Photo Day at Hayes Arboretum

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2010/10/01 by jimhairphotos

Join us for a brief overview of Environmental Portraiture in the Nature Center and hop on the trailer for a trip to the Morton Arch; on to the Scenic Overlook and Woodland Chapel and then to the Memorial Fountain. Bring your cameras, smiles and good spirits to pose and photograph at several legendary points at beautiful Hayes Arboretum.

All levels are welcome and there will be general discussion of cameras and techniques while photographing Fall color at Hayes.

Join us for morning light from 10am to Noon, or afternoon light from 1pm to 3pm.

Space is limited to 20 people each session with a break between 12 and 1 for cookies and tea in the Nature Center.

$5 non members and Free for members and kids under 12.

To reserve a space call: (765) 962-3745

or email:

Hayes Arboretum is at 801 Elks Road in Richmond, Indiana

10 Historic Sites in Richmond

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2010/09/30 by jimhairphotos

This list was created by Sue King, Morrisson-Reeves archivist at my request for a walking tour of Richmond for the Model T Centennial visitors in July 2008.

Ten Historic Buildings in Downtown Richmond
Compiled by Sue King, Archivist, Morrisson-Reeves Library

1. Pennsylvania Depot – North 10th and E
Burnham designed and opened in 1902, this looks pretty rough right now, but was once one of Richmond’s grandest buildings. It is currently being restored by Roger Richert and Save the Depot, LLC.

2. Adam H. Bartel Building – North 9th and E
The main building was built in 1891, and housed the dry goods wholesaler until it closed in 1999. The company also owned the warehouse to the rear which is now The Loft housing Ghyslain Bistro and Coco’s gift shop.

3. Miller Brothers Building – Fort Wayne Avenue
Home of a wholesale hardware company for most of the 20th Century, this beautiful building has been restored and is in use as the Historic Richmond Furniture Gallery.

4. Wayne County Courthouse – Main between 3rd and 4th
Construction began in 1890 on this magnificent building which continues to be the seat of county government.

5. 600 Building (Bartel’s Hoosier Store) – Northeast corner of 6th and Main
Built in 1927, it remained a family owned business until after the catastrophic downtown explosion in 1968.
It was then renovated into office space.

6. Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building – Southwest corner of 8th and Main
This is one of Richmond’s oldest existing buildings and was built by this fraternal order in 1868. The order had private rooms on the third floor, and rented the second and first floors to professionals and retailers. Dwindling numbers forced the group to list the building for sale in 2007.

7. Knollenberg’s. – Southeast corner of 8th and Main
The George H. Knollenberg Co. building formerly housed a family-owned department store, once the center of retailing in Richmond. The original building with the tower was built in 1877 and expanded to the west in 1888. There was another building added on 8th Street in 1896. After 130 years as a family-owned business, the Geo. H. Knollenberg Co. closed its doors in 1996. It uis currently owned by an investor from Sacramento, California, and is being used as an art gallery.

8. Leland Hotel – Northeast corner of South 9th and A
Opened in 1929, this was once the premier hotel in town. For a time it converted to a motel, and in 2001 it reopened as senior apartments. In 2010 it was sold to Lakeside Properties which plans to add expanded medical care for senior residents.

9. Murray Theatre – Southeast Corner of 10th and Main
This theater was built by Omar Murray in 1909 as a vaudeville house. Over the years it also served as a movie theater and since 1952 it has been the home of Richmond Civic Theatre.

10. Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church – North A between 10th and 11th
Given by Daniel G. Reid in memory of his parents, the Scottish Gothic designed church was dedicated in May 1906 and made of limestone from Bedford, Indiana. Reid Memorial Church has 62 stained glass windows that were created by the Louis Tiffany studio. A set of fourteen bells in the tower range in weight from 288 to 2,035 pounds; the largest bell has a quote from Job 19:25-26 engraved on it…”For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and in my flesh shall I see God.” The organ is considered to be one of the finest in America and was built by Hook and Hastings House of Boston.

11. Wayne County Historical Museum – North A between 11th and 12th
The Hicksite Quakers built this as their meetinghouse in 1865, and it has been the museum’s home since 1930.

Richmond has a number of other great buildings in the area,
what else should be included?

Portland Food Vendors

Posted in Uncategorized on 2010/09/29 by jimhairphotos

There are a number of great food vendors in downtown Portland. Vicki and I enjoyed Thai, Indian, Mexican and one of our favorites visually as well, was the Mediterranean “Ugarit”.

