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Indianapolis Free Kindergarten class in front of the Brightwood Hall, ca. 1904 (Butler University, Irwin Library, Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives, Eliza Blaker Collection)

Life would be much easier for archivists and historians if everyone would simply label their photographs. But since our lives are busy or we’re just not motivated when we already know the people and places captured, many photographs end up unidentified in our albums, attics, and archival collections. When we’re lucky, photographs provide enough to clues to solve the mystery.

Dozens of kindergarten class photographs are available online at Butler University as part of the Eliza Blaker Collection. Blaker, an early educator, was instrumental in operating the Indianapolis Free Kindergarten Society from the 1880s until her death in 1926. The free schools gave children in neighborhoods throughout the city the opportunity to attend pre-school from ages three through five. Operating on a shoestring budget, classes were held in houses, storefronts, and churches. The kindergarten photographs depict the students and their teachers in front of and inside the schools, but unfortunately many of the locations were not noted.

Luckily, this image contains a few clues. A sign advertising “E. B. Fox Dry Goods & Notions” hangs above one of the ground-level stores in the brick commercial building in the background. The date block at the top reads “Erected by the Brightwood Hall Association / AD ???.” Although the scan’s resolution is too small to decipher the year, the original may be more legible. City directories show that Elijah B. Fox operated a dry goods store at 2419 Station Street in Brightwood from about 1902 through 1905, which coincides with the clothing and hairstyles of the teachers. The three-story building was constructed in about 1890 and the upper floors served as a meeting hall for many local fraternal organizations, including the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Rebekah, National Union, and Knights of Honor. As with most lodge buildings, it also served as a community gathering place for voting, concerts, dances, political meetings, lectures, and starting in about 1903 it housed Brightwood Kindergarten #13.

1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map #251, Updated to 1913 (IUPUI University Library)

1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map #251, Updated to 1913 (IUPUI University Library)

Brightwood Hall stood on Station Street in Brightwood’s primary commercial district. Previously the building was numbered 2417-2419 Station Street, but was changed to 2345-2347 by 1910.

Circa 1940s view looking south on Station Street. The Brightwood Hall is the tallest brick building on the left. (Indiana Historical Society)

Circa 1940s view looking south on Station Street. The Brightwood Hall is the tallest brick building on the left. (Indiana Historical Society)

Brightwood was a thriving suburb until the 1970s and the two storefronts in the Brightwood Hall had many tenants through the years with up to eight upstairs apartments known as Brightwood Apartments.

1899 – Orville L. Hahn Dry Goods
1900 – William M. Pollard Grocery, Dr. Samuel L. Witham (2417, rear office)
1907 – Shoemaker Miles Buchanan (2417, rear office)
1914 – Benjamin F. Gibson Grocery and Joseph Entwistle Plumbing
1920 – Tatman & Sharp Drugs, Myron C. Gould Dentist, Benjamin F. Gibson Grocery
1926 – M. Sablosky & Son Dry Goods and Kroger Grocery & Baking Company (named the Tatman Block)
1934 – Brightwood Cleaners and the Brightwood Athletic Club
1942 – Brightwood Cleaners and Mounce 5 & 10 Cent Store
1949 – Anna S. Eberle Gift Shop and John A. Johnson Variety Store
1955 – Walter E. Michael Gift Shop and Bernard Goldman Dry Goods
1961 – G & G Outlet Store (owned by the Goldman family)
1973 – G & G Outlet Store
1976 – G & G Outlet Store
1978 – Not listed
1982 – Vacant
1986 – Vacant
1990 – Vacant

2345 Station Street in June 2011

2345 Station Street in June 2011

With the loss of major employers and demographic shifts in the 1960s and ’70s, Brightwood suffered economic decline felt heavily on Station Street. The Brightwood Hall, once a social hub for the community, sat vacant in the 1980s and ’90s and from aerial photographs appears to have been demolished between 1995 and 1999. Today the once-welcoming site is a paved parking lot surrounded by a razor wire-topped fence.

Do you remember Brightwood Hall? Let us know by commenting below! As always, we seek additional memories and photographs of Brightwood Hall or the Brightwood area. In particular, we would like to learn when the building was constructed and the name of the architect, details about other building occupants, and the fate of the hall and why it was razed. 

[Would you like to see your old photographs featured in this Then and Now column? If so, attach a high resolution jpeg or png and any details about the building within our “Say Hi” link in the footer of our website.]

