Irvington Historical Society

Irvington Historical Society The Irvington Historical Society collects, preserves, organizes and utilizes artifacts from greater Irvington to connect the past to our present.

Help us choose the flavors of ice cream for our August 4th Social.  We will have vanilla, a chocolate, a non-milk select...
06/22/2019

Help us choose the flavors of ice cream for our August 4th Social. We will have vanilla, a chocolate, a non-milk selection and a specialty flavor. Record your taste preference at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JKJLX8W

Indiana Album
06/21/2019

Indiana Album

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, circa 1910 - Barney Oldfield (to the left with goggles, chomping on a cigar) behind the wheel of his #19 Lightning Benz race car, also known as the Blitzen Benz. The man to this left is his riding mechanic.

Oldfield won first place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a race held on August 21, 1909 and returned the next year with his famous "Blitzen Benz." In March of the same year, he set a world speed record with this car at Daytona when he reached 131.724 mph.

While the first 500-mile race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1911, racing began when the track opened on August 19, 1909--including several races held in May, June, and September of 1910.

Our thanks to John M. Harlan for sharing 12 snapshots of what appear to be 1910 races. If any of you Indianapolis Motor Speedway experts can add details, please click the "Send Us Feedback" button on any of the records found here: https://indianaalbum.pastperfectonline.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search_criteria=ia-0296&searchButton=Search

And they have wonderful neighbors! The Bona Thompson Center...;-)
06/21/2019

And they have wonderful neighbors! The Bona Thompson Center...;-)

LAST available 1 bedroom at Historic Irvington Flats & it rents for less than $800 per month 😲😍 Schedule your tour today!

#UnderReno #CoreRedevelopment #Irvington

317.820.3303
222 S Downey Ave

Well it was raining inside as well as outside.  Here is one of our intrepid volunteers with broom and scoop trying to ge...
06/19/2019

Well it was raining inside as well as outside. Here is one of our intrepid volunteers with broom and scoop trying to get the water to drain off our flat roof. It was like we had a roof top wading pool with a drain to the inside.

Just a reminder that these yummy little cakes will be at the Irvington Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social Aug 4
06/19/2019

Just a reminder that these yummy little cakes will be at the Irvington Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social Aug 4

Tuesday’s flavors are:
Cherry Cheesecake
Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
Mint Chocolate
Neapolitan
Fudge Brownie
Wild Cherry
Caramel Mocha
Lemon Cream
Caramel Pecan Turtle
Salted Carmel
Vanilla Birthday
Double Chocolate

Great Indiana resource.
06/18/2019

Great Indiana resource.

Today is a good day to come in and use the microfilm machines. Read about our newspaper holdings here: https://www.in.gov/library/newspaperholdings.htm #research #newspapers #Indiana #indianastatelibrary #librariesofinstagram #microfilm #microfiche #papers #holdings

A shout out to Howe Alumni.  The Irvington Historical Society has received art works by former Howe teacher and coach, J...
06/18/2019

A shout out to Howe Alumni. The Irvington Historical Society has received art works by former Howe teacher and coach, James Lynch. This piece was painted from a 1970 photograph taken of a Howe art student . If you recognize the young man, please let us know. The information will become part of the record of the art work and I really don't want to title it "Unknown Art Student". Thanks.

Mystery Monday.  The tiny home movement. Is it really a modern trend or older?  One of the homes included in the Bona's ...
06/17/2019

Mystery Monday. The tiny home movement. Is it really a modern trend or older? One of the homes included in the Bona's current exhibit is small enough to be a tiny home. It is dwarfed by the trees surrounding it and has the most basic form of a Queen Anne cottage. In 1891,the first owner moved in. James R. Fry, his wife Sarah Milhous Fry and their son Florien lived in the home at 324 Burgess Ave. until his death in 1935 and hers in 1944. Fry was an Irvington school teacher in the 1890s and later a real estate agent with offices at 5602 East Washington Street. The map is an example of the information which can be found in the Sanborn and Baist insurance maps.
The house is currently vacant and escaped a demolition order in 2010, and in 2015 the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement issued an Order to Repair. The final mystery is can it be saved?

Our next Steeped in History Workshop will be Sat, July 6. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steeped-in-history-workshop-tour-july-6-tickets-61758284692

Thanks to the brave souls who attended our first Steeped in History workshop. I have never seen it rain that hard...and ...
06/15/2019

Thanks to the brave souls who attended our first Steeped in History workshop. I have never seen it rain that hard...and yet everyone that registered attended! We hope you had fun at this abbreviated session and join us for a DRIER walk.

06/12/2019
06/10/2019
Beach Bum Barbecue

This wonderful stuff will be available at the Ice Cream Social.

