Indiana State University Newsroom

Students experience part of Spanish culture blocks from campus

December 6, 2013

Libby Yount left the lobby floored with original Terrazzo tiles and entered the ballroom. She noticed a golden fountain with running water. It made her feel like she was walking down the streets of Spain.

"But in reality I was in Terre Haute, Ind.," said Yount, a junior psychology major and Spanish minor at Indiana State University.

Yount and her classmates from Spanish 311, Culture of Spain and Spanish America, toured the Indiana Theatre to learn more about the downtown Terre Haute landmark's history with the Spanish culture.

"I didn't realize Spanish had such a strong influence in the United States with architecture," said Mike Ware, senior language major from Bedford, Ind.

The students recognized some of the different family crests around the theater. One of the shields represented Santiago, it reminded them of the legend they heard in class about Santiago's history.

"Right on site they began commenting about the Spanish symbols in the heraldry on the building and were making connections to the course content immediately," said Lisa Calvin, associate professor.

The Indiana Theatre was built in 1922 by John Eberson. Rob Lundstrom, the theater's owner, has refurbished the building to appear as it was when first built.

"Since we are such a young country we don't have these unique buildings that you could just stare at for hours and find something new. But being able to go down the street and see something like this is very rewarding, to have that sort of architectural gem in a city with brick buildings," said Yount, who is from Columbus, Ind.

The students created a tri-fold brochure about the theater's history and its relation to Spanish culture and architecture. Some of the groups started with the outside of the building and led visitors into the building, just as if they were walking through.

The brochures will be made available to patrons of the theater to help them understand its architectural influence.

"This was a great hands on experience for me. I am not going to remember everything I learned, but 20 years from now if I see a particular shield or architectural piece I will remember Santiago and the Spanish culture," said Yount.

Photo: - Rob Lundstrom (right), owner of the Indiana Theatre in downtown Terre Haute, discusses the historic building's architectural past with students from a Spanish and Spanish American culture class at Indiana State University. (ISU/Lisa Calvin)

Photo: - In an Indiana State University Spanish and Spanish American Culture class students Emily Mercer, Dan Ferguson, and Logan Rassel look over a brochure they produced explaining the influence of Spanish architecture in Terre Haute's historical Indiana Theatre. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Writer: Beth Pickerill, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or