Month: February 2013

Indianapolis Then & Now: Home Brewing Company, 24 S. Shelby Street

Courtesy of the Indiana Album, ca. 1912 lantern slide from the collection of Joan Hostetler Micro breweries have taken off in this country, and Indianapolis is no exception. Soon our city will have another new brewery located in an old brick structure with beer roots dating back to 1891. This circa 1912 glass lantern looks southwest on South Shelby Street at the Home Brewing Company, organized in 1891. By 1907, the company had ninety stockholders and officers, many of German descent. One of the organizers and early presidents was brewmaster August Hook, father of John A. Hook, who started Hook’s Drugs...

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WTH: Westside Bunker

We’ve heard the ideal setup for paintball has walls or elements behind which you may hide, or if it’s extra sophisticated, there might be shifting pieces to hide or reveal participants. Like something out of a video game or even combat training: those suckers look like they could drop down for a full frontal assault. What do you think it may have originally looked like? Located: west...

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A Room With A View – Central State Hospital

View of the Laundry Building from the Powerplant – Central State Hospital On the near westside of Indianapolis, constrained by Washington and Vermont Streets and Tibbs and Warman Avenues sits an 100-acre plot of land that’s been home to 150+ years of sadness and neglect. In 1848, the institution that was first dubbed the The Indiana Hospital for the Insane, began with five patients in a single building. Originally functioning as the single, centralized asylum for the entire state, its severe overcrowding was eased temporarily the opening of geographically strategic mental hospitals in Logansport, Richmond and Evansville between 1880...

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HI Mailbag: First Kroger Store in Indianapolis

Reader’s Question: Someone told me that the Kroger at 16th and Central was the first Kroger store in Indianapolis. Is that true? LOL. ~ Lynn Molzan, Old Northside   HI’s Answer:  I assume you are referring to the Kroger store at 524 East 16th Street.  By its legal description, that store is actually on the northwest corner of East 16th Street and Park Avenue.  The grocery opened on November 7, 1962.  It was not the first Kroger store in Indianapolis. The Kroger Grocery and Baking Company opened its first stores in Indianapolis in April of 1924, which was more than thirty-eight years prior to the opening...

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What’s in a Name: Leonard Street

Leonard St. Location: Near East side, Running North-South Named for: Caroline L. Leonard, landowner Leonard Street runs through what was a residential development known as “CL Leonards Barth Heirs Addition.”  CL Leonard is believed to be Caroline L. Leonard, wife of Stoughton G. Leonard, a traveling salesman who owned land in the area.  Caroline Leonard nee’ Barth was born in April 1854 and married Stoughton in 1875 in Jefferson County.  The couple had two children, Clara and Maria.  Although born in Indiana in 1851, Census records show that he moved to Iowa for a short time when he was...

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Duesenberg Site Lives On

Prior to moving to Indianapolis, the Duesenberg brothers—Fred and August—built extremely high-quality and advanced engines and automobiles.  Part of their reason for moving to Indianapolis was to return to their racing roots and be near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where they had already enjoyed some success.  The track could be used for testing their passenger cars as well as the racers. In 1920, they made their Hoosier home official and incorporated the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company.  The company’s manufacturing complex consisted of a 17-acre site at 1511 West Washington Street that opened for production in July 1921. Duesenberg...

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Sunday Prayers: IOOF Capital Lodge & East Washington Street

It guards the corner of Hamilton and East Washington, its storefronts close to the sidewalk, expectant. It has watched its neighbors come and go, come and go, change from printing company and barber to gas station and thrift shop. Over the years, it has watched both the amount and the speed of traffic increase. It has seen everything. It has survived everything. Built approximately in 1900, it has withstood a tornado and, more recently, a roof collapse. And now? Now it’s ready. Ready for anything. Everything. And, more importantly, something. In 1916, 2102 E. Washington St. was a drugstore,...

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Family Tree: Scrapbooks

If you know me, then you know that I’m a scrapbooker. That’s right, I scrapbook, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. There are many reasons why I choose to scrapbook my daily life and the lives of my past and present family members, but the most important reason is that it captures a snapshot for posterity. Unlike photo albums, scrapbooks document stories, not just images. They provide viewers with a fuller picture of who we are, what we do, what’s important to us…in other words, all the things that we as genealogists strive to discover about our ancestors....

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Flats Lost & Saved: Two Alamedas and the Avenue Hotel

The 400-block of Massachusetts Avenue is one of the most interesting blocks in the city – historically and architecturally. Doesn’t it seem like it’s been neglected in history, compared to the blocks just northeast and southwest of it?  What started as a riddle on two buildings given the same name has resulted in the following information, with a focus around a key building that many of you may know as the Hoosier or Davlan. The original Alameda building stood at 442-446 Massachusetts Avenue.  According to the 1898 Sanborn maps, it was called the Patterson Flats – this three-bay, three-story...

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Friday Favorites: Night Lights

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the slightest shift in perspective can dramatically alter how you see something (or someone for that matter). For the purposes of this favorite, that slight shift is to observe the city in her evening wear–and Indianapolis is lovely in this category. Let’s face it, the swimsuit competition was never going to be her thing, anyway. Have you noticed the above building on the southeast corner of New York and Pennsylvania at night? I love the changing mood lights and how they reflect off the sparkling white terra cotta facing of the...