Do you guys want a sneak peek at our new restaurant? Check out our pitmaster John Barker's new vlog and get a look!

https://youtu.be/E_uoiuNxjzI

Mystery Monday. What is this? William Lawson, Irvington artist, finds items as he hikes and paints along Pleasant Run Cr...
06/10/2019

Mystery Monday. What is this? William Lawson, Irvington artist, finds items as he hikes and paints along Pleasant Run Creek from Irvington to below Fountain Square. His glass sculptures reflected some of his finds, but recently he brought in this little china object. What do you think it might be? It looks fragile, but survived the crush of a dump.

At the end of June we will begin an ongoing exhibit (it will remain up until we all lose interest) of items found hidden. If you have an item to share, talk to us either at the Bona or email at [email protected].

We've been ask about how our current exhibit of the histories of 28 Irvington homes. They run from homes built in 1840 t...
06/09/2019
Irvington Homes Steeped in History - Google My Maps

We've been ask about how our current exhibit of the histories of 28 Irvington homes. They run from homes built in 1840 to one built in the '50s. This map is the best way to show what we've included. This is NOT a walking tour nor are these homes open. You should be able to expand this map, click on the icon and see a picture. Come to the BONA and read the entire story. Or sign up to learn to do basic history for your own home, take an architectural history tour. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/irvington-historical-society-17585658905

Irvington homes reveal the history of the neighborhood. They cover centuries of style and stories. This map reflects the homes that the Irvington Historical Society has included in its exhibit. Take a walk and stop in at the Bona to enjoy the exhibit.

06/09/2019

Thank you Indiana Album for a successful Saturday Scan-a-Thon at the Bona. Lots of people visited and shared their Indiana images. Hope you can visit us again next year! Friends if you missed the opportunity to bring in your items, contact Indiana Album directly at [email protected].

Indiana Album
06/07/2019

Indiana Album

Indianapolis, circa 1900 - View looking north on S. Illinois Street in the Wholesale District, Indianapolis, with the busy Indianapolis Union Station just out of sight to the right. Note the horse emerging from the tunnel that passed under train tracks (this was filled in when the tracks were elevated in the late 1910s). Businesses include George's Hotel and Restaurant, a ticket office, the Oneida Hotel, a barber shop, and a hardware and iron company offering tinner's supplies and Ben-Hur bicycles.

Multiple hotels, bars, theatres, and restaurants of various quality catered to Union Station travelers. The IndyStar described the several-block strip of Illinois between Union Station and Market Streets as the gaudy, bawdy Levee "in the days when the Ambersons were magnificent." Some believed that it was nicknamed "The Levee" shortly after the Civil War by a former Mississippi riverboat captain because the street was constantly a "river of slush," probably due to the inefficient sewer system. A policeman who patrolled the area recalled: "During the day and early evening it was a pleasure to see and meet so many nice men and their ladies. After nightfall, however, it was a mighty different story." Several articles describe the grifters, gamblers, barflies, night hawks, and ladies of the evening who frequented this seedy strip. Steetcars stopped at midnight, so horse-drawn hacks lined the streets ready to take the revelers home.

Some believed that the new YMCA inhibited the raucous behavior, the police took credit for cracking down on illegal activities, and others blamed the automobile age, but for whatever reason the Levee's bad reputation and nickname faded away in the early 1900s. In 1957 L. H. Lewis of the Mayor's Advisory Committee stated "Future historians will experience little difficulty in finding sufficient material to compile several volumes about the rise and fall of South Illinois Street." Although he and the City believed at the time that the street was destined for a complete facelift, these blocks were still called skid row in 1971 when many of the brick structures seen here were razed. Today Pan Am Plaza is on the site and Hilton plans to build a 38-story luxury hotel about where these hotels once stood.
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Don't forget! Our next Indiana Album Scan-a-Thon is this Sat., June 8, 1-4pm at the Irvington Historical Society. Please share your photos for our community digital archive. Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/355533451764242/

Mystery Monday.  Will you share vintage images from Indiana with Indiana Album and the Irvington Historical Society?  Th...
06/03/2019

Mystery Monday. Will you share vintage images from Indiana with Indiana Album and the Irvington Historical Society? These examples are from Anna Towles' scrapbook. Anna was the adopted daughter of Dr. Alfred Towles whose medical practice was in Irvington and home stood at 5377 E. Washington St. where Shirly Brothers Mortuary now stands. (My error at indicating that it iwas where School #57 stands.) Please, join us to share your interesting Indiana images. You retain the original image, the Irvington Historical Society and Indiana Album share a digital version. It is a great resource for historians and genealogists.

05/31/2019

From our friends at the Franklin Historical Society. Franklin Township Historical Society lunch presentation: JOIN US Tuesday June 4th at 11:30 for the next Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting, to be held at the Franklin Road Library, 5550 South Franklin Rd.

