Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pierre & Wright's Fire Station #18 on the 10 Most Endangered List

Indiana Landmarks recently published their 10 Most Endangered List for 2017 and Pierre & Wright's Fire Station #18 is featured prominently on the list. A stylish Art Deco fire station built in 1936 on Indianapolis' west side, the building served the Indianapolis Fire Department handsomely until it was replaced in 1994 and left vacant.

A few years ago, Edward Pierre's granddaughter donated a large collection of the architect's papers, photographs, and other materials he collected over his long career. In the papers, he cited Fire Station #18 as one of his favorite buildings he designed. He matched fashionable design elegantly with the utilitarian needs of men who needed efficiency in their race to save lives and property. Pierre was proud to live in Indianapolis and worked very hard throughout his career to make it a better city for its citizens. He was proud to design important buildings like the Indiana State Library, but also proud to design small, utilitarian buildings like Fire Station #18. From gas stations to libraries and office buildings, Pierre infused every project with the best design he could produce.

Today the former fire station at Washington Street and Tibbs Avenue sits ready for redevelopment to transform it into its next life. Perhaps a restaurant, a residence, or an office will find its new home there. No matter what, the building will serve its purpose with style and grace straight from one of the greatest architects in Indiana history.

Images: Fire Station #18 rendering by Leslie Ayres, 1936. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.
Current photo by Evan Hale, Courtesy of Indiana Landmarks.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Drawings + Documents Archive receives grant to digitize the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Drawings

The Drawings + Documents Archive was recently awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant in the amount of $14,980 to digitize the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Landscape Architectural Drawings Collection held at the Drawings + Documents Archive in the College of Architecture and Planning. The collection chronicles the development of the extensive park and boulevard system in Indiana’s largest metropolitan area from the 19th century to the mid-20th century, and provides an unparalleled look into the creation of both major destination parks and small neighborhood parks, as well as the tree-lined boulevards that transverse the city thoroughfares. 

The LSTA grant will provide funds to hire a project assistant, purchase supplies, and digitize 3 damage assessment rolls, 1, 400 landscape, engineering, and architectural drawings and presentation boards, and 2,345 aperture cards for over 200 Indianapolis parks, parkways, golf courses, bridges, boulevards, playgrounds, amphitheaters, stadiums, greenhouses, and other public facilities managed by the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation from 1898 to 1988. The majority of the collection dates from 1900-1920. After over 100 years in storage, expect the collection to debut online in 2017.

Images: Fall Creek proposed grade, bed stream drawing, 1914; Tarkington Park tennis courts site plan, 1959. Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Art Moderne With a Bubbly Personality

The Art Moderne commercial building at 2201 East 46th Street in Indianapolis is currently undergoing renovations that uncovered its original limestone facade with striking cursive font and delightful bubbles for Sutho Suds, a former Indy-based detergent brand that did frothy sales during WWII but was all washed up in the years following the war. Founded in 1943 by husband and wife team of Paul and Frances Towsley, the company quickly outgrew their factory at 1201 Cornell Avenue and began planning to double their factory space. 


When the building was erected in 1945, the company was doing very well and had the capital for a much expanded space and even had plans to build a factory in Chicago. However, due to the rise in new competitors during the post war period, sales quickly spiraled down the drain and the company went into receivership just a few months after moving into their new building.

The building housed a lot of other businesses since 1945. Most recently it was the headquarters for Double 8 Foods. Before that it held 7-11 Super Markets and even the architecture firm Odle/Burke Architects.

But the question on everyone's mind when Mark Dollase from Indiana Landmarks posted the Sutho Suds facade photographs to Facebook this week was: who was the architect who designed bubbles for limestone pilasters on this building? That architect was no other than Joseph Cezar, whose collection can be found at the Drawings + Documents Archive. He may be the greatest Indianapolis architect that no one knows about. The Sutho Suds drawings, however, were a mystery in the collection. Without an address or location on the drawings, we didn't know where the building was located. Because the sign was covered with a subsequent facade, no one else knew where it was, either. Thanks to inquisitive architecture fans and social media, we now have a complete record in our database and Indianapolis architecture fans now know a little bit more about Joseph Cezar's work!

Many thanks to Sharon Butsch Freeland who helped piece together this puzzle and graciously provided the newspaper clippings regarding Sutho Suds and the building.

