Author Archives: Jordan Ryan

is the coordinator of the Indianapolis History Project at the Indiana Historical Society. She spends her free time debating if Star Trek or Star Wars is better.

Lost LGBTQ Landmarks

The Famous Door, Bellflower Clinic, Essex House, Body Works. What do these places have in common? They are just a handful of lost landmarks of the Indianapolis LGBTQ community. Even though the structures are gone, these demolished buildings still share their stories with us today. The Essex House was the youngest mid-rise apartment/hotel building in […]

Mapping Indianapolis with Survey Sketches

In preparation for our Mapping Indianapolis panel this Saturday, I thought it was timely to highlight one of my favorite new resources available in the library – the H.B. Fatout Co., Herbert Bloemker Co., and Ernest R. Hamilton Co. Surveying Books collection. The collection includes more than 50 sketchbooks surveying Marion County, beginning in the 1880s. […]

Celebrating Design Month, Part 4

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite mid-century modern designs from our collections in previous Design Month posts, but how did MCM become so successful? One word: suburbanization. Suburbanization can be loosely defined as rapid housing development which causes a population shift away from city centers. So why did housing developments increase in the middle of […]

Celebrating Design Month, Part 2

When people hear the name “Evans Woollen,” I suspect many think of his high-profile Brutalist structures – like Clowes Hall, Barton Towers or the Minton-Capehart Federal Building. But did you know Woollen started his career designing mid-century modern residences all over Indiana? After studying architecture on the east coast with Philip Johnson, Woollen established his […]

The Legacy of Architect Evans Woollen

Today marks the two-year anniversary since we lost Indiana’s great Modernist architect, Evans Woollen. Woollen, a Yale University grad who studied under famed “Glass House” architect Philip Johnson, established his Indianapolis firm in 1955. Woollen’s earliest works consisted of mid-century modern residences, but he soon began exploring Brutalism with Clowes Memorial Hall, Barton Towers, and […]

What Could Have Been: White River State Park

I like architecture – a lot. But do you know what really makes me happy in the archives? Finding building plans that never came to be. So when I stumbled across photographs of the original White River State Park model while processing the McGuire Photographs collection, I was mesmerized by how many design concepts were incorporated […]