owl in progress6More than a year ago, the artwork on the traffic box at the corner of Emerson Avenue and Washington Street had succumbed to vandalism and a hit-and-run collision. Here’s hoping the third time’s the charm. IDO issued a call to artists to re-re-paint the box this spring, and Irvingtonian Andrea Light won the contest with her Peter Max-esque owl image. The Public Spaces Committee is very excited about her stylized design of this creature of nature that could be roosting in the trees along Pleasant Run as she’s out there painting.

The Frank N. Owings Family Foundation gave a grant to IDO for the artist’s supplies and a stipend for her work and creativity. Andrea will also be rewarded with an exclusive exhibit of her work at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center later this fall, courtesy of Irvington Historical Society.

We’d like to thank Frank and Patte Owings, who head up the Frank N. Owings Family Foundation, for their generous donation. These former Irvingtonians offer their time, talent, and treasure in support of the culture of Indianapolis. You can read more about their work in this article from IUPUI.

Look for Andrea at work en plein-air, and please slow down.

And if there are any other artists who’d like a chance at exhibiting their work to a few thousand drivers and many grateful neighbors, two more boxes have just become “available” for adornment. 


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Steve Barnett is no stranger to history. In fact, it’s widely known that if you need to find out something about your Irvington home, Steve’s the man to ask. He has meticulously created a database of the homes east of Linwood Avenue, south of 10th Street, north of Brookville Road, and west of Kitley Avenue.

Steve Barnett Photo Courtesy hoosier history liveSteve was a member of the community group that created the Irvington Historic District, and he also helped in getting nearby neighbors on the National Registry. He serves as a regular columnist on the Weekly View, sharing a variety of historical information ranging back as far as 100 years ago. Steve contributes house histories for homes that are on the annual Benton House Tour of Homes.

In fact, the History Channel consulted with Steve for their upcoming series H.H. Holmes: American Ripper. From the History Channel website: “In American Ripper, Holmes’ great-great-grandson, Jeff Mudgett, sets out to prove a controversial theory: that H.H. Holmes and Britain’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper, were the same man.” This series began airing Tuesday, July 11, and Irvington is slated to be featured in upcoming weeks.

When Steve was president of Irvington Historical Society in the 1980s, artifacts and artwork were stored in the History Room in the basement of the former Brown Branch Public Library. The move to the Bona Thompson Memorial Center began in the late ’90s, but the doors were not opened to the public until all 2002 due to construction and repairs. Each week you can find Steve offering tours of Irvington Historical Society’s museum and exhibits during regular operating hours.

How long have you lived and/or worked here in Irvington?

Steve can trace his family’s Irvington roots all the way back to 1927. Between his father and himself, there’s at least one graduate from IPS School 57, IPS School 85, Howe and Tech.  His grandfather worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad and moved to Irvington to be closer to his work at Hawthorne Yards. His father worked at International Harvester and was in the Navy during World War II. Steve served in the National Guard with Dan Quayle during his college years. He and his wife Sue spent a few years on Capitol Hill before moving back home where Steve worked with first Andy Jacobs, then Julia Carson.

What do you do for fun?

Steve enjoys playing with his grandkids and studying genealogy to understand his family’s history. His mother was Canadian, so he and Sue like to travel to the Georgian Bay region.

What’s your favorite walk, bike ride, block, or view in the neighborhood?

There are too many options for Steve to have only one favorite. When he walks through the neighborhood, he finds his favorites are those areas he frequented as a child, namely University Avenue and Irving Circle Park.  Also Bonna Avenue and the area around the George W. Julian House are still among his favorites.  He still likes Ellenberger Park, but commented that it is vastly different from his childhood days; the wooded western half of the park was so heavily forested it was like night and very mysterious.  He enjoys the Kile Oak tree, which he visited for the first time as an adult.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first?

After careful consideration, Steve said he would build a parking garage.  Steve realizes street parking and limited surface lots are not the solution, and he doesn’t want to go to permit parking along some neighborhood streets.  Currently, during special events, some residents can hardly drive from their homes due to problems with parking and automobile congestion created by outsiders looking for parking options.  Additionally, Steve believes we must continue to welcome and encourage visitors from outside Irvington, but many end up as frustrated guests because of the difficulty in finding parking; they leave with a negative impression and may not return.  He acknowledges that there are pockets of surface parking, but those areas should be made more inviting and have better signage at eye level directing visitors to them.  In addition, consideration should be given to marking spaces around the north circle and adjacent streets to maximize existing street parking.


