A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.
Show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis. Or install the WICR HD 1 app on your cell phone or computer and stream live from anywhere.
Check out our extensive list of searchable archived show newsletters and podcasts. You can also listen to recent shows by clicking the podcast links below:
Our August 27 show, "A history reenactor: pulling back the curtain"Click here to listen to the podcast
Our August 20 show, "Fireflies and Monarch butterflies: Are they vanishing?"Click here to listen to the podcast
September 03, 2022
Northwest Indiana: a return visit
When the summer began in June, Hoosier History Live explored offbeat aspects of the corner of the state often called "The Region". Now that the season is drawing to a close, we will return to Northwest Indiana to delve into a wealth of other sites, existing and bygone, including some in Hammond, one of the largest cities in The Region.
Our spotlight will be on one of the tallest of the Indiana Dunes, which was the site of a near-tragedy in 2013; shipwrecks beneath Lake Michigan, and a beloved, bygone department store with a connection to a classic movie. In fact, we will salute another site (a quirky one) in Hammond that pays tribute to the city's link to "A Christmas Story" (1983), the movie based on the writings of Jean Shepherd, who grew up in the city.
Once again, our guide will be journalist Joseph Pete, a Hammond native who is the author of the new book "Secret Northwest Indiana", as well as "Lost Hammond". Joseph also is a reporter for the Times of Northwest Indiana, the largest newspaper in The Region.
The largest dune is Mount Baldy, which stands about 126 feet high near Michigan City. Once known as the "Moon Dune" (that, according to Joseph, was because of its "lack of vegetation"), Mount Baldy became the focus of national attention in 2013. As recounted in "Secret Northwest Indiana", a boy "was apparently swallowed down an 11-foot deep shaft". Fortunately, he survived and even marched as the guest of honor in a Fourth of July parade in Michigan City. Since the incident, non-guided tours at Mount Baldy have been prohibited, but the public can take a National Park Service tour guided by a ranger and visit an adjoining beach.
Speaking of beaches: Joseph says scuba divers and snorkelers can see the remnants of shipwrecks underneath Lake Michigan. Wreckage salvaged from them also is displayed at the nature center at Indiana Dunes State Park. "Why does Lake Michigan have so many shipwrecks?" Joseph asks in "Secret Northwest Indiana". During our show, he will describe some of the reasons.
He also will describe a beloved landmark in Hammond that was torn down in 1993: Goldblatt's, a four-store department store that had served as the anchor for the city's downtown since the late 1920s. At Goldblatt's, which was known for its extravagant window displays, the character of Ralphie sees a Red Ryder BB gun during a memorable scene in "A Christmas Story". Goldblatt's (fictionalized as Higbee's in the movie, just as Hammond is called "Hohman") was part of a defunct Chicago-based chain and, as Joseph notes, "was long one of The Region's premier shopping destinations".
For nearly a century, one of the area's premiere restaurants, which drew diners from Chicago as well as travelers from Indianapolis and other Hoosier cities, was Phil Smidt & Son, a favorite for its perch and frog legs. Patronized by dozens of visiting celebrities, Phil Smidt & Son was founded in 1910. Enthusiasts were devastated when it closed in 2007.
During our show, we also will highlight:
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Roadtrip: Quilt Gardens in Elkhart County
Guest Roadtripper and community volunteer Kathleen Madinger Angelone of Irvington suggests a trip up north to see the Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail in Elkhart County. Yes, you just download the app and follow the visual and audio instructions on your phone! This fascinating trail joins quilting, gardening, and art into a one-of-a-kind event and features more than a million vibrant blooms, 17 gigantic gardens, and 25 hand-painted, super-sized murals. Here’s a chance to wander the back roads and see the communities of Bristol, Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, and Wakarusa.
Every quilt garden and quilt mural has its own intricate pattern. Many are original designs and each has its own story. And keep your pace slow; you’ll likely run into some Amish buggies along the road as well!
Nelson Price, host and historian
Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164
Ryan DeRome, associate producer
Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
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Acknowledgments to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, The Indiana Album, Monomedia, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Henri Pensis, Kielynn Tally, Genesis Brown, Leticia Vasselli, Heather McIntyre, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution at the yellow button on our newsletter or website. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in the show, contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at email@example.com. Our media reach continues to grow via podcasting.
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