News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

News

March 20, 2011

Downtown progress leading to razing of historic WTHI-TV and radio building

TERRE HAUTE — From garment factory to broadcast building, the WTHI-TV and radio building in Terre Haute is closing in on the final days of its rich history.

The building, a three-story fixture on Ohio Street for more than a century, is expected to be torn down sometime in the next 12 to 15 months. The building is being razed to make way for a parking lot for a new three-story office building planned for nearby 925 Wabash Ave.

“There’s some wonderful history associated with the building,” said Rod Garvin, director of operations at WTHI-TV and an employee at the 918 Ohio St. location since 1974. “There’s some rich history there.”

According to Vigo County Historian Mike McCormick, the building was constructed in 1906 in the footprint of an earlier structure that burned the year before. It was first used as a garment factory for Stahl-Urban Co., one of the most innovative and successful clothing makers anywhere at the time.

After a strike in 1936 and amid widespread labor difficulties, Stahl-Urban Co. left the building and moved most of its operations to Mississippi. Other garment makers used the factory for the next several years before WTHI-TV and radio moved into the building in July 1954.

“It kind of makes me sad to think about [the building being razed] because I used to do broadcasting there,” said McCormick, who wrote about the history of the Stahl-Urban Co. in his book, “Terre Haute: Queen City of the Wabash.” McCormick, who was a color announcer for WTHI radio when the station carried Terre Haute Phillies baseball games, was working for WTHI when the business moved from a former location on South Seventh Street to the “new” building on Ohio Street.

Renovating that structure and bringing it up to code, including meeting the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, would cost more than the new $5.7-million building being planned for 925 Wabash, said Paul Thrift, whose development company, Thompson Thrift, is constructing the new facility.

“We did look at renovation of the [WTHI] building,” Thrift said. “We just determined very quickly into it that it was not economically feasible. It would actually cost more than the new construction, and you would still be bound by current safety and ADA” requirements, he said.

Still, for those who have worked in the old structure, the WTHI building holds a lot of memories.

“It’s a really historic building,” said Martin Plascak, a well-known radio news broadcaster for WTHI from 1975 to 1995. “At the time, I thought the studios were very good there.”

Current employees of WTHI radio and TV also have many fond memories of the old edifice, but also said they look forward to having a new home.

“I think I’ll be shocked” by having new equipment and a new facility, said Susie Dinkel, news director/midday anchor for WTHI-TV. “I don’t think a lot of people are going to know how to act. We’ve used duct tape for so long.”

Among the more interesting recollections associated with WTHI-TV’s operations is probably Dinkel’s first experience as a live news anchor in the building. At the same time she was reading her teleprompter for the first time, a fire was reported in the building’s basement, she recalled. Although most of the building’s employees were evacuated, the news crew continued to broadcast live.

It was a real “deer-in-the-headlights” moment, Dinkel recalled.

On the radio side, Barry Kent, a recent inductee into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville, also has enduring memories from 918 Ohio, a place he has worked for the past 28 years.

“It’s going to be really strange not pulling in here at 4 a.m. every morning,” Kent said. Both of his children were born during the time he has worked for WTHI radio, and he has seen many changes in the technology of radio broadcasting over the years. When asked what he’ll remember most about the old building, which he believes was never well-suited for a broadcast facility, Kent said he will recall the people with whom he’s worked and the top-rated radio product they have been able to produce.

“There have just been a lot of good people that have come through here,” Kent said. “A lot of good broadcasters.”

Several well-known and successful broadcasters got their start working at WTHI. They include Phil Jones, who retired from CBS News in 2002 and who is a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Well-known Indianapolis news anchor Howard Caldwell, another member of the Journalism Hall of Fame, worked for WTHI as news manager in the early 1950s. And Betty Chadwick, a nationally recognized journalist, was the only female chief TV photographer in the country while she was working at WTHI.

“There were a lot of notable people that went through there,” McCormick said. Others included Joseph Benti, a well-known CBS news reporter, and Jerry Van Dyke, comedian, actor and younger brother of Dick Van Dyke.

One aspect of working for WTHI that apparently also will disappear with the old building is the close collaboration between WTHI radio and television, once owned jointly by the Hulman family. The two organizations, while still sharing a building, have had different owners for the past several years. With the closing and expected demolition of the WTHI building, the two entities will be going separate ways.

“It was an ideal situation,” Plascak said of the close TV-radio collaboration. “I liked that relationship.”

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • Body found in trailer identified as Vermillion County man

    Authorities have identified the person whose body was discovered last month in a trailer that had recently been moved from Vermillion County. Indiana State Police, using DNA testing, identified the body as that of Shane L. Sowers, 41, whose last known address was on North Sixth Street in Clinton

    July 22, 2014

  • MET072114bridge arch.jpg Troubled bridge over water

    For years, the iconic, arched foot-bridge at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College had been the backdrop for pictures of newlyweds, prom-goers and Woodsies.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Pool construction bids, principals approved

    After more than a year of discussion, debate and planning, work on the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center at Voorhees Park is expected to begin today.

