Preservation

Carnegie libraries in Indiana

Not long ago I shared a photo of the Carnegie library in Thorntown, Indiana, and linked to an old post of a few other Carnegie libraries I’ve photographed. But I’ve photographed so many other Carnegie libraries that I thought it’s time for a new post full of them.

The first one I ever knowingly saw was in Greensburg. I came upon it when I surveyed the Michigan Road from end to end in 2008. It looked like this then:

Former City Hall

As far as I knew, it had always been the City Hall. But on a subsequent trip, the City Hall sign had been removed to reveal “Carnegie Public Library” beneath. I believe this building is a private residence today.

Carnegie library

I came upon the Carnegie library in North Vernon in 2010 while exploring US 50 across Indiana. I believe this building is used for some municipal purpose today.

North Vernon library

I have photographed the Carnegie library in Kirklin more than any other. I like little Kirklin, it’s not very far from my home, and it’s on the old Michigan Road.

Kirklin Pvblic Library

I found the Carnegie library in Paoli in 2012 while exploring the old Dixie Highway in southern Indiana. I don’t think this is used as a library anymore.

Paoli Carnegie Library

I photographed Sheridan’s Carnegie library in 2015 while on an outing with my Olympus Trip 35 camera. The building is still a library. Sheridan is in the county north of Indianapolis.

Sheridan Carnegie Library

From a road trip along the National Road in western Indiana in 2015, here’s the Carnegie library in Knightstown. It’s still a library, I’m pretty sure.

Carnegie Library

In the west Indianapolis neighborhood where I used to go to church, a Carnegie library has been converted into a community center.

Hawthorne Center

In Brookville, in southeast Indiana, the Carnegie library appears to still be a library. I photographed this late last year.

Brookville, IN

In Thorntown, in Boone County, the Carnegie library has been expanded and remains a library. I made this photograph in 2018 on color slide film.

Thorntown Carnegie Library

In Lebanon, also in Boone County, I’ve never photographed the Carnegie library in total, but I did photograph this detail last year.

Carnegie Library

What’s remarkable to me is how no two Carnegie libraries I’ve encountered look anything alike!

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Preservation

A quick visit to Twelve Points

In 2013 I wrote an essay about Twelve Points, a neighborhood in Terre Haute in which I lived in the early 1990s. It was in sad shape on that 2013 visit, having been in decline since before I lived there. But as late as the 1970s, the heart of Twelve Points had been a vital center of commerce and entertainment.

Imagery and map data ©2013 Google

Twelve Points is named for the twelve corners created where Lafayette Avenue, 13th Street, and Maple Avenue all intersect. The three streets create a small triangle.

Revitalizations had been tried before, with small businesses going into some of the vacant storefronts. Critical mass was never reached, however, and soon the storefronts stood vacant again.

I arranged to meet Gerri Knezevich, who leads a new initiative to revitalize Twelve Points. He formed Twelve Points Revitalization, a 501(c)(3) organization, to drive economic development here. Where previous efforts had been led by businesses, Knezevich told me, this time events and the arts are leading the way. The idea is that these events will bring crowds, who will find an increasing number of hip, arty businesses here — and then people come back to keep enjoying these businesses. Knezevich’s group has brought several events to Twelve Points, including concerts, comedy, and even a car show. Visitors will currently find a pie shop, a record shop, a kombucha shop, and a nice Italian restaurant are leading the way. Unfortunately, I managed to visit on a Monday, when all of these businesses were closed.

Another aspect of this revitalization campaign is keeping Twelve Points clean, with volunteers regularly picking up litter. Volunteers are also brightening up Twelve Points by painting murals on the sides of some buildings.

12 Points mural
12 Points mural

Sadly, I didn’t photograph more of Twelve Points this day as it was quite cold. It’s just as well, as the area is still rather rough. But Knezevich assured me he’d keep inviting me back as events are scheduled. Perhaps I’ll be able to chronicle this neighborhood’s resurgence over the next few years.

Here’s hoping Knezevich and his volunteers find excellent success. To learn more, see the Twelve Points Revitalization Web site.

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Thorntown Library

Thorntown Library
Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor
GAF 125 Versapan x/7-72 @ EI 80
2021

I made a few photos on the expired GAF 125 film in Thorntown, a small town here in Boone County, Indiana. This is Thorntown’s library. This is the original building, one of the hundreds of libraries industrialist Andrew Carnegie build around the country. I documented several other Indiana Carnegie libraries here.

I’ve now shared the best of my photos on this roll of very expired film.

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Film Photography, Preservation

single frame: Thorntown Library

The library in Thorntown, Indiana, on film expired since 1972.

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Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: The McKinley House on the National Road in Clay County, Indiana

I first photographed the McKinley House in 2009 after seeing it as photographed in the 1950s in George Stewart’s book, US 40, Cross Section of the United States of America.

The McKinley House

It was a B&B in those days. It might be yet today for all I know, but what I do know is that its trim has been repainted in black and red.

McKinley House, US 40 Clay Co.

Remarkably, in years gone by a very similar house stood about a mile west of here on the other side of the road. Curiously, it stood in the large lot of the Great Dane factory, which makes trailers that semis pull. It’s been gone for at least a decade now, and all the years I ever observed it, it was a decaying hulk. In its last years it had no windows. Thank heavens for Google Street View, as it keeps a fuzzy record of this house. This image is from October of 2008. Google also has an image from 2009, meaning it still stood when I made my 2009 US 40 road trip. I wish I’d photographed it myself then.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Rising Hall, a true gem on the National Road in Indiana

Rising Hall on US 40

On the National Road in western Indiana, overlapping the Hendricks-Putnam County line you’ll find Rising Hall. It’s an Italianate home built 1870-72 by Melville McHaffie, a son of pioneer Putnam County settlers. McHaffie and later his son farmed the surrounding land.

In the decades after the McHaffies owned the house, it passed through several owners before being abandoned. It was in deplorable condition by the early 1980s when Walt and June Prosser bought it, completely restored it, and got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Here is its nomination application.)

Rising Hall on US 40

In 2000, the house and its restoration was profiled on television. The video tells the house’s story and shows the stunningly beautiful restoration the Prossers undertook.

As the video explains, the Prossers gave the home its current name, after all of the staircases (“rising halls”) inside.

Rising Hall on US 40

It’s not common to see a barn made of brick in Indiana.

Rising Hall on US 40

Walt passed away in 2010 at age 86. I am unable to find information about his wife, June, so I presume she is still alive. Here’s hoping the Prosser family continues to give this home loving attention.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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Preservation, Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Then and now: Downtown Centerville

Once in a while I’ll wind up making the same photograph on two trips down the same road, separated by some years. It’s always interesting to see how things have changed.

Here’s the northwest corner of the main intersection in Centerville, in eastern Indiana on the National Road/US 40, as it was in 2009 and then in 2021. As you can see, these facades have received some TLC.

Centerville IOOF
Centerville

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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