Images: Sutho Suds building photograph by Mark Dollase, 2016; Sutho Suds building and signage drawings by Joseph O. Cezar, 1945; Sutho Suds advertisements from the Indianapolis Star, 1944, collected by Sharon Butsch Freeland, 2016.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New Donation: Indiana State Normal School Library, 1907

Today has been a day rich with donations that we want to share. We had to pick where to begin and decided we should begin with the library, which also happens to be the oldest set of drawings among the donations. This lovely set of drawings for the library at Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana, by architects J.F. Alexander and Son highlights the extraordinary center light well and elaborate Beaux-Arts details throughout the building. It was built for $150,000 in 1909, but the best news is that it is still standing on campus and undergoing a $16M renovation that will turn it into a student academic honors center.

Little seems to be known about architect John F. Alexander. What we do know is that he was trained in St. Louis, received a degree from the University of Toronto, and worked for a firm in Chicago before settling back in Lafayette, Indiana. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, Alexander "specialized in the use of stone in both public and domestic architecture and many of Lafayette's finest houses erected in this period were his work."

Just a few years prior to the Indiana State Normal School library project, he designed the Hoopeston Carnegie Public Library in Champaign, Illinois. It completed construction in 1904, and is a much smaller, one story masonry building.

He was also heavily involved in the Western Architects Association and then the American Institute of Architects after the two merged in 1889. He served on a number of committees and was given some small roles by the then-president Richard Morris Hunt at the 1891 AIA Convention in Boston.

Images: Library, Indiana State Normal School (Indiana State University), 1907, diazo reproductions, undated. Gift of RATIO Architects. Photographs by Carol Street.

Sources: J.F. Alexander and Son biographical file, Drawings + Documents Archive; Monica Giacomucci e-mail, 18 February 2016; Tippecanoe County Courthouse National Register of Historic Places nomination form, 1972.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Response to Drawings + Documents Archive: The Movie

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) recently checked in with Drawings + Documents Archive's archivist, Carol Street, to discuss the archive's latest outreach initiative. You can find the interview at SAA's ArchivesAWARE! blog and see the inspiration that led to our using LEGO to discuss architectural research.

The overwhelmingly positive response to our outreach video has been incredibly gratifying for everyone at the archive who worked on it. We hope the video shares our enthusiasm for archives and shows the world that archives and archival research can be fun, not dusty. Many thanks to SAA and others (even LEGO!) for showing our little video some love.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Brookside Park, ca. 1910

Located on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis, Brookside Park was one of the first two city parks in Indiana’s capital.  The City of Indianapolis purchased the land that would become Brookside Park in 1870, officially declaring the property a city park in 1900.  Shortly thereafterthe space was incorporated into George E. Kessler’s park and boulevard master plan for Indianapolis, acquiring many of the picturesque qualities that it retains today. 
Although the landscapes of Kessler's plan are often celebrated for their meandering pathways, idyllic tree lines, and vast grassy fields, numerous works of architecture, large and small, were also essential to Kessler's overall vision.  Among these works was the Shelter House at Brookside Park, an idiosyncratic structure that represented a current fancy for playful eclecticism.  Accordingly, it is difficult to assign a single  "style" to this unique building.  Its river stone foundation was reminiscent of East Coast precedent; its flared hipped roof evinced an Asian influence; and its rustic wood posts and balustrades looked as if they had been plucked from a storybook.   
Complementing the overall woodsy character of the park, the shelter would have been a delightful surprise for first-time visitors and a perfect setting for picnics and parties. 

The building itself was a feat of skilled carpentry.  Indeed, the construction of the roof required many well-calculated cuts and snug joints.  The plan for the roof structure, pictured here, illustrates the complex intersections between the flared hipped roof over the main body of the building and the tapered conical roofs over the two cylindrical corner bay projections.  Note that the hipped roof would have been covered in lath before the rafters of the conical roof sections were installed.  The design and construction of these features would have called for a mastery of geometry that is increasingly rare among architects and carpenters.   
Although the Shelter House no longer stands, the records in the Ball State University Drawings + Documents Archive serve to remind us of a quirky treasure that once graced the grounds of Brookside Park. 
Written by Sam Burgess, Graduate Assistant in the Drawings + Documents Archive.
Images: Brookside Park Shelter House drawings, ca. 1910. [40-67a] Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Drawings + Documents Archive: The Movie!

Learn about the Drawings + Documents Archive by watching our new, LEGO stop-motion movie on YouTube! ( Follow Sarah, a student at the College of Architecture and Planning, as she navigates primary source researching at the archive and learns about all of the resources available to her--from original architectural drawings to 3-D prints.

