As Indiana’s bicentennial celebration reaches the crescendo, Willie and friends take a final curtain call on our magical Hoosier history tour. President James Madison took his pen in hand, and with the stroke of his signature on Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana became the 19th state — as he signed an act of Congress admitting Indiana… Continue reading.
Willie Wiredhand (©NRECA) is the longtime friendly face and “spokesplug” of rural electric cooperatives nationwide.
Adopted in 1951 by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Willie’s last name is one of the original nicknames for rural electric cooperatives: “wiredhand” (because electricity brought to rural America by co-ops in the 1930s and 1940s was the never-tiring, always available hired hand to assist the nation’s farmers.) Willie — with his light-socket head, wire body, and electrical plug for his bottom and legs — is now considered an icon in the pantheon of corporate advertising characters.
Read more about Willie Wiredhand and related stories below.
While Indiana has been the home of five U.S. vice presidents (and potentially a sixth in the making with Gov. Mike Pence on the ticket Nov. 8), the state has had only one resident elected president. That was Benjamin Harrison, who served from 1889-1893. In his four years, Harrison left lasting legacies, including one of… Continue reading.
Ten years ago, another 200th commemoration left a powerful legacy for Indiana. The bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, 2003-2006, raised awareness that the historic “Voyage of Discovery” shoved off from the Hoosier shores of the Ohio River. William Clark was in the Indiana Territory in the late spring of 1803 not… Continue reading.
With the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil now over, here’s a look back at one of the most incredible Olympic performances of all time: Indiana University’s Mark Spitz winning seven gold medals while setting seven world records in 1972. Mark Spitz was already setting world records as a high school swimmer in California… Continue reading.
Eighty years ago this month, Jesse Owens outran and out-jumped the world on his way to four gold medals in the August 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. But almost 40 years before Owens, another African-American athlete blazed a trail across North America and Europe. His mark was made on the bicycle. … Continue reading.
“Your Indiana electric cooperative companion” turns 65 years old this month. But “retirement” is nowhere in sight! Rather, Electric Consumer staff hopes readers are still enjoying the publication’s 2013 upgrade to a magazine after being a newsprint tabloid all of its previous years (which began in 1951 as Indiana Rural News). In the past year,… Continue reading.
Purdue University may be best known among rural electric cooperative members for its incredible contributions to agriculture. But there’s another side of the campus that has played an astronomical role in our nation’s space program. Two dozen graduates have taken their Purdue education out of this world as astronauts. Seven rays on the Indiana state… Continue reading.
The year 1816 has been called the “Year without a Summer,” as unseasonable cold was felt across North America and Europe. But in the Indiana Territory, where a new state’s constitution was being forged just north of the Ohio River, it was unseasonable heat that added yet another colorful chapter to our Hoosier history and… Continue reading.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869 may have been the first paid “professional” baseball team. But Hoosiers might be surprised to learn the first professional game was played in Fort Wayne. Few baseball fans have probably heard of the Fort Wayne Kekiongas. Though short-lived, the team will forever be noted as hosting and… Continue reading.
In April, Indiana marks the birthdays of two legendary aviation pioneers — one you may not even realize was born a Hoosier — and commemorates the anniversary of the loss of a beloved Hoosier journalist. Aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright, brothers who developed the world’s first successful airplane, are rightly associated… Continue reading.
Our celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday continues with a historic Hoosier happening that took place 37 years before Indiana ever became a state. While our neck of the woods may not immediately come to mind when talking about the American Revolutionary War, a key victory — which ultimately opened U.S. westward expansion — was won… Continue reading.
Each month throughout 2016, electric cooperative mascot Willie Wiredhand will shine a little light on Hoosier history. Willie says let’s get the 2016 big bicentennial birthday bash off and running with some basic facts and figures … and fun bits of Hoosier trivia! Indiana was officially admitted to the United States on Dec. 11, 1816. It is the… Continue reading.