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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website, newsletter, and social media. Its original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the show live Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET. It’s over the air in Central Indiana at WICR 88.7 fm, or you can stream at the WICR HD1 app on your phone.

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November 18, 2023

State Archives: a follow-up

With construction finally underway of a new home for the Indiana Archives, which include a trove of historic material such as the transcripts of landmark court cases, Hoosier History Live will follow up a show we did last year about the status of the archives. In addition to highlighting aspects of the $102 million structure being built on the downtown canal in Indianapolis, we also will spotlight some of the landmark court cases, which range from "slave trials" early in the state's history to the death penalty case involving a teenage girl and a gruesome murder in 1906.

Nelson's returning guest will be Chandler Lighty, executive director of the Indiana Archives and Records Administration. For more than 20 years, many of the state's archives, which include the original Indiana State Constitution of 1816, have been housed in a deteriorating warehouse on the eastside of Indianapolis that was intended to be temporary and is not sufficiently climate controlled. A tunnel will connect the new Archives building with other buildings on the state government campus.

To share insights about the landmark court cases with transcripts housed in the archives, Chandler has consulted with former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard, who was a guest on Hoosier History Live in 2019. The cases include two that became known as "slave trials" in the early 1820s involving teenage African American girls. The cases tested the then-new constitution prohibiting slavery in Indiana. During this show, Chandler will discuss one of the cases, involving a teenager in Vincennes named Polly Strong. On Hoosier History Live, we have explored the other "slave trial", which also involved an enslaved teenager, Mary Bateman Clark, on a show that we rebroadcast most recently in 2020; our guest was well-known Indianapolis journalist and historian Eunice Trotter, a descendant of Mary Bateman Clark.

In addition to housing records connected with those trials, the Indiana Archives also has transcripts and material involving sensational crimes. Chandler notes that case files at the archives – including testimony and crime history -- were used by the author of a recent, best-selling book, The Potato Masher Murder, about a shocking crime in 1906 in Mishawaka. The author, Gary Sosniecki, a retired journalist in Missouri, is the great-grandson of the victim, who was beaten unconscious by her jealous husband with a wooden potato masher, then set on fire. Although the murder was front-page news across northern Indiana for more than one year, subsequent generations of the family kept the lurid crime a secret. Chandler plans to discuss the use of the archives by the author, although the case isn't considered among the state's most historically significant by former Chief Justice Shepard.

Significant Indiana Supreme Court cases involving sensational crimes do include the case of Paula Cooper, who was 15 years old in 1985 when she was arrested for killing an elderly Bible school teacher in Gary. Paula Cooper received the death penalty. In a landmark decision, though, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that she could not be executed because of her age. (In 2015, Paula Cooper committed suicide.)

Records related to that decision are housed at the archives, as are transcripts of a landmark case involving an alleged bootlegger in 1922. During our show, Chandler will discuss the importance of the decision by the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled that law enforcement must have a proper search warrant to seize evidence. The decision in Indiana occurred decades before a national ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court involving improperly seized evidence.

At the groundbreaking for the new State Archives building, speakers included our guest Chandler Lighty and Gov Eric Holcomb. The building, which will be five stories high with 133,000 square feet, is expected to be completed in late 2025 or early 2026.

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Roadtrip: Thistlethwaite Falls north of Richmond

Guest Roadtripper and Richmond history enthusiast Bob Jacobsen suggests a visit to an unusual waterfall just north of Richmond in Wayne County. It’s at 65 Waterfall Road, and it’s a man-made waterfall as well!  

Early settlers in 1800s Indiana were often diverting the course of rivers and streams to create rushing water for waterwheels on mills. These waterwheels were connected to a shaft that, for example, would turn large millstones for grinding corn or wheat.  

In the early 1800's, Hoosier pioneer Timothy Thistlethwaite blasted a new channel in the West Fork of the Whitewater River to direct the water over the rock formation now known as Thistlethwaite Falls. The resulting 47 foot drop of rushing water provided waterpower to his nearby sawmill. Timothy Thistlethwaite went on to eventually build a grist mill, a flour mill, and a paper mill in the area known as Happy Hollow.

Signs lead to a footpath with stairs going down to the falls. Watch your step! This is also a great place for hunting fossils.


Coming Up:

November 25 show

Ulen: The vagabond turned CEO and unusual Boone County town: encore

He quit school after the fifth grade to ride the rails, so Henry Ulen was an unlikely Hoosier to become an international business tycoon. Ulen also created and became the namesake of an unusual small town that's surrounded by the city of Lebanon in Boone County.

In this encore broadcast of a show from 2022, History Live will take a dual look at Henry Ulen, an industrialist, and the town of Ulen that he founded in the 1920s not far from where he had grown up. "I traveled from the time I was 14 until I was 18," Ulen once said. "The moment the idea hit to go somewhere, and it always did in the spring, I was off. St. Louis, Denver, Chicago, Dodge City, Cincinnati . . . anywhere the next freight train happened to be going."

Henry Ulen (1871-1963) founded Ulen & Company, a prestigious business that oversaw infrastructure projects in places like Bolivia, Iran and Greece. The company was based in New York City until Ulen decided to return to Indiana and create a town as a community for his executives and engineers. Although that's no longer the case (Ulen & Company shut down more than 60 years ago), the 40-acre town still has about 120 residents. Just as in the 1920s, the hub of the community is a golf course and country club.

Our guide as we explore the CEO and the town is Justin Clark of the Indiana Historical Bureau, who has written a blog and produced a video about all things Ulen. Justin is the digital initiatives director at the bureau, which is a division of the Indiana State Library. Justin notes that most of the original homes built in the town of Ulen during the 1920s and '30s remain along its four streets, one of which is called Ulen Boulevard. Today, the town's residents primarily are a mix of middle-class and upper middle-class professionals and retirees. The hub of the town is Ulen Country Club and its 18-hole golf course.


Host Nelson Price addresses Society of Indiana Pioneers

Nelson addressed the annual meeting of the Society of Indiana Pioneers on November 4 at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis. He spoke about the group's Spring Pilgrimage, which took travelers to eastern Indiana. Highlights of the tour included the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site in Fountain City, the site of the former Starr Piano Company in Richmond, and the Walk of Fame for music notables who recorded in 1920s and '30s at Gennett Records, also in Richmond. En route, the group also visited the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home & Museum in Greenfield.

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Podcast listening, and Hoosier History Live copyright policies

We still do a live radio show every Saturday from noon to one broadcasting on WICR 88.7, but more and more of our listeners are listening to our podcasts, which are basically audio copies of our live shows. Our website is www.hoosierhistorylive.org, and you can sign up at our website to get our free weekly newsletter.

At the top of our newsletter and website we put notice, and links, to our newly published podcasts. We also provide a link to ARCHIVES, which is a list of our past enewsletters and published podcasts.

If you have a preferred podcast provider like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you can use their search function to call up Hoosier History Live as well. Look for the yellow Hoosier History Live logo.

We copyright our work, and we have a crew of very talented people putting it together. But we WANT you to share it! We believe that learning should be accessible to everyone! You are welcome to copy, link to, or forward any of our Hoosier History Live material. Just please do not edit it! Our underwriter logos and voiced credits are on our material; and these underwriters make our work possible. 


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.

  • John and Flo Stanton
  • Susan Life and Mark Ostendorf
  • Dave and Theresa Berghoff
  • Joseph B. Young III
  • Tom Cochrun
  • Norma Erickson
  • Marion Wolen
  • Jane Ammeson
  • Kathleen Angelone
  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan
  • Mark Ruschman
  • Robin Winston

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.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Maddie Fisher, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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