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Reader’s Question:

My husband and I have purchased this historic house (pictured below) on Fall Creek Parkway South Drive. I have been trying to find out what neighborhood it is located in ever since.  Might you be able to tell me?  We are thrilled to be leaving New Jersey and coming to Indy.  ~  Cheryl Ann Floystrop-Borne

HI’s Answer: 

The name of the neighborhood in which your new home is located is Meridian-Highland.  The boundaries of the Meridian-Highland Neighborhood Association are West 16th Street on the south, North Meridian Street on the east, West Fall Creek Parkway South Drive on the north, and Interstate-65 on the west.

Meridian-Highland is also part of the not-for-profit Near North Development Corporation (NNDC), a partnership encompassing a larger geographical area that includes Highland Vicinity Neighborhood Association, Crown Hill Neighborhood Association, Near North Commercial District, Methodist Hospital, and the Central North Civic Association.

1916 Two-Family Residence on Fall Creek Parkway South Drive (photo courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society)

Two-Family brick residence on West Fall Creek Parkway South Drive as it appeared in 1916, not long after it was built    (photo courtesy of the INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

The president of the Meridian-Highland Neighborhood Association is Vicky Roberts.   Neighborhood meetings are held in the Original Church of God at 2150 N. Capitol Avenue.  Your home is in City-County Council District 15.

The first occupants of this two-family residence after it was built were Charles S. and Elizabeth (Galbaugh) Cully and Samuel D. and Cora (Cully) Kiger.  Charles and Elizabeth were Cora’s parents and Samuel’s in-laws.  Cully was the President of the A. P. Hendrickson Hat Co.  Kiger was a broker in diamonds, securities and old coins, as well as a real estate dealer.  Cora passed away a short time after they moved in, in September of 1916.  She was only 39 years old.  Perhaps they were all uncomfortable remaining in the place where she had died.  Within a year, everyone had moved on — the Cullys to a home just around the corner on Illinois Street and Kiger to a home a couple of blocks away on N. Pennsylvania Street.  Kiger married again in 1918.

The view facing north on N. Meridian Street at 21st Street (photo courtesy of Indiana Historical Society)

The view looking north from 21st and Meridian Streets illustrates how N. Meridian Street was at one time all residential    (photo courtesy of the INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

When the City of Indianapolis began to expand to the north in the first few decades of the 1900s, most of the properties on North Meridian Street, North Illinois Street, and North Capitol Avenue were residential.  The lots contained large, impressive, single-family homes, with an occasional apartment building on some blocks.  These streets remained residential in nature until the 1930s, when some of the homes began to be converted to commercial uses, like restaurants or offices.  Other homes, particularly those located at major intersections, were demolished and replaced by commercial properties designed to house establishments such as drugstores, grocery stores, and dry cleaners.

Meridian Street Bridge over Fall Creek, as it appeared in 1920 (photo courtesy of the Indiana Historical Soceity)

The Meridian Street Bridge over Fall Creek is at the northeast corner of the Meridian-Highland Neighborhood Association (photo courtesy of the INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

Meridian Street, being the main north-south thoroughfare in the city, experienced increasing motor vehicle traffic as the years went by, making it a less desirable place to raise a family.  Capitol Avenue, being the street on which Methodist Hospital was originally located, lost many of its homes as the medical complex continued to outgrow its facilities and require more land for new buildings.  With each passing decade, homes between 16th Street and Fall Creek disappeared and were replaced by businesses.  The remaining residential structures are mostly apartment buildings or multi-family residences.  The few single-family residential properties left in the Meridian-Highland neighborhood today are primarily north of 22nd Street on Capitol and Kenwood Avenues.

View of Fall Creek and the Marott from the south banks (photo courtesy of Indiana Historical Society)

View of Fall Creek and the Meridian Street Bridge facing towards The Marott, taken from Fall Creek Parkway South Drive (photo courtesy of the INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY)

Some of the many businesses located within the boundaries of the Meridian-Highland neighborhood today are the following:  All Nations Bed & Breakfast,  Citizens Energy Group,  Indianapolis Public Library Services Center,   Indy Translations,  IU Health Methodist Hospital,  Indianapolis Neighborhoods Resource Center,  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 481,  Magna Properties,  Mercedes-Benz,  Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors,  Midtown Community Health Center,  The Mind Trust,  WFYI Public Television and Public Radio, and WISH TV 8.

HI readers in Marion County who wish to access information related to your own home can do so by entering your street address in the search box on the following site:  http://maps.indy.gov/GovProfile/.