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30 responses to “Then & Now: Brightwood Hall, 2345-2347 Station Street”

  1. Basil Berchekas Jr says:

    Growing up over near 21st and Emerson, Station Street was our area shopping location; when I was “younger”, it was so busy one had to park a block away to go shopping there…where the Brightwood railroad station was was an A&P supermarket; kids I grew up with used to work there; I worked at Preston’s at 16th and Emerson.

  2. dave robbins says:

    There was an article about Brightwood Hall in The Star a few years ago when the brick façade fell into the street, and the building was demolished. I always understood that it was The Town Hall of the town of Brightwood that became part of the city of Indianapolis in 1897. I believe it was constructed about 1893. There are also articles in a file in The Brightwood Library on the hall. By the way, Brightwood Library was the first “branch” library of the Indpls. Public Library. Too bad someone didn’t try to save it. Brightwood had a “small town” atmosphere and a lot of history before the city abandoned it to urban blight.

  3. Ann Stewart says:

    My dad, Dr. Paul J. Hart, DC, had his office on Station St. from 1941 thru a lot of 1948. I can’t remember the exact location, but he took over the practice from another chiropractor. I remember going with him to lunch at the Fe-Ja-Well cafe, remember the dentist, Dr. Nichols, who became one of dad’s hunting buddies, also Ralph Privette who had a filling station just over the railroad tracks, and Art Florey, who had a butcher shop close by. As a polio victim, I was in his office a lot, particularly on Saturday mornings when I’d get wrapped up in some long narrow heating pads which were supposed to help relax my muscles. I knew other polio victims who got the same treatment! Amazing (and we’re still living too!) A lot of dad’s patients didn’t have much money, but dad had grown up in the mountains of Virginia and he knew all about barter – so we had patients who brought us huge jars of cream from their dairy farm, others who let him board his hunting dogs, and the cat I couldn’t keep at our home. We eventually moved away but Dad kept his hunting buddies for years, after the war they went pheasant hunting in South Dakota! Art Florey joined the Navy in WW II and was a butcher aboard one of the great aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

  4. Joan Hostetler says:

    Thanks for the information, Paul. I’ll check with the Brightwood Library. Too bad the building fell into disrepair since it importance in the community’s social history. Someone else recalled living in the apartments in the 1970s and said that the 3rd floor looked like it had been a ballroom.

  5. Joan Hostetler says:

    We all enjoy hearing memories, thanks for sharing. I checked the 1945 city directory and it gives your father’s work address as 2407 Station Street.

  6. Rebecca Bandy says:

    I remember going to Christmas Parties held on the top floor. My Grandparents were members of the Rebekah’s Lodge and Odd Fellows. Santa always came to visit with the children. It was a very festive occasion with a small gifts and a stocking with candy and an orange. It was a wonderful time for one small girl with her Grandma.
    As I remember back some 60 + years….I seem to remember that there was a stage in the large room. Other than that I don’t remember anything special about the upstairs area.
    Both of my pa

  7. Laura McBride says:

    My grandmother owned a gift shop in 1949 in the Brightwood Hall. Her name was Anna S. Eberle. I believe the gift shop was called Syble’s Gift Shop. Do you have any additional information or pictures on this?

    Thanks

  8. Laura McBride says:

    Please notify me of any additional information.

  9. Richard Smith says:

    I lived at 2623 N. Station St from 1967 to 72. My dad worked at the Standard Grocery for 34 years. Loved that town. It wasn’t a town but seemed like it. It had anything you would have in a town. Ben Franklin 5 Cents to 1 Dollar is where we would get our clothes for school. We all went to #51. Before I was born my family lived on Olney. The house I live in is still there and someone lives re We rented the house from a man named Jerry Bixler. Now is when the story gets crazy. The house had major paranormal activities. I have tried to get in contact with the tenant with no luck. Would love to hear from anyone who might have any stories like mine.

  10. Richard Smith says:

    We would go bowling at Moonlight Bowl. Now the Cohen brothers drugstore was on the corner of 25th and Station. It had a soda fountain that was awesome and grab bags. Grab bags were paper bags with filled with toys and treats. They came in different sizes and prices. My sister worked at the library in the Standard Grocery strip mall. We would sit on milk crates and watch the movie over the fence at the Sherman Drive-in when we were picking up my dad from work. Had a killer bait shop right behind our house, and across Sherman Drive was Hart’s Auto. Still is there. Now it is a very sad thing to see.

  11. Martha Dye Allen says:

    We shopped at G&G outlet when we lived in Brightwood.