    July 21, 2014

  • MET 072114 CREATIVE LAUNCH.jpg ‘Launch’ pad for creativity

    In an effort to foster entrepreneurs to begin and grow their ideas into a start-up business in Vigo County, “Launch Terre Haute” will host a co-work open house Wednesday.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 072114 COFFEE SHOP.jpg Gelato at 12 Points

    Coffee and gelato are now on the menu on Terre Haute’s north side.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • Man pulled from Raccoon Lake

    Indiana Conservation divers recovered a Veedersburg man reportedly submerged Monday afternoon at Raccoon Lake in Parke County.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mall evacuated after bomb threat

    The Meadows Shopping center was evacuated about 5 p.m. Monday after police received a report of an alleged bomb threat.

    July 21, 2014

  • UPDATE: Faulty brakes blamed for bus crash

    Police in Knoxville, Tenn., confirmed Monday that a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal crash last week had faulty brakes.

    July 21, 2014

  • Police in Indy nab 2nd suspect in homicide case

    A second man has been arrested in connection with a homicide in Greene County. The Indiana State Police confirmed that Jason Lee Caldwell, 35, was arrested Monday morning by Indianapolis police.

    July 21, 2014

  • Police credit public tips for meth lab bust

    Tips from the community helped lead to the arrest of a Terre Haute woman on charges including the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Vigo County Council OKs tax abatements

    Two companies received final approval from the Vigo County Council Monday for 10-year real and personal property tax abatements.

    July 21, 2014

  • broadwaycrash.JPG Police: Brakes on church bus involved in fatal crash were faulty

    Investigators confirmed there was a problem with the brakes on a Clay County church bus involved in a fatal accident last week in Knoxville, Tenn.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072014 BREEZY RIDERS.jpg Tour de force

    Pedal by pedal, a group of cyclists endured the hot summer sun and braved varying Indiana terrain on a mission to support survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET 072014 DREAM HOUSE EXT.jpg Living in a dream

    “Welcome to the dream home!”
    These were the words that greeted guests on Sunday as they entered a white, two-story home on the east side of Terre Haute.

    July 20, 2014 8 Photos

  • Lake Michigan Sunset 2.jpg MIKE LUNSFORD: Lake Michigan’s ‘Wonderful World of Color’

    Despite the beauty around us, Joanie and I thought of television as we sat on a gorgeous Michigan beach one evening last week.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Kevin Caldwell.jpg UPDATE: One suspect in homicide in custody

    Police have taken one Greene County man into custody and the search entered its second day on Sunday for the other suspect, both wanted on charges of murder and  considered “armed and dangerous.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Expiring term heightens the urgency of one lawmaker’s push for reform

    State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.
    The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.

    July 20, 2014

  • Kevin Caldwell.jpg Wanted men 'armed and dangerous,' police say

    A police search entered its second day on Sunday for two Greene County wanted for murder and who are considered “armed and dangerous.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moon Anniversary_Will(1).jpg Small step, big memory

    Terre Haute resident Rob Eberwein remembers  being “blown away” as he watched astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first human to walk on the moon.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos 4 Stories

  • MET 071914 PRESERVATION.jpg Group working to preserve ‘The Grove’

    Tucked into a peaceful corner of northeastern Vigo County, the Lost Creek Community Grove has seen more than 100 years of gatherings.

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 071914 12 BICKERS.jpg 12 Points Hotel doesn’t sell

    No new owner stepped forward to claim the historic 12 Points Hotel on Saturday.

    July 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • School board to award aquatics center bids Monday

    The Vigo County School Board on Monday is expected to award bids for the new $9.8 million Vigo Schools Aquatic Center, to be built at Voorhees Park.

    July 20, 2014

  • Silverstein_Abe.jpg Terre Haute native pivotal in race to moon

    This week’s 45-year anniversary of the historic launch of the Apollo 11 mission propelled America’s space program and on April 20, 1969, kept a promise that Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus Abe Silverstein had made to President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon within a decade.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Moon Anniversary_Will.jpg Buzz Aldrin: Where were you when I walked on moon?

    On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was “out of town” when the world united and rejoiced in a way never seen before or since.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Moon Anniversary_Will(2).jpg Celebrate 45 years since first steps on moon

    Now’s the time to get moonstruck.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley, 80, taking motorcycle trip across western U.S.

    Intent on accomplishing his goal of visiting 48 states by motorcycle, Terre Haute resident Jimmy Lee Housley Sr. set off recently to finish his quest.

    July 20, 2014

  • broadwaycrash.JPG Church bus in fatal crash to be tested Monday

    Brake work and new tires were reportedly part of the preparations made for a Brazil youth group’s travel to a Christian conference in Tennessee this week.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health care company to cut 150 jobs

    Union Health System will cut 150 positions system-wide by the end of the year.
    The system includes UAP Clinic, Union Hospital in Terre Haute and Union Clinton in Vermillion County.

    July 18, 2014

  • MET071814 wil wendt:buckner.jpg ‘Gifted and talented’ ahead of the times

    Seventh graders today may not be assigned to write a 32-page term paper or read an 800-page book, but a selected group of talented seventh graders attending a Terre Haute junior high in the 1950s did.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET071814 band pennington.jpg Music at the river

    Curt Pennington is the keyboardist for the New Age Jazz Band the group the opened the Community Band Festival at Fairbanks Park Friday evening. The music continues today, starting at noon and running until 9 p.m.

    July 18, 2014 4 Photos

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News