White Castle No. 3, located on the northwest corner of Fort Wayne Avenue and Delaware Street, is the nation’s third-oldest surviving White Castle building. The small castle-shaped brick building, and hundreds of others across the country, primarily served small, inexpensive burgers known as “sliders” because the grease helps the love-em or hate-em burgers glide down the throat. Just two years before the Great Depression, this store opened  a wee bit smaller than seen here. Within a few years an addition was added to the back. Located just south of an Indianapolis Public School (Benjamin Harrison No. 2), former students recall that it was torture sitting in class with the smell of onions and burgers wafting in through the open windows.

Indianapolis Fire Department fighting fire, ca. 1950s (Indianapolis Firefighters Museum Collection, Digital Rights 2010 Indianapolis Public Library)

Indianapolis Fire Department fighting a blaze, ca. 1964. This view looks southwest down Fort Wayne Avenue. (Indianapolis Firefighters Museum Collection, Digital Rights 2010 Indianapolis Public Library)

This undated photograph, made by Indianapolis Fire Department photographer H. Stevens, documents ladder and engine #5 battling a fire in the two-story frame double located behind the restaurant. Based on the cars and license plate, this was likely taken in about 1964 based on the license plate, but we welcome your observations in pinpointing the date. Burgers are advertised at 12 cents each on the exterior sign.

(Google Street View, 2011)

(Google Street View, 2011)

The restaurant closed on April 30, 1979 after a run of 52 years. The diminutive building then served as a real estate office and most recently housed an Army and National Guard recruiting office. Read more about this White Castle in Nathan Bilger’s article “Preservation Affirmed: White Castle No. 3.”

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