James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home
Favorite thing: As a child, I just loved the poetry of James Whitcomb Riley such as "Little Orphant Annie," "The Raggedy Man," & "When the Frost is on the Punkin". Thus, when we had the opportunity to tour his home, I was thrilled.
Riley is remembered as the "Hoosier Poet; he was born in Indiana and wrote his poems about children and life in Indiana. We discovered that for the last 23 years of his life, he lived as a paying guest of his longtime friends, Major & Mrs. Charles L. Holstein.
This home is located in the historic Lockerbie Square Area at 528 Lockerbie Street. Riley loved this "dear little street" and so do thousands of visitors such as Jill and I. This home is though to be "one of the finest Victorian preservations in the United States". One of the reasons is that when the last Holstein died, the home was closed up and then renovated and turned into this museum home; thus, all the furniture, carpets, lighting, pictures, dishes, etc. are just as they were when Riley lived here.
James Whitcom Riley's poetry preserves the rural small towns in Indiana that no longer exist; this home preserves the "turn-of-the-century" way of life. It is a delight to experience it.
Fondest memory: We discovered that in 1921, a group of friends formed the James Whicomb Riley Memorial Association to keep his legacy alive. In 2003, the Association changed its name to the Riley Children's Foundation with a commitment to serve Indiana's children.
They plan to pay for the maintenance and preservation of the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home for visitors to experience city life in Indiana at the turn of the century.
If you ever have the chance, visit this lovely place. It is something you will cherish.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Oldest "Working" Church: Christ Church Cathedral
Favorite thing: You cannot miss seeing this English Gothic style church that sits on Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It is the last of five churches that were on Monument Circle; the other four churches sold their very valuable real estate to builders. The builders put up modern high-rise buildings. It's mighty refreshing to see the oldest church in the city still thriving.
This church is called The Christ Church Cathedral. No, it is not Catholic; instead, it is Episcopal. An Irishman named William Tinsley designed it. The original church was established in 1837, but this present building on Cathedral Monument Circle was built between 1857-1860, depending on whom you read.
The church remained unchanged until 1900, and then a major redecorating and rebuilding happened. In 1927 and 1953 more remodeling occurred.
In 1954, Christ Church became the Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Indianapolis. The church was renovated in the lower level and then a major underground addition was done that remarkably extended under the lawn and the brick sidewalk of Monument Circle and Meridian Street...talk about using every inch of space! They also put on a new slate roof that was just like the patterns and designs of the original.
The church got two new organs and so more accomodations had to be made.The interior has wooden trusses and stained glass windows by Tiffany. The exterior uses three limestones, all quarried in Indiana.
Fondest memory: The Christ Church Cathedral is not a large church; rather, it denotes a warm, cozy charm. Being right in the heart of the city, it is passed by literally thousands each week. What a wonderful place to stop for reflection.
The phone number is: (317)636-4577
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
We Regret Not Seeing.....
Favorite thing: Jill and I managed to "pack in" lots of touring in a short amount of time; however, we do regret not seeing the following and suggest that you try to see them:
USS Indianapolis CA35 National Monument at Walnut Avenue on the Canal Water Walk.
Note: the photo is a post card I purchased because we could not see it It is a21-ton granite memorial to commemorate the brave crew of the USS Indiana that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1945; the ship sank, killing many of its company of 1,198 instantly. 400 survived.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway The Speedway has a two-and-a-half mile oval track that encircles a large plot of land that includes a golf course and the Hall of Fame Museum (which contains many Indianapolis 500 winning cars as well as a collection of antique and classic passenger cars.) We heard that you could take a tour via bus around the track.
