"Text and captions by George Hanlin; Turner Publishing Company; $39.95

Enticing photographs and meaningful contextual data make this a fine contribution to the growing collection of books featuring historic photographs of Indianapolis. Publisher Todd Bottorff points out in his preface that how we treat the past affects every aspect of decision-making for the present and future across all aspects of civic engagement.

The 200 black and white photographs do indeed allow the reader to examine, interpret and formulate ideas for how citizens should be living their lives in this metropolis that originated as the capital from a forest in 1820. Transportation early on played a major role, starting with the aborted White River passageway east and westward, and with the building of the National Road during the 1830s. The first train steamed in around 1847 while access to electricity around 1889, and a year later to autos, changed every aspect of economy, culture, education, politics, et al.

Topics and themes repeat through four sections: Civil War to end of 19th century, 20th century to end of WWI, 1920s-1930s and 1940s-1960s. It’s fun to experience the man-made changes, particularly along Washington Street. See also Indianapolis Then & Now edited by Nelson Price and postcard books published by the Indiana Historical Society.

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