 

11 responses to “HI Mailbag: Fall Creek Parkway South Drive”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Sharon, this is excellent! Appreciate the development history being discussed in these neighborhood articles. My dad remembered vaguely when North Meridian north of 16th was “high class,” knowing he said he could never “afford” to live there!

  2. Norm Morford says:

    Good job, Sharon.

  3. Kevin J. Brewer says:

    http://maps.indy.gov/GovProfile/, what a wonderful site.

  4. Bob Hueber says:

    I was born in Methodist Hospital in 1947. We lived in a apartment/business building located at 25th & Meridan until I was 5, then we moved to the east side of Indy. One of the businesses that was in the building was Bob Catterson’s dance studio … the famous “… yes IF …” Bob Catterson. The building was on the SE corner of the intersection, now I think a gas station occupies the location.

  5. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks, Basil. North Meridian Street has always had an air of aristocracy about it. To many, living on North Meridian Street meant that a person had “arrived.” I suppose it was inevitable that wonderful homes were lost over the years, as the city expanded from its core, and commercial properties were more profitable than residential ones. Nonetheless, it is sad that hundreds of fabulous homes were unceremoniously taken down in the name of progress. At least we still have the section further north in Butler-Tarkington (west side of the street) and Meridian-Kessler (east side of the street), which was protected by the establishment of the 1960 Meridian Street Foundation and the 1971 Meridian Street Preservation Commission.

  6. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks, Norm.

  7. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    A lot of useful information can be found on that IndyGov site.

  8. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I too was born in Methodist Hospital in 1947. At that time, my parents lived in a little Victorian cottage on West 34th Street, about a dozen properties away from the gatehouse into the Golden Hill neighborhood. When I was growing up, whenever we happened to be driving past Methodist Hospital, my mother would point out the window of the room in which she had stayed when I was born. In those days, delivering moms and their newborns remained in the hospital for a number of days after the blessed events. That building in which the maternity ward was once located is now gone, as you probably know.

  9. Ted Kolbus says:

    Great article. My business is located at 21st and Illinois in the old “Red Cab” taxi building. (2020 N. Illinois Street) I have tried to find information on Red Cab, but I have never found much. Most long time residents of Indy all seem to remember Red Cab, as taking a cab must have been much more popular “back then”. In doing research some time ago on the property, I was able to track down a former employee of Red Cab. He told me some interesting stories about how the owner of Red Cab was friends with the owner of the Motor Speedway (Eddie Rickenbacker? Tony Hulman?). According to this former employee, some of the 500 drivers, when they were hard up for money, used to get set up to drive for Red Cab to make ends meet. Not sure if this is true, but I love the idea of it! Any idea where I might be able to find some pictures or collateral items of Red Cab Taxi, back in its prime?

  10. basil berchekas jr says:

    Sharon, I appreciate the informative discussions on the evolution of Meridian and surrounding streets since Indianapolis was “inaugurated” in 1821. I understand the State was able to auction the lots in the Mile Square (should have been four square miles, but Alexander Ralston managed to “con” the State out of having to plan the total four square mile Federal donation, stating he didn’t think the City would outgrow the central square mile; that way he didn’t have to plan around both Pogues Run and White River…and he received his full payment for just doing the central square mile, but that’s worth looking into later) in the north and northeast parts for more money per lot than the southern or western or straight eastern parts of the Mile Square due to the slightly higher elevation of the land, not being near either Pogues Run or White River and therefore not being subject to “pestilence”. So the history of the northward upscale movement of Indianapolis’ “upper crust” started with the first State auction of lots in the then undeveloped Mile Square. That’s what I understand, anyway. A family friend named Barbara (Hawk) Velonis (went to Howe High School with her) was until recently the head of the North Meridian Street Preservation Commission, or whatever the name is of the board that reviews any construction or rehabilitation of homes north of 40th Street up I believe, Kessler Boulevard. She and her husband Chris live in the “40s” block along Meridian Street. (Between 40th and I guess 4300 somewhere along there…been there but years ago)

  11. Cheryl Ann Borne says:

    Hi Sharon, I just now read your article. Thanks very much for the information on my house and surrounding area. My home largely looks like it did when it was built. Fortunately, no one tore down the extensive moldings or changed the layout of the house. Even the original bathrooms remain in tact and the home has a built-in garage, extremely rare for the day. I have researched the house extensively and one of the items I found is a newspaper ad from S. Kiger in which he states that there is no other house in Indy like it.

    The Indianapolis Historic Society believes it qualifies for the National Register based on its unique architecture. The only request they have is that I find the name of the architect and/or original floor plan. I have been unsuccessful in doing so. Is there any chance you can find it?

    Thanks very much for your wonderful article.

    Cheryl

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