  12. Margie Cox Niese says:

    My uncle Edwin Cox was killed in Germany during WWII. There was either a VFW or American Legion named after him around 2600 Sherman Drive. This was approximately in the late 40’s-50’s. Edwin’s widow lived at 2800 Forest Manor as did Edwin’s brother John (my father). I don’t know when the Post was abandoned. I would appreciate any information about this Post and photo if possible. I was told it was a small one story building.
    Thank you,
    Margie Cox Niese

  13. sheena schmidt says:

    2419 AND 2423 N.STATION ST, A ONE STORY BUILDING, I BOUGHT IT FROM ROBERTS AUTO STORE, I HAVE OWNED IT NOW FOR CLOSE TO 40 YEARS, THE MOONLIGHT BOWL I BOUGHT IT FROM THE OWNERS APROX 35 YEARS AGO, IT NOW HANDLES CHINA CONSTRUCTION IMPORTS AND PACKAGE GOODS .IT USE TO BE GAS MASTER PRODUCTS WE MADE VENT DAMPERS FOR FURNACES AND, WHEN THE NEW FURNACES CAME WITH DAMPERS ON THEM WE HAD TO RE INVENT OURSELF MY LATE HUSBAND WANTED TO GIVE THE COMPANY TO THE YOUNG KIDS TO RUN YOU CALLED THEN GANG MEMBERS, MY LATE HUSBAND CALLED THEM KIDS WHO NEEDED A CHANCE IT WAS ON FRONT PAGE OF STAR NEWS 250 THOUSAND DOLLAR TOOL AND DYE AND A GOING BUSINESS, THEY WANTED IT, AND ALSO 200 THOUSAND MORE, WE DID NOT HAVE THE EXTRA MONEY SO THE CITY TURNED IT DOWN . LOSERS THE KIDS WHO WERE SO EXCITED TO BE OWNING SOMETHING, TODAY ,.I TURNED DOWN LAND DEVELOPER WHO WANTED TO BUILDING EXPENSIVE CONDO’S PEOPLE IN BRIGHTWOOD DO NOT HAVE 2000 DOLLARS A MONTH FOR RENT,NEXT CAME, THE THE PEOPLE WHO BUILD AUTO ZONES CALLED ME ABOUT BUILDING ON SHERMAN DR. ST, THAT WOULD HAVE BROUGHT GOOD PAYING JOBS, WE ARE NOW AWAITING OUTCOME OF THE EMINENT DOMAIN BEFOR WE CAN MOVE FORWARD.FOR SOME REASON THE BUSINESS PEOPLE IN BRIGHTWOOD HAVE TO GET MORE PERMITS THAN ANY OTHER BUSINESS I KNOW, IF THEY WOULD LET THE PEOPLE BRING JOBS IN AND NOT THROW ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER AT THEM BRIGHTWOOD WOULD BE THRIVING EXAMPLE IT TOOK TWO YEARS TO GET THE NEW DAY CARE CENTER OPEN DUE TO PERMITS AND REGULATIONS, I KNOW MANY ARE NEEDED BUT OVER KILL IS STOPPING MINORITYS FROM OWNING THERE OWN BUSINESS ,BRIGHTWOOD 15 YEARS AGO I HAD SMALL SHOPS, PET STORE, DR RAMAREZ,, HAIRCUTS,, RECORD STORE, MANY OTHERS THEY ALL FAILED ONLY THING THAT WILL SURVIVE ARE CONSTRUCTION OR FACTORY JOBS, ,THE NEWS EVENTS CLUB THEY JUST SPENT 200 THOUSAND ON RENOVATIONS, ITS BEAUTIFULL, IT JUST TOOK THE OWNER 3 YEARS AWAITING PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS ALMOST BANKRUPTING HIM, ,, WELL HAPPY TO SAY ITS NOW OPEN, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT HIM SELETO HENDERSON,.,BRIGHTWOOD ON THE MOVE .YOU NEED MORE INFO CALL SHEENA 317 363 4448,

  14. SHEENA SCHMIDT says:

    IF YOU CARE ABOUT BRIGHTWOOD WHY ARE YOU DOING NOTHING TO PROTECT THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS, WE COLLECT MONEY FOR MANY THINGS YET THE BRIGHTWOOD HISTORIC BUILDINGS GET NO ATTENTION, THE LARGE CHURCH ON 2410 STATION VERY MAJESTIC OVER 100 YEARS OLD, IS CLOSED BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT AFFORD A NEW ROOF, SO STOP FOOLING OURSELF IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHO U ARE, WHEN IT COMES TO BLACK HISTORY WE HAVE PICTURES OF MICHEAL JACKSONS, MOTHER AND FATHER EATING AT THE LITTLE RESTURANT ON SHERMAN,I OWN THAT BUILDING, I ALSO WANTED TO GIVE THE PICTURES AND WAS TOLD THERE NOT IMPORTANT , WELL MANY OF US IN BRIGHTWOOD THINK THEY ARE,YOU WANT A GUIDED TOUR CALL SHEENA 317 363 4448.

