Thursday, February 8, 2007

My Town Indy

November 11, 2006

So... I have a little time on my hands, and I thought I'd go downtown for a walkabout. With trusty Kodak Instamatic in hand, and $3, I find a good parking spot right where Market Square Arena used to be.

This is all that remains now. Urban renewal at its finest, probably.

I think MSA was pretty cool and really not old enough to be torn down and turned into a gravel parking lot. But what do I know? I'm just a dork with a camera and intardweb access.

Some day I should tell you about the time I got thrown out of MSA before an Aerosmith/Ted Nugent concert. I bet you'd find that amusing.

OK....I'll tell you the story here and now.

Back about 20 years ago, a buddy and I got fueled up on cheap beer and were off to see Aerosmith and Ted Nugent.

Anyway, it's before the opening act. We find decent seats, decent a debatable term seeing as it was festival seating...first come first served.

So we're sitting there waiting for Terrible Ted to warm up for the 'Smith, and I fire up a cig. Right. All around us are miscreant youths, smoking pot and being a general nuisance. The house lights are still up, when a bloke in a Charlie Brown sweater walks up to me and tells me to put out my ciggie. I look up at him and tell him, in a diplomatic way, to feck off.

Charlie Brown, who, mind you, is not wearing any kind of ID or uniform indicating he is with the security team, produces a walki-talki from his arse and proceeds to report that he has a trouble maker on aisle 7. Within seconds, I am surrounded by various steroid soaked swollen bouncer types, and I am forcefully escorted from the premises.

My buddy followed me out. He could have stayed for the show, but he didn't. We probably went to a pub somewhere and had more cheap beer.
I don't remember any of that.

I got the last laugh, however.

Looking up the street from the former MSA location...

The City Market is on the right, with the City/County Builiding (CCB), left.

I had a great idea to go to the observation platform of the CCB and take a few shots. I'd never been up there before, so I thought it would be cool.

I get in line at security and am told I have to empty my pockets, take off my belt and jacket, etc. So there I am, pants falling down, with a dog-dish full of various items which had previously been in my pockets....

Surly security chick: "Is that a camera?"

Zoomie: "Why, yes it is. It is a Kodak Instamatic!"

Surly security chick: "Cameras are not allowed in the building, sir. You'll have to take it back to your car."

Zoomie: "I'm just going to the observation observe...and take a picture or two."

Surly security chick: "I'm sorry sir. No cameras."

I blame George W. Bush, Halliburton, and Cheney.

The terrorists have won.

I get dressed in the lobby of the CCB and head back outside.

I decide to go check out Circle Center Mall. I've never been there before, even though it's been open for years, so you can understand why I was vibrating with excitement and anticipation of the new discoveries which awaited me.

This is what I saw as I neared my intended destination.

This is some kinda pedestrian overpass glass birdcage thingy they have over the road. It is called the Indianapolis Artsgarden...whatever that means.

I'd call it "a pain in the neck to clean all that glass structure"....or something.

Next, I actually went in the mall. There were many fine shops and stores and eateries...none of which could I afford, so I just walked around looking for something interesting to photograph.

This caught my eye.

This is some kind of evil Aztec sun and/or devil worshipping artwork symbol I bet, but it looked pretty cool, I thought.

Real photographers sometimes look at light and shadows and texture and colors and perspective and other stuff I really don't understand.

I just think this would make a really cool black light poster for my bedroom, so I took the picture.

Your thoughts?

Out with the not-so-old, in with the new...

Here we see the Hoosier Dome in the background, as work continues at an amazing pace on the future home of the Colts.

Even though the Hoosier Dome seems perfectly usable to me, much like MSA did, the Lucas Oil Stadium work goes on.

Apparently, there's lots of money just sitting around waiting to be used. I don't know how much of that money is the taxpayer's. Probably not much because the Irsays are pretty well-off and I bet they could afford a new stadium for their team if they want.

That's what I think.

I heard some ministers were trying to blackmail the city somehow in regards to the stadium work. I don't know too much more about all that, though.

Maybe I should Google it, or something.

This is a view from the north end zone.

The Lucas family is from Indiana and they made their fortune selling oil and fuel and transmission additives to the trucking and racing industries.

Big/evil oil strikes again? Maybe. Maybe not.

Who knows for sure?

More shots of Lucas Oil Stadium progress

West side

North end zone

East side

East side looking towards south end zone. Note huge, dark gray retractable roof superstructure support.

Hoisting a piece of equipment skyward.

