Indiana War Memorial — Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana World War Memorial
The Indiana World War Memorial Building is the centerpiece of the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza; a five block memorial originally concieved in 1919 as a location for the national headquarters of the American Legion and a memorial to the state’s and nation’s veterans.

The memorial’s design is based upon the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At 210 feet tall it is approximately 75 feet taller than the original Mausoleum. The blue lights which shine between columns on the side of the War Memorial make the monument easily recognizable. It is the most imposing neoclassical structure in Indianapolis due to its scale and size.
Indianapolis, Indiana//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
On September 25, 1989 the Indiana World War Memorial place was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Scott Theatre — Scottsburg, Indiana

Scottsburg, Indiana
The Scott Theater was built and opened in 1947. After closing as a movie theatre it was later renovatated in 2002 and converted into a country music hall named the Scottsburg Jamboree. Later the theater was renamed to Ross Country Jamboree. The theater currently hosts weekly live music performances in the vein of The Grand Ole Opry. The theater has an audience capacity of 500.

The Smallest Kmart In The World — Peru, Indiana

Continuing with my obsession with Kmart and keeping the memory alive, during my road trip through the heart of North Central Indiana, I managed to visit several Kmart stores.  The most notable of those was this location in Peru.

Kmart -- Peru, Indiana
Coming in at just over 28,000 square feet, this is the smallest Kmart left in operation in the entire 600 +/- store chain.   This store opened for business on September 18, 1975. There are a couple of stores in small towns, particularly in the upper midwest and mountain west that are nearly as small as this store.
Kmart -- Peru, Indiana To give you an idea as to how small this store is, the average Walmart Super Center is nearly 170,000 square feet. This store at 28,000 is basically the size of a small grocery store. Kmart -- Peru, Indiana
Kmart / Sears this week announced another round of store closings, including 49 more Kmart locations. Thankfully, this little relic wasnt included on the list and lives to fight another day.

Shields High School Gym — Seymour, Indiana

P1000065 In November of 1937 construction began on a new gymnasium for the Seymour Indiana high school then known as Sheilds High School. The new gym was completed as a WPA project in 1938 and provided the high school and community with a modern, fire-proof gymnasium with a seating capacity of over 3,300. P1000066
The gymnasium continued to serve Shields High School until 1959, when the high school moved to a new campus and changed its name to Seymour High School.
P1000061 Upon the moving of Sheilds High School, the gym, and main school building which use to stand directly beside the gym were transformed into the new Sheilds Middle School. P1000058
The buildings remained in service to the community in this function until 1981 when the new Seymour Middle School opened.
P1000057 The main part of the Sheilds High School was demolished in 1998. P1000062
The gymnasium remains standing on 6th Street to this very day.
P1000063 P1000068

The State Theatre — Logansport, Indiana

The State Theatre is located at 321 East Market Street in Logansport, Indiana.
The theatre opened on June 8, 1940 with 1,074 seats. A second screen was later added, and operated as a movie theatre into late 2008.
State Theater -- Logansport, Indiana
The State is now a live performance venue

May 2017 Indiana/Ohio Road Trip: Day 1

Meadow Lake Wind Farm
4:30 came so early this morning.  So early in fact I rolled back over and slept until 5.  In doing that I had to leap out of bed when my alarm went off and leave as quickly as possible.  I was out the door and on the road by about 5:20. The grand total for the day was 485 miles. That 485 miles included 2 new Kmart stores, a mall in Louisville on Bardstown Road that I didnt even know existed, my customary stop at the Falls of the Ohio River State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, 2 Goodwill Outlets, 1 regular Goodwill store, Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and the Meadow Lake Wind Farm off I65 near Chalmers. Ill give another update tomorrow with a few more pictures from the day. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
Louisville, Kentucky Kmart -- Thompson Rd -- Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, Indiana Indianapolis, Indiana

Spring Time Ramblings Through The Heartland(A few weeks early)

Over the past few days I have been rambling about the Bluegrass state and the southern edge of Illinois and a small corner of Missouri. Why you might ask? Well, like I stated in this blog earlier this week I just had to go back to Cairo one more time before the town declinds even further and also, as you might have figured out I have this weird obsession with docummenting and experiencing Sears / Kmart as much as possible, especially since their future doesnt look particularly bright. What does Sears and Kmart have to do with this area of the country?
Spring Warm Up Road Trip 2017 Well in January, Sears Holdings announced they would close 7(SEVEN?!?!?!) more Kmart stores across the Bluegrass State. All of the ones that were closing that I hadnt been to were from Bowling Green West. Couple this with the fact that the stores close for good on or about March 19th (my spring break isnt until mid-late April) and the fact that once I got to Paducah I would only be 30 minutes from Cairo I just had to do what it took to make it happen. Spring Warm Up Road Trip 2017
It snowballed into a trip covering 4 states  and by the time I realized I would only be less than an hour from one of the very last Sears stores built from the ground up ( built in 2006 ) AND it is also one of the very last Sears Grand stores still signed as such…..I covered a little over 900 miles, 7 new to me Kmart stores (side note: I have now been to every Kmart store currently opene in the bluegrass state! , 2 Sears stores, (1 closing and 1 Sears Grand) Multiple abandoned schools, throw in an abandoned hospital and the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and I have had a very busy, but fulfilling time. I will be covering all of these discoveries and explorations in the blog over the next month or so. I look forward to sharing my disooveries with you!

