Sunday Ads: From Fidelity to Infidelity

Written by on July 24, 2016 in Sunday Ads - No comments
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This Advert dates all of the way back to 1862 showing the recently constructed Aetnal Insurance Building (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

Business:  Aetna Insurance Company

Date of Ad:  July 26, 1862

Location:  Downtown, 21 North Pennsylvania Street

Years of Operation: 1859-2011

Notable: The Aetna Insurance Company began insuring Hoosiers way back in 1859 and erected this four-story building on North Pennsylvania Street. The company began in Hartford, Connecticut, initially offering fire insurance. The company’s local offices bounced around the city, landing in the Illinois Building, The Meadows, and eventually the Castleton area before pulling out of the market in 2011.

Additionally:  Many have stopped in the former home of Aetna Insurance for a bottle of wine or a frosty brew without even realizing the history– being in one of a few pre-Civil War structures remaining in downtown Indianapolis. After the insurance company parted, the space became home to Aetna Savings and Trust. This venture failed in 1933, a victim of the Great Depression. After sitting vacant for several years, the building received a snazzy new art deco façade and became the Insurance Center Building. True to the name, the structure housed many insurance firms, including the McGurk Agency and Great Fidelity Life Insurance. Since the mid 1990’s, the retail space has served as a liaison of liquor, housing John’s Spirits, Kahn’s Fine Wines and most recently, Big Red Liquor. The Wouldn’t that be a convenient downtown living location?!

Although heavily altered, the Aetna Building still stands! The retro mid-century sign once adorned Kahn's Fine Wines on north Keystone Avenue.

Although heavily altered, the Aetna Building still stands! The mid-century sign you see today once adorned Kahn’s Fine Wines on north Keystone Avenue.

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About the Author

An avid runner who enjoys daily jaunts throughout Indy's historic neighborhoods, Jeff deeply appreciates the detail and workmanship of old architecture. So much so, that he lives downtown in a restored historic building. He also works downtown as a manager of a not-for-profit that promotes globalization throughout Central Indiana. In a past life, Jeff worked in the hospitality industry and may one day pen a book about the ridiculous things people do while staying in hotels. Stay tuned.

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