Northwest corner of Delaware and Washington Streets, circa 2012

You already knew that Indianapolis became the capital of Indiana back in 1821. Any guesses as to how much dinero downtown real estate fetched back then?

Picture this: October 1821, and this forested and muddy brand-spanking-new capital city needed to start selling the freshly platted Indianapolis lots. What would do wooded lots in a newly platted city go for, anyway? Check out this sampling of real estate sales in the first days of what would become our burgeoning metropolis:

  • The lot on the northwest corner of Washington and Delaware Streets garnered the highest price, $560.
  • The next highest price was paid for the northwest corner of Mississippi (now Senate) and Washington Streets at $500.
  • The third was the northwest corner of Tennessee (now Capitol) and Washington Streets for $450.
  • The northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Washington brought $300.

Notice any recurring themes?

The romantic in me likes to imagine the great views of dawn afforded from those northwest corners of the “Main Street,” an alternate name by which Washington Street was known at that time. Dirt roads and trees galore are difficult images to conjure in such places now, with the commercial enterprises and myriad parking lots filling so much of the original Mile Square.

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