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Kathleen AngeloneKathleen Angelone has been abandoned in Germany, served as an attorney for Indiana Department of Revenue, volunteered all over the world, and calls Irvington home. She owns and operates Bookmamas at 9 Johnson on the south side of Washington Street.

HISTORY

Bookmamas originated with Kate Ayers and Amy LaCroix on the north side of Washington Street. Kate and Amy moved the store once more before settling into its current home. Kathleen bought it once they were ready to sell in October 2007.

Kathleen is no stranger to the east side. Her mother graduated from Warren Central, her family helped to establish German Church at East Washington Street and German Church Road (named after this church), and the congregation is currently building their new church on land donated to them by her uncle.

After touring the world and establishing herself as an attorney, Kathleen moved to Irvington to open her own law practice. Once her children entered high school, she became an attorney for the Indiana DOR. After she bought the store, she worked as a classroom assistant in IPS to give herself more time to start the bookstore.

Why would she leave her legal career to buy a bookstore, especially in an age of so much digital reading?

As a child, Kathleen’s mother would take her to the library but would only ever buy books for her brother, not her. When her mother was dying, she asked her why. Kathleen’s mother told her she had always read as a child and didn’t need encouragement. While this thought made perfect sense once shared, it was never something that occurred to her.

Kathleen then used her inheritance to buy a bookstore. She shared, “Opportunity came along, and I did it. Then I had to figure out how to make it work.” She compared the experience to a jigsaw puzzle; she made all the pieces fit together.

ABANDONED!

After traveling alone in Germany for a month as a sophomore in college, Kathleen planned to meet up with a friend who was carrying her ticket to Russia. The friend left the country without her, which she would find out later. Despite her name being on their list, she was not permitted to board. After this travel-weary 19-year-old exhausted her persuasive skills to no avail, she found a spot on the floor and started crying. Thanks to two guardian angels in business suits, she could board and make it to her next leg of the trip.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Whether you want to chat about faraway countries, Kathleen’s upcoming trips, or the newest paperback, she is sure to entertain and educate you!

  • She can be found at the Irvington Farmers Markets at Ellenberger Park this summer.
  • She has plans to meet Stephen King this month.
  • Kids can win prizes with this summer’s Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt, while supporting our local businesses.
  • Watch for upcoming book signings and other fun events on her Facebook page!

How long have you lived and/or worked in Irvington?

I moved to Irvington in 1977 and haven’t left. I have owned Bookmamas since 2007.

What do you do for fun?
I read, go to museums, walk, swim, and spend time with friends.  Historical fiction is my favorite genre. Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Crime and Punishment, Fahrenheit 451, and Little Women are my favorite five books.

What’s your favorite walk, bike ride, or view in the neighborhood?

I love Irving Circle. They’re such a community thing. I attend the concerts when I can, but I’m usually at the store on those days. Sometimes I’m too tired to walk over there after a long day.

If you were Mayor of Irvington for a day, what would you do first?

I would organize a great big parade with floats of everybody marching down Washington Street like Mardi Gras. The witches would be doing their thing, the library would come out with their carts doing a choreographed dance, people would be dressed up, and everyone would be happy for the day.  

What’s your connection to IDO?

I am a member of the Irvington Business Association.


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This summer, join Friends of Irving Circle Park 800pxIrving Circle in celebrating 25 years of summer concerts in the park. All concerts are free of charge and family friendly. Irving Circle Park, one of historic Irvington’s most treasured landmarks, is located where South Audubon Road meets East University Avenue.

The bands play from 7 to 9 p.m. while neighbors serve brats, hot dogs, and popcorn. Bring cash for concessions, and folding chairs or blankets to spread out under any of the park’s many shade trees.

Audio Dinner: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, June 3; folk rock, acoustic, and blues

Blue Alchemy: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, July 8; rock

The Roundups: 7-9 p.m.,  Saturday, August 5; vintage western swing, hillbilly/rockabilly, and honky tonk

Lightweights XL: 7-9 p.m., Saturday, September 9; rock

Friends of Irving Circle is a nonprofit organization established by neighborhood volunteers who care for the park and host events throughout the year. New volunteers are welcome, and many volunteer opportunities are suitable for youth. If you would like to help out, contact Sue Beecher at sue.beecher@hotmail.com.
Thank you to the following sponsors who support the park and make these free summer concerts possible: Glenroy Construction, Irvington Community Council, Irvington Garden Club, Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza, Irvington Wellness Center,  The Butler Inn, TACS, Inc., Bookmamas,  Jack and Jill Antique Mall, George Thomas Florist, Kemba Credit Union, Central Ace Hardware, and Indy Parks Department.


