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Instagramer profile: Raina Regan

The preservationist who is using social media to save Indy's history


One of the art pieces at Eskenazi - RAINA REGAN
  • Raina Regan
  • One of the art pieces at Eskenazi

Raina Regan is one of the core group of people who is feeding the belly of the #Igersindy tag and account. She has a particular niche where Instagram lets her bridge her social life and work. Regan is a Community Preservation Specialist at the Indiana Landmarks Center. She has a degree in historical preservation, and works with local preservationists around central Indiana. (Meaning she teaches them how to restore historical buildings.)

Like Dawson, she doesn't consider herself a photographer.

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"[Instagram] is more a of a creative outlet for me," says Regan. Keep in mind, she has over 22,000 followers.

She predominantly shoots architecture around the city.

"That's one of the thing that I really love about Indy," says Regan. "There are certain spaces and buildings that have built their own life on Instagram. Like #ThatGoldBuilding is the most iconic building in Indy on Instagram. ... Indy may not be Chicago with these huge sky scrapers but we do have unique architecture that people like to photograph in different ways. As someone who takes primarily architecture photos, I get excited when I see someone take a different view of the building ... It shows that there is a lot of creative talent here."

The War memorial downtown - RAINA REGAN
  • Raina Regan
  • The War memorial downtown

One of the iconic spots that has a life of its own is a Civil War-era farmhouse in Fishers, affectionately called #ThatFishersHouse. Andy Kessler (one of the Igers Indy founders) started the tag. Eventually Regan got a call at work saying that the house was going to be torn down by a developer who had just purchased the land.

"I definitely think there was public awareness of the building's value through social media," says Regan. "And social media played a big role in moving it."

She and her boss jumped to the helm and worked with other organizations around town to physically move the house about a mile down the road to a new plot of land. You can still see the house from I-69.

"It was really great because so many people came out [when the house was moved]," says Regan. "It was like a family event."

She recalls being wrapped up in a purple fleece, standing by families lining the road on a chilly October morning to watch the house slowly wheel away.

"There are moments in the preservation field where you see buildings that are lost, it can be heartbreaking," says Regan. "You can try and save them, but a combination of things just doesn't happen. But seeing a community and a group of partners come together to save a building is very ... encouraging. It lets us as preservationists know that the work that we do can help people reconnect with their heritage and realize that these are important places.

"Instagram for me is a way to share what I value and I love which is historic places with a large audience," says Regan. She also adds that, for her, she hopes that people in Indy will open their phones and start to see these buildings in a different way.

"The community here, we have a passion for Indianapolis," says Regan. "That's why we take pictures."


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