Indianapolis Business Journal has published an article calling on the State Legislature to save the Indiana State Archives. The dilapidated building on the east side of Indianapolis where the states archives are stored needs to be replacedand the sooner, the better. The risk of tornado or other calamity destroying priceless documents in a structure originally used by RCA to warehouse 8-track tapes is simply too great.
In the unthinkable event of a disaster, many of the documents could not be recovered.
The Journal rightfully points to the disasters that could befall the many treasures held at the Archives, including the most relevant records to Indiana residents such as Military discharge records, often the only copies left since the unfortunate fire in Saint Louis in 1973. These documents help thousands of veterans and their families gain home loans, education, medical, and burial benefits. Additionally, the Archives houses transcripts for closed nursing schools, as well as the Indiana School for the Blind and Deaf, and the Soldiers and Sailors Childrens Home, and Naturalization records.
The writer discusses the Archives move to its current location at 6440 E. 30th Street, which was originally only to be temporary, but any plans for a new building had to be put on hold during the recession. Though there were occasional environmental issues in the old location at the State Library, the Archives in its temporary location, are constantly at the mercy of the elements. The ancient ventilation system spews soot-like crumbs of deteriorated insulation. And, partly because of air leaks in the building shell, humidity levels swing between 15 percent and 60 percent.
Name a state that treats its treasured documents worse, challenges the Journal.
Since the move, two tornados have passed menacingly close the building, in effect dodging bullets like the law-men who survived run-ins with John Dillinger, states the Journal. The Archives holds Dillingers records as well as thousands of other prisoners, state hospital patients, and foster care files from the late 1800s. Many of the indexes to these treasured collections may be searched on the Indiana Digital Archives.
The Journal reminds us that the Archives celebrates its Centennial anniversary this year. What a perfect time for the legislature to tap into its surplus to ensure the safety of all records of enduring value for all Hoosiers as well as their historic legacy. The writer suggests that new Governor Mike Pence, a history major in college, could cut the ribbon for a new facility in time for the states bicentennial in 2016.
It would certainly seem the perfect time for a new Archives:
A new administration with an understanding for the value of history.
Centennial Anniversary of the State Archives
1816-2016 Statehood Bicentennial approaching