Archives staff is incredibly grateful for the talents of its graduate assistants, particularly Raluca Filimon who directed the project, and for the enthusiasm of our narrator, Paul Jones, who stopped in one morning to remind us to buy donuts in the atrium and became an integral part of the project. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Collection in the Drawings + Documents Archives! Richard G. Foltz Architectural Books

The Richard G. Foltz Architectural Books Collection was recently donated by Walter Foltz, the son of Indiana architect Richard Foltz who studied at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the early 20th century. The collection contains eight extraordinary volumes of architectural history, including Oeuvres Choisies De J.B. Piranesi, Frontispsces, Compositions, Prisons, Trophees, Plan et Vues De Rome, Dessines et Graves De 1746 A 1778, which was published in 1913 and depicts 140 incredible etchings from the 18th century Italian artist and architect, Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Other volumes in the collection are Jardins d’Espagne (1926) and Monuments antiques, relevés et restaurés par les architectes pensionnaires de l'Académie de France à Rome; notices archéologiques par Georges Seure (1910-1912).

Images: A selection of images from the Richard G. Foltz Architectural Books Collection. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Juliet Peddle, Indiana's first licensed female architect

Interested in knowing more about architect Juliet Peddle? She is known for her Modern designs in her hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as her interest in preserving historic architecture. She created a series of holiday cards, one of which is above, to send to friends and clients, and also designed cards for others. 

A small collection of her work was donated recently, and has been digitized and made available in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. Below is a brief biographical sketch from the finding aid to the collection:

Juliet Alice Peddle was born June 7, 1899 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her father, John Peddle, worked as a professor of machine design at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute.[1] She attended King Classical School during her formative years and began studying architecture at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1918. At the University of Michigan, Peddle was friends with fellow student, Bertha Yerex Whitman, who was the first female graduate from the architecture school when she graduated in 1920.  Whitman and Peddle both belonged to the  T-Square Society, a club for female and engineering students established in 1915.[2]

Upon graduation in 1922, Peddle followed Whitman to Chicago to work at the architecture firm Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton, which specialized in designing school buildings. [3] She continued her education through courses at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also taught briefly, and at the Berkshire Summer Art Institute.

Peddle received her license to practice architecture in Illinois in 1926, and was one of only seven female architects to receive licenses that year. In 1927, she embarked on a six-month sketching trip through England, France, and Italy. She studied and sketched historical buildings, views of canals, and other old world architecture.

After her trip to Europe, Juliet returned to Chicago and worked for Edwin H. Clark from 1927 to 1931. During her time in Chicago, Juliet Peddle and Whitman, along with seven other women architects, founded the Women’s Architectural Club of Chicago. The group exhibited their work at the first Women’s World’s Fair in Chicago in 1927, and later held exhibitions in the library and social hall of Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton. Peddle served as an editor at The Architrave, the club’s publication.

After losing her job due to the Depression, she began working for the Historic American Building Surveys (HABS) program sponsored by the government. In 1935, she moved back to Terre Haute, Indiana

In 1928, she was prompted to move closer to home when her father, with whom she was close, suffered a stroke. In 1931, due to the Great Depression Juliet Peddle lost her job and began working with the government sponsored Historic American Building Surveys (HABS). During her employment with HABS, Juliet Peddle gained considerable knowledge in the field of historic preservation and restoration, in part because she attended a seminar in Colonial Williamsburg.[4]

She headed back to Terre Haute and opened her own office in 1939. Juliet Peddle was the first registered female architect in Indiana. She continued working and remained in business until her death in 1979. Clients appreciated her modern designs, but Peddle also appreciated the past and worked with the Virgo Historical Society documenting the historic architecture buildings of her community. She opened her office in the Grand Opera House and worked there for the following years until her death on September 6th 1979.

[1] American Machinist: A Practical Journal of Machine Construction, Vol. 40, No14 .1914 (Hill Publishing Co. New York), pg. 598
[2] University of Michigan, Michiganensian, Vol. 24, 1920 (published by the Senior Classes of the University of Michigan)., pg. 665, 704-705.
[3] Allaback, Sarah, The First American Women Architects, (Univ. of Illinois Press, Illinois, 2008), pg. 168. accessed:
[4] Allaback, Sarah, The First American Women Architects, (Univ. of Illinois Press, Illinois, 2008), pg. 168. accessed:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Howloween from the Drawings + Documents Archive

The Indiana Architecture X 3D project has taken a decidedly seasonal turn with its latest building and detail. Introducing the charming and not at all spooky Indiana State Library building Rare Books and Manuscripts bookcase owls. Located on the original architectural drawings by architects Edward Pierre, George Wright, and Fran Schroeder in our Pierre & Wright Architectural Records collection, the owls have guarded books and researchers for over 75 years from their perch in the Rare Books and Manuscripts room. Now they have been 3-D modeled and reprinted on a MakerBot, and will be available for all soon on the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. What color you choose to print them is yours, but we think they look amazing in glow-in-the-dark.

