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As Indianapolis expanded, it was necessary for the Indianapolis Police Department to move into the neighborhoods and by 1912 four substations had been established. This one-story cottage, located at 1117 Prospect Street in Fountain Square, housed Police Precinct Station No. 4. Two uniformed bicycle patrolmen pose on the front sidewalk. (Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company #27561)

According to a report prepared for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce in 1917, the four substations were leased to the city for about $1,000 per year. “Desk men” (possibly the man standing on the step) were paid $3.25 per day to answer telephone calls. Two of the stations employed four bicycle patrolmen, alternating on twelve-hour shifts. These men, who worked in pairs, answered emergency calls in the area.  The report, prepared by the Bureau of Municipal Research in New York City, recommended moving the substations to nearby fire stations, a move which would save over $8,000 yearly by removing the need for the desk men. It appears that the city followed the advice of the consultants and by 1920 this substation removed to the fire station across the street and was then known as the Fountain Square Substation.

Prospect 1117 Radio Radio Google Street View 2009

After the police station left, the little cottage once again became a home until it was razed in the late 1920s to make way for a one-story concrete block and brick commercial building adjacent to the Fountain Square Theatre. It housed a variety of businesses through the years, including the Standard Grocery Company in the 1930s,  Davis Cleaners (1940s-1950s), Fashion Cleaners (1959), Shorty’s Bike Shop (1960s-1970s), and the Fountain of Mystery Books (1980s-1990s)–a bookstore specializing in mystery books. Today the building is home to Radio Radio, an intimate concert venue owned by musician David “Tufty” Clough (Toxic Reasons and Zero Boys). The bar (named after an Elvis Costello song) has a comfortable, smoke-free lounge with a retro vibe and features top-notch local and national acts.

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4 responses to “Indianapolis Then and Now: Fountain Square Police Station No. 4 / Radio Radio, 1117-1119 Prospect”

  1. Louis Mahern says:

    Next to the Fountains of Mystery was the book store Odds and Eads. Mr. Eads owned it and his wife owned Fountains of Mysteries. in the 1990’s I bought many a volume of history at Odds and Eads.

  2. Tom Davis says:

    I went there a lot too and bought books relating to Indiana History and/or by Indiana authors, especially those buried at Crown Hill.

  3. Jean Ballew says:

    We loved both of those bookstores when we lived in Indianapolis in the 90’s. Mrs. Eads loved to chat about various mystery series as she, of course, read so many herself.

  4. Nan says:

    My two friends and I would go to these two bookstores and spend eight hours at a time browsing through the many books. Odds and Eads reminded me of an old New York book store wit the ladders from floor to ceiling that moved horizonal. These teo book shops are sorely missed!

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