Month: May 2015

Indianapolis Collected: Bringing the masses to Mass Ave

On the surface, George J. Marott would seem to have nothing in common with Ray Kinsella, the fictional farmer in Field of Dreams who built a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield.  First of all, Marott was a real person – a self-made man whose successful business ventures have left a lasting mark on Indianapolis.  And secondly, there is absolutely no evidence that Marott ever heard a disembodied voice tell him “If you build it, they will come.” But around the turn of the last century,  Marott had a vision that some believed came out of left field when he looked...

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In the Park: Canterbury Park

Passenger rail service was nearly eliminated by the late 1950s or early 1960s. (William H. Bass Photo Collection courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society) Welcome to Canterbury Park!  This picturesque 1.7-acre neighborhood park is east of Meridian-Kessler and south of Broad Ripple at 5510 North Carvel Avenue, near where the Monon Rail Trail meets 54 th Street.  The park features a playground, picnic shelters, restrooms, and a sand volleyball court. The Canterbury Park neighborhood sprang up shortly after World War II, as soldiers returning from war sought affordable housing for their growing families.  Homes with ample yards and garages for family sedans brought new...

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At Your Leisure: Pardon my French

Not many would picture fine French dining at a roadside motel as this ad from the 1960s boasted. (Image: Indiana State Library) When Indy residents head out of the city on State Road 67 towards Vincennes, they may notice an aging sign advertising a French restaurant fronting a lonely vacant lot strewn with gravel and fallen trees. For recent additions to the area, it seems self-evident why classic French cuisine would not make it in this southwestern Marion County outpost. After all, the area today is still somewhat rural, and it would seem folks might feel more at ease downing comfort...

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Then & Now: Meridian Park- 3100 North Pennsylvania

Looking north on Pennsylvania, decades ago Historic Meridian Park is small but mighty in its vintage housing stock–which you can examine more closely this coming weekend, May 30 and 31, 2015, from 12-6pm. Now and then, you may come across an old postcard featuring one of the beautiful old streets of Indianapolis, as is the case with the above image, looking north in the 3100 block of North Pennsylvania Street. It’s hard to discern with the increase in trees and foliage since the time of this postcard, some 100-ish years ago, but these homes are in fact, still there.  Sadly, the...

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At Your Leisure: The Greatest of All Time?

Mobil Oil boasts three consecutive victories in this ad, including the 1953 race won by Bill Vukovich. Notice the wooden grandstands and brick front-stretch. (Image: eBay) Memorial Day weekend brings about another exciting edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The ninety-ninth running of The Indianapolis 500 has many exciting story lines to follow. Can Ryan Hunter-Reay become the first repeat winner in over a decade? Can Helio Castroneves dance his way into the winner’s circle to become a four-time winner? Throughout the weekend, many debates around bar stools and campfires will occur amongst veteran speed enthusiasts on who was...

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In The Park: Forest Manor Park

Welcome to Forest Manor Park, established in 1937 Welcome to Forest Manor Park on Indianapolis’s east side. This 18.8 acre neighborhood park was established in 1937, to meet the needs of families moving out of the heart of downtown and into the city’s growing suburbs.   The park is located at 2000 Forest Manor Avenue, just south of 21st Street and east of Sherman Drive. The popularity and affordability of the personal automobile played a major role in shaping the city’s growth in the 1920s.  As cars rolled off the assembly line in nearby Speedway, they found homes in local driveways. ...

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At Your Leisure: Congratulations, Seniors!

Manual High School students enjoy a picnic, courtesy of Stark and Wetzel meats. The plant, located as  west Ray Street went through a couple of different names after being sold in 1974. In 2004 Hebrew National closed their operation at the former plant. Today much of the site is gravel lot used for Colts parking. (Image: Indianapolis Marion County Public Library) The end of May is quickly approaching, and for those who grew up in Indianapolis, thoughts of warm weather and race cars quickly come to mind. Most importantly, this month signifies the end of the school year! One...

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At Your Leisure: The Hoosier Grand Prix

1965 Program (Image: eBay) This weekend, the month of May heats up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For the second straight year, fans will be treated to the Angie’s List Grand Prix as a precursor to the ninety-ninth running of The Indianapolis 500. The race will feature many of the same drivers and teams who will participate in The Indianapolis 500. Traditionalists who have grown up with the Speedway in May might balk at the idea of seeing cars running clockwise around the famed oval while navigating the twisting turns of the infield road course. Did you know that...

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At Your Leisure: Summertime Cruisin’

Happy May 1st! As spring heads into summer, we start thinking of how to take advantage of the warm weather. Some sixty years ago, area teenagers participated in a deeply-rooted cruising culture as way to meet up with friends and show off their wheels. Drive-in restaurants, scattered on all sides of the city, provided hubs for socializing. The first of these establishments popped up way back in 1930, when The Peacock Restaurant on East 38th Street started serving patrons in their cars. These establishments mushroomed over the next thirty years. Many offered different gimmicks to attract crowds. Al Green’s on...

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