Images: Indiana State Library building architectural drawing and 3-D printed owls. Pierre & Wright Architectural Records and Indiana Architecture X 3D. Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University. Photos by Carol Street

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NEW! Snider & Rotz Engineering Records now online

The Ball State University Libraries has recently digitized the collection of Snider & Rotz Engineering Drawings and Papers. The collection contains engineering drawings, business records, and photographs from the Snider & Rotz Engineering firm, which was a consulting engineering firm based in Indianapolis. The firm worked with many local architectural firms to design the mechanical aspects of construction projects in and around Marion County. Led by Lewis A. Snider and John M. Rotz, the firm began in 1912 as J. M. Rotz Engineering Company and was in business until at least 1981. In the 1920s, their offices were located in the Merchants Bank Building in Indianapolis.

John Martin Rotz, son of John and Anna Manhart Rotz, was born at Prairieton, Indiana, 12 July 1884. He attended grade school in Prarieton but went to high school in Terre Haute. In 1906, he graduated from Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) in Terre Haute with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical and civil engineering. Rotz worked as a civil engineer at the New York Central Rail Road Company, the Santa Fe Railway, and the Pennsylvania Rail Road Company until he opened his own firm, called J. M. Rotz Engineering Company, in 1912. He specialized in heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, power plant design, sanitary problems, and electrical distribution.

Drawings in the collection are mostly mechanical drawings for heating, ventilation, electrical wiring, and plumbing on many different kinds of projects from a variety of architectural firms. Types of buildings include schools, asylums, hospitals, infirmaries, stores, banks, residences, hotels, libraries, and restaurants. Architects and firms represented include Charles E. Bacon, Elmer E. Dunlap; Donald Graham; McGuire & Shook; J.E. Kope & Woolling; Evans Woollen; John G. C. Sohn; James Associates; Ewing Miller; Bohlen, Burns & Associates; Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson & Associates; Browning, Day, Pollack, Mullins; and Pecsok, Jelliffe, Randall and Nice Architects. A few unusual designs in the collection are an automatic bottle feeding machine (1912) and a publication selling machine (1913) built by United Metal Parts of Indianapolis.

Image: Indiana War Memorial lighting fixture engineering drawing, 1964. John G. C. Sohn, architect. Snider & Rotz Engineering Drawings and Papers Collection, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

College Dormitories and the Roaring Twenties

The architecture firm Johnson, Miller, Miller & Yeager built this women's dormitory in 1924 for what was then known as the Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, Indiana. The photograph pictured above was spotted in one of the firm's photo books donated by architect Ewing Miller II, the son and nephew of the two Millers listed in the firm's name. What made this photograph stand out from the others are the people seen in front of the building. While most architecture photography of the era is devoid of people in the scene, this image depicts a large grouping of students in front of their dorm, book ended by cars of the era.

The photographs and manuscript materials were donated last year as an addition to the already existing Miller Family Architectural Records collection, which has been digitized and is available in the University Libraries' Digital Media Repository. Below is the elevation drawing for the same dormitory. You can see more of the drawings of the building, and many others the firm designed, online.

Images: Women's Dormitory photograph and architectural drawing, Indiana State Normal School, Terre Haute, Indiana, 1924. Miller Family Architectural Drawings, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scheidler Apartments, Ball State University

Ball State University students are moving into their campus dorm rooms this week and we're celebrating this monumental milestone toward adulthood with architectural depictions of dorms, both past and present. First up is an interior presentation drawing of Ball State University's Scheidler Apartments phase III plan from 1970. The university has many dormitories to house the 15,000+ undergraduates on campus, however Scheidler and Anthony Apartments offer one to three bedroom apartment units for upper-level students and students or faculty with families. 

The interior presentation drawing, above, from the Muncie architecture firm Hamilton, Graham, Love, and Associates depicts a modern academic navigating the efficient apartment layout, while also directing attention beyond the sliding glass door where the exterior elevation of the neighboring apartment can be seen in the distance. The architecture and custom shelving, as well as the human figure, remain in black and white while plants, decorations, the puppy's bow, and the outside add color in a fairly restrained palette of green, blue, brown, and yellow. Due to the clever use of the outdoor scene, this interior drawing can also function as an exterior building drawing, as well.

Image: Ball State University Scheidler Apartments interior presentation drawing, 1970. Hamilton & Graham Architectural Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

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.