Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Relax, it's still summer!

Despite the back-to-school sales seen cropping up at the stores, according to the calendar it's still July and nearly a month before students return to classes here at Ball State University. It's still summer! Spend some time outside in the hammock, on the Adirondack, or a really cool mid-century chair before tackling that shopping list of pencils and Trapper Keepers.

Images: Russell Walcott patio photograph by Jessie Tarbox Beals, ca. 1935, Trowbridge and Beals Photographs; O. C. Catterlin house photograph for Fran Schroeder, 1952, Fran Schroeder Architectural Records; Lawn chair design drawing by Joseph Cezar, 1943. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Master Plan Development by Wright, Porteous & Lowe

This summer, Drawings + Documents Archive intern Mitchell Knigga, an undergraduate in Public History and Historic Preservation at Ball State University, has been processing the extensive Wright, Porteous & Lowe Architectural Records collection. We will be posting images of many of his discoveries while he works his way through the collection. 

Pictured above are presentation boards of the A Master Plan Development in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. These include renderings of a project near the federal as well as a map depicting the location of the proposed site and other projects taking place in the city. Wright, Porteous & Lowe were the main architects for the City-County Building, which opened in 1962 and was very similar in design to the structure depicted in the renderings.  

Images: A Master Plan Development, Indianapolis, Indiana, presentation boards, ca. 1960. Wright, Porteous & Lowe Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lincoln National Bank Tower Flora & Fauna

According to documentation in the collection, the allegory represented in the decorations of the Lincoln National Bank and Trust Company building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, refers to the energizing properties of the sun. Represented by the gold disc in the center of the lobby ceiling decoration, the sun radiates its energy into the natural elements depicted in the Art Deco terra-cotta molding, paintings, murals, bronze grills, and other decorative elements of the building. Above, you see examples of bronze fish, deer, birds, and other natural elements.

The bank also commissioned artist Paul Manship to create a sculpture depicting Abraham Lincoln during his boyhood in Indiana, shown above with his faithful canine companion. Abraham Lincoln, The Hoosier Youth has been on display at the headquarters since its dedication in 1932. Architect Benjamin Wistar Morris designed the base of the sculpture, which illustrates four characteristics attributed to Lincoln: charity, fortitude, justice, and patriotism. 

The Lincoln National Bank building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was designed by the firm Walker & Weeks from Cleveland, Ohio, and production drawings were done by the local Fort Wayne firm A. M. Strauss. Buesching & Hagerman Brothers were chosen as general contractors and construction began for the original tower portion of the project on October 29, 1929. The 22 story structure in downtown Fort Wayne was dedicated and open for public inspection on November 15, 1930. At the time of its construction it was the tallest tenanted building in Indiana.

Later 20th century Lincoln National Bank buildings in the area are depicted below.

Images: Lincoln National Bank documentation report, 1976. Documentation Collection [DOC 1976.002], Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Muncie Sesquicentennial:1925 City Hall


The city of Muncie, Indiana, celebrates its sesquicentennial this year and the Drawings + Documents Archive is participating in an exhibit opening soon in Ball State University Libraries' Bracken Library. We will also devote much of the blog in the next few months to exploring the city's architectural heritage.

In 1874, Muncie built a brick structure for the city offices, such as mayor's office, city jail, jailer's residence, fireman's hall, courtroom, and city clerk's office. This building quickly proved inadequate after the explosive growth experienced during the area's gas boom. It was razed in 1924 for the building you see in these photographs. Above is a construction photograph of the 1925 Muncie City Hall that stood at 401 E. Jackson Street. It was designed by local architects Charles Houck and Smenner, whose firm was called Houck and Smenner. Other notable buildings by the firm include Tempel Beth-El (1922), Grace Maring Library (1929), McKinley Junior High School (1938), and the William H. Ball residence (ca. 1940).

Muncie City Hall was built in an Italian Renaissance Revival style with classical details. The facade was adorned with Greek Doric columns and broken pediments featuring urns. The building was made of light beige brick and trimmed in terra-cotta. The entrances, two-story pilasters, entablature, cornice, decorative urns, and corner eagles were all beige terra-cotta to match the brick.Total construction costs were $185,000.

While the exterior received few changes over the years, the interior experienced many damaging alterations in its lifetime. By the 1980s, city officials had found the historic building inadequate for their needs and the building was torn down in 1993.

Images: Muncie City Hall photographs, ca. 1925. DOC-87.010. Documentation Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.