  15. Stephen L Willoughby says:

    WOULD NOT DO ANY GOOD TO PRESERVE THE HISTORIC BLDGS. WITHOUT DOING SOMETHING TO MAKE THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD SAFE AND LIVABLE AGAIN. THE PRESERVED BLDGS. WOULD JUST BE VANDALIZED AND LOOTED.

  16. Leslie Dennis says:

    My grandparents, Ray & Leona Shields had a small café near the Dream Theatre. They called it the Snack Shack. My great grandma Maud Smith ran a boarding house on Sherman Drive across from the Sherman Bar. We lived in an upstairs apartment across the street from Roesch’s Drug Store. My sister, brother and I attended School #51. (James Russell Lowell School). My great aunt Madge and Uncle Harold Harvey also lived in Brightwood as well as my great aunt Marie and Uncle Buck (Tanner) Branham. We kids used to walk to the Brookside Park to swim in the summer.

  17. Jim says:

    I actually lived INSIDE what was the Brightwood Hall in the 60’s and early 70’s. We lived in several apartments there.
    The owner, I believe was Bernie Goldman, who owned the G&G Outlet Store below it. In the 70’s, I made 50 cents a week,
    opening and closing his awnings in the mornings and evenings.
    Brightwood had plenty of special memories for me, from the Ben Franklin store across the street, to Roesch’s Drug Store at the corner of Roosevelt and Station, to the library, at one time, right across the street from my apartments.

  18. Jonathan m. Jordan says:

    My father, Victor L. Jordan, his mother and father, Edwin and Jenny, and two of his brothers, Paul and Kenneth, attended a little church, Christian Tabernacle, on the corner of 28th and Sherman Drive. They started attending around 1930. The pastor was a woman, Leona Spillman. Around 1950, Paul became the pastor and the congregation outgrew the building. They moved to 38th and Sherman in the 70’s. They moved again and the new building can be seen from the SE quadrant of I-465. They are all deceased now, but I enjoyed hearing all the stories of their antics in the Brightwood area. They exaggerated slightly–like my dad used to say that they laid off half the police force when he and his brothers joined the church! Thanks for preserving the pictures and stories on your website. J. M. Jordan, Sylvania, OH

  19. Richard D Smith says:

    As a kid from age 5 to age 10 I lived at 2623 n. Station st. My family live in in Brightwood from the mid 50s. My dad worked at the standard grocery on Rosevelt and then on Sherman dr for 36 years. We moved out of Brightwood in 73. As a kid I would walk across the alley behind our house to the bait and tackle shop and hang out. The house we lived in was awesome. It had pocket doors and beautiful wood work and a killer fire place. The house also had a lot of paranormal activity. I am now 56 years old and I have tried to reach anyone I can to visit it. The area is bad now but I would have no problem going if I ever get a chance. The ghost could not scare me away.

  20. Amanda Martinez says:

    I live on Station St. Wasn’t aware of how bad the neighborhood was but fell in love with house. I have managed to capture quite a bit of paranormal activity & would love to swap stories especially from that long ago. Won’t be living here after March when my lease is up because I’m completely disgusted with the area. My house was broken into when I took my children to drive in this summer & then my car a week later. They even stole pictures of my baby’s wall. The monsters outside are a lot scarier then ones inside.

