Title: Indy social clubs offered more than magical summers
Author: Staff Writer
Publisher: The Southsider Voice
Authors Jim Hillman and John Murphy will sell and sign copies of “Indianapolis Social Clubs” from 4 – 6 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Beech Grove Public Library, 1102
Main St. Their book covers various social clubs in the Indianapolis area and includes Beech Grove’s Olympia Club.
Their publisher describes the book as follows: “More than banquet halls, golf courses and swimming pools, social clubs were a haven for businessmen, politicians and community leaders, offering respite from public scrutiny. Defining Indianapolis, the clubs were stoic agents of power and segregation, providing clear historical snapshots of Hoosier pomp and circumstance.
“The clubs did more than produce Olympic multigenerational
playgrounds. There were the politics and business dealings at the Columbia Club and the Indianapolis Athletic Club; the golfing, tennis and formality of Woodstock, Meridian Hills and other country clubs; and the family fun in the sun at Riviera, Devon and Olympia. These organizations offered more than magical summers with family and friends; they were the places to be seen.”
The authors write from their personal experiences, as well as from the massive research they did into the social clubs.
Murphy is the son of the Miramar Club’s original general
manager and a former club employee. Hillman was
a competitive swimmer as a child at Riviera and is a
historical author and instructor of sociology.
Title: Social clubs shaped the city
Author: Tia Nielsen
Publisher: The Southside Times
John Murphy, Greenwood, remembers water skiing as a young teen on the east side of Indianapolis … in the Miramar Club swimming pool.
During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Jim Hillman, Irvington, spent his growing up years swimming competitively in the upscale Riviera Club in Indianapolis.
Despite their shared common experiences growing up, Murphy and Hillman did not meet until adults. Their love for their past led to co-authoring a newly released book filled with 200 pictures documenting the private social clubs like Miramar and Riviera that helped shape Indianapolis. These “were the places to be seen,” said Murphy.
Hillman and Murphy unveiled their book, Indianapolis Social Clubs, for the first time at a Beech Grove Public Library event just days after its release. Included in the photo-filled treasure are several of the Olympia Club in southeast Beech Grove, which opened in 1956. Michele Patterson, Beech Grove Public Library Reference Director, fondly recalled her summers swimming at the Olympia Club. Her junior prom was also held in the large community room. The city’s community center now covers that plot of land.
Social clubs hold a strategic place in the development of Indianapolis. The first clubs, the Columbia Club and the Indianapolis Athletic Club, were for the men who brokered political and business deals. Out of those emerged the move to prestigious country clubs, geared for the wealthy and the elite with a nod to families by providing a pool for the kids and bridge games for the ladies of leisure. A new genre of club developed for the burgeoning middle class family out of the post-WW II economic boom. These clubs, like the Olympia, focused on family time together.
How did John Murphy find himself on water skis in a pool? His father Jack was general manager of the Miramar Club on the east side of Indianapolis. Set on 25 acres on what was then farm land at Washington Street and Post Road, the pool had an acre of water. As a publicity stunt, Murphy got to fly around the pool. Typical of this new type of club, it was complete with tennis courts, picnic areas and facilities for dining, dances and weddings, but did not offer golf or alcohol.
The Hillman/Murphy book is part of a series from Arcadia Publishing titled Images of America. The series documents local and regional histories across the land. Hillman and Murphy are busy collaborating on their next project for Arcadia with a third in the works focusing on Greenwood. The book series reminds people that today is “your place in history.”
Title: Indianapolis Social Clubs book launched
Author: Staff Writer
Publisher: Eastside Voice
Indianapolis Social Clubs, by Jim Hillman and John Murphy, is now available at local stores, including Bookmamas (9 S. Johnson) and the Walgreens in Irvington.
The book showcases the heyday of social clubs in Indianapolis, where banquet halls, golf courses, and swimming pools, social clubs were a haven for businessmen, politicians, and community leaders, offering respite from public scrutiny.
Defining Indianapolis, the clubs were stoic agents of power and segregation, providing clear historical snapshots of Hoosier pomp and circumstance. The clubs did more than produce Olympic swimmers, world-class golfers, and tennis professionals; they were Indianapolis’s multigenerational playgrounds. There were the politics and business dealings at the Columbia Club and the Indianapolis Athletic Club, the golfing, tennis, and formality of Woodstock, Meridian Hills, and other country clubs, and the family fun in the sun at Riviera, Devon, and Olympia. These organizations offered more than magical summers with family and friends; they were the places to be seen.
Authors John Murphy, son of the Miramar Club’s original general manager and former club employee, and Jim Hillman, childhood Riviera competitive swimmer, historical author, and instructor of sociology, explore the Propylaeum, Highland Golf and Country Club, Dolphin Club, Heather Hills, and several other facilities. Indianapolis Social Clubs provides nearly 200 rare vintage photographic memories that capture the heart, soul, and history of the clubs.
Pick up a copy and enjoy a trip down memory lane.