Soon, I grew weary of slogging about in the mud around the construction site, so I sauntered back to the downtown area. I found myself in the Pan Am Plaza area...a place where, in my younger days, I spent many a night in an alcoholic stupor.

This is Union Station.

Back in the heydays of railroading, this was a bustling hub of activity in Indy.

In my heyday, it was a place my buds and I would go to cruise for chicks.

I can almost remember the night my friends and I went to a pub at Union Station and watched IU win their 1987 NCAA Basketball championship.

That was fun, if I remember correctly.

My girlfriend (now my wife) and I also had dinner at Union Station the night I proposed.

I bet you didn't know that I used to be a hopeless romantic, did you?

Then I walked over to the circle.

This is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It was completed in 1901 or 1902, depending on who you talk to, as a memorial to Indiana's dead from all wars up to that time.

Here you see it in its holiday garb, often called The World's Largest Christmas Tree, but it's really not a tree. It's just a big monument strung with lights.

It is made out of Indiana limestone. I love Indiana limestone. It is cool. My father and his father and his father and a bunch of former Zoomie fathers all were cutters down in southern Indiana, so they probably had a hand in building this and other things.

I guess that kinda makes me part owner and stuff.


From there I walked just up the street to the Indiana Statehouse, a place where lots of important stuff gets decided by the lawmakers we vote into office.

This is a statue honoring Oliver P. Morton, governor of Indiana during the Civil War, which was a long time ago.

If you look closely, you can see the honorable Mr. Morton flanked by a couple of his goons...and for good reason.

In 1864 he was reelected along with a Republican legislature, in part by arranging to have 9,000 sick and wounded Indiana soldiers furloughed home in time to vote.


It was Morton who was running things when the Confederate army invaded Indiana in 1863 (Morgan's Raid).

Johnny Reb ran amok, (while Gov. Morton was reading 1863's version of My Pet Goat...probably) throughout southeastern Indiana...burning and pillaging and being generally unpleasant.

Morgan's raiders were eventually hunted down and slaughtered, or surrendered, like the scurvy dogs they were. Serves them right, the big rebel dopes!

Still, you have to ask yourself....What did Gov. Morton know, and when did he know it?

Another interesting thing about the statehouse...I think somewhere in this area, a bunch of this public land has been sold to private individuals so they could build a Simon Sez headquarters or something.

I don't recall being asked if I thought it was OK to sell public park land to a private company who builds shopping malls and stuff.

But, then again, I'm just a goof with a camera and intardnet access. Why would they ask me?

This is the Indiana World War Memorial.

It was completed in 1927. It was originally built to honor veterans of World War 1, but we kept having wars so they added on some stuff to it and around it. It has a museum inside, but it was closed when I was there....November 10th...a Friday...the Marine Corps Birthday...the day before Veterans Day. Makes sense to me.

Standing proudly on a base of pink granite, on the south side of the Indiana War Memorial, is Pro Patria, by Henry Hering, 1929.

The statue is of a young man draped in an American flag reaching heavenward.

Hering stated "I have attempted to embody in this memorial, the spirit rather than material concept of a soldier-- to give the figure an expression of all there is in humanity of aspiration, valor, renunciation and the perpetuation of the memory of the patriot fighting for the right. I include peace also, for the left hand raised in exultation also may snatch the olive branch."

The statue is 24' high and weighs approximately seven tons. It was the largest sculptured bronze casting ever made in America at that time.

To vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the world

To commemorate the valor and sacrifice of all who served

This is the view from high atop the World War Memorial, looking north across American Legion Mall.

The American Legion National Headquarters is on the right.

The big green glass monstrosity in the background at the end of the mall is the new library which has had lots of problems, apparently, like huge cost overruns and bad concrete work and stuff.

I'm glad I don't use that library, even though I'm helping to pay for it, because it might come crashing down on my head, or something.

That would be below average.

A couple of old apartment buildings...

I don't know anything about them, except I thought they looked cool with the brickwork and stone trim. Very nice and clean looking... The owners obviously care for and love their property and value its historical significance.

( Library under construction in background.)

The (American Legion) Mall features a sunken garden with a cenotaph and four Art Deco columns topped with stylized gold eagles.


-A monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere.

-A tomb built for ceremonial purposes that was never intended to be used for the interment of the deceased.

The Cenotaph memorializes the nation's first casualty of World War I, Corporal James B. Gresham of Company F, 16th Infantry and Evansville Indiana.

You should come to Indianapolis sometime to visit or live. It's a good place to raise a family, or something.

Pretty much.

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