Fondest memory: The Indiana State Police Memorial honors Indiana State Police Heroes. This memorial was dedicted on July 2, 2002 and consists of 3 black granite tablets and an eternal flame. A "Walk of Remembrance" leads visitors to the memorial with the names of the 41 Indiana State Police personnel killed in the line of duty are inscribed on the outer tablets, while the center tablet is etched with the images of three troopers. The sound of Taps echoes on the hour from 6am-8pm
The Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial is the nation's only memorial honoring all recipients of the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest award for military valor. It was dedicated May 28, 1999, the last Memorial Day weekend of the 20th Century. It's a group of 27 curved glass walls, each between 7 and 10 feet tall. The walls represent the 15 conflicts, dating back to the Civil War. Located on the north bank of the Central Canal in White River State Park in Downtown Indianapolis, adjacent to Military Park.Note: two nights before we arrived, one of the glass partitions were SMASHED and the others were spray painted with unkind words. Needless to say, the city is furious
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
We Were Not Able To See It All In A Week's Time
Favorite thing: One of our only regrets about Indianapolis is that we could not see all that we wished to see in a week's time. For instance, when we went on the Canal Walk, we had great intentions of visiting the Indianapolis Zoo. We reached it about 15 minutes before it closed. We did walk in and visit the Zoo Gift Shop, but we could not get to the main part of the zoo. What I do know about it is that it's large enough to be interesting and stimulating, but it is not so large that it's a chore and intimidating. It is about 64 acres, and the zoo is labeled as a "cageless" facility; it also has the state's largest aquarium. There is an enclosed dolphin and whale pavilion, and all the animals are in their natural habitats. There is supposed to be what they call a critter "encounter" area where kids can have a hands-on experience with all the small animals. The Zoo is open daily from nine until six from June 1-Labor Day; it's open nine to four the rest of the year. It cost $8.50 for adults; parking cost $2.00.
Fondest memory: We also had to pass by the beautiful Indiana State Museum because of time restraints. The museum was relocated in early 2002 to this brand-new facility in the White River State Park. It is supposed to be a spacious building that is constructed of locally sourced materials that includes Indiana limestone, sandstone, brick, steel, extruded aluminum, and glass.
The museum focuses on Indiana's natural and cultural history. It displays sports and the early days of radio.
Fortunately, Indianapolis is only four hours away, so we'll just have to return some day!
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Visiting My Brother & His Family
Favorite thing: I have a sister and two brothers, and one brother (Dustin) is 19 years younger than I am. Dustin was born when I was in college. He grew up in Indianapolis when my parents lived there, and he stayed in the area and still lives in Indianapolis. So, when Jill and I decided to take our adventure to Indianapolis, I told her that we would have to visit my brother and his family. She wanted to meet them, so she did. It was great fun.
On the Sunday afternoon after a full day of touring historic houses and the huge cemetery, we drove to my brother's rather new home. Dustin and his wife Sue Anne have 5 children ranging in ages from twenties down to six.
When we arrived, Dustin, Sue Anne, their five children, Justin, Mandi, Zack, Anndie, and Hannah were there along with Mandi's "husband-to-be" and Sue Anne's mother. Whew! No wonder Dustin has a five bedroom home.
Introductions were made; we toured the house; and then it was time for the homemade "feast"!
It was quite a meal with a pork roast from the grill, salads, mushrooms, corn on the cob, etc. We also had a delicious strawberry cream pie.
It was then time to take photographs. The one I chose to use here was taken by Jill and includes Dustin and the family plus deecat. (Dustin is the one with the beard)
Fondest memory: It was now time for Jill and I to return to our Bed and Breakfast before it got dark. Dustin lives on the opposite side of Indianapolis as our Bed and Breakfast!
Wouldn't you know it. We got lost and had to "guess" our way home. I'm proud of Jill because she got us home safely, even though it took twice the time.
All-in-all, it was a grand day. I always think that it is fun to visit relatives and rehash "the good old days".
- Family Travel
Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District
Favorite thing: There was no sun & my photo looks like a black and white!
I was "blown away" by the quality and quantitiy of war memorials in Indianapolis. It's just imperative to take a self-guided walking tour of this historic district. If you go the the Artsgarden first, you are able to pick up several pamphlets that will guide you.
After World War I, an idea came up to build a memorial to the Indiana veterans and to all service men & women who served during World War I. They also wanted to bring the American Legion National Headquarters to downtown Indianapolis. This all happened around 1919. Other cities also wished to do the same thing.
(Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Minneapolis, & Detroit). Indianapolis won, and the Plaza as a whole was designed in 1923. It went up in sections, and it took from 1925 until 1950.
