September 1, 2016

Creative Nonfiction by Patty Fischer: "Midwestern Landmark Turns into Tragedy"

Patty Fischer, artist of painting illustrated here, and full-time custodian at the present Anderson High School.   Please visit Patty at her website: penandstick

Anderson Wigwam Painting by Patty Fischer


"Midwestern Landmark Turns into Tragedy"

Celebrated Mid-America Anderson Wigwam, second largest gymnasium in the nation has possessed amazing sports activity for decades. The arena hosted home games for the Anderson High School Indians, and was home to the Indiana Alley Cats of the Continental Basketball Association and the Anderson Champions of the American Basketball Association. Before construction of Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, the Indiana Pacers played several games at the Wigwam.

Many nights attending basketball games when my former high school played the Indians, I was in awe of the illuminated Indian Head driving away on 14th Street after a game. The image of a Delaware chief was constructed in mosaic tiles with a beautiful array of earth tones. At the beginning of each game inside the huge gymnasium there would be a spotlight dance of the Indian Mascot and Indian Maiden, both regaled in the traditional red and green and white dress. This auspicious sight to witness amidst thousands of fans brought tears to my eyes even though I was a student from one of the rival schools in 1969 and 1970.

This vacant Anderson landmark was a gathering of concerned voters during election year in 2008. On March 18th, U.S. Secret Service agents met with members of Anderson Police Department for a tour at the Wigwam, where Hillary Clinton was due to speak. Now in another presidential election year of 2016, the Wigwam’s future fate is unclear. A year ago, I felt compelled to recreate the Wigwam in it’s glory. The well-known Indian head captures a historic feeling of a once proud chieftain. The Indian Mascot and Indian Maiden placed carefully in the painting uploaded in this article stand at attention, their proud facial expressions and colorful dress give the viewer the sense of classic reverence that will never be forgotten.

~Patty Fischer

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