Bluff Road begins in the 1900 block of S. Meridian Street and  angles southwest creating a wedge-shaped parcel. Long ago a two-story frame flatiron building was constructed on the land and through the years it housed a hardware, drug store, a rowdy biker bar and strip club, and even a church before its demolition in the late 1980s.

1927, Courtesy of IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power & Light. Co. Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

1927, Courtesy of IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power & Light. Co. Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

Luckily, Indianapolis Power and Light captured the corner in 1927 and again in 1936 when the company documented a electric pole consolidation project. In the 1927 view, a sign above the corner entrance reads “Cut Price Drugs.” As early as 1910, pharmacist Charles W. Schwenzer operated a drug store at this site. Newspaper ads reveal that the store had a soda fountain and leased space to a doctor. After Schwenzer’s death in 1924, his son-in-law John P. Hermann managed the store until the late 1920s. This view looks south on S. Meridian Street and Bluff Road is seen to the right. Note the trolley tracks in the middle of the street and the line worker high up on the pole in front of the store. Although not visible in this view, the Belt Railroad tracks run east and west just south of the drug store.

1936, Courtesy of IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power & Light. Co. Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

1936, Courtesy of IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power & Light. Co. Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

By 1936 pharmacist Merrill G. Christie had purchased the drug store and spruced it up with a paint job and modern signs. His business was first known as Christie and Weddle, and he and partner Wilson N. Weddle ran a hardware in the back (1907 Bluff Road) and the pharmacy in front. By 1945 Weddle moved on and the hardware only lasted until about 1950. Christie offered retail drugs, smokers’ supplies, cosmetics, ice cream, and cherry coke at the soda fountain. By this point the railroad tracks had been elevated. A Shell gas station sat across the street and a sign guides motorists to turn onto Bluff Road (also known as State Road 37A) to head to Brown County. Christie’s Pharmacy was a popular neighborhood destination until the 1960s. By the 1970s, the building became a notorious bar named Kings Country Club. The biker bar/strip club was owned by Dave Baker and it lasted until the 1980s.

1913 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, IUPUI University Library

1913 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, IUPUI University Library

 

Google aerial view, 2001

Google aerial view, 2001

 

Google Street View, July 2011

Google Street View, July 2011

Oddly the building was then occupied briefly by a church prior to demolition sometime between 1986 and 1991. Today the triangle-shaped lot barely seems large enough to have housed a thriving business block that anchored this corner for over 80 years.

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