(We noticed that they are always improving it)
Even though it was designed to honor the World War I veterans, it is now dedicated to all men & women of Indiana who served in the uniformed service of the USA. It covers a 7 block area.
This huge plaza displays a concept of " classical formality & grand monumental scale used by city planners, architects, & artists in the [City Beautiful] movement of the early 20th Century".
This area is one of the most popular downtown areas, and after touring it, I can see why.
Fondest memory: Jill and I visited the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District the first day we arrived. It was not a great day for taking photographs, so we retraced some of our steps another day.
The Area included:
Univeristy Park (University Square)
Indiana World War Memorial Building
Veteran's Memorial Plaza (Obelisk Square)
American Legion Mall
Marion County Public Library 1916*
U.S.S. Indianapolis *
Soldiers & Sailors Monument*
Those listed with an (*) are not part of the Indiana War Memorial Plaza but are right in the area and closely related.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Summer Concert Season
Favorite thing: Summer is the season for concerts in Indianapolis with 2 large outdoor concert venues, Verizon Wireless Music Center and the WhiteLies.tv Lawn at White River State Park, plus year round concerts at places like Conseco Fieldhouse and the Murat Theater. Verizon is located at the extreme edge of the suburbs in Noblesville, some 20 miles from downtown. The area surrounding the venue is building up quickly with a new mall just opening and a 16 screen theater plus IMAX. In fact, the Music Center was put up for sale last year as the land has become extremely valuable, but after no offers, the owners said "just kidding"! Not really, but they did come out and say they never intended to sell the place. Not really sure why it was for sale then.
WhiteLies.tv Lawn at White River State Park is located downtown at the White River State Park along the river and in front of the Indiana State Museum and NCAA Hall of Champions. The Lawn has featured performers such as Bob Dylan, Incubus, Bryan Adams, and many others. The 2008 season schedule is slowly being released.
For more information on these venues and a list of upcoming concerts, visit my individual pages for them in the Nightlife Section. (Coming Soon!)
You Have to Love the Downtown.
Favorite thing: I love Downtown Indianapolis. A girl can walk alone at night and not worry about making it through the parking lot. The city has really been making an effort to improve it over the last decade.
Old factories are being turned into lofts and condos. The old Victorians are being restored and almost coveted. The new buildings are being styled to match the architecture. Even the sporting events have new looks.
Fondest memory: I love to walk from the Circle, and up to the War Monuments. The mall that runs along this corridor is a wonderful place to sit and eat lunch, watch the parade, or just attend one of the festivals.
We used to leave the coffeehouse, full of caffiene, and walk to the War Memorial. We'd lounge at the fountains, or just climb to the top.
During the day, you can go inside and see tribute to "Hoosiers" (There, I said it) who have lost their lives serving their country. Their names line all of the walls on the grandstairs. At the top. it opens to the creepiest monument that I've ever seen, the Shrine Room. Photos cannot do this justice.
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: If you are in the Indy area, you have to visit downtown! I was extremely impressed by Indianapolis' downtown! They have one of the nicest downtown malls I've ever seen, as well as many resturants and things on the street. I would even compare Indy's downtown to a smaller (well, much smaller) Chicago. Not as many on-the-street shops in Indy, but still, I was very impressed! Also, the Castleton Mall Northeast of Indianapolis is very nice!
Favorite thing: Downtown is nice, Circle Center Mall in the center of downtown is something definitely not to miss out on, Circle Center feature some great stores like Nordstrom, Persian and other big names. We have an IMAX theater, Zoo, Canal and White River Gardens all accessible via Washington St....(West, do not go East...Very Ugly!) We just got a the new Lucas Oil Stadium that recently opened..GO COLTS! The very Center of the city is Monument Circle, a nice war monument surrounded by water fountains. You will also find downtown Conseco field house, the home of the Pacer's, a Hard Rock Cafe, Jillians, Have a Nice Day Cafe (which is actually a bar) and the infamous Slippery Noodle Blues bar. If you head north on College Ave, you will run into what we call Broadripple, this is most definitely party central! The Vogue is a big name in Broadripple as well as Rock Lobster...it is fun though.
