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This one is a favorite, but a bittersweet one.

If you’ve ever walked north on Pennsylvania Street, you may have noticed a little threesome along the southern wall of 241 North Pennsylvania. If you need some help visualizing the building, it’s the one pictured below on the southeast corner of Pennsylvania and New York Streets.

More than one person has inquired about the mysterious little grouping on Penn–where did it come from and why is it here? For the most part it is only noticed by alert pedestrians, and while I have no clue why it ended up where it stands today–perhaps there is an HI reader who knows–its former place in Indy’s landscape was just a few blocks south of its current location

The threesome in question, under scaffolding last summer while the side of the building was being mended.

The trio’s former perch was a bird’s eye view of Pennsylvania and Washington Streets, with Virginia Avenue stretching behind the shoulders of the figure on the left as they stood (or sat, as the case may be) watch over the Indiana National Bank at 3 Virginia Avenue. The bank was originally constructed in 1896 and overflowing with opulence.

Check out the evolution of the 3 Virginia Avenue on the Library of Congress site, from the Historic American Buildings survey and consider how much more beautiful that corner would be had this building been preserved.

Don’t miss the interior photos included on the Library of Congress link. The below photo, from the Library of Congress, is dated 1970–just prior to demolition–and clearly shows our relic trio atop the doomed structure.

If you aren’t one to shrink from carnage, IUPUI has a digital collection showing some of the building’s tragic demise.

This one is like looking into the broken hull of the Titanic.

The statues are small, rarely noticed and their origins were in danger of being forgotten. Until now. Next time you are walking visitors all over downtown, you can tell them where these three used to stand. And as you consider your upcoming New Year’s Resolutions, may I suggest helping to make sure destruction like this doesn’t happen in Indy again?

6 responses to “Friday Favorite: Statuary on Penn”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Vaguely remember them at the old entrance to INB…this dates me!

  2. Tank says:

    The standing male figure is likely the Roman messenger god Mercury, a god of trade among other things, particularly of the grain trade. Known as Hermes in Greek mythology.
    Perhaps he’s bringing news of a bad harvest. Thus the poor girls need a loan from the Indiana National Bank.

  3. WBP says:

    I’ll never understand why anyone would decide to tear down a beautiful majestic building like the INB. How sad.

  4. joe says:

    I believe 241 is/was part of INB Headquarters after construction of the tower. seems logical that they moved the statues with them.

  5. Blythe says:

    And now Scotty’s Brewhouse is where this beautiful building once was, such a shame.

  6. Anonymous says:

    4.5

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