Updated: Apr 28, 2021
MASS AVE., INDIANAPOLIS - The best way to see Indianapolis is to walk it, that's how I've acquired this 'mass' of information about my hometown. When I walk down THE Avenue, through Irvington, or most recently through the eastside neighborhood of Martindale, I learn something new each time.
My learning begins with movement. I have to move to see new things, I have to move to see old things in new ways. I decided to move down Mass Ave yesterday, because I need to learn a little more about this diagonal corridor of the circle city. I'll be giving an abbreviated 'Walk & Talk' do the students of IPS CFI #2, at the end of the week. I'm looking forward to showing them how to find the history that hides right under our toes, or over heads, or somewhere in between.
I started my walk at the school, Benjamin Harrison School #2, I walked past Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ and continued down towards the Murat. I walked past the Mari Evans mural and made my way to dancing Ann. I love the mind of Mari, I like the moves of Ann.
Here's my favorite poem by Evans:
can be born black
the wonder of it
And/to come together in a coming togetherness vibrating with the fires of pure knowing reeling with power ringing with the sound above sound above sound to explode/in the majesty of our oneness our comingtogether in a comingtogetherness
Who can be born black and not exult!
I turned back up Mass, and saw a man that was even more hard-headed than I am.
With so much history here on this other avenue, it was hard to find one thing or place in particular to focus on. I’ve always known about the German architecture that’s shaped our city, but today I'll give it a little more attention. Just by looking at Das Deutsche Haus (The German House), or the Anthenaeum, the building’s present name, you can tell that it's a solid structure, filled with detail deserving of recognition.
athenaeumfoundation.org - The Athenæum/Das Deutsche Haus is an excellent example of Germanic architectural influence in the Midwest during the latter part of the 19th century. It is also a monument to the organization of Americans of German descent in the United States who dedicated themselves to cultural and physical development in their new country.
The entire building is in the German Renaissance Revival style – a popular style in Germany during the Second Reich (1871-1918). It revived the architecture of Renaissance Germany of the 16th and 17th centuries.
1904 view of Das Deutsche Haus
I could walk around this place 100 times and learn something new with each and every step. I let the building be my teacher, I have to keep moving to keep learning. The movement of my body results in the movement my mind. Here I am, moving on Mass. Ave.
I stumble across the Rosetta Stones of Das Deutsche Haus, they talk to me as well. One says “Guten Tag”, wishing me a good day. Another says “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano”, which in English means “A Sound Mind in A Sound Body.”
The physical physique of the building makes me wonder what used to take place on the inside. It makes me wonder what the original purpose of the building was, what it is now. These are things I can look up when I go home.
Atlas Obscura - [The Anthanaeum] looks like it would be more at home in Europe than in the United States Midwest—and that’s intentional. The Romanesque structure was built as a social club for German-Americans in the 19th century, to improve their minds, bodies, and drinking skills.
A look inside the early days of ' Das Deutsche Haus'
The purpose of the building is clear, strengthen the mind and the body, and have a little fun while doing it. From the workout warriors at the YMCA to the table tops of the Rathskeller, Das Deutsche Haus still, in 2021, does almost everything that it was originally intended to do.
The name change was a result to some 20th century tension between the Germans and the Americans, which is understandable, however, here in America we have our own long list of problems that we seem to do anything but address. Nonetheless, the name Das Deutsche Haus became The Anthanaeum in 1918, this was in response to 'The Great War' (WWI).
Now I feel as if I have a connection to The Anthanaeum, after a short conversation with the history here, I realized that we value the same things. I keep moving though, I reach an old brick street, my favorite kind of street, I turn left and then I'm back at School #2.
I love the mind of Mari, I like the moves of Ann. I keep moving like Ann, I keep thinking like Mari.
Real Footage From Walk & Talk 84 with IPS CFI #2
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano.
A Sound Mind in A Sound Body.