Mystery Monday.  Will you join us at the upcoming Scan a Thon  https://www.facebook.com/events/355533451764242/?  Just i...
05/27/2019

Mystery Monday. Will you join us at the upcoming Scan a Thon https://www.facebook.com/events/355533451764242/? Just inside the front door of the Bona Thompson is a diorama of the Butler campus when it was in Irvington (1875- 1928). At the door you see a copy of the TC Steele painting of Bona Thompson. The old street light and fire hydrant just prove that we will take on about anything if they are connected with Irvington. Saturday, we got the streetlight to light! Our focus changes for the Scan-a-thon. Vintage images of Indiana are the target. Hope to see you.

Mystery Monday. Where is this? We continue to discover additional glass negatives taken by Irvington resident Osbert Sum...
05/20/2019

Mystery Monday. Where is this? We continue to discover additional glass negatives taken by Irvington resident Osbert Sumner at the dawn of the 1900s. The boxes of about 300 negatives weren't discovered until the 1980s. All were coated in grime and as we clean and print images we find new questions. Few of the negatives had identification as most of the paper sleeves had disintegrated. Here we have two images of a sulkey race. One with an apparent accident on the back stretch. But is it in Indiana, Canada or Ohio...or could this be horse racing at the old Shimer Fidelity Farm once located at 5563 Brookville Road which after 1936 became the International Harvester plant site.
Comments about the Shimer farm being considered for the new Indiana State Fair Grounds because of its horse tract, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/1638131/dec_12_1891_shimer_farmfairthe/

How about a historic car?
05/18/2019
RM Sotheby's

How about a historic car?

Reserve your spot at the Auburn Spring Car Corral today! Spots are available as low as $60 with multi-car discount! Join us along with the AACA Grand National and Roll Royce Owner's Club meets this 29 May - 1 June!

Indiana Landmarks
05/18/2019

Indiana Landmarks

This week, Indiana Landmarks' African American Landmarks Committee traveled to Carthage, Indiana, to see restoration progress at Beech Church, a former entry on Indiana Landmarks' 10 Most Endangered list. Accessed by traversing a lane once lined with beech trees, the c.1865 Greek Revival church is one of the last tangible links to a farming community created by free African Americans in the 1830s.⠀

We met with descendants of the early African American and Quaker settlers who established the site. The settlement's descendants still gather every year on the last Sunday in August for an annual homecoming, and this year will mark the first such gathering since the church's restoration.

05/16/2019
The Benton House

Hey historians and book collectors. A great cause, The Benton House, could use your extras! Which will give you space to purchase different titles.

We want your books...as long as you're done with them, of course!

Just a reminder that the collection bins are out around Irvington:

Back vestibules of Jockamos in Irvington & Black Sheep Gifts
Front entryways of Hampton Design & The Mug

Should you have more than an armload or so of books, please contact us to arrange a drop off at The Benton House, or a special pick up at your home. There is also a large green tote by the back door of the BH too!

Mystery Monday. This is another of the homes featured in our exhibit, Irvington Homes - Steeped in History.  This Americ...
05/13/2019

Mystery Monday. This is another of the homes featured in our exhibit, Irvington Homes - Steeped in History. This American Four Square style home was built circa 1891 probably by Jennie Jefferies, a widow who moved her family to Irvington so that her children could attend Butler. Mrs. Jefferies and her family developed, owned and ran Crown Laundry which was a prominent Indianapolis business until about 1975. An Irvinton artist, Hilah Drake Wheeler captured Mrs. Jefferie's garden in one of her watercolors.

These are the homes included in the 2019 exhibit Irvington Homes - Steeped in History. You should be able to enlarge the...
05/08/2019
Irvington Homes Steeped in History - Google My Maps

These are the homes included in the 2019 exhibit Irvington Homes - Steeped in History. You should be able to enlarge the map, click on the icon and see attached pictures. Our gallery exhibit shows the full story for each.
We are preparing a workshop on researching the history of your home with a walking tour. We are thinking one each month from June - August at a cost of $10. Any interest?

Irvington homes reveal the history of the neighborhood. They cover centuries of style and stories. This map reflects the homes that the Irvington Historical Society has included in its exhibit. Take a walk and stop in at the Bona to enjoy the exhibit.

Mystery Monday.  Is your house included in the new exhibit at the Bona Thompson?  Irvington historians tell the stories ...
05/06/2019

Mystery Monday. Is your house included in the new exhibit at the Bona Thompson? Irvington historians tell the stories of 27 homes utilizing art,photographs and documents. This is an example. At 5433 University sat a brick home built in 1874 by James Downey, then sold it to Edward Thompson (who built the Bona Thompson Library as a memorial to his daughter). At Thompson's death the Hibben family purchased the home and lived there until about 1928, when the home was sold to Mrs. Hugh M Landon, torn down and the original lot subdivided into 9 lots. The sketches below were created by Thomas Hibben Jr and are held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and found in their online collection.

Address

5350 University Ave
Indianapolis, IN
46219

Opening Hours

Wednesday 13:00 - 15:00
Saturday 13:00 - 16:00
Sunday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(317) 602-2962

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