A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.
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Our December 03 show, "Evolution of foreign-born Hoosiers and the International Center: 50 years" Click here
Our November 26 show, "Artist who crusaded to save the Dunes - Encore" Click here
December 10, 2022
Ask Nelson – and Charles Braun, too
Like clockwork every yuletide season, the town of Santa Claus in far-southwestern Indiana is in the national spotlight. Ever wonder about the history of the town in Spencer County that claims it has the only post office in the world with the Santa Claus name?
Our host, Nelson Price, will share insights about that during one of our periodic call-in shows. And it so happens that Nelson's co-host, our WICR-FM colleague Charles Braun, has visited the Santa Claus Museum & Village, which is located within the town.
In between phone calls from listeners, who are invited to call with questions about any aspect of Indiana's heritage, Nelson and Charles will interview each other about Santa Claus, Ind., and other topics. A distinguished attorney, Charles is the host of "Legally Speaking", which airs at 11 a.m. on WICR and is the longest-running call-in legal advice show in the country.
Our show will kick off with the town of Santa Claus, Ind., which receives nearly 35,000 letters from children around the world that are answered by community volunteers (known as "elves", of course). Nelson will share insights gleaned when Hoosier History Live focused on the town's history during a program in 2018.
The village area, a tourist destination, includes the town's original post office, a historic church built in 1889 and a towering statue of Santa Claus that's 22 feet tall. Fun history fact: When the town of Santa Claus was platted in 1846, it initially was called Santa Fe.
During this show, Charles will discuss the origins of the names of other Indiana towns, including a small city at the opposite end of the state: Plymouth in far-northern Indiana. He also will discuss the origins of various township names in Indiana.
Primarily, though, this show will provide an opportunity for listeners to call Nelson and Charles with any questions or comments about our Indiana heritage. The WICR-FM (88.7) studio number to call is 317-788-3314.
Between the listener phone calls, Nelson will talk about the history of the site of Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The site on the west end of downtown came up during a recent show about Arabs in Indianapolis because, in the 1890s and early 1900s, it was known for a Syrian colony. Nelson will discuss what came next: By the 1920s, ethnic neighborhoods had been replaced by warehouses served by railroad spurs.
They included a massive Tripp Warehouse featured in Indianapolis Then and Now, a visual history book that Nelson co-wrote with Joan Hostetler. Terre Haute Brewing Company also had a warehouse near the future Lucas Oil Stadium site. So did the Henry Coburn Warehouse Co.; its sprawling building housed the Crescent Paper Co., which sold wrapping paper as well as printing paper. This area is next to the Wholesale District that once had more than 300 wholesale businesses.
Also during our show, Charles Braun, who is a native of Fort Wayne, will discuss one of his hometown's renowned institutions, the Allen County Public Library. Its Genealogy Center is the largest public genealogy department in North America; only the family history resources at a private institution's library in Salt Lake City are larger.
Speaking of family histories: Following the recent death of county music legend Loretta Lynn, Nelson will discuss her younger sister, Grammy Award-winning singer Crystal Gayle, and why she considers Wabash, Ind., her hometown. Nelson has interviewed Crystal Gayle several times; she was the youngest of eight siblings in a family that, when Loretta Lynn was born in 1932, lived in a cabin in Kentucky. Their father, a coal miner, died as a result of black lung disease.
For listeners with questions or comments about these topics or any other aspect of Indiana's heritage, this show provides a special opportunity. Typically, phone calls are limited to the final 20 minutes of our show. This time, we will have open phone lines throughout the entire program for callers to pose questions to Nelson and Charles.
Nelson featured speaker at St. Margaret’s Guild holiday luncheon
This year the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild has selected the Failey House in Meridian Kessler in Indianapolis to be the featured historic home on its spring Decorators’ Show House and Gardens tour. The home was owned by the Failey family for 84 years and was designed Willard C. Osler. Touring the historic house will help St. Margaret’s Guild with its goal of raising $1 million dollars for Eskenazi Health’s Behavioral Health Academy.
Hoosier History Live host and historian Nelson Price, also the author of “Indiana Legends”, will be the featured speaker at the St. Margaret’s Guild holiday luncheon on Dec. 9 at the Woodstock Club. Nelson will be speaking about historic women from Indiana, as well as about contemporary notables he has interviewed.
Roadtrip: Ouabache State Park in northern Indiana
Guest Roadtripper Terri Gorney Lehman of Ft. Wayne suggests a visit to Ouabache State Park (pronounced O-bah-chee) which is located along the Wabash River in the northern part of the state near Bluffton. Originally operated as Wells County State Forest and Game Preserve in the early 1930s, the park was once considered the "Greatest Wildlife Laboratory in the United States" for its raising of pheasant, quail, raccoon, and rabbit. Through the efforts of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration), the area was developed for wildlife management, forestry demonstration, and recreation.
The park's Kunkel Lake offers excellent fishing. During the summer months, a naturalist will provide information about the natural wonders of the park. A lodge recreation building is ideal for special gatherings and is now available all year.
The CCC Camp No. 1592 is also part of Ouabache's history. The park's fire tower was built in the 1930s and is only one of two of the CCC towers that still exist in northern Indiana. Nationally 3,470 fire towers were built by the CCC. During the holiday season you can drive through the Wonderland of Lights, a festive holiday light display featuring synchronized lights to music at the fire tower. Entrance fee is $5 per vehicle. Terri and her husband Randy Lehman volunteer with the Friends of Ouabache, a group that has raised funds for restoration of the park's CCC worker statue, fire tower, landscaping, and also hosts the Indiana Master Naturalist Jr. program every June and the Wonderland of Lights the month of December.
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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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