1927 – Courtesy of the IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power and Light Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

The Fountain Block Building at the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Prospect and Shelby Streets in Fountain Square was constructed in 1902 with stores on the first floor, offices and apartments upstairs, and a grand hall on the upper level. When photographed in 1927, the first floor housed Sablosky’s Department Store owned by William S. Sablosky. Sablosky’s father Michael and uncle Isaac immigrated to the United States from Russia in the 1880s and owned several dry goods stores in Indianapolis. The two-story brick Italianate building seen to the right was home to a restaurant listed as Herman Kearney’s Cafeteria in the 1927 city directory.

1935 - Courtesy of the IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power and Light Company Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

1935 – Courtesy of the IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis Power and Light Company Collection loaned by Deedee Davis

When rephotographed eight years later by Indianapolis Power and Light, we note several subtle changes including the removal of the large electrical poles and dozens of wires, and the loss of a couple more letters from the Fountain Block sign. A small wooden shed went up on the corner in front of Sablosky’s…any guesses about its use?

2011 - Google Street View

2011 – Google Street View

In 1994 the Fountain Block was rehabbed to its current configuration and today houses the Fountain Square Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library and Fountain View Senior Apartments. Although the old restaurant looks a little naked without its cornice and decorative brackets, it still stands and today houses the tasting room and gallery of New Day Meadery, makers of handcrafted honey wines and cider


19 responses to “Indianapolis Then and Now: Fountain Square at Prospect and Virginia”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Must stay with this blog. Remember shopping at Sablosky’s at Massachusetts Avenue’s store south of 10th as well.

  2. Kevin J. Brewer says:

    It looks like IPL’s power lines were a nightmare in the 1920s, so dense.

  3. ken williams says:

    I believe that shed was a newspaper stand and that Sablosky also owned the Fountain Square Theature building. I recall that in the early 50s I helped put up the letters on the marquee for the theature on Thursday nights.

  4. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    What fun to see Sablosky’s Dept. Store in this photo. The only store I ever knew was the one at the corner of Mass Ave, College Ave, and St. Clair St.
    Michael Sablosky’s great-granddaughter, Harriet Sablosky, was my roommate back in the ’70s. We both had recently finished college and were eager to fly our respective parents’ coops to places of our own. Hank and I rented a house together in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, while we worked on the campaign staff of Governor Matthew E. Welsh.
    Following the election, Hank followed her dream of breaking into broadcast news. She was the first female reporter at WIBC radio, then moved on to television news, becoming the first female anchor at an Atlanta, GA, station. Eventually, she found her way to Boston, where she’s been ever since.
    Hank has won numerous Emmy’s over the years for her investigative reporting, which you can read about on the Boston NBC Affiliate’s website: . Hank has also started a new career in recent years as the writer of mystery novels, which you can read about on her own website: .
    I am proud to say that this successful Indianapolis native has been my friend since back in the days when she was just beginning to develop her many talents.

  5. Greg says:

    Thank you! I never get tired of learning about Fountain Square’s history. It’s a quaint little gem within this city, and I’m glad to see it being rediscovered. I bought a house there 7 years ago and have never regretted it.

  6. Joan Hostetler says:

    Ken: A newspaper stand was one of my theories, too, but I wondered if it was too small for that purpose.

  7. basil berchekas jr says:

    Sharon, the Sablosky’s store on Mass Avenue was the only one I remembered too…My mom and I would ride the number 21 bus from 21st and Emerson to visit there. Oh, yes, I forget the lady’s name, but the former head of the Florida and Georgia lotteries is now the head of the Tennessee lottery…she’s originally from Indianapolis.

  8. Joan Hostetler says:

    Thanks for sharing, Sharon. I wonder if the family has any old photographs of the different stores. I’d love to get scans of them for future articles.

  9. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I will ask Hank.

  10. Shari Moon says:

    Thanks for sharing Fountain Square history and images. I live in Fountain Square and continue to fall deeper in love as time goes by.

  11. Dawn Olsen says:

    I’m with Kevin on this one–the power lines are intense! I know they heavily threaded themselves through the city at one time, but I’m always amazed. I remember that a photo showing high-density power lines was also included in your Then & Now post featuring the 200 block of East 16th Street.

  12. Don Eaton says:

    I recall a Sablosky’s and a Zuckenberger’s Department stores located in the 900 block of South Meridian Street, on the west side of the street. This was back around 1955-1968. The small wooden buidlng in the above picture was, indeed, a newstand which was manned by one person. There were a large number of these small wooden newspaper buidings located throughout the city in neighborhoods with retail business.The buiding was just large enough for the attendent (the newspaper hawker) to step inside during incliment weather.

  13. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Zuckerberg & Son Men’s Furnishings was at 1001 S. Meridian Street, which was on the east side of the street. The third and fourth generations of Zuckerbergs now operate the Style Store for the Big & Tall on E. 62nd Street, across the street from the Glendale Town Center.

  14. Don Eaton says:

    Thank you Sharon for the information. As a kid of 12, my family lived in the 900 block of South Meridian Street. I recall the Zuckenberg store as having a long storefront with display windows while the Sablosky’s Store had a small all white storefront with no display windows. Good to know that the Zuckenberg family has continued the family business.

  15. Don Eaton says:

    You are correct, the Zuckerberg (I apologize for the misspelling of the name in my previous posts) store was on the east side of the street, Across the street, on the west side was a Kraft Bakery. South of the bakery was a dry cleaning store and a neighborhood hardware store. On the east side and to the south of Sablosky’s Store was a furniture store and a Goodwill Store.

  16. James E Evans jr says:

    Sablosky’s had a store on college in the Mass Ave area, I want to say it was facing Mass Ave, with its right flank to college, but I am not exactly sure it was on Massachusetts, just close.

  17. basil berchekas jr says:

    i remember it had entrances on Mass Avenue and College…

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Carol Lemons says:

    Hello. Does anyone remember a furniture store that I believe, was just a few doors down from the theater? It was owned, or leased by my great unc;le. I remember sitting in the car when I was about 10, or so while my Mom and Dad went in to pick out a living room suite. You could park on the street right in front of the store back then. I remember the big plate glass windows. Seems like it was just called, “Shelby Furniture”. Not sure, though.

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