Digging up treasure

by Mike Linderman, Site Manager at Angel Mounds State Historic Site and Western Regional Supervisor

A profile of the floor of one of the Mississippian houses, with the fire pit in bright orange.

The sounds of shovels and trowels can be heard at Angel Mounds State Historic Site! Students from IUPUI are peeling back the surface of the site to reveal the remnants of the culture that lived here 900 years ago. Under the direction of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at IU, these students are spending the next six weeks on the grounds, following in the footsteps of 72 years of archaeological work here. Due to the recent river flooding, they are currently plagued with mosquitoes and gnats of all sizes. This week, they are being lulled into a false sense of what lies ahead with the southern Indiana summer weather. Highs have been around 60 for the week, but we are sure the 90s and high humidity are not far away. More to follow over the next six weeks …

A piece of painted Mississippian pottery sticking out of the wall trench.

A brief history of the USO of Indiana

by Robert D. Legacy, Vice President USO Indiana

In 1940, America’s military was rapidly growing in response to the increasing threat which preceded entry into World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt challenged six private organizations — the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler’s Aid Association and the Salvation Army — to handle the on-leave recreation needs for members of the Armed Forces. The six organizations pooled their resources and the United Service Organizations — which quickly became known as the USO — was incorporated in New York State on Feb. 4, 1941.

Here in Indianapolis, the first center for uniformed men opened on Wabash Street on May 22, 1941. It was called The Army, Navy, and Marine Service Club and was located in a converted freight house under the auspices of the Indianapolis Parks Board. The Works Project Administration supplied the labor to convert the building and the community donated the furnishings. By Nov. 1, 1941, an average of 2,000 men visited the Club each week.

Union Station Canteen – Indianapolis

Soon it was obvious that one center would not be enough. The Union Station Canteen opened on Dec, 22, 1941, followed by the Illinois Street Center on July 8, 1942. The facilities were incorporated into the Indianapolis Service Men’s Centers in late July 1942. Subsequent to this incorporation, the Senate Avenue Center opened. And finally, The Robert Park Center made its debut in the spring of 1943.

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Ruffed grouse makes an appearance at T.C. Steele

by Mary Ann Woerner, Intermittent at T.C. Steele State Historic Site

Brigitte R. Grouse

On April 10, T.C. Steele State Historic Site staff member Davie Kean spotted a ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) hen when she arrived at work. She told me the grouse seemed quite tame and was almost following her around. I was hopeful that I could catch a glimpse of a bird that I had never seen before. When I arrived at work a few days later, there she was in the middle of the driveway. She appeared to be waiting to greet me!

What an opportunity for an avid bird-watcher and amateur photographer! I had time to grab my camera from the office and follow this cute little hen, spending 15 minutes taking her picture and shooting some video. I later learned that she had followed a tour group the previous day. On Saturday, April 16, a Bloomington photography club came to the site and members were treated to an appearance of the grouse. Because she is such a frequent visitor at the site, we have given her a name: Brigitte R. Grouse.