In 1926 Terre Haute, Indiana was at the geographic crossroads of America. Terre Haute was a small town on the edge of greatness, building the artifacts of big cities—Shrine Temples, train hubs, and baseball parks—some still here, others, long gone.
Hometown: A Journey Through Terre Haute, Indiana, the newest WTIU production, takes an in-depth look at six of these buildings, transporting the viewer to a place that stands as monument to the way most Americans lived their lives in 1926. Based on the popular public radio program Hometown with Tom Roznowski, the documentary features Roznowski on a walking tour of Terre Haute that becomes an improvisational exploration of history.
“We’re trying to change the way people see Terre Haute,” Roznowski said. “Many people don’t see it as fascinating or exceptional. One of our goals with this program is to uncover the fascinating in the everyday.”
One such example is the Hippodrome, a building that now houses the Scottish Rite fraternal organization. Within the building, Roznowski found an enormous hand-painted mural of the Ben Hur chariot race.
“This was a very fascinating subject,” explained Susanne Schwibs, producer and director of the program.