I have posted more photos of other “shops” at:

Rebuilding Main Street

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2010/09/28 by jimhairphotos

At the meeting this morning approximately forty members of the Richmond community came together to discuss a possible future for the Main Street/Center City Organization. The meeting was called by Mayor Hutton and moderated by Mary Jo Clark and Pat Heiny.

The first question asked as people introduced themselves, was what qualities they would like to see in a Main Street Organization?
The comments were:
well coordinated
active organization
open collaboration
distinct goals
downtown neighborhoods
rational strategic vision
revolving loan program
equal participation
responsible leaders
tolerant of opposing views

Cards were distributed to tables listing the

National Main Street Four-point Approach:
Organization – getting everyone working toward the same goal.
Promotion – selling a positive image of the commercial district.
Design – getting the area into top physical shape to create a positive visual image.
Economic Restructuring – sharpening the competitiveness of existing business owners and recruiting new businesses.

Everyone was asked to work with the people at their table to come up with ideas that related these four points to our experience in Richmond.

Our table came up with these:

Strong positive leadership
Inclusive – everyone’s invited
Open and frequent communication with transparency

Cleaning up the weeds, graffiti and trash
Develop attractions
Give the community a reason to become our partner
Train next generation of leaders
Outreach to other states, create a national campaign
Build on the success we had with the Model T Centennial

Façade grants
Renovation of buildings
Revolving loan fund
Develop public private partnerships
Work to get the buy in of everyone to participate
Address issues of absentee owners, empty buildings
Snow removal
Plant watering and maintenance

Economic Restructuring
Make the parking garage safe, secure and clean
Create a city attraction map
Support the billboards on I-70
Utilize Facebook, Flickr, YouTube
Create a welcome wagon for new businesses beyond what realtors already do
Clarify with the City Administration the process of obtaining building permits
Create an atmosphere that will make bringing a new business to Rich,mond a positive experience
Remove obstructions to development
Sponsor local projects
Initiate mutually beneficial city-wide advertising
Share a grant writer for various organizations

The discussion was opened to the group for top two suggestions from lists:

Create a “First Fridays” or “First Tuesdays” when all businesses would participate
Make available business loans
Internet marketing
Schedule regular business seminars
Encourage new business
Make Richmond a destination for visitors
Re-educate community to be positive and project a positive outlook
Pick up trash
Put an informational center/resource center in one location
Encourage a “Buy Local” program
Create a business cross promotion template
Fix parking
Mentor youth
Highlight specialized businesses on billboards and ads
Make downtown living possible

What did we miss?

What was left out?

How do we ensure action?

Oktoberfest in the Depot District

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2010/09/26 by jimhairphotos

As a photographer I have a bias toward encouraging any activity that might help create a photograph. If I had the choice of any, it would have to be a street festival where the community would participate and music would fill the warm air. Indiana weather is also not like weather in California where there are really only two seasons: dry and wet. From June through September, Indiana can have thunderstorms on Thursday, heat and humidity on Friday, and Saturday may be glorious and wonderful. This was almost what we have experienced this last week (without the humidity) and just in time for the Depot District’s Oktoberfest, the weather was perfect. Richmond Baking must have been making shortbread cookies too, so besides blue skies and 70 degrees, we had the sweet smell of animal crackers wafting through the streets.

Music, flowers, books, arts and crafts… local organizations all had booths, the Depot stores were open, and everyone had the chance to meet up with friends. In a town where everyone is a relation or friend there are a number of people I have missed seeing. So besides the chance to make photographs of kids enjoying the trains the Railroaders had running, or kids getting their faces painted, or kids eating ice cream out of waffle cones, I was able to ask County Commissioners and City Officials informally those brief nagging questions that bothered me. These were issues that were not worth a call or travel to their office during business hours, but were easily addressed in the street with friends under a wide open sky.

And then there was food. I vicariously enjoyed the ice cream (until I lose 50 pounds it is off limits) and sandwiches and kielbasa and slaw and barbeque, but did indulge in the wraps at the Co-op table that were assembled by chef Jen Ferrell of “Who Cooks for You?”
It was an amazingly beautiful day; a party where we all were invited to enjoy the gift that we all shared: living in Richmond.

As I wandered home at dusk, I passed the Depot that has sat neglected for three decades and is now being restored, and I heard the band playing at Rick Parker’s beer garden across the street. A hundred grown-ups were dancing and laughing and singing together in the streets of Richmond’s Depot District and I realized they were dancing to the “Hokey Pokey”.

