Courtesy of the Indianapolis Fire Department (top, 1952) and Google Street View (bottom, 2010)

This intersection was not photographed often, so I was thrilled to find this small diner documented in the background of an accident negative made by the Indianapolis Fire Department on February 3, 1952. Stachler’s Grill, shown in its Art Moderne glory, was a popular hang-out for policemen and city employees. Catty cornered from Indianapolis City Hall and a block from the jail, it served food remembered as typical greasy spoon fare.  The only other surviving building in the 1952 view is the Gulf Insurance Company building. In the distance is the spire of the German Lutheran Trinity Church on the corner of Ohio and East Streets. Overhead is a crisscross of wires to power the trackless trolley (or trolleybus) that continued until 1957.

Today (Google Street View, 2010) the little diner, now a bail bond business, has been stripped of its charm and the distinctive round windows and blocks are covered over. Newer condominiums (Firehouse Square on the left and The Hudson on the right) line both sides of Ohio Street and walkers enjoy the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

From the archive / originally published 17 March 2011

4 responses to “Indianapolis Then and Now: Ohio and Alabama Streets”

  1. Kevin J. Brewer says:

    Given the distance from the curbing of Alabama to Stachler’s Grill (the bail bond building) in the 2010 photo compared to 1952, it appears that Alabama was wider back then, contrary to the usual evolution of a street.

    It would appear that the 1952 street edge would be approximately at the pole and arm supporting the “Alabama St.” sign today.

  2. Kevin J. Brewer says:

    Joan, do you have any photographs of Trinity Lutheran Church? I don’t remember that one at all.

  3. Kevin says:

    Alabama was slightly narrowed to install the Cultural Trail, so that makes sense that it used to be wider.

    Also, I’ve commented before that I thought that the Bail Bonds structure looked like it was dropped off the back of the truck. Then I found out that it used to be a diner, so that would be actually correct on accident.

  4. Jeff Downer says:

    In defense of the bail bond office, I know the folks that work there and they have plenty of charm…well sort of.

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