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Built to replace the first Union Station in the United States, meaning that the tracks and facilities were usable by all railroad companies. This immense Romanesque Revival structure helped Indianapolis become second only to Chicago as a hub of railroad traffic in the Midwestern United States.
- It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
- Closed for use as a railroad station in 1979 and subsequently redeveloped (Woollen Molzan & Partners) as a retail, dining, entertainment, and meeting facility. The facility closed again in 1997. Beginning in 2002, some of the building's space was used to house a charter school.
- The train shed to the west currently operates as a hotel and includes 13 hotel suites in restored Pullman Train Cars.
National Park Service Union Station National Register Site
Fondest memory: When I first visited Union Station it was a revitalized center of Indianapolis. New life was being drawn into down town. Since then, Circle Center Mall has open, just to the north and all of the shops and business' have moved over there. Today, the station continues as a hotel, but you no longer have the chance to walk the hallways and visit the tracks and platforms. Even in their renovated shape to house shops, you could still feel the bustle of business about you from it's hay days.
- Historical Travel
Irvington Historic District
Favorite thing: Irvington is an area of antique shops, old neighborhoods, stylish old churches and Dufours Restaurant. It's a wonderful sandwich shop that my daughter liked to visit. Right on Washington Street (old US 40, Historic National Road). Here, you can do a little shopping and walk through the older neighborhoods. The area changes from block to block, so I would recommend this as a lunchtime place or early afternoon.
Irvington Historic District is the largest National Register District on the Historic National Road. This historic district was once the site of Butler University. Today the area is a historic residential district of homes built in the 1920s.
Irvington Historical Society Inc.
5350 University Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46219
Fondest memory: Walking through these old neighborhoods with my daughter after lunch at a wonderful sandwich shop Dufour'son the corner of Washington and Audubon.
National Park Service Irvington Historic District National Register District
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: I wish to register a complaint...and it's not about a dead parrot! And, since there are no good VT categories for complaints; I will register my complaint here, using that unique writing style that is sarcasm...
Here we go, Indianapolis used to have several wonderfully architected buildings throughout its downtown core. Buildings that were well constructed in the early years of the 20th century with such grace and nice, small touches that no builder could pull off today, even if a commercial investor would flip for it. Now, granted several of these buildings were sitting abandon, but as the city started to revitalize many of those buildings fell victim to the wrecking ball instead of a painter's paintbrush...
If this weren't bad enough, the city allowed mere flat lots (for parking cars) to replace almost all of these buildings. I swear Indianapolis must have the most parking spaces per capita than any other U.S. city...hell, I bet it ranks high on the list on the world stage too. Applying my economics degree to all this destruction for mere flat lots, I would say, the parking lot people should be buying the old historic buildings in order to prevent the city from tearing them down only to flood the flat lot parking industry, thus lower prices. But not so... And one of my friends living in Indy has even come up with a conspiracy theory here... The city has been "bagging" lots of parking meters downtown to prevent people from parking along the streets. Therefore, in order to park, people are forced into the flat lots. Thus, prices for spaces in flat lots remain stable. What a scam!
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of all the destruction Indianapolis has done to its historic architecture for the sake of a few additional parking spaces was this building on Meridian Street.
Check out http://www.preserveindiana.com/pixpages/pb_indy.htm and support the local efforts to preserve our architecture and history.
Favorite thing: Just west of downtown and east of the IUPUI university campus is the Canal. A stream of water that flows through a business district. It looks really artificial but also really nice. You can take a walk around, stop on one of the bridges, watch the ducks or go skating. Also a location where business people from the surrounding companies enjoy their lunch breaks. Unfortunately my photo of the Canal is really dark. It was almost sunset when I was there and my camera is not the best one.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: People who give Indianpolis a bad rap probably have not been there. I'd say it's one of the most underrated places I've been. The attitude about Indianapolis is not bad, but an "average" rating does not do this place justice. I think it doesn't get enough attention.
Fondest memory: Ever since I was real little I would go there to see my Grandmother, my Aunt and Uncle. I used to love catching fireflies at night. OK OK I still do. Indianapolis is the place to visit, and to live. Go there. You'll thank yourself
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