A few photos from the event are posted at:

Weekends with My Kids

Posted in Uncategorized on 2010/09/24 by jimhairphotos

In 1991 I lived on the back porch of a house in Berkeley and my kids stayed with me on weekends. My daughter was nine and my son, four. Every weekend I tried to take them somewhere. I generally told them it would be an adventure, but more often than not, we would spend a day wandering around Chinatown and North Beach, or the Mission District. Living close to a Bart Station, it was easier to ride into San Francisco than it was to drive, and the few times I drove would be to get us to Golden Gate Park and the Natural History Museum early, before the parking was gone. I had a few places that I was fond of and in Chinatown one was Waverly Alley with the fortune cookie factory next door to my friend the barber. The light came into the alley from an angle, and the shadows of fire escapes and laundry made some great photographs possible. If we were able to get into the City early we would stop at the Triple A Bakery for “gai mei bows”, and with mouths watering, would carry them to the playground where I could have a cup of tea and a roll, and watch the kids after they ate theirs while they played on the structures. On one trip I had taken my eyes off Ben for a moment, and when I looked for him he had vanished. New York City can’t have many places denser than San Francisco’s Chinatown. It would be impossible to describe the flash of anxiety that coursed through my brain at the moment I ran to the street from the playground and looked both ways and saw hundreds of people on the sidewalks, cars impatiently driving up the hill, but no kid. I grabbed my daughter and we started to look in the shops next to the playground. At the second door I was able to see down a long dark passageway an elderly man in a chair laughing and looking at a small, white haired boy, who was pointing excitedly at the exotic fish in a huge tank on a shelf above his head. I know this is when my thinning hair began to turn grey.

Charlie’s CD

Posted in Uncategorized on 2010/09/16 by jimhairphotos

It was great working with Charlie Matthews; recording his memories as well as a few selections from his favorite roles.  The CD will be available with his memoir to be released at his 60th Earlham reunion, October 2010. I have posted an mp3 of a poem Charlie wrote in 1949 when he was a student at Earlham: “Geologic Gizmo”.

Hoagy Lights Up

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2010/09/14 by jimhairphotos

I have driven through a number of small towns in the middle of the night, and wondered what they are like, who lives there, and what is important to the residents? Many towns now look so similar with their Downtowns jammed with national chain stores and simple stucco facades, that they could almost be interchangeable. This is the great distinction that Richmond, Indiana has: it is unique and has preserved its heritage and the historic building that line Main Street.

When I heard that the Ford Motor Company was coming to Richmond to celebrate the Centennial of the Ford Model T, it seemed natural to take one of the most prominent buildings and have a giant mural painted on it. Who better than Hoagy Carmichael, who wrote and recorded his music at the Gennett studio in Richmond’s Whitewater Gorge facility? It seemed to be fated when I found out that Hoagy would be facing the Leland Residence, where he stayed in 1927.

It has been two years since Pamela Bliss painted the mural, and knowing that 10,000 cars a day pass through the intersection of Main Street and US Highway 27, it means that we have had more than 7 million people pass beneath Hoagy’s eyes. Last week Richmond Power and Light connected a dusk to dawn light to the pole in front of the mural, and now, as we sleep, Hoagy will shine in the darkness, and quietly tell anyone who happens to look up, that this is a town that values its people, and celebrates its music and its heritage.

Community Partnership

Posted in Uncategorized on 2010/09/11 by jimhairphotos

Whenever I have been asked how I can be so optimistic about Richmond, all I have to do is describe the actions of one of the most important groups in town: Countywide Partnership for Youth.

From their website:
CPY supports the work of Wayne County partners who bolster positive youth development. By working collectively we will have better outcomes for our youth and more effective use our resources. Come, connect, share and empower – for the sole purpose of making the youth in our community excel.

Formed in 2004, the Partnership’s Youth Development Plan provided a vision for enhancing positive factors in a child’s life. CPY consists of volunteers from all areas of the county. Business, Non-Profits and Individuals alike are stepping up to make a stand for the youth of Wayne County.

For more information or to share your skills, please click on the logo below and take a look at the website.

Remembering George Hitchcock

Posted in Uncategorized on 2010/09/02 by jimhairphotos

George Hitchcock dies at 96; poet and publisher of the literary magazine ‘kayak’
Hitchcock created kayak in 1964, and it quickly gained notice as a bulwark on the literary vanguard. It provided a forum for such writers as Robert Bly, Raymond Carver, W.S. Merwin and Anne Sexton.

George Hitchcock, shown in 1973 in his Santa Cruz print shop, started “kayak” in 1964. Hitchcock was a former actor who performed poetry with theatrical gusto and, unlike many poets, was most willing to share the spotlight. (Jim Hair)

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
September 2, 2010
George Hitchcock, a poet, painter and UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor whose iconoclastic vision as publisher of the literary magazine “kayak” helped free American poetry from mid-20th century orthodoxies and provided an early forum for such distinguished writers as Robert Bly, Raymond Carver and Philip Levine, died Friday at his home in Eugene, Ore. He was 96.