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Indianapolis Then & Now: The Barge Fish ‘n Chips, 3902 E. Washington Street

Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, 1990.0430 In the early decades of automobile traffic, it was common for restaurants, gas stations, and other roadside attractions to construct buildings that mimicked the product or service sold. Known now as Mimetic Architecture, these whimsical buildings served as signs to attract attention from travelers. One such example was The Barge Fish & Chips on the National Road. The Barge, located on the northeast corner of E. Washington and Denny Streets, was constructed to look like a boat. In 1990 I was completing work on an Indiana Historical Society exhibit titled “Diners, Ducks and...

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WTH: Wrong on Reisner

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. Surveying this specimen, please note: Hodgepodge shapes/sizes/placements of windows and doors Drainage as decor, front and center–somewhat hiding the skinny porch posts Hard to see, but the two doors up top seem a bit Laverne & Shirley–why do both open onto the ‘terrace’? The siding fronting the bottom part of the ‘terrace’ …haven’t seen that...

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A Room With A View – Circle Tower from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Circle Tower From the Observation Deck of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument One of the things I’ve taken away from the few weeks that I’ve been manning this feature, is how intertwined the origins of many of the buildings around town truly are. Take, for instance, The Circle Tower. As an admirer of Indy’s architecture, I’m embarrassed to say that before I looked into the history of this Art Deco wonder, I had never heard of the firm Rubush & Hunter. Content with thinking that historic architecture in Indianapolis primarily consisted of Vonnegut & Bohn (Atheneum, etc.) and the...

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HI Mailbag: The Lohrmann Residence

Reader’s Question:  There is a fairly large structure, presumably a home, on the west bank of the White River at 16th Street that appears to be boarded up or abandoned.  It looks fairly impressive (what I can see of it while driving), but I can find no information on it online.  I figured if anyone could tell me about it, you could.  Thanks.  ~ Joseph Nield, Indianapolis    HI’s Answer: The structure about which you have inquired was indeed a private home.  For nearly a century, it was occupied by members of the same family.  In the past decade, it has been used...

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What’s in a Name: Bellefontaine

Bellefontaine St. Location: Near East side, Runs North-South Indianapolis & Bellefontaine Railroad;  Bellefontaine, OH The Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad was Indiana’s second railroad line and once ran along Massachusetts Ave. and south along the current path of Bellefontaine St. The company started in 1846 as the Pendelton and Indianapolis Railroad.  The new railroad was chartered in 1848 and connected with Union City, Indiana and Bellfontaine, Ohio.  Bellefontaine, which means “beautiful spring” in French, is an east central Ohio town that served as a railroad hub throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Ownership of the railroad changed several times, but...

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Sunday Prayers: Tinker Flats

The Tinker Flats, located at 1101 E. 16th Street, are currently on the market. Local development plans recommend the warehouse be converted into residential housing. Empty and intriguing, the Tinker Flats cast a shadow on the corner of Lewis and 16th streets. They evoke curiosity from users of the just-to-the-west Monon Trail, which is paved atop what was once several lanes of railroad tracks. There are numerous rusty spikes still buried in the earth, and I kick at them with my boot, looking at the Flats. “So much for industrial grandeur,” I say to no one in particular. Built...

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Indianapolis Collected: Life in the Hotel Lincoln

“There I grew up” is how Abraham Lincoln described his childhood home, a humble log cabin in southern Indiana. But it’s also how one area woman can describe an 11th floor apartment at the Hotel Lincoln, an Indianapolis high-rise that bore the late president’s name. Georgiana Rupprecht Schroeder – known as Georgi to her friends – was only three months old in 1931 when she moved to the Hotel Lincoln with her parents.  She remained there until her marriage in 1955.  In between, she was a Hoosier version of Eloise, the fictional six-year-old girl who lived in the Plaza Hotel in New York city. The Hotel Lincoln was still...

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Family Tree: The Indiana Girl’s School

In 1869, Indiana established the first detention facility in the country that was exclusively for females. Originally named the Indiana Reformatory Institution for Women and Girls, it was located just east of downtown (on Randolph St., between Michigan and New York) and housed both juvenile (ages 10 to 18) and adult offenders. In 1899 the two groups were separated since it was believed that the women were a bad influence on the girls, and in 1907 the girls were moved to a new set of buildings west of the city, on what is now Girls School Road. It was...

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Friday Favorite: Recycling History For Now

It’s refreshing to see that some of the new projects in town pay homage to the city’s oldest development history. Indy has a nice trend going on–honoring pieces of our past. Ralston’s Draft House opened a few months ago on Mass Ave–his surname, a nod to the man credited with platting Indianapolis, and known for assisting Pierre L’Enfant with laying out Washington, D.C. Further resurrecting the man’s contribution, the new art boutique hotel alongside City Way (fronting Delaware and South Streets, among others), The Alexander, bears his first name. Alexander Ralston is probably getting more P.R. now than he...

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