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The 43rd Annual Benton House Tour of Homes 49 N Sheridanis on Sunday, September 17th 2017, and the Home Tour Committee is now recruiting homeowners to showcase their homes. Consider participating, even if you’re unsure about it. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the tour? Benton House board member and past tour participant Lisa Watson shares her story.

“My house isn’t ready. Maybe next year.”

“I don’t want people riffling through my things.”

“There isn’t anything special about my house.”

These are all things I have heard and possibly even said about participating in the Benton House Tour of Homes. I moved to Irvington in September of 2011 and went on my first tour that month. It was quite simply amazing on a few levels. People volunteering to open their homes up to let strangers walk through?! Now, a few years later, I know that there is no such thing as a stranger in Irvington.

In the spring of 2013, I was asked to be on the home tour and I just wasn’t ready. I said, “There is so much I want to do to the house first.” I had DREAMS! Redo this room, and that one, and that one too! The Home Tour Committee received the “maybe next year” that they so often hear.

The following spring, I was asked again. You know what? I hadn’t done any of the things I had wanted to do, but this time, I said yes.

I had a lot to do. I didn’t really have to, but I wanted to. What committing to the September date did was challenge me to get some of those wish list things done. I replaced a window with French doors and had some landscaping done.

The days leading up to the event were filled with dusting, cleaning, excitement, and a little anxiety. “What if no one likes my home?,” I worried.

The weather on the day of the tour was perfect. Slight breeze, warm but not too hot, humidity was low. Let’s get this thing going!

Friends were in place and knew a bit about my house, if there were questions asked. And then they came. A couple hundred people walked through my home. I met so many lovely neighbors.

It was so worth it. I’d do it again in a minute!

Here are some of the questions (excuses) I have heard for reasons not to be on the home tour:

“My house isn’t ready. Maybe next year.”or “We are in the middle of renovating, but haven’t finished the work.”

Homes in transition are often exactly what people like to see. Being able to see the history evolving – sometimes down to the studs – people love seeing it all! The thing to remember is, this is a home tour, so personality and a lived-in feel is wanted; it shouldn’t feel staged.

“I don’t want people riffling through my things.”

They don’t; they won’t. The people on the tour are extremely respectful and appreciative of the fact that you’ve opened your home. And volunteers keep a watchful eye as they guide visitors and answer questions.

“There isn’t anything special about my house.”

I doubt that. Your statement is invalid! Home tour houses can be large or small; professionally decorated or DIY; filled with antiques, art, or just comfy furniture; or have an interesting or unknown history. Regardless of whether your home has unique nooks or the same features as nearly every house on the block, it’s interesting to someone.

“I don’t want anyone in that room.”

Then close the door! I had child gates in the doors of the two rooms where family members asked that I not let people in them; people could see, but not go in. Others have simply shut the door.

As you can see, having your home on the tour is pretty laid back. Whatever you feel comfortable with is what people experience. All profits from the home tour go to the upkeep and maintenance of the Benton House, which is an Irvington landmark that was built in 1873 and is now restored and open to the public. The Tour of Homes is our largest fundraiser and helps us sponsor community events and maintain the home and property. Help us by showcasing your home. Contact Elizabeth Wissel by phone at 317-572-8584 or by e-mail at bentonhousehometour@gmail.com.


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We received a lot of helpful feedback in response to the survey about our newsletter. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete it. We’ve compiled a spreadsheet containing all responses and we’re working to incorporate these ideas in future editions of the newsletter. Here are some of the survey results.

Which of the items below would you like to see more of in the newsletter?

  • 38% New business updates
  • 20% Neighbor spotlights
  • 18% Local business events
  • 14% IDO updates
  • 10% Construction updates

Do you have a story, group, or event you want us to include in our newsletter?

  • Focus on sustainability issues
  • Benton House
  • Downey Avenue Food Pantry
  • New Irvington welcome sign
  • Irvington green space and restoration
  • Exodus Refugee Center
  • Irvington CSA

Do you have someone you would like to suggest for our neighbor spotlight?

  • Steve Barnett
  • Sue Beecher
  • Dave from World of Vapor
  • JauNae Hanger
  • Sue Kennedy
  • Ed Myers
  • Jenny Skehan
  • The Sponsel Family
  • Heidi Unger
  • Sara Zollner

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