Big Four Bridge — Louisville, Kentucky

The Big Four Bridge was first conceived in Jeffersonville in 1885 by various city interests. The Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company was formed in 1887 to construct the Big Four Bridge, after a charter by the state of Indiana; Kentucky also chartered the company in 1888. The riverboat industry, a big economic factor in Jeffersonville, had requested that the bridge be built further upstream from the Falls of the Ohio, but the United States Army Corps of Engineers approved the building site, even after the vocal protestations.

Louisville KY

Construction began on October 10, 1888. The Big Four Bridge would be the only Louisville bridge with serious accidents during its building; thirty-seven individuals died during its construction. The first twelve died while working on a pier foundation when a caisson that was supposed to hold back the river water flooded, drowning the workers. Another four men died a few months after that when a wooden beam broke while working on a different pier caisson.

Louisville, Kentucky

The Big Four Bridge had one of the biggest bridge disasters in the United States, occurring on December 15, 1893 when a construction crane was dislodged by a severe wind, causing the falsework support of a truss to be damaged and the truss—with forty-one workers on it—to fall into the Ohio River. Twenty of the workers survived, but twenty-one died. The accident almost cost more lives, as a ferry crossing the Ohio River just barely missed being hit by the truss. Hours later, a span next to the damaged span also fell into the river, but was unoccupied at the time, causing no injuries. As a result, falsework was longitudely reinforced to prevent further occurrences, and also to prevent strong winds from causing similar damage by using special bracing on the bottom frame of the truss. Also, a new rule was enforced: “never trust a bolted joint any longer than is necessary to put a riveted one in place”.

The Big Four Bridge was finally completed in September 1895. Because of the location of the bridge and the growth of the Kennedy Interchange, the interchange had to avoid the columns that were on the approach to the bridge, causing the interchange to have several two-lane ramps rather than a single stretch of highway, and helped earn the nickname Spaghetti Junction. Due to the various accidents, the Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge Company was financially strapped after building the bridge, and later in 1895 sold it to the Indianapolis-based Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four Railroad. This gave the railway its first entry into the Louisville market, although the railroad would have likely used the bridge even if they had not bought it, as they desired access to Louisville.

The bridge is now used just for pedestrian traffic.

Kmart’s Exodus (Almost) From Metro Louisville

Kmart -- Taylorsville Road, Louisville KY
Over the past several years I have became fascinated with retail history and even more specifically Kmart.  I can remember growing up and going to the Kmart store at Village Center Mall in Harlan.  Man that place was magical.  I can also vaguely remember TG&Y….which was located in another shopping center down the way by the A&P.   Both of those chains do not exist any more and are buried deep in the back of many people’s minds.  Anyone remember SuperX?  Which turned into Revco and then CVS?   Yeah, SuperX is a name you havent heard in a while I am sure.  Every year it seems Kmart has a massive round of closings and the store numbers dwindle even further.  In 1994 Kmart started its first round of store closings the store count stood at a hair under 2,500…..After the store closings in July and August of this year that number will stand at a hair above the 800 mark.  Whats even more stunning than that statistic?  In December 2014 there were 1,050 Kmart stores.  Thats right at 250 store closings in less than 2 years.

On April 21, 2016 the latest round of Kmart store closings was announced and included in this list was 4 of the 5 Kmart stores in the Metro Louisville area.  Those stores are:

  • Poplar Level Road (Louisville)
  • Taylorsville Road (Louisville)
  • Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • New Albany, Indiana

I decided to take a day trip out in the Metro Louisville area and document these stores before they disappear into a part of our past as they close for the final time this Sunday, July 31st.
Kmart -- Poplar Level -- Louisville, KY First up: Poplar Level Road Kmart. This store first opened in 1972 with a Kmart Foods attached. By 1975 the Kmart Foods concept was dead. This store was then heavily remodeled and general merchandise expanded into the foods section. Kmart -- Poplar Level, Louisville KY
Kmart -- Poplar Level, Louisville KY Kmart: Taylorsville Road, Louisville This store opened for business on March 6, 1967. The store was heavily remodeled sometime in the mid 1990s. Kmart -- Taylorsville Rd.  Louisville, KY
Kmart -- Taylorsville Rd.  Louisville, KY Kmart -- Taylorsville Road, Louisville KY
Kmart -- Taylorsville Road, Louisville KY Kmart: Elizabethtown, Kentucky Opened in 1992. This store replaced a much smaller store that was located in nearby Radcliff. Kmart Elizabethtown, KY
Kmart Elizabethtown, KY Kmart Elizabethtown, KY
Kmart: New Albany, Indiana first opened October 29, 1981.
Kmart -- New Albany, Indiana Kmart -- New Albany, Indiana
Kmart -- New Albany, Indiana
With these store closings Sunday Kmart will be left with one store located at Outer Loop. A city of almost 800,000 people and a metro area much larger, and Kmart has dwindled to one single location.  At one time there were at least 9 Kmart stores in the metro area. That’s not counting ones I have not identified that might have been in Southern Indiana.  I fear the end is near and for that reason I will continue documenting Kmart stores and their existence today.