1873 Author Harriet Beecher Stowe appeared on stage at the Academy of Music in Indianapolis. She gave readings from her many books, including her most famous, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Reserved seats for the program were 50 cents, 75 cents, and one dollar. Stowe’s brother, Henry Ward Beecher, had previously served as pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in the city.
1907 A powerful explosion at the DuPont Powder Mill in Fontanet, Indiana, killed 30 people and injured hundreds more. The Indianapolis News declared, “The town is practically wiped out. Not a building stands intact.” It was reported that 65,000 kegs of blasting powder had detonated, causing a blast heard 200 miles away. Indiana Governor J. Frank Hanly came to the Vigo County town and activated the National Guard to help with the disaster. Pictured: The front page headline fromtheFort Wayne Sentinel.
1916 President Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith came to Indianapolis to participate in Indiana’s Centennial Celebration, marking the state’s entry into the Union in 1816. He spoke at the Claypool Hotel before riding in a cavalcade through the city, around the Circle, and up to the state fairgrounds where he gave a major address. He was welcomed by Indiana Governor Samuel Ralston and Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Bell.
1949 Sherman Minton was confirmed by the Senate to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Nominated by President Harry Truman, Minton was from Floyd County and had served in the United States Senate. He earned his law degree from Indiana University, where his classmates included future governor Paul V. McNutt and future presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. Minton served on the Supreme Court until 1956. Pictured: The bust of Sherman Minton, on display at the Indiana Statehouse, by sculptor Robert Merrell Gage.
1965The Indianapolis Times ceased publication after 87 years. The daily newspaper began in 1878 as The Sun, the “only one-cent newspaper in Indiana.” The nameplate was changed to The Indianapolis Times in 1922 under the ownership of the Scripps-Howard Company. Known as a “crusading paper,” the Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for its investigation into government corruption involving the Ku Klux Klan. Pictured: The old Scripps-Howard logo.
1983 Actor Leon Ames died in Rancho Mirage, California. Born Leon Wycoff in Portland, Indiana, he and his family also lived in Kokomo, LaGrange, and Delphi, where he graduated from high school. An interest in theater took him to Hollywood, where he adopted his mother’s maiden name for the screen. His acting career covered a span of 50 years with roles in 158 movies and TV shows. One of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild, he is best known for starring roles in “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Life with Father.” He also appeared in scores of TV shows, including “Bewitched,” “My Three Sons,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Many famous authors have come to the Hoosier State over the years. Match each one below to the correct book title.
1. Mark Twain 2. Thomas Wolfe 3. Mary Higgins Clark 4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 5. Robert Newton Peck
A. Look Homeward Angel B. The Hound of the Baskervilles C. Life on the Mississippi D. A Day No Pigs Would Die E. Where Are the Children?
Hoosier Quote of the Week
“I like acting, but it was always just a job for me, something where you did your best and then went home.”
– – – Leon Ames (1902 – 1983)
Did You Know?
Audiences who came to hear Harriet Beecher Stowe had tickets to one of the newest theater venues in Indianapolis. The Academy of Music had opened just five years earlier. Located at the southeast corner of Ohio and Illinois Streets, the site today of a CVS Pharmacy, the theater had a large stage and could seat an audience of 2,500. The playbills offered the top stars of the day, including Edwin Booth, his older brother Junius Booth, and Laura Keene, one of the most popular actresses of the era. The auditorium served other needs as well. With the old Statehouse demolished and the new one just beginning construction, incoming Governor James D. Williams chose the Academy for his inaugural ceremony in January of 1877. Sadly, the building was destroyed by fire three weeks later.