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Jan. 14 show
Indiana's youngest mayor on Frankfort history
Before election day in November, Chris McBarnes made headlines across the state by campaigning for public office while attending classes at Butler University, where he was studying anthropology and communications.
Now, the 23-year-old rising star in the Republican Party has graduated from college, is the new mayor of his hometown and has the distinction of being the youngest mayor of an Indiana city.
So Chris will join Nelson in studio to share insights about the history of Frankfort, the city of 16,400 people in Clinton County.
You may know Frankfort as the "Home of the Hot Dogs." Frankfort High School's mascot is the hot dog, and the community hosts the Frankfort Hot Dog Festival every summer.
There are other intriguing aspects of the town, though, including the award-winning Frankfort Community Public Library. It serves as a cultural center with art galleries, a music room and a coffee bar.
In addition to sharing insights about the heritage of his hometown, which was founded in the 1830s, Chris McBarnes will talk with Nelson about his personal journey and meteoric rise in politics.
According to a profile of Chris in The Lafayette Journal and Courier, he was diagnosed at age 14 with a rare immune system disorder. The illness resulted in more than 25 surgeries and frequent hospitalizations at the Indiana University Medical Center, but it is now under control.
His mayoral crusade involved a lot of shoe leather. Last May, after winning the Republican primary with 60 percent of the vote, Chris was quoted as estimating he and a group of 25 volunteers knocked on the doors of 90 percent of Frankfort's homes. (According to news accounts, his Sigma Nu fraternity brothers at Butler pitched in as volunteers.)
During the campaign, Chris vowed to end an "old-boys system" of governing the town and expressed hopes he can inspire more of the community's young people to return after college.
"I am proud to say I'm a hometown product," his campaign website proclaimed. "I am a Frankfort Hot Dog through and through."
Named in tribute to Frankfurt, Germany, the Indiana town was developed on 60 acres donated by three brothers of German-American heritage who moved to the area in the late 1820s. Frankfort became the county seat of Clinton County and a stop on one of the legendary Monon train lines to Indianapolis.
According to The Magnificent 92: Indiana Courthouses (Indiana University Press, 1991), the Clinton County Courthouse in Frankfort cost nearly $200,000 to build in the 1880s. (That expense, considered exorbitant then, was nearly three times the amount spent on courthouses in Wabash and Lagrange counties during the same era.)
A three-story structure with a clock and central tower rising to 165 feet above the town square, the Clinton County Courthouse is adorned by statuary and built of Indiana limestone. The architect, George Bunting of Indianapolis, also designed the county courthouses in several other Indiana cities, including Anderson and Franklin.
When Chris was growing up in Frankfort, his father, Tim McBarnes, was head golf pro at a country club. His mother, Kim, was a school nurse. The family also includes a brother, Craig, who completed on various Frankfort Hot Dog sports teams and now is a student at Butler.
Some fun facts:
- Frankfort hosted the world premiere of the movie Blue Chips (1994), which starred Nick Nolte as a basketball coach with similarities to Bobby Knight. (Knight had a cameo role in the film. So did Larry Bird.) Several sequences in Blue Chips were shot at Frankfort High School's gym, which seats more than 6,000 spectators. Nelson was part of the media contingent that covered the movie's premiere in Frankfort.
- Frankfort High School's impressive gym is called the Everett Case Arena. A well-known figure in Hoosier basketball lore, Everett Case coached Frankfort teams to four state championships between 1925 and 1939.
- Although Chris McBarnes is the youngest mayor in Indiana, he's not the only youthful Hoosier who now may be called "His Honor." In last November's elections, candidates age 30 or under also were elected mayors in South Bend, LaPorte and Columbia City.
In the world of Hoosier high school mascots, the Frankfort High School Hot Dogs are unforgettable. A high school in another Indiana city also has a distinctive mascot name: the Slicers. The name originated because the Indiana city was the home of the U.S. Slicing Machine Company.
Question: What high school has sports teams known as the Slicers?
Hints: The high school - like Frankfort High in Frankfort - has the same name as its hometown. And the town is located in far-northern Indiana.
To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.
The prize is a gift certificate to Mo's, A Place for Steaks in downtown Indianapolis, as well as a pair of tickets to the IMAX theater at the Indiana State Museum. These prizes are courtesy of the ICVA.
Roadtrip: Adams Mill in Carroll County
Roadtripper Chris Gahl of the ICVA suggests we take Highway 75 north out of Frankfort about 14 miles to Cutler in Carroll County and look for signs for Adams Mill. The grist mill is a splendid example of post-and-beam construction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Legend has it that John Adams, who built the mill in 1845, walked along Wildcat Creek from Lafayette to Kokomo to find the perfect spot. He chose its location because of the oxbow bend in the creek there.
Although commercial milling ceased at Adams Mill in the 1950s, much of the mill machinery is still operational. The mill is open weekend afternoons from May through October, or by appointment at email@example.com. Perhaps you will get lucky and get a beautiful, quiet winter tour! And if you have trouble finding Adams Mill, just ask someone. After all, this is an Indiana Roadtrip!
Your Hoosier History Live! team,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Chris Gahl, Roadtripper
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, grant consultants
Joan Hostetler, photo historian
Dana Waddell, volunteer-at-large
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana Landmarks, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.
Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo and Research Services, Derrick Lowhorn, Samantha Stratton and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships, grants and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.
Jan. 21 show
Dan Wakefield on '50s landmarks in Indy
First and foremost, he's probably known for his bestselling novel Going All the Way (1970), which was set in Indianapolis during the 1950s. But Dan Wakefield also wrote an acclaimed memoir called Returning: A Spiritual Journey (1988), and returning is what the celebrated author-journalist-screenwriter-educator has just done.
He recently moved back to his hometown (Wakefield, 79, grew up on the northside of Indy and graduated from Shortridge High School in 1950) after decades spent living in Miami, New York City and Boston. So Dan will join Nelson in studio to share insights on a range of topics.
Ours being a history show, we can't resist having him reflect on local landmarks that did not only figure in his early life; many have been featured in his books, particularly Going All the Way, which inspired a 1997 movie filmed in Indy.
The landmarks - some bygone, some very much still with us - include the Red Key Tavern; the Tee Pee and the Ron-D-Vu (beloved eateries that were the focus of a recent Hoosier History Live! show about drive-ins); the Mandarin Inn (in Dan's recollection, one of the few ethnic restaurants in the city during his boyhood years); Crown Hill Cemetery, and, of course, Shortridge.
During his high school days, Dan was co-sports editor of The Echo, the daily newspaper at Shortridge, sharing duties with Richard Lugar, the future mayor and U.S. senator.
Dan's current project involves another illustrious Shortridge grad. He's assembling and editing a collection of letters from his late friend, literary icon Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a member of Shortridge's class of 1940.
So there's much hometown turf to cover with Dan, whose other books include Starting Over (1973) - it was made into a movie starring Burt Reynolds and Candice Bergen - and Expect a Miracle (1995).
Can you believe it?
Feb. 16 is our fourth-anniversary party
Mark your calendar for the Hoosier History Live! 4th anniversary party on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Morris-Butler House, 1204 N. Park Avenue in Indianapolis. Once again, the party is courtesy of Indiana Landmarks.
Also ... the Irvington Library Hoosier History Live! Radio Club was featured on the front page of the features section in the Jan. 5 Indianapolis Star. The radio club meets weekly in the Story Theater of the Irvington Library, 5625 E. Washington St., from 11:15 a.m to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
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