Then and Now: The Ma-Co Building, Southeast corner of College Avenue and 38th Street

Written by on September 8, 2011 in Then & Now - 7 Comments
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Architects Pierre and Wright of Indianapolis designed the Ma-Co Market building in about 1928 for the Ma-Co Realty Company. It was located on the southeast corner of North College Avenue and 38th Street, formerly named Maple Road for all of the Maple trees lining the street. The building’s name was an amalgam of the two street names. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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The Art Deco structure featured limestone relief designs, leaded art glass windows, and a distinctive roofline on the two-story corner. It was developed as a market with adjoining office space. Ironically, one of the earliest tenants was Walgreen Drugs, for whom the building was later demolished. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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Tenants have included a record store, second-hand furniture, and the Mandarin Inn, still remembered by many residents for its Chinese-American food. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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Despite the arguments of preservationists, the Ma-Co building was demolished in 1992. The area had greatly declined and neighbors were excited about having a new Walgreens. Developers felt that the structurally-sound building, by this time home to only a travel agency and hair products store, could not be modified into a useful space. The new Walgreens was constructed with a suburban mentality: it has a huge setback and parking lot in front. Note that salvaged architectural relief panels have been incorporated into the new parking lot wall.
(Google Street View, 2009)

The MaCo Building 090811

Photo courtesy of Tammi Burns.

The east wing of the Ma-Co building was spared the wrecking ball and today houses a Family Dollar store. Through the years it served as a movie theater and, after 1958, a coin laundry.

Joan Hostetler is co-owner of Heritage Photo & Research Services, a historic research, photo preservation, and digital imaging company. She contributes the weekly feature “Then and Now” on Thursdays.

[Would you like to see your old photographs featured in this Then and Now column? If so, send a high resolution scan and any details about the building to thenandnow@historicindianapolis.com]

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About the Author

Joan Hostetler and John Harris own Heritage Photo & Research Services. The company specializes in house and building research and historic photograph preservation, interpretation, archiving, and digitization. Since they see so many cool photographs tucked away in attics and basements, they recently created "The Indiana Album" to borrow, scan, and share hidden Indiana images with the public. Like them on facebook or send them an email to share your photographs.

7 Comments on "Then and Now: The Ma-Co Building, Southeast corner of College Avenue and 38th Street"

  1. basil berchekas jr March 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm · Reply

    thank you, Joan. its unfortunate that the “city” let Walgreens use a cookie cutter “suburban mentality”
    design not in keeping with the neighborhood’s scale. The same thing happened with the Walgreens in Irvington at the northwest corner of Washington and Ritter Avenue. Totally out of scale with Irvington’s traditional business district. Same thing with a Burger King at West 38th near Capital in Mapleton…

  2. American Dirt (Eric M) April 1, 2013 at 10:28 am · Reply

    Interestingly, we just received news today (4/1/13–no foolin’) that this Walgreens is slated to close. And the one mentioned by Basil Berchekas Jr in Irvington also closed for a new location down the street, leaving a vacant suburban prototype Walgreens with a huge parking lot, directly across the street from a surviving (if threatened) historic building at the other corner of Washington and Ritter.

    • basil berchekas jr April 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm · Reply

      This IS unreal…and the “Ma-Co” corner’s Walgreens was induced (paid) by the City to reopen at that location after the civil disturbances of the late 1990s burned and looted the earlier Walgreens as well as other retail establishments on that corner…during that same period a Walgreens was burned off Fountain Sqaure, but apparently the area didn’t have the political pull to get the City to induce Walgreens to rebuild there, like on the North Side…

  3. Brenda H April 13, 2013 at 9:46 am · Reply

    And to really make you feel ill… the Walgreens has announced that is closing its doors on May 17th, 2013. Destroyed a city treasure and barely lasted 20 years.

    • Brenda H April 13, 2013 at 10:27 am · Reply

      Sorry, just read the other comments (yes, should have done that first). I was already living in the neighborhood in the early 90’s but we weren’t very organized. I found out about the tear-down just a few weeks before it happened. Hopefully we have learned a thing or two since then, but it is a continual struggle.

    • basil berchekas jr April 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm · Reply

      And to top it off, the City financially assisted Walgreens in building again at this location after the rioting that occurred in the latter 1990s to keep them from leaving the neighborhood…

  4. George Starkey August 17, 2016 at 10:43 am · Reply

    The Family Dollar location (715 E. 38th St.) was also an A&P Grocery store in the 1960s & early 70s. I recall walking there from our home with my mother. However, the Kroger at 39th & College was a little closer, so that’s usually where we went after stopping off at the post office just north of it.

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