You want a really challenging brain teaser? Forget the New York Times crossword or advanced Sudoku. Trying to locate unidentified historic homes of Indianapolis takes a whole lot of recall and other skills.

This postcard was post marked from Indianapolis on January 11, 1912 from someone named Lou to someone named Nell in Galveston, Indiana. “This is our home. Come and see us. Saw Harry today in the store.”

Such a generous amount of information. But let’s start with the assumption that this home is, in fact, in Indianapolis. The address number is visible on the house, which could help solve the mystery. It is 413. With that information, I have gone through the 1913 city directory online, searching for all “413” addresses and have come up with the list that follows. Keep in mind, not all of them indicate whether it is a street, road, avenue or otherwise, and the names could have changed since then. Also, I deleted any that I know do not match the scale or style of the street for sure. Those were streets like Meridian or Mass Ave.

Arbor, Blake, Caven, Centennial, N. Davidson, Downey, Hanson Ave, W. Henry, N. Lasalle, Leeds, W. Michigan, Minerva, Muskingum, S. New Jersey, E. New York, W. New York, N Noble, E. North, Oxford, Parkway Ave, N. Pine, S. Pine, Picking, W. Pratt, Rankin, N. Rural, Smith, E. St. Clair, W. South, Spring, Toledo( ? the name was cut off in the fold, E. Walnut, N. West, W. 10th, W. 13th, W. 14th, W. 17th.

I doubt this was on Kentucky or St. Clair. The style and date don’t match up. But where is it or was it? Is/ was it among the streets above or another one, inadvertently missed?

Whoever solves this mystery will be entitled to a prize from the HI vault, just to sweeten the enticement. Leave a comment below if you have any ideas on how to further narrow this down!

UPDATE: – Huge thank you to a couple of readers that figured out there was no way the house number was not 413. I’ll put it down to aging and not scanning it in at the highest resolution, but I have updated this- the number is 416. (Insert face palm emoji). I’ll update with a list of streets with the number 416 in 1913 as soon as I can.

Updated street list from 1913 containing a “416” on the street:

E. 10th, E. 11th, W. E. 17th, W. 17th, E. 23rd, W. 29th, E. 32nd, E. 33rd, W. 39th

Alton, Bank Ave., Blake, Brightwood, Colorado, Douglas, Downing, N. East, Garfield, Grand, Gladstone, Hamilton Ave., Hancock, Harlan, Henry, Ketcham, Linwood, E. Merrill, Muskingum, N. Noble, S. Noble, E. North, W. Norwood, S. Oakland, Oxford, Price, Randolph, Rankin, Sanders, Spring, N. Tacoma, S. Temple, Warman

6 responses to “Forget Sudoku, Try Solving this Mystery”

  1. Joel Russell says:


    I assume the postcard doesn’t list any last names? I’d consult the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census as well as the 1915 Sanborn maps for the possible street addresses. This should help narrow down which street, at least knocking out some of the possibilities.

  2. Andy howard says:

    Ok, I was starting to go through the list of streets on Sanborn, but then I took a closer look and I’m puzzled.

    You say the address is 413 (which from the resolution on the website, it’s hard to tell). Do you have a higher res picture you can upload?

    The problem is 413 would be on the west side of a N-S street or the south side of an E-W street. The shadows show the sun coming from in front of and to the left of the house which means this photo is most likely of a house on the WEST side of a N-S street. This means in needs an even numbered address instead. Any chance that is 418 or something?

  3. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    Since you were the second person to ask me to re-check it, I went back and re-scanned it so I could enlarge it better and you are absolutely right! It is 416–which I have altered in the article to reflect that and adding a closeup of address. Thanks for keeping me on my toes and prompting me to re-check. Cheers.

  4. Greg M says:

    I see that I am about 5 months late to the party, but I love this. I also searched the 1913 directory for both the 416 house number and the name “Lou.” There was a Louis Sponsel at 416 Sanders, but that house is no longer standing and the neighboring house doesn’t look like the photo. There was also a Luther Kinsley at 416 Blake, the site of which is now underneath the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI. Lucinda Miller lived at 416 E 10th.

  5. Ron K says:

    Speaking of sudoku, has Indianapolis done anything to commemorate the game’s birthplace? A giant metal statue in a park would be nice. At least a plaque on Howard Garns’s home.

  6. Mae says:

    Uhm. I think it’s 416 E Morris Street. Polk’s directory of 1911 says Frank L Mohr, a grocer, lived there…. and a Harry F Mohr is listed just below him. If I was at home, I would look up the census to see if they were brothers and had a sister.

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