So, you’ve ziplined, experienced the NFL in every possible way and hoofed it around the gorgeous Monument at the epicenter of our city. Well, we’re pretty sure you haven’t visited these photo–opp/ cocktail conversation starters. You can do all of these in less than a day, collect your photos and say you’ve been there, done that! If you’ve got a GPS or a decent map, you can easily make your way around these 11 spots in an afternoon! Or, if you need a private tour guide, email us at feedback (at) historicindianapolis.com
We may not have “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but you could become a member or stay at the Columbia Club on the Circle (northeast quadrant) and have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Closest we can come: Tiffany & Co. designed the logo for this 100+ year old club!
Elvis was in the building. The last time that building was a concert venue. Well, and before it was demolished. Elvis’ last concert on June 26, 1977 took place at Market Square Arena. Make your way around the boundaries of New Jersey, Alabama, Washington and Ohio—or on Market, which ran under the heart of it, and you’ve revisited former Elvis coordinates.
Lincoln Slept Here- No, really! Northwest corner at Washington and Illinois– Before the current structure, there was the Claypool Hotel, which was razed after a fire in the 1960’s. And before the Claypool, the Bates House was a nationally recognized hotel, whose most famous guest was Abraham Lincoln. He reportedly gave a speech from the balcony of the hotel when he stayed—on February 11, 1861. He woke up in that hotel on his 52nd birthday.
Think Oprah’s a big deal? Ok, yes, she is. But America’s first black female millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker was too. In 1910, she and her third husband, Charles Joseph Walker, moved to Indianapolis, where she established her company headquarters—eventually donating funds that show her legacy lives on at the Madame Walker Theater. 617 Indiana Avenue
The President slept here. Oh, and died. Benjamin Harrison’s Home – 1230 North Delaware Street
Everyone keeps talking about the “House that Peyton built.” (and for the record, we residents and visitors all built that and will continue contributing to pay for that until long after we’re gone, no doubt) How about “The house that Butler built?” Ovid Butler, Sr. that is. Founder of Butler University (formerly Northwestern Christian University). His former residence still stands in the heart of the Old Northside neighborhood at 12th & Park Streets. The rumor is that the 2 sphinx and the porte cochere on the west side of the building were bought from the Bates House and attached to “Forest Home.”
Before Jonestown, there was Indianapolis- Jim Jones preached at this church he called People’s Temple at the northwest corner of 15th & New Jersey and also, the site of a former synagogue (designed by Vonnegut & Bohn, by the way) on the southeast corner of 10th & Delaware, which is now a vacant lot—rumor has it Jones had the building burnt before he left.
Ever been to a Confederate Prison Camp? – Indianapolis had one. Not that you can tell; it was the State Fairgrounds before and after the Civil War and was platted for a neighborhood called Morton Place after being sold in 1891. The parameters are (east side of) Talbott Avenue and (west side of) Central Avenue between 19th and 22nd Streets. The only evidence that remains are the markers you will find at 19th and Talbott, 19th and Central and the bronze marker in front of the park on Alabama Street between 19th and 20th Streets.
World’s Most Infamous bank-robber’s elementary school- John Dillinger’s School 38 – 2050 North Winter Street or alternatively, you could visit his grave at Crown Hill Cemetery, or that of other Indianapolis notables, while you’re at it.
Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous of 1911- Hard to believe that the Indianapolis 500 has become as huge as it has, but this past year, they celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the annual Speedway, Indiana event. (From the outside only) see the homes of 3 of the 4 founders of the Indianapolis 500—now part of the campus of Marion University. (Frank Wheeler’s home: “Hawkeye” ; James Allison’s mansion, “Riverdale” and due to a fire in the 1950’s, only part of Fisher’s estate “Blossom Heath” remains. … and by the way: Fisher also was the first big investor in Miami Beach who conceived of lining his substantial real estate holdings there with hotels. 3200 Cold Spring Road
Who can say how much and what parts of the formative years contribute to who a person becomes, but Kurt Vonnegut spent most of those years- in Butler Tarkington; the family home was at 4365 North Illinois and was designed by his father, a noted local architect.
The only reason the rest of the country has ever heard of a Hoosier- the Gene Hackman lead movie, “Hoosiers.” Filmed at Hinkle Fieldhouse – on the campus of Butler University – at 510 West 49th Street