Indiana State University Newsroom

Preservationist Gayle Cook to discuss ‘The Mystique of Domes'

October 17, 2011

Noted Indiana preservationist Gayle Cook will discuss "The Mystique of Domes" during an Oct. 26 address at Indiana State University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in the University Hall Theater located at 401 N. Seventh St. in Terre Haute. Parking is available on the ISU parking lots between Eighth and Ninth street at Chestnut Street.

The lecture is being sponsored by Indiana State University, Indiana Landmarks, Art Spaces, Inc. and Farrington Renaissance (a local community development corporation).

For more than 30 years, Cook and her late husband Bill have restored many historic buildings in southern Indiana, including more than 40 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most notably, the Cooks led the restoration efforts of both the French Lick Springs and the West Baden Springs hotels. West Baden features a majestic six-story dome, once the largest dome in the world. A National Historic Landmark, the hotel was at one time hailed as "The Eighth Wonder of the World."

The restoration of the West Baden Springs Hotel was the largest and most significant preservation project in Indiana's history and earned the Cooks two National Preservation Awards for transforming the hotel from near ruins to its former elegance.

They played an instrumental role in the revitalization of downtown Bloomington including restoring the murals in the Monroe County Courthouse and creating Fountain Square Mall on the south side of the square along with numerous other buildings throughout the area.

Through their generous philanthropy and vision, Bill and Gayle Cook also partnered with Indiana Landmarks in the rehabilitation of the historic Central Avenue United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. The structure was transformed into the Indiana Landmarks Center, a cultural and performance event facility and the headquarters of Indiana Landmarks.

The Cooks started a medical supply business in the spare bedroom of their Bloomington apartment in 1963.They grew the business into a worldwide conglomerate of medical supply companies. In addition to their historic preservation work, the couple has supported numerous philanthropic causes in the areas of education, health and wellness, arts and entertainment and athletics. They also founded the Monroe County YMCA and sponsored the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps.


Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or



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ISU, Indiana Landmarks, Art Spaces Inc., and Farrington Renaissance are sponsoring the noted preservationist's presentation at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at the University Hall Theater on the ISU campus.

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