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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website www.HoosierHistoryLive.org, weekly enewsletter, 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 at WICR 88.7 fm or stream the show live at the WICR HD1 app on your phone, or at our website.


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March 16, 2024

Sites along U.S. 40 in Indiana, then and now

From a massive former factory on the eastside of Indianapolis that's been repurposed into two charter schools to a 1950s-style diner in Plainfield and a former Masonic Temple in Greenfield, sites along U.S. 40 in Indiana will be in Hoosier History Live's spotlight. We also will explore a bygone barbershop that was owned by a formerly enslaved African American entrepreneur as well as two early automobile manufacturing plants , one of which is set to become a music venue.

Stretching from Richmond to Terre Haute, U.S. 40 bisects the state and follows the route of the National Road, which was completed across the Indiana wilderness during the 1830s. Its designation as U.S. 40 came in the 1920s. That's also when P.R. Mallory opened a massive factory on the highway (which enters Indianapolis as East Washington Street) that eventually employed thousands of Hoosiers who made electronic components and dry cell batteries. After sitting vacant and decaying for more than 30 years, the plant (the birthplace of the Duracell battery) has been repurposed as the home of Purdue Polytechnic High School and Paramount Englewood Middle School.

It's among the historic sites – current, bygone or repurposed – that Nelson and his guests will "cruise by", although they won't leave the radio station. He will be joined by two board members of the Indiana National Road Association:

  • David Steele of Indianapolis, a business and civic leader who has crusaded for six Indiana Historical Bureau markers. Along those lines, the Indiana National Road Association has erected 15 interpretive panels along the U.S. 40 route in Indiana.

  • And Bob Hunt of Greenfield, who is retired from Eli Lilly & Co. With his wife Beverly, Bob renovated a former Masonic Temple that was considered one of the largest lodges in the state when it opened in 1895. The historic building on U.S. 40 now is a banquet and event center in Greenfield owned by Bradley Hall Events.

We will explore the former Masonic Temple as well as Oasis Diner in Plainfield, which opened in 1954 and is one of the few remaining original, stainless-steel diners on U.S. 40. The Oasis had closed in 2008 and was in danger of being demolished, but was moved to a new site on the highway and restored in 2014. The popular diner is known for Hoosier dishes, including tenderloins.

Bygone sites on our history journey will include a Greenfield barbershop operated during the post-Civil War era by George Knox, who had been born enslaved in Tennessee. At the barbershop, Knox hired a local teenager, future poet James Whitcomb Riley, to paint his shaving mugs. Of course, the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home and Museum remains as a landmark on U.S. 40.

Two former factories that built luxury cars in the early era of the automobile are on U.S. 40 in Indianapolis. Only one building remains of the Duesenberg Motor Company complex that made cars in the 1920s on a 17-acre site. Most of the Cole Motor Company factory, founded by native Hoosier Joseph Cole, remains. Plans are underway to repurpose part of the Cole factory into a music venue, loft-style apartments and retail outlets.

Other landmarks on or just off U.S. 40 in Indiana include the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown and, in Terre Haute, the Vigo County History Center, which is housed in an 1895 building. It initially was owned by a company that produced workman's overalls during an era when Terre Haute had a booming garment industry.


New show podcasts are up!

February 17, 2024 - Black firefighters history in Indy Click here for podcast.

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

Donate button.

Your contributions help keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web, in your inbox, and in our ARCHIVES!


How does Septuagenarian Molly stream the live show or listen to podcasts?

She goes to her phone with a Google search bar and a microphone and says "Play WICR HD 1" and the live show comes up right away. She can do this from noon to one Eastern time on Saturdays to listen to the live show. No radio needed.

She also goes to her phone with a Google search bar and microphone and says "Play Hoosier History Live podcasts" and a list comes up, also like magic. Or she says something like "Play Hoosier History Live Latino Hoosiers" (this was a recent show we did) and the podcast comes up.

By the way, "streaming" is listening to or watching something online, rather than listening to a broadcast on a traditional television or radio. As an example, if you have a smart tv, you might watch "streaming news" rather than news that comes over the air or via cable subscription. All in all, new tech CAN in fact make history more fun and accessible!  


What Hoosier History Live continues to do for you

  • As a small, independent production group, Nelson Price and Molly Head and their wonderful colleagues still work very hard to bring you the Hoosier History Live new media project.

  • We put on a new live with call in radio show whenever we can!  (We are sometimes pre-empted, but hey, it’s not our radio station and we don’t pay the station’s operating costs. WICR 88.7 fm the Diamond is owned and maintained by the University of Indianapolis. And we sure appreciate the opportunity to do a live broadcast!)

  • We are still making all of our show podcasts available to all, without a paywall. (Though we publish them every few weeks or so to keep our editing costs down.)  And our Hoosier History Live podcasts are basically copies of our live radio show.  

  • Yes, we DO pay for all of our own research and editing, before and after live broadcast. This includes our newsletter, website, podcasts, and social media. Yes, everything we do does come with an expense, including enewsletter, website, and podcast software and we absorb those costs ourselves.

  • So when we ask for money to go into our production company’s budget, this does not mean that we are evil people!

Trivia prizes sought

Our "History Mystery" on air contest continues to be very popular!  If you are an organization or business that would like to contribute tickets or admissions, please contact our host Nelson at nelson@hoosierhistorylive.org or our producer Molly at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for instructions.

Prizes must fit in a standard business envelope. Hoosier History Live prefers to "snail mail" prizes to our trivia winners. And If prizes are time sensitive, they need to be offered well in advance of the event so that we can get them out in time.


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.

  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan  
  • Sandra Hurt
  • Chuck and Karen Bragg
  • Ken and Luan Marshall
  • Tom Swenson
  • Mike Freeland and Sharon Butsch Freeland
  • Dr. William McNiece
  • Serita Borgeas
  • Richard Stroup in memory of Robert W. Stroup
  • Bill Connor
  • Ann Frick
  • Charlotte Ottinger
  • John and Florence Stanton

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
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.

Donate button.

Your contributions help keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web, in your inbox, and in our ARCHIVES!

© 2024 Hoosier History Live. All rights reserved.

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