This image of Carole Lombard with her mother, Elizabeth Peters, following the war bond rally at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis on Jan. 15, 1942 has long been regarded as the final picture of the star. Lombard and her mother were among those killed in a plane crash in Nevada the following day.
As it turns out, another one of Carole may have been taken later that evening, before she, her mother and press agent Otto Winkler (also a fatality) left for the airport. And thanks to aviation historian Michael McComb, here it is:
As he describes it, "With a bouquet of roses and a 'V' for victory, you can see the weariness of the long bond tour in Carole's tired eyes. She was ready to go home."
McComb said he found this from a newspaper article the Clark County (Nev.) Museum had in its archive. He added it was taken at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.
Lombard maven Brian Lee Anderson found this early 20th-century image of the club, in downtown Indianapolis:
Anderson also discovered this club menu, which looks to be from 1909. (One wonders whether members of the Peters or Knight families ever dropped by the club when visiting from Fort Wayne.)
According to the history of the club, it's now headquartered in the building seen below, at 121 Monument Circle. Moreover, it was constructed in 1925, so it's likely Lombard spent time there before her fateful trip to the airport. Here's what it looks like today:
The Columbia Club began in 1889, soon after many local residents helped native son Benjamin Harrison win the presidency. (One of its later members was composer Hoagy Carmichael of "Stardust" fame.) The current 10-story building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. More on its history can be found at https://columbia-club.org/the-club.
If it's true that Lombard was here before leaving Indianapolis, one wonders why this hasn't become more widely known. Perhaps someone associated with the club might have an answer.