Sunday, October 2, 2005

The Crossroads of America

Terre Haute

It's not my hometown, but I have a connection to the place. I have spent many hours defending it to narrowminded people who cannot look past the scent of the city. Smelly Terre Haute was once known as "sin city", but that was before the decline. The corner of 7th street and Wabash Avenue was known as the "Crossroads of America". There was good reason for this as the major East/West (US 40) and North/South (US 41) highways intersected there. Then came progress in the form of interstates and Terre Haute was never the same.

At the center of the self-proclaimed "Crossroad of America" was the once majestic hotel The Terre Haute House.

It is slated for demolition soon as plans to restore the once grand building fell through. Whatever replaces the building at that intersection will certainly not match the marble fixtures and copper-clad bar. The Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana has had the hotel on its list of most endangered buildings for several years, but it does not appear that anything can save it now.


Blogger Jim said...

A shame.

I spent two years at ISU before transferring to IU-Bloomington, and believe it or not, I have some very fond memories of Terre Haute (particularly of Simrell's and the Ballyhoo Tavern).

October 03, 2005  
Blogger torporific said...

So did I. I graduated from ISU. When were you there? I graduated in December 1994.

I did not want to go to school there. I wanted to go IU and was registered to attend, but during the summer I received a full scholarship to go to ISU. I was literally dragged there. The first semester was rough, but I grew to love the place. I have no regrets now. I had a great time in Terre Haute.

I loved Simrell's, Ballyhoo and Sonka's.

October 03, 2005  
Blogger Jim said...

Started in '85, left in early '88.

I forgot about Sonka's. It was kind of a craphole when I was there, but I know that it's the type of place where, if I were in school now, I would hang out.

I was in the same boat as you with regard to attending ISU. IU was my first choice, but expenses and timing had a lot to do with my decision to start at ISU. Frankly, if I had to do it all over again, I might have stayed at ISU rather than transferring to IU. I made a lot of great friends there and, like you, had a great time. It was hard to leave.

October 03, 2005  
Anonymous kevin said...

I too, am an ISU alum (class of '87) and even then, there were grand restoration plans that never came to fruition. It is such a shame to lose such a fine place.

p.s. Simrells and Bally were my hangouts also. :-)

October 03, 2005  
Blogger torporific said...

Yeah, Sonka's was great when I was there. It was a lot mellower crowd and they had just about every beer imaginable.

Kevin, there are even newspaper articles from this year that talked about turning the THH into a courtyard by Marriott. I wonder what happened.

Heh, did you guys go to Headstone Friends while there?

October 03, 2005  
Blogger Jim said...

I and a few of my friends were Headstone regulars. I bought my last piece of vinyl there - the Suicidal Tendencies' debut album.

October 03, 2005  
Blogger torporific said...

Yeah, I used to go there all of the time. Those guys acted like they were anti-establishment, etc, but they raked in a lot of cash. This is embarrassing, but around the time of my freshman year, we started playing a WWF video game in Burford Hall. Then, I even started watching it. Well, we found out that the WWF was coming to town so we got tickets. I'll never forget seeing all of the Headstone Friends hippies with ringside seats in front of all of the other local "celebrities". I am sure they paid top dollar and they seemed to be having the time of their lives.

October 04, 2005  
Anonymous A different Jim said...

I know it's really late to join this party, but I was surfing around and found this just today.

I was in TH from 1985-1994, a student at Rose the first 4 years. My buddies and I made regular visits to the altar at Headstone's. I squandered large portions of my work-study paychecks there on used vinyl. We became known to some of the crew, especially one fellow named Harold. He once set aside some promo posters of one of my favorite artists and gave them to me when I next came in... very cool.

I still miss Sonka's, and I miss Charlie's, a joint on Crawford Ave. that had great cheeseburgers ("tweedy burgers," they called them).

I also miss the quieter life I had there, and the lack of traffic, and the lower cost of living.

July 03, 2007  
Blogger Mystakaphoros said...

Ah, I'm a native Hautian and I just discovered this post. I'm working on a song called "Mississippi of the North" to try to properly describe the place.

April 13, 2008  

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