His death came after a long illness, said poet Robert McDowell, a former student and longtime friend.

Hitchcock created kayak in 1964 to counter the “tepid eclecticism” that he believed hampered many literary magazines at the time. With its quirky illustrations and preference for surrealist poets, the magazine quickly gained notice as a bulwark on the literary vanguard, where more formal stylists in the modes of such mid-century masters as Robert Lowell and Richard Wilbur were not welcome.
“George was part of that rupturing of this almost neoclassical dam that had stopped American poetry. I would say kayak returned American poetry to its greatest strength, which derives from Whitman — to make it outrageous, to make it, if need be, objectionable,” said Levine, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1995, two decades after Hitchcock published what became Levine’s most famous poem, “They Feed They Lion.”

Bly criticized the first 10 issues of kayak in a 1967 essay, asserting that “too much foggy stuff gets in,” but he also called it “valuable, and a much-loved” magazine because of the new voices it promoted. Kayak, he wrote, “would be missed very much if it developed a leak and sank.”

Hitchcock, a former actor, was not widely known for his own poems, although he published more than a dozen volumes. He performed poetry with theatrical gusto and, unlike many poets, was most willing to share the spotlight. Levine, who remembered his surprise when Hitchcock, without warning, called on him at a Fresno reading in 1965, said Hitchcock’s generosity was unique and came from a desire to “make a kind of community of poets in out-of-the-way places or with out-of-the-way aesthetics and maybe even politics.”

Hitchcock taught writing at UC Santa Cruz from 1970 to 1989. In 2002, he created the Hitchcock Poetry Fund, which distributes $20,000 a year to support a variety of programs, including visiting poets, poetry journals and conferences. It also funded the campus’ winning team in the 2004 National Slam Poetry Competition held in St. Louis.

Hitchcock was born June 2, 1914, in Hood River, Ore. His father was a lumber broker; his mother became a reporter for an international news service after the marriage ended in divorce. Hitchcock earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Oregon in 1935 and went into journalism, working for a Eugene newspaper and later for leftist journals, including People’s Daily World. DuringWorld War II, he helped build war ships and served in the Merchant Marines. Later he organized dairy workers, taught philosophy at the California Labor School and was an active socialist.

His politics landed him before a subcommittee of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957. During the televised hearing, he gained notoriety for his deadpan response to a question about his occupation, which at that time was landscaping. “My profession,” he said, “is a gardener. I do underground work on plants.”

In the mid-1950s he also began writing plays and acting. He landed a number of major roles in productions by the Actor’s Workshop and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

In the late 1950s he met Kenneth Rexroth, a central figure in the San Francisco Renaissance movement, who introduced Hitchcock to contemporary poetry. Hitchcock became a co-editor of the San Francisco Review, a literary journal, in 1958 but left in 1963.

The next year he launched kayak and installed himself as sole editor or, as he sometimes described his role, “dictator.” The magazine’s title — the word denoting, as he wrote in every issue, “a small watertight vessel operated by a single oarsman” — reflected the management philosophy of an editor who had come to despair the committee approach to choosing literary submissions.

Kayak flourished for 20 years. It introduced the poetry of such writers as Kathleen Fraser, Margaret Atwood, Charles Simic, Mark Doty and Mark Jarman. Soon, well-known poets, including W.S. Merwin, Hayden Carruth and Anne Sexton, were also appearing in its pages.

To have a poem turned down by Hitchcock was an unusually memorable event because of the form it took. Hitchcock’s rejection letters bore a one-line message, usually stating that the unlucky submission was “not quite what we need this season.” Accompanying the withering text was one of a dozen of his favorite 19th century woodcut illustrations, chosen for their ghastly or ironic effect. They usually showed a man under extreme duress — on the ground with a wolf at his throat, falling through a crack in the ice, or facing an axe-wielding executioner.

The missives “ended up decorating bathroom walls, foyers, kitchens, writing studios. They were laid out on tables at therapy sessions. They provoked grim, hysterical laughter, threats, and tears,” McDowell, who was a student of Hitchcock’s in the early 1970s and later published “One-Man Boat: The George Hitchcock Reader” (2003), wrote in an essay several years ago.

“It was good for a laugh,” Hitchcock once said of the letters, “although some people were terribly insulted. But the ones who are terribly insulted you wouldn’t want in the magazine anyway.”

He is survived by his companion of 38 years, Marjorie Simon; a son, Stephen; and two grandchildren.
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times,0,3051524.story