history


12
Apr 17

Today was a lesson in knowing things

One of those days that you don’t look out of the window until it is almost too late:

Isn’t that some kind of problem to have, not looking because you don’t know better — especially when you know better. Life teaches you so many things, and some of them you are just determined to learn over and over again. Until you finally do. Know better, that is.

Anyway, that’s the side of the newly christened Frances Morgan Swain Student Building as seen from the Media School. Swain became the wife of the ninth president of the university. She was also a math student, a suffragist and an advocate for more prominent roles and facilities for women on campus, including that one. She seems like an impressive woman.

In the next building over then, our building, tonight:

Sometimes, I have the chance to say something that I know to be true. In those rare moments, like one tonight, I realize I have learned basic things, earnest and true and important things. And sometimes you get to share those things, as advice, because you see the chance. Occasionally you do know.

It is a sports night:

We have less than 10 tapings left on the term. Time moves faster. You’d think it might ought to slow down, with the rest of us. But you know better.


3
Apr 17

This post covers the last 176 or so years

Such a gray day on Saturday. It all blends together as big globs of clouds, but the history function at Weather Underground says it has been a week since I’ve seen the sun. I haven’t taken to putting hashmarks on the wall to keep track. Yet. But on the eighth day in a row of this I realized a few things. First, this is well-passed its sell date. Second, you need features in the foreground to make this backdrop pop:

I went to the movies Saturday, saw Logan, and did some other things, and watched the sky.

Sunday was a terrific improvement. The temperature snuck up into the mid-60s and the sun came out to play and it was otherwise, you know, a nice April day:

I went for a bike ride, a 43-miler that started to fall apart around mile 12 or so. There was a lot of up-and-down, and the up is always slower, even more so when you’re having a slow day in general. But the weather was nice and the views weren’t bad either:

And I looked up the first use of the words bicycle and velocipede in the impressive Hoosier State Chronicles — a digital newspaper program which is a terrific read. It isn’t complete, of course, but it is authoritative.

Aside from a few ads, here is the first mention, in The Hendricks County Union, on March 8, 1866:

The Hendricks County Union started out as the Danville Republican in 1846 and took the Union name in 1864 when a returning Civil War colonel, Lawrence S. Shuler bought the rag. Shuler’s unit had fought in the Second Battle of Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania and more. So newspapers probably seemed a breeze. He sold it the next year, though, and after a series of name and ownership changes and consolidations, the paper finally enjoyed a long run from 1890 until 1931 under one owner.

Then a World War I veteran bought what was called the Hendricks County Republican. Edward Weesner, who’d learned the business working on the Stars and Stripes, ran the shop until he died in 1974. His daughter, Betty Jean Weesner, had been working there for some time and took over. She was, says a Saturday Evening Post column, a Unitarian Democrat running a paper by then simply called The Republican. She graduated with a journalism degree from Indiana in 1951. She died this time last year. Her obituary says she never retired. The Republican was a two-person shop, a small-town weekly, and Weesner’s longtime assistant Barbara Robertson died a few weeks ago. It was also the oldest paper in the county, with roots back to the James K. Polk administration. You hope it comes back, but it would be a surprise if it did. This is one of the ways old newspapers die.

Meanwhile over in Vanderburg County, at the Evansville Journal, these two mention appear in the same column of miscellany on September 15, 1868:


Already, they were concerned with speed. Perhaps always they were.

The Evansville Journal started in 1834, The location of the original building, which was razed after a fire, seems to be a parking lot today. Apparently the paper had endured three fires over the decades. Finally, the Evansville Journal News building, would survive. It was one of those places built way out of town, until Main Street came to it. The two-story beaux-arts brick building with a limestone facade, circa 1910, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s a deli and ice cream joint in there now. The Journal was sold to the cross-town competition in the 1920s and lasted until about 1936 or so.

Here now is the Daily State Sentinel, with a local notice on September 30, 1868:

Twenty-five miles per hour! Much better than a carriage. Le Maire, of course, being French for “the mayor.” Mississippi Street was renamed Senate Avenue in 1895. Third Street, I am forced to assume, was also renamed. But I’m not sure when or to what. So I’m counting roads and if my guess is right the former site of Le Maire’s shop is not either a condo, a distillery, a parking lot or one of a series of apartment/business buildings. The provenance of the Daily State Sentinel dates back to 1840. The paper that became The Sentinel was originally The Indiana Democrat, and Spirit of the Constitution, this being firmly in the times when towns had more than one publication and representing a variety of political parties.

In fact, you probably remember hearing about the Copperheads during the American Civil War. The people that had this paper during that time — ownership was an almost-fluid thing in most newspapers back then — found themselves wrapped up in the Copperhead Trials. After more owners and changes to the masthead than you can count, the paper closed its doors for good in 1906, when it was known as the Indianapolis Sentinel. I haven’t yet discovered anything about monsieur Le Maire.

Finally this bit, which was published in the Daily Wabash Express on March 13, 1869. It was in rebuttal to something that ran in an Indianapolis paper, and I believe this part was an excerpt of the first piece. Either way, we’re settling on terms and facts here, in 1869, and that’s just charming:

This paper also has roots to 1841, but it became the Daily in the 1850s. A few years after this, the ancestor of this paper would boast one of the first female editors in the state. Mary Hannah Krout is, in fact, credited as the first woman to edit a major daily in the state. She did that for about six years before going to Chicago, and then covered the revolution in Hawai’i and wrote from London and China, as well. She was a prominent suffragist and wrote eight or nine books, too. The paper would stick around until April 29, 1903.

I wonder what the weather was like that day.


