1927 – Courtesy of IUPUI, Indianapolis Power and Light Collection Loaned by Deedee Davis
It’s hard to imagine that IUPUI’s 500-acre campus, with its institutional buildings and sprawling parking lots, once contained intimate neighborhoods with narrow streets and corner drug stores. But before Indiana University’s School of Medicine moved to the area in the early 1900s and IUPUI formed in 1969, these west-side streets looked much like the working-class neighborhoods seen on the east and south sides. The area was sprinkled with stores, businesses, and hundreds of homes with workers traipsing off daily to work at factories on the nearby White River, including the Indianapolis Bleaching Works, Acme Evans Flour Mill, and Kingan and Company, a large meatpacking company.
Brick stores anchored three of the corners at the intersection of West New York and Blake Streets, photographed by Indianapolis Power and Light in 1927. This view looks west at a three-story brick commercial building housing Hoskins and Miller Drugs on the southwest (left) and Herbert R. Hahn Meats to the right. Wood frame flats and doubles line New York Street with the tower of the old Casper Maus Brewery (then part of Indianapolis Brewing Company) seen in the distance. Note the streetcar tracks curving south from Blake Street and heading east on New York Street.
By 1935, the corner drug store was now known as Dugan Pharmacy and the clutter of electric poles and overhead wires had been slightly reduced. Indianapolis Power and Light, a new electric company formed in 1926, took these before-and-after photographs to document efforts to combine the lines of the old companies (Indianapolis Light and Heat and the Merchants Heat and Light). Before the merger, the poles and lines of the old competing electric companies often ran along opposite sides of the same street. Upon completion of the unification project, about 500 miles of duplicate pole lines had been eliminated. The old Indianapolis Brewing Company operated until the 1940s and the building housed other businesses until demolished in about 1970.
In 1969 Indiana University and Purdue University formed IUPUI (an awkward university name originally nicknamed “oo-we, poo-we”) to combine all of its Indianapolis schools and buildings onto one urban campus. Throughout the next decades, the school systematically bought about 2,000 pieces of property (only a handful using eminent domain), razing nearly all as the campus built, expanded, and had need for more parking. Today the thriving campus grants over 250 degrees in twenty-one schools and is attended by 30,000 students.
Read more about the history of IUPUI
Archaeological and Historical Survey of the IUPUI Campus, Compiled by the students of Prof. Paul Mullins (last updated 2003)
A History of the Origins and Formation of IUPUI, by Ralph D. Gray, Professor Emeritus of History