  21. Carol M Evans says:

    Just came across this web page, I grew up in Brightwood (born 1942 on Sherman Dr then moved into my Grandparents home at 2848 N Denny St (Frank and Mary Ann Deal) when my Father, Walter Wilson Frain left for WWII, when Dad returned my parents purchased the house next door 2850 N Denny St from my Grandfather. We lived there until the spring of 1960. So very many memories of that time. As a child I would walk down the alley behind our house to the stores that ran along 30th and Sherman Dr. I loved Teeter’s Drug Store, Bert’s Dept Store, Red Diamond Grill, Mom often shopped at True’s Meat Market. I thought that the large grocery was a Standard (my sister tells me I am mistaken) I do know that I used to bring home empty wooden produce crates (down the alley) and build things with them in our back yard. I loved Brightwood, the Library was my home away from home, loved the Dream Theatre, Moonlight Bowl, Ben Franklin’s Five and Dime, Vonneguts, Cohen Brothers and of course, I remember the Standard Grocery by the railroad tracks. We went to St Francis deSales, Dr Huddles was by Doctor when I was a teenager, before that I believe it was Dr. Westfall. Always love to hear stories and memories. In some of the comments I have read about certain homes being haunted, I do not remember anything like that, know that I now have a hard time not remembering my childhood. Maybe, that is just old age setting in. Sure love reading your comments. I’ll check back again.

  22. Robin alton says:

    Joan
    I came across your article by chance. My name is Robin (Goldman) Alton. My father was Bernard Goldman that owned G & G Outlet Store. I was glad to see some pictures. What I was trying to find out was what happened to the building that my dad moved his store to in the 70’s. He moved from the Station Street location as the neighborhood got worse and more businesses on Station closed or moved out. His new store was just around the corner on Sherman Drive, I believe it was in the 2500 block. If you have an address I would appreciate it. I don’t live in Indianapolis but I would like to see what happened to the building on Sherman Drive.

  23. Jim Karres says:

    Robin (and to anyone else):
    I LIVED in the apartment buildings at 2345 Station in the 70’s (growing up there from 1964-1971). Bernie Goldman was our landlord. I thought he was a nice man! He allowed me to open and close his awning in front of the store in the summers when I was 12-13 for like 50 cents
    every time I did it. I had a feeling there was more to that place than just apartments.
    I recall one New Year’s Eve, gathering up the courage to go up in the “attic” (the top floor which housed the lodge and huge dance floor) at midnight, because, at 12, I figured there HAD to be ghosts up there. I creeped up there, very carefully and quietly, telling myself I could deal with this and do this. It was all good until I made it to the hall, and I heard a voice telling me to “Get Out”, and out I went! LOL
    Overall my memories of that place AND Brightwood were good! I made the best of it, until I-70 came through and basically made it a ghost town. – Jim Karres

  24. JUdy Hafley says:

    We lived behind the Brightwood Church of Christ from 1947 to 1950. My father, Gene Warman, preached there during those years. I would love to hear info and see pictures of found.

  25. Debbie Bear Rosenbaum says:

    Robin, I used to go to G & G. We loved your Dad. Bernie was the best. I think he gave my Mom a break, because she had so many kids!

  26. Debbie BEAR Rosenbaum says:

    Art’s drugstore was a cross from Cohen’s. Cohen bros was a department store with the jar that ran on a pulley to the office and back with change/receipt.

  27. Jonathan Harvey says:

    Madge and Harold were my Grandparents.

  28. Bobijean Neher says:

    My great-grandparents lived in the 2800 block of N. Gale (mid-1910s to mid-1950s). My Mom grew up there (the 1920s-1940s). Did you ever go to the corner store at 28th and Gale? When I visited my family, the Nortons, I would always go down to the corner store. We’re about the same age. That was really an elite area of town at one time. There were several Jewish concerns in that area. My mother’s cousin and her husband worked at the school on Roosevelt. Winnford Watts was the Janitor. He died in the late 1970s. John Dillinger lived just a little East in the Oak Hill area. He and my grandmother went to grade school together. Such memories.

  29. Jennefer Burk says:

    My Grandparents, William Anthony Edwards and Maude Lauretta Corey Edwards purchased 4 adjoining lots located on the NW corner of 28th and Stuart St. around 1900. Grandpa was Asst. V.P. at Indianapolis Power and Light and oversaw the installation of rural power lines through much of what was then a rural area. The first two lots of the Edwards family home started, next to 28th St. and was part of the corner yard and the formal gardens. A small wooden shed/garage stood at the back by the alley. Fruit trees and and Holly Hocks ran at the back between the house and alley. 2810 Stuart St. The yard at the northwest side adjacent to 28th, facing Stuart were formal gardens and yard. A small house was added in the lot at the north side of the house by their son, Meredith Edwards and his wife and 2 sons. 2812 was the number there. Meredith died of Hodgkin’s Disease while his two sons were young children. These were the days when neighbors were neighbors, keeping an eye on the safety of each others kids. I remember playing together all day long outside, and being taught to go inside when the street lights came on. Such a wonderful, carefree time. So glad I have my memories. (They become more special with age!)

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