23
Mar 17

This post solves no mysteries

I saw this truck a few weeks ago and thought of this joke. But, that day, he left before I had the chance to take a picture. And you really need this snapshot for this:

Do you ever see trucks that make you think the people in charge of creating the shell corporations or government fronts aren’t even trying? There’s a company in town with vans that say “Commercial Service” on the sides. What is that? The generic handyman? Is that like those no-brand-name vegetables you can get at the grocery store? And where do those come from, anyway? A white truck with the word “Veggies” in big block lettering on the side? Probably picked those up at a place called “Farm.”

Commercial Service. Circle City. Uh huh. I’m on to this. And it has nothing to do with the sort of things I’ve been watching on Netflix recently.

Circle City is a second-generation family concern, founded in 1946. Joe Corsaro’s son, Daniel, has been running the operation for the last 40 years. I watched a brief video where one of the family members, another Joseph Corsaro, said they ship to “roughly 14 states.” Phrasing like that jumps out, doesn’t it?

I looked in the newspaper archives. Seems there might have been at least two families with that name. One Joe Corsaro became a police officer. While I’m not sure if that’s our guy, the other big newspaper mention is from 1919, when a Joe Corsaro, 10, accidentally shot his little brother, Peter. In 1920 Peter, then just 6-years-old, was hit by a car.

Peter lived. A book called Indianapolis Italians told me his business name. The About Us section on that site says he bought a newsstand in 1946, grew it for decades, sold it to his kids in the 1980s and stayed on until he died in 2002. Considering his 1919 and 1920, that’s not too bad.

And it is that sort of attention to detail that really does make you wonder whether it is all a front.

More spring:

Yes, most everything is blooming now. Why, I even saw some weeds in the neighbor’s floor bed.

I’m sure there are some in ours, as well. The neighbor’s you can see from our kitchen window. I just haven’t yet look that closely at ours. So, you might say, I have looked for no clues.

Here’s something else you have to look closely at:

I no longer have a young fighter pilot’s eyes. I’m fine up close, but I lose some detail at distance. Even still, I had to get within eight or 10 feet to see it. Even then I was thinking, What kind of stick-figured character with no feet would hula hoop anyway? And why do it on this little access road? The motion lines were actually selling me on the idea, but the asymmetrical eyes made me look a bit closer.

The mysteries of the ages are always around us.


16
Mar 17

I was not awake at 5 a.m.

A good singalong makes one happy:

Too-high, too-wide photo still to come.

I found this today:

Two young men hit by a train in 1917, both lived. And then I found this and this. One lived to 80 and had three kids. The other lived to 85 and had four children. And this quick look online tells me that a man who died at 85 in 1983, in my lifetime, knew his grandfather, who fought at Kennesaw and Nashville and against Hood in Georgia and Alabama. That man, in my lifetime, could probably recall his grandfather who fought in the Civil War on land I know fairly well.

So it is a small world, I guess. Though anything is possible if you start a story with “So this guy found himself crawling out from under an actual trainwreck.”

Today, Indiana fired their basketball coach. Just as the tournament begin, his tenure ended. He’d gone to the Sweet Sixteen last year, indeed, three of the last six years he’d been there, and he won the conference championship twice. But they decided to go a different way, so there was an announcement, and a press conference. And, despite this also being Spring Break, the student media was there:

Dedication, hustle and showing up will get you places in that business. So it is great to see students from both the television station and the newspaper reporting it at full speed. Good for them.


17
Feb 17

You can decide which parenthetical note is best

Yesterday I wrote, for too long, about a blue jean jacket. (“Rosebud … “) I also learned that they were back in style. As if they should have ever left …

I looked for a picture of me in the jacket, but I don’t have one. I’m sure they exist though. And then, this morning, we saw definitive proof that they were back. This is a morning show our students shoot:

On the left is one host. On the far right is another. Obstructed from this angle is a fashion columnist from the campus paper. And she is talking about the outfit being worn by the young woman on the middle right. Denim on denim.

Different colors, she intoned seriously, so that each stands out from the other.

We had a name for that once upon a time, and, as I recall, it was a look to be avoided. But everything changes.

We were setting up cameras before that. This has a name, but I forget what it is. So let’s just call it cool:

I did some of the other things that make up a normal day at the office. I helped some folks practice weather presentations on the green screen. I had lunch. At 2:30 I finally got caught up on the day’s email. I talked to students. I also gave a tour of the building today. And after work we went over to Nashville, the little artists’ colony about 20 miles away, for dinner.

We had a date! The Yankee found Hobnob Corner, which has been around since just after the Civil War as a dry goods store and then a restaurant. It felt like a cracker barrel. The people were friendly. The decor was rustic. The walls were covered with photos of the history of the little town. (White settlers came in after an 1809 treaty. Farming and forestry ran the isolated area. By the time the 20th century rolled around deforestation ruined the agriculture because of poor practices leading to wide scale erosion. Roads, the Depression and the CCC, then the artists showed up. The town has three traffic lights, which is all of the lights in the county. They enjoy tourism as a big part of their economy.) My favorite photo was of a parade from 1900. I thought it might have been a prohibition parade, or a women’s suffrage march. But I just found a site with a similar photo that might be of the same parade, and it is labeled there as Decoration Day.

But they have some pretty nice dining there. Try the Duck Breast with Orange Maple Glaze with butternut squash risotto and sauteed kale. (This is the only acceptable way to eat kale.)

We’ve been over to Nashville once before, in the daylight, in the summer time, when things were open. I’m sure we’ll go back. There are always new shops to see and 24 restaurants to try and dates to be had.