Top 8 Reasons I ♥ Indiana Landmarks Center

1. Yeah, it’s self evident: the place is gorgeous. From the roof line to the stained glass windows to the multicolored lighting to the newly named Place de Basile and landscaping—this place oozes beauty in from every inch!

2. Fun space– it recalls childhood days when I had a favorite park filled with a sophisticated series of jungle gyms—hidden cubbies, ladders, bridges, tunnels, slides and more. Indiana Landmarks Center is the adult version of this: even after multiple visits, you may feel like you’ve made a new discovery in some nook or cranny. The adult version is so much better—you don’t get dirty and you can have a cocktail (depending on the event, of course!)

3. The reaction of a first time visitor: Priceless. Seriously, bring someone who’s never been and they’ll inevitably look at you like you’re Columbus– incredulous at the discovery you’ve shared.

4. Use of the space– concerts, weddings, fundraisers, movie screenings, presentations, meetings, parties—it’s marvelous to see this stunning space overflowing with people. Seeing the overflowing crowds during the Wondrous Opening Weekend was a spectacular experience. Adaptive use, Adaptive Reuse–whatever you want to call it–it’s getting used and enjoyed– a lot.

5. Quality– I think it’s fair to say that within the state of Indiana, the restoration of the Indiana Landmarks Center may only be eclipsed by the West Baden Springs and French Lick Hotels. Yes, ILC is on a much smaller scale of course, but the meticulous work, love and attention to detail that the Cook Family invest in a project is par excellence. When you visit this place and know that nothing less than the crème de la crème was acceptable. It’s the kind of place to inspire the next generation of preservationists. And it just won a National Preservation Award from the Victorian Society in America. (The Hoosier Chapter will be presenting this award to Indiana Landmarks on Thursday, July 19th at Indiana Landmarks Center at 7pm.)

6. Headquarters, Indiana Landmarks- Did you know that our beloved state of Indiana holds bragging rights in preservation? Indiana Landmarks is the largest statewide preservation organization in the country! Started over 50 years ago with Eli Lilly’s investment and headquartered in our capital city of Indianapolis, there are offices throughout the state to help revitalize communities, reconnect us to our heritage and save meaningful places. A number of recent articles have asked what Indy wants to be known for—how about caring for our people and places better than anyone, anywhere else? (That’s my dream, anyway)

Right to Left: Bill Cook, Carl Cook, Gale Cook, Marsh Davis, Jerry Fuhs

7. Philanthropic example– what community loving person couldn’t emote endlessly on the foresight and generosity of the Cook Family and their gift to Indianapolis through this building? I didn’t know Mr. Cook, but I will love the man forever, nonetheless. I still have a copy of the IBJ article he wrote in April 2010 talking about the impact preservation projects can have on people’s lives and the “snowball effect that follows a restoration project.” If more people had his mix of heart, vision and business savvy, think where we’d be!

March 2010


April 2011

8. Our most public secret! (Come again?) Think of the thousands upon thousands of cross-continental travelers who are startled by the glimmering gilded gold caps of the Indiana Landmarks Center as they make their way through our city on I-65. They don’t even know what it is, but if they aren’t asleep (or texting) at the wheel, it grabbed attention for at least a moment, and perhaps left some small positive feeling about Indianapolis on their conscience. There are locals, too, who have yet to realize what’s going on beneath that unique roof line—hence, our most public secret.

If you missed Marsh Davis’ favorites about the Indiana Landmarks Center, check out our last “Seldom Seen Spaces” video on the HI YouTube channel.