details about the "first families" of Italian sculptors to settle in Bedford, including the Arenas, who did much of the carving work on the town's main plaza. Stonecutter's Aria book cover.Among the Italian marble carvers who immigrated in the early 1900s was opera tenor Aristide Giovannoni, Carol's great-grandfather. His journey from his homeland to the New World – along with experiences of his wife Ione and their children, who endure a perilous ocean voyage figure in The Stonecutter’s Aria, which is written in three acts with interludes everywhere from Ellis Island to the Indiana limestone quarries.


Did you know marble cutters from Italy who settled in Indiana often went on to use their talents with limestone in the construction during the 1930s of cathedrals, monuments and private buildings across the country? Carol's great-grandfather helped build Julian Chapel at Duke University, the National Archives and the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh.


To uncover the history of the stonecutters, Carol has traveled extensively to her ancestral home of Carrara. The village is located at the epicenter of the Italian Alps and the quarries of marble, which is known in Tuscany as "white gold." The unfolding of her family’s story in Indiana is intertwined with the legacy of other Italian families who resettled here, including the Iozzos, whose patriarch, Fred Iozzo, started the first full-service Italian restaurant in Indianapolis during the early 1930s. (Last year, Fred's great-granddaughter reopened Iozzo's Garden of Italy on South Meridian Street, not far away from its original site on South Illinois Street.)


Carol Faenzi.Carol and Nelson also plan to explore one of the state's "gems" among our burial grounds, scenic Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford, a trove of distinctive, personalized monuments created by the stonecutters. Carol's family history also is intertwined with the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, where her grandfather, chef Otto Faenzi, still is fondly remembered for his Italian specialties.


In addition to The Stonecutter's Aria, Carol is the author of What You Love the Most: An Irvington Memoir (2009). A portrayal of family members who built a historic home in the Irvington neighborhood, the book features an introduction by Nelson and vignettes involving well-known Hoosiers such as early automobile entrepreneurs Carl Fisher and Harry Stutz. What You Love the Most may be purchased online or at Bookmamas in Irvington.


History Mystery question


A grandson of Sicilian immigrants went on to win acclaim as the screenwriter for the best-known sports movies about Indiana. The Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, home of the Hickory Huskers in the movie Hoosiers.Angelo Pizzo grew up in Bloomington before attending Indiana University, where he met his future collaborator, David Anspaugh. With Angelo as the screenwriter and David as the director, the duo created Hoosiers (1986), based on the triumph of a small high school in the state basketball tournament, and Rudy (1993) which focused on an aspiring football player's struggles to attend Notre Dame and play for the Fighting Irish.


Question: Name the high school Angelo Pizzo attended when he was growing up in Bloomington in the 1960s. Hint: The high school was closed in 1972 as a result of consolidation.


The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a very generous gift certificate to Iozzo's Garden of Italy, courtesy of Iozzo's. Also, if you are the first to answer the History Mystery correctly on our Facebook page, or if you are the first to post a comment on the "From marble quarries of Italy to Indiana limestone" show on our Facebook page, you will win a set of tickets to DivaFest,courtesy of the Indianapolis Fringe Festival




Chris Gahl of the ICVA has picked DivaFest as his next suggested destination.  DivaFest.The Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival presents its first DivaFest, a celebration of Women Playwrights, May 6-9, as a prelude to its 2010 Indy fringe festival in August.


Five plays by Indiana women will be presented in the IndyFringe Theatre Building at St. Clair Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The playwrights range from two first-time playwrights to a pair of seasoned writers whose musical cabaret has been a success on the Fringe theater circuit. Tickets are just $10 to see all five shows.


By the way, if you are the first to post a comment about this week's show on our Facebook page, you will a set of tickets to DivaFest! How's that for divine?


What's new with Hoosier History Live!


Facebook logo.Thanks for Tom Miescke for creating our Facebook page. And a big congratulations to Joe Young for winning last week's History Mystery question on Facebook.


Image of a speaker.Did you know that the number of hits on the Hoosier History Live! website has been growing steadily at a rate of 30 percent per month since January?


Who are these people making Hoosier History Live!, anyway? Are they creating their own style of exploring history? Where did the thick, dusty history textbook go? Look for upcoming opportunities to sponsor a series of online learning modules, rich with the content from all our more than 100 past shows. Think of it as a glorified audio book of all of Nelson Price's great interviews, complete with show descriptions and informative web links for more learning. Stay tuned, or visit "Support the show" at our website. 


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

Lucas OilIndiana Historical Society logo.

Dan Ripley's Antique HelperIozzo's Garden of Italy logo.

Indiana Landmarks logo.Story Inn

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Indiana Landmarks, Iozzo's Garden of Italy restaurant, Antique Helper, 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.


May 8 show

State parks history


With nature in full bloom, Indiana's state parks not only beckon as serene retreats, they practically beg to be the focus of a Hoosier History Live! show. Responding to the call, we will explore their history, covering as much turf as possible with Nelson's guest, public historian Glory-June Greiff, author of People, Parks and Perceptions: A History and Appreciation of Indiana State Parks (Trafford Publishing).


Glory-June Greiff giving an Indiana Landmarks walking tour of downtown Indianapolis public monuments in 2008. Photo by Molly Head.With Glory-June, a preservation activist, as our guide, we will dig into the creation of our state parks, as well as the major impact of German-born conservationist Richard Lieber (1869-1944) and of the New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps. We also will explore the creation and evolution of state parks, ranging from Turkey Run and Clifty Falls to Pokagon and Spring Mill.


Note: Glory-June will offer free presentations, "The New Deal in Indiana State Parks," at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Library in Plainfield at 7 p.m. on May 6, and at Hancock County Library in Greenfield at 7 p.m. on June 7.


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Hoosier History Live! • 2615 N. Delaware St. • Indianapolis, IN 46205
(317) 927-9101