|The Arthur Conan Doyle monument at Union Station, Indianapolis
I recently walked in the footsteps of Arthur Conan Doyle – and I did it without leaving the Midwestern United States.
Although I live in Cincinnati, one of the Baker Street Irregulars scion societies to which I belong is the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, about 115 miles away from my home. One of the club’s regular summer activities is a field trip to some site with a Sherlockian college.
Last Saturday, Steve Doyle, the Illustrious Client, led the club on a walking tour of places Conan Doyle visited on his 1894 visit to Indianapolis during a lecture tour. (His next stop on that tour was Cincinnati.)
We started at Union Station, the former railroad station where ACD arrived in town. The Clients placed a monument to the visit on its 100th anniversary in 1994. Featuring an image of Conan Doyle at the age he was during the visit, it’s the only monument to the creator of Sherlock Holmes in this country. The monument was paid for with the profits from a book of essays, The Illustrious Clients’ Third Case Book.
Over the next couple of hours, we saw the former site of the Denison Hotel, where the author stayed; the Plymouth Congregational Church, where he lectured; the still-existing Soldiers and Sailors Monument, where he (and some of the Clients) climbed to the top for a great view of the city; and the former site of the Claypool Courts Hotel, where he stayed during his 1923 visit.
After lunch, the field trip departed to the preserved home of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, who admired ACD and stuck to him like a shadow during his first brief visit to Indiana.
So if you’ve ever wondered what Sherlock Holmes societies do, sometimes – just like the great detective on a case – they go out and visit the scene.
|Intrepid Illustrious Clients begin their field trip