Circle Tower From the Observation Deck of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument

One of the things I’ve taken away from the few weeks that I’ve been manning this feature, is how intertwined the origins of many of the buildings around town truly are. Take, for instance, The Circle Tower.

As an admirer of Indy’s architecture, I’m embarrassed to say that before I looked into the history of this Art Deco wonder, I had never heard of the firm Rubush & Hunter. Content with thinking that historic architecture in Indianapolis primarily consisted of Vonnegut & Bohn (Atheneum, etc.) and the Chicago interlopers Burnham and Root (Merchant’s Bank Tower), I failed to notice that Indiana natives Preston Rubush and Edgar Hunter were responsible for nearly half the circle and dozens of other local landmarks.

Having recently completed both the ornate Indiana Theater (now the IRT) and the Circle Theater, Rubush & Hunter were tapped to replace the nine year old Franklin Building on the southeast corner of Market Street and Monument Circle, seen here:

The Franklin Building, razed to make room for the Circle Tower. The statue of Benjamin Franklin, mounted on the corner of the second story, now resides at Franklin College.

The Franklin Building, constructed in 1873, was razed in 1929 to make room for the multi-use Circle Tower, which was specially designed as to reduce the amount of shadow it cast on the Monument. HI highlighted some of the Tower’s ornate details over this past summer, which can be found here.

As for the other buildings I mentioned coming from the prolific Rubush & Hunter? In addition to the aforementioned Indiana and Circle Theaters, there’s also the Guaranty Building (home to Nicky Blaine’s and Exact Target), Old City Hall, the Murat Temple, the Madam C.J.Walker Building, the Illinois Building (in serious need of some love), the School for the Deaf on E. 42nd Street, the original Coliseum (replaced by the current Coliseum in 1939) and Livestock Pavilion at the State Fair Grounds, the Masonic Temple on Illinois, and even a hotel built for Indianapolis Motor Speedway innovator Carl Fisher in Miami Beach, Florida. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to touch upon these two in future weeks.