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A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price. Airs live on Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET at WICR 88.7 fm in Indianapolis.

You can listen to WICR anywhere on your mobile device or at home on your smart speaker. Go to www.wicronline.org to listen live. You can also ask your smart speaker to "play WICR" OR "play 88.7 the Diamond".

New show podcasts are up!

March 25, 2023 - Women of historic Irvington  Click here for the podcast

February 18, 2023 - Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County: its history and legacy  Click here for the podcast

February 11, 2023 - Myths and tidbits about high school basketball history  Click here for the podcast

January 28, 2023 - Calvin Fletcher, first prominent civic leader in Indianapolis  Click here for the podcast

For a complete list of show podcasts and show enewsletters, please go to ARCHIVES on our website

April 29, 2023

Jewish immigration to Indiana, 1840s-1920s: Encore

From the small city of Ligonier in northeastern Indiana to major cities including Indianapolis and South Bend, waves of Jewish immigration had, in a range of ways, an impact between 1840 and the 1920s on their communities. Immigrants came to the Hoosier state from various homelands, with a Jewish teenager who fled the Austro-Hungarian empire eventually becoming one of the founders of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and a brigadier general for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Our guide for a statewide exploration of Jewish immigration in this encore of a show originally broadcast in 2022  will be Michael J. Brown, executive director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. Michael is the host of IN-Jewish History Podcast, a series that delves into the Hoosier state’s Jewish heritage. He has worked for Israeli start-ups and is a board member of Sinai Synagogue in South Bend.

The differences in Jewish immigration patterns between South Bend and Indianapolis are among the topics Michael discusses when he is Nelson's guest for a show focusing on the 1840 to the 1920s. In Ligonier for much of that era, a multi-generational, German-speaking Jewish community flourished; a similar scenario unfolded in LaPorte and other, smaller Indiana cities.

Revolutions and pogroms in Europe caused many Jews to immigrate. They included Gen. Frederick Knefler (1833-1901) and his family, who fled the Austro-Hungarian empire and, even before the Civil War, had a significant impact in the Hoosier capital. Knefler became a founder of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation; after the war, he was a civic leader, serving on the board that crusaded for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument

During our show, Michael will share insights about how various Hoosier politicians dealt with Jewish immigration, including Oliver P. Morton, the state’s governor during the Civil War (later, he was a U.S. senator), and Benjamin Harrison, who was elected U.S. president in 1888. During a show in 2018, Hoosier History Live explored how the Harrison administration oversaw the opening of Ellis Island in 1892 and the waves of immigrants that initially came through it. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe, including Poland and Romania, had an impact on cities in northwestern Indiana such as Whiting and East Chicago.

The appalling rise of the Ku Klan Klan in Indiana during the 1920s, a topic Hoosier History Live explored most recently during a show in 2020, also will be part of this show. Our guest Michael J. Brown notes the Klan made Jewish immigration "one of its main lynchpins of hatred" along with anti-Black and anti-Catholic bigotry. The Klan’s stranglehold on Indiana, Michael adds, occurred just as Jewish immigration to Indiana was peaking.

Nelson's guest Michael J. Brown is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard, having served in the medical corps.

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Roadtrip: Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne

Guest Roadtripper and attorney Charles Braun hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana's second largest city in northeast Indiana. Although he has visited nearly every courthouse in the state, his favorite is the Beaux-Arts Allen County Courthouse in his hometown of Fort Wayne. Built between 1897 and 1902, Charles tells us that "in terms of size, exterior architecture style, artistic interior, its depiction of local history, and its incredible majesty, the Allen County Courthouse has little competition in the courthouse building category."

The Beaux-Arts architecture-style structure includes four 25-by-45-foot murals by Charles Holloway, and each of the five courtrooms has its own color scheme.

Charles Braun has been a Hoosier lawyer for the last 47 years and also hosts "Legally Speaking" on WICR 88.7 FM at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Learn more this Saturday!

Hoosier History Live is an independent production group

Why is Hoosier History Live an outstanding media product? Because we are independent, and we because we make our own business and editorial decisions. We control our quality as best we can. Basically, producer Molly Head makes the business decisions and manages the project. And, she created Hoosier History Live! Host Nelson Price selects and researches the main show topic and guest. And is, of course, the effervescent on-air talent. Where else are you going to learn about history and be entertained all at the same time?

All of our contact information is on our website at www.hoosier history live.org, where you can also sign up for our free weekly enewsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter at Hoosier History Live. Look for our yellow logo to make sure you are at the right place! 

There are ways to help us. Would your business or organization like to offer prizes for the History Mystery on air question? You get an on-air mention by Nelson! Prizes must fit in a standard business envelope, as they are "snail mailed" to winners. Email our producer at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for more info.

Would your business or library or residence like to have a listening group to listen to the live show on Saturdays noon to one pm? It's a great way to get people involved. All you need is a listening device, such as a laptop or radio or cell phone, and a quiet place with chairs to listen, and someone to facilitate the group. Contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for advice on setting this up.

Are you a restaurant near the University of Indianapolis on the south side, or is your restaurant downtown? Is your restaurant open Saturdays at 1 pm? Are you willing to offer a place for Nelson and guests to go lunch after the show? If so, please contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

Sometimes the news today is pretty dreary, and American society seems to become more and more fractionalized. Hopefully, as readers, listeners, and fans, you believe that Hoosier History Live is a project worthy of respect and support.    

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We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • Rachel Berenson Perry
  • Kevin Murray
  • Susan Bielawski in memory of Jane Bielawski
  • Jill Lough Chambers
  • Sandra Hurt
  • Tom Swenson
  • Peggy Hollingsworth
  • Mike Freeland and Sharon Butsch Freeland 
  • Dr. William McNiece
  • Robin Winston
  • Ann Frick
  • James Fadely
  • In memory of William (Bill) Mihay by Bob Wakefield
  • Florence and John Stanton
  • Aleta Hodge
  • Lorraine Phillips Vavul
  • Margaret Smith
  • Jane Hodge
  • Jeff Price

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
Corene Nickel, web designer and tech manager

Richard Sullivan and Ryan DeRome, tech consultants
Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer


Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, 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 molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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