TERRE HAUTE —
We hope visitors see a Terre Haute striving to honor its past and reach for its future
An exciting weekend is about to unfold in Terre Haute.
Visitors from across the country will flow into the city to experience activities surrounding the unveiling of the bronze statue of Indiana State University basketball icon Larry Bird. Some of those guests carry famous names as former teammates, coaches, rival players and writers connected with Larry’s years as a Springs Valley High School standout, a Sycamore, a Boston Celtic, a 1992 “Dream Team” member, and an Indiana Pacers coach and executive.
Some visitors are his longtime fans, former Terre Hauteans and ISU alums. Some may be visiting town for the first time since Larry left ISU, or ever.
Downtown Terre Haute has changed in many ways since Larry graduated and headed east to Boston in 1979.
For starters, Hulman Center looks different inside. Amidst the banners hanging on its walls are two retired jersey numbers — Larry’s 33 and another former Sycamore great and NBA player Duane Klueh’s 54. The squishy Tartan surface Larry played on from ’76 to ’79 was replaced by a hardwood court in 1989. In 2008, the university gave the floor a name — Nellie and John Wooden Court, in honor of the former Sycamore coach and his beloved wife.
As the new statue, those lofty jerseys and the Wooden Court moniker show, Terre Haute has made progress in putting its past and future in proper perspective. Significant slices of local history are being blended into the 21st-century culture.
The city’s iconic Crossroads of America intersection provides the perfect example. Shops and eateries wear colorful storefronts along the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue.
Yes, the fabled, old Terre Haute House is gone, having deteriorated for decades on the northeast corner and wisely torn down in 2005. That space is now lively, though, occupied by the Hilton Garden Inn, with a companion hotel, the Candlewood Suites, across Wabash in the refurbished Tribune Building.
On the northwest Crossroads corner, tourists will see a distinguished looking bronzed guy, jotting down notes and sitting on a bench. It’s Terre Haute poet Max Ehrmann, whose peace poem, “Desiderata,” is an international classic. A visitor can sit beside Max and look east down Wabash to see the spectacular, 26,000-square-foot Terre Haute Children’s Museum, which adjoins the Candlewood Suites and opened in 2010. Over Max’s shoulders sits the ISU Scott College of Business in the former Federal Building, beautifully remodeled and dedicated in 2012.
Max’s vantage point is part of the cool, sculpture-lined Seventh Street Arts Corridor, which leads north to Cherry Street and the ISU campus.
And, when folks tour the university grounds, they’ll find the place looks far different from the 1970s. Traffic no longer buzzes through the heart of campus. It feels like a place to stay and learn, rather than pass through. It’s growing, too. Enrollment hit 12,488 this fall, its highest since 1972.
In its master plan, a roadmap to the future, ISU intends to place outdoor athletic facilities west of Third Street along the Wabash riverfront. ISU’s plan fits with a communitywide reconnection with the Wabash. On Saturday, visitors will find local folks pulling invasive shrubs from the riverside, where the City of Terre Haute is building a scenic, one-mile trail south of Fairbanks Park. The work is part of the wildly successful 2013 Year of the River celebration, an awareness-raising project that illuminates the Wabash’s cultural, economic and historic impact.
Terre Haute has been busy. While acknowledging some lingering shortcomings, the town hopes visitors like what they see.
TERRE HAUTE —
We hope visitors see a Terre Haute striving to honor its past and reach for its future
- Larry Bird
Larry’s Lessons: On a beautiful fall day at Hulman Center
I attended the unveiling of the Larry Bird statue on Saturday, Nov. 9, and found the proceedings to be wonderful.
Dedicated: Nearly a decade after effort began, Larry Bird’s statue christened in its rightful place
Fans of all ages find in Larry Bird a figure of inspiration
“Bird! Bird! Bird!”
From the sidewalk to the rooftop of a downtown parking garage across the street from the Hulman Center, a big crowd chanted and cheered Saturday for NBA basketball legend, Indiana’s native son and Sycamore star, Larry Bird.
Hughes, News & Views: The ’78-79 Sycamores rediscover timeless bond
The 1978-79 Indiana State men’s basketball team that posted a 33-1 record and battled Michigan State for the coveted NCAA championship almost 35 years ago isn’t likely to play any more full-court games together, not even just for fun.
Larry Bird: In his words
Bird behind the scenes — Before the public statue dedication took place Saturday, Bird agreed to field questions from newspaper and television reporters inside Hulman Center.
TODD GOLDEN: Great to see Bird inside his house at Indiana State
I don’t know Larry Bird and it would be extraordinarily foolish for me to pretend to be an expert on his mood, but some impressions don’t lie, and as I watched the Indiana State legend be honored with a beautiful 15-foot statue by his alma mater on Saturday at Hulman Center, I saw someone who seemed at ease in his time, and especially, his place.
MARK BENNETT: A degree of success
Determination to get that diploma Larry Bird’s deepest bond with fellow ISU alums, students
Legendary gathering: Larry Bird returns to arena where he made his name
Stories came fast and furious Friday night in Hulman Center for the “Honoring a Legend” scholarship program — some of the stories even told by someone other than Bill Walton.
