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.

Ballard County Courthouse — Wickliffe, Kentucky

Ballard County was formed from portions of Hickman County and McCracken County.  Ballard County has the distinction of being the county in Kentucky that borders both Illinois and Missouri.It was named for Bland Ballard , a Kentucky pioneer and soldier who served as a scout for General George Rogers Clark during the American Revolutionary War, and later commanded a company during the War of 1812. On February 17, 1880, the courthouse was destroyed by a fire, which also destroyed most of the county’s early records. At this time the countyseat and courthouse was located in Blandville.

Ballard County Courthouse -- Wickliffe, Kentucky

The county seat was transferred from Blandville to Wickliffe in 1882. This courthouse was built in 1903 with the designs of Missouri architect Jerome B. Legg. It is located in the heart of Wickliffe making it the county’s most prominent structure. On February 27, 1980 the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Gem Theatre — Cairo, Illinois

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) The Gem Theatre opened its doors in 1910, and seated 685.
A fire in 1934 completely gutted the theatre, and it was rebuilt two years later in Art Deco style, including a new, elegant marquee.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) The Gem Theatre continued to operate for nearly another half century, before it was closed in 1978. On January 26, 1979 the Cairo Historic District, including the Gem Theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sadly, many of the buildings included in that district have fallen to the wrecking ball in the last 5-10 years.

Cairo, Illinois (2012)
The Gem Theatre as seen in March 2012

As you can see from the pictures above, the last 5 years has not been particularly kind to the Gem Theatre. As buildings surrounding it have fallen to the wrecking ball, a giant tree now grows out of the side, bursting through the brick wall of the Gem.

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
The Gem Theatre and the giant tree that is breaking through the side wall (March 2017)

Crispus-Attucks High School — Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky Crispus-Attucks High School is located on First Street near the center of the city of Hopkinsville in Christian County, Kentucky. The school was the first high school serving students of color in all of Christian and even parts of Trigg County when it opened on October 28, 1916.
Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky

In 1938, the Hopkinsville Colored Graded School system was absorbed into the white Hopkinsville Independent Schools, and the consolidated, yet segregated school system assumed ownership of Attucks High School. In 1956-1957, the Board of Education of the Hopkinsville Independent School System expanded the site and the campus through the acquisition of adjoining lots. Seven residential lots to the north and to the east of the original structure were purchased to provide land for a large classroom and gymnasium addition.
Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky Completed in 1957, this two-story 39,747-square foot addition was constructed to the east of the original building and exemplifies the Modern architectural traditions of the 1950s with its curtain wall system and metal cladding on the exterior. Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky Attucks High School held its final commencement ceremony on May 29, 1967.  Upon closing as a high school and integration with other schools in the Hopkinsville area, the Attucks building was transformed into Attucks Middle School, a school for fifth and sixth graders, which it served as until the end of the 1987-88 school year. The Christian County Board of Education retained ownership of the site until 1998 when fire and water damage and the presence of hazardous materials led them to seek a new owner for the structure. A group of interested alumni of the high school formed the Crispus Attucks Community Association in 1998 and subsequently purchased the property for $1.00. The C.A.C.A. maintains ownership of the property, and the group is dedicated to the restoration of the building as a multifunctional resource that can serve as a cultural centerpiece for the entire community. Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky
On June 1, 2012 paperwork was submitted for the Attucks High School building and grounds to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds and school were approved to be added to the list and added to the list on January 23, 2013.
Former Attucks School -- Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Effords are still underway by community members and several groups to full restore this historic building and return it to serving the public.

Old Shawneetown Bank — Old Shawneetown, Illinois

Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois Sometimes when I find one of these obscure, random places to write about in my blog its hard to find enough information to write a sufficient article. Others I uncover enough interesting facts and history that you could write for hours and that is the case with the Old Shawneetown State Bank. Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois
The Shawneetown Bank, a four-story, brick and stone behemoth with five massive columns was built in 1839 and is the oldest bank building in the state.
Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois When its charter was first granted — the first bank in Illinois Territory in 1816 — it housed a federal land office and was the hub of financial activity in Shawneetown, an important commercial center, home to the state’s thriving salt industry. That bank, which started in a log cabin in Shawneetown, collapsed in a financial panic that swept Illinois in the early 1820s, but its charter was retained. When prosperity returned in the mid 1830s, the bank reopened and the Bank of Illinois’ board of directors planned a new building. Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois
On Aug. 3, 1839, trustees laid the cornerstone of the Shawneetown Bank; it opened for business in 1841. The bank’s style-Greek Revival-style, a popular one for banks of the period, was believed to express the American ideals of liberty and freedom.

Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois Soon after the new building opened, however, another financial depression set in, causing the Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown to suspend operations in 1842. The building stood empty for a decade until the State Bank of Illinois opened there in 1854. Old Shawnee Town Bank -- Old Shawneetown, Illinois
By that time, Shawneetown had fallen on hard times. Railroads and canals had cut into the river traffic upon which the town depended before the Civil War and afterward, the population gradually declined.

The bank housed numerous financial institutions from 1854 to the 1930s, but finally closed its doors in 1942 and was deeded to the state. Some restoration was completed in the 1970s, but budgetary problems prevented further work. In 1972 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Landmark Illinois, a state historical preservation organization, listed Shawneetown Bank as one of the 10 most endangered sites of 2009.

Going Back To Cairo

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Two of my most fascinating and intruiging abandoned discoveries were by complete accident. McDowell County, West Virginia and Cairo, Illinois. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
The first time I arrived in Cairo was in 2012 on spring break. I was headed for the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Little did I know the treasure trove of historical matter I was about to stumble upon.
The Cairo Union Building The town, just like McDowell County did, has stuck with me since and I often find myself wondering about the history, current state and future of a town I have no ties to whatsoever. Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southern-most settlement in the state of Illinois, it lies right at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers right at the corner of the state where Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky all meet. The town has been subject to a turbulent history which has lead to a steep decline in population. The town was founded in 1858. The population peaked during the 1920 census at over 15,000 people. By 1980 that number had fallen to 5,931. The 2015 US census estimate puts the total at 2,467. Thats a decline of just under 85% in less than 100 years.
The Cairo Union Building

What happened? What went wrong? For that information I am going to link you up to my buddy Sherman Cahal’s blog entry covering Cairo and its decline. His article can be found by clicking HERE.
The former Famous-Barr Department Store building sat on the vaccant lot to the left of the van in this picture. That building was still standing when I was here in the spring of 2012. Oddly enough, so was that van.

Cairo, Illinois (2012)
Same view in 2012

Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) The post office is proof of the scope and size of Cairo in its original form. Vacant Lot in Cairo
As are the wide streets all through the town that are mostly bare. The main street even included a rail car of some kind at sometime. The rail is still visible in the brick street.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) What few buildings are left standing in the Cairo business district are overgrown with trees and have fallen into a state of decay that is almost beyond repair.  The really sad part about this is that much of the business district of Cairo has been placed on the National Register of Historic PlacesCairo, Illinois (March 2017) href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/120051008@N03/32458816573/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)”>Cairo, Illinois (March 2017) Over the next few weeks I will have several entries on this blog focusing on several landmarks in the city that are still standing, including an abandoned school and the abandoned hospital that has been closed for over 30 years. Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Until then, please enjoy these pictures from around Cairo.
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)
Cairo, Illinois (March 2017)

The Grove Arcade: One of America’s First Indoor Shopping Malls — Asheville, North Carolina

Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina

The Arcade Building, also known as The Grove Arcade and Asheville Federal Building, is a historic commercial building located at Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. It was built in 1926-1929, and is a Tudor Revival / Late Gothic Revival style building consisting of two stacked blocks. Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina
Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina The lower block is a rectangular slab with rounded corners; it is capped by the second block, a two-tier set-back. The steel frame and reinforced concrete building was designed to serve as a base for an unbuilt skyscraper. Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina
It features a roof deck with a bronze semi-elliptical balcony, molded terra cotta pilasters, and a ziggurat-like arrangement of huge ramps to the roof deck. The building occupies a full city block and housed one of America’s first indoor shopping malls. It was sold to the federal government in 1943. The building housed the National Climatic Data Center until 1995.
Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina

The Grove Arcade was added to the National Register of Historic Places May 19, 1976.