Players, fans, coaches share stories of Bird's legacy
Memories of Larry Bird’s basketball days at Indiana State University filled conversations on the upper concourse of Hulman Center on Friday, prior to the Larry Bird Scholarship Dinner.
GUEST COLUMNIST: Memories of a legendary time
Even though it has been nearly 35 years, I remember it like it was yesterday. The chaos of the fans screaming at every home game.
ISU players look forward to Bird statue ceremony
When you play basketball at Indiana State, it’s impossible to escape the long shadow cast by the greatness that was Larry Bird.
The Sycamores recognize that and embrace playing at Bird’s alma mater. Larry Bird’s 15-foot statue will be dedicated at 11:30 a.m. today in a ceremony outside Hulman Center and the Sycamores are proud to be a part of it.
Gov. Pence issues proclamation declaring Larry Bird Day in Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence today issued a proclamation declaring Saturday, Nov. 9 as Larry Bird Day in Indiana. The proclamation coincides with the official dedication of a 15-foot bronze statue of Bird at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
Filling our void: Terre Haute artist Bill Wolfe poured his heart and soul into the project of a lifetime
Bill Wolfe thumbed through a series of photographs documenting his sculpture of basketball legend Larry Bird.
EDITORIAL: Bird’s adopted hometown's ready for big weekend
We hope visitors see a Terre Haute striving to honor its past and reach for its future. An exciting weekend is about to unfold in Terre Haute.
Sculpting A Legend: The journey, in pictures
The Tribune-Star presents a special publication of the sculpture's creation.
Still an ISU, Larry Bird fan after all these years
In 1978-79, Darlene Hantzis was a 19-year-old Indiana State University sophomore, English major, student leader and basketball fan.
The Bird Years: From player to executive
When it comes to Larry Bird, there’s one franchise with which he’ll always be indelibly associated.
Bird will live on in eternal Boston Celtic green. He will forever be a symbol of a NBA that exploded in popularity in the 1980s partly because of his considerable exploits.
But as iconic as Bird is as a Celtic, one could make an argument for similar iconic status with the Indiana Pacers.
ISU students writing notes to Larry Bird
As a high school student, Phillip Newbill didn’t know much about Indiana State University or even where it was, for that matter. But there’s one thing he did know. “I just knew Larry Bird came here,” said Newbill, now an ISU senior. “If you ask anyone about ISU, they say, ‘Oh, that’s where Larry Bird went.’”
The Bird has landed: Crews ease Wolfe’s Larry Bird statue into place
After steel cables were attached Monday morning to a 15-foot bronze statue of Larry Bird, Brent Clark, a crane operator with 28 years of experience, carefully maneuvered the likeness of Indiana State University’s most famous basketball star over a concrete base.
The Bird Years: Larry Bird’s most iconic moments with the Celtics
Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League’s Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-person view of the legendary Michigan State vs. Indiana State clash for the NCAA championship.
MAX JONES: Picture story captures Bill Wolfe’s adventure
It was about one year ago when Tribune-Star chief photographer Joe Garza decided to stop by Bill Wolfe’s downtown studio to see what new projects were being born. On the day of Joe’s impromptu visit, Bill was busy planning the very early stages of a project that would dominate coming months — the creation of the Larry Bird statue.
The Bird Years: Rise to prominence
Do dreams ever come true?
Does an athlete ever not only live up to his buildup, but exceed it by enormous amounts?
It may not happen very often now, when athletes are written about and recruited from the time they are in elementary school.
But it certainly happened in the 1970s, when Indiana State University and Terre Haute got to know Larry Bird and were able to introduce him to the rest of the world.
The Bird Years: Small-town beginnings
Larry Bird is not the only small-town Hoosier basketball success story.
But his rise to legendary status makes his the biggest.
Bird’s ascension to stardom at Indiana State is the essence of what March Madness is today. He may have come out of nowhere in the minds of basketball fans around the nation, but those native to Southern Indiana’s Orange County and the surrounding area — and really any pride-filled Hoosier small town — would disagree.
Big week ahead for ISU
Larry Bird fans from near and far will gather at Indiana State University this week to pay tribute to the basketball legend and former Sycamore, who in 1979 took the team to the NCAA Championship game.
MARK BENNETT: Brad Fenton and friends set dominos in motion to make Larry Bird statue a reality
The idea has been out there for awhile, floating.
Locals in the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s would say, “They need to put up a statue of Larry Bird. I mean, one of the all-time greatest basketball players played right here in Terre Haute at Indiana State University.”
Honoring Larry Bird: Legend in Bronze
Larry Bird hasn’t seen it yet, but thousands of Indiana Pacers fans and Indiana State University supporters on Tuesday night saw his 15-foot bronze statue in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse atrium, 12 days before it will be unveiled outside Hulman Center in Terre Haute.
- Larry’s Lessons: On a beautiful fall day at Hulman Center