Perusing the pages of early 1900’s Indianapolis newspapers, you will occasionally come across an announcement for a new suburb–plotted out, ostensibly, by some entrepreneurial soul. It frequently appears with an accompanying map, such as the following from May 1916.

Though the state fairgrounds located north of this neighborhood, circa 1891, what is now the northeast tip ofย Mapleton-Fall Creek took almost 25 years to develop this tract.

Note that what was called “Fairground” in Osgood’s offering is now known as Fairfield.


This area was highly desirable. What do you think would be most appealing when they were brand new? Proximity to the State Fair, or fronting Fall Creek Boulevard?

7 responses to “Misc. Monday: Move to a New Subdivision! In 1916”

  1. Kevin Kastner says:

    Judging by the houses that are standing there today, It had to be the boulevard. Too bad it’s now a high-speed commuter racetrack.

  2. Chris Corr says:

    Very cool. Not surprising that relatively large parkway-fronting lots across from the creek were desirable at the time. They still would be if we didn’t ruin them by converting the parkway into a virtual expressway!

    Regarding the “FAIRGROUND” text on the map, I wonder if that may actually be labeling the streetcar line that used to run on Fairfield. They appear to be showing that route with the center-running darker dashed lines.

  3. Rachel Nelson says:

    Waterfront property! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not to mention it was far enough away from the city to keep you clear of traffic and unsavory characters. You had the benefit of natural beauty with the comforts of city living not too far away. Take a Sunday stroll down the parkway and wave to your equally fortunate neighbors. Alas, how things have changed. Thank you for posting this!

  4. Basil Berchekas Jr says:

    A tutor of mine who taught at Shortridge lived on Hemlock. An upscale neighborhood in the early 1960s…a beautiful area with potential for rehabilitation today.

  5. Robb says:

    Ha. We live in one of those Parkway-facing homes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, clearly the developers preferred these homes to those “deeper” into the neighborhood, just judging by the plot square footage and the facades of the various homes. We were told once (by a history buff, but I’ve not found any evidence on my own of this) that the homes of the neighborhood were actually toured by visitors of the State Fair to view the “new construction techniques” of the day. I’d love to know if that was true, but I have no idea. As for the traffic… yes, it’s a problem (although god bless brick facade and plaster walls: its really not bad inside with noise). We commonly talk about how preferable it would be to remove the “suicide lane” (middle) and replace it with dedicated turn lanes where necessary, otherwise with a grass median/landscaping. The Parkway is a stunningly beautiful drive south of the Fairgrounds, and it really is built as almost as a Freeway.. its too much, and its not safe. There are an amazing amount of accidents. Anyway… I enjoyed the article, and the old advertisement – thank you!

  6. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    The street was definitely called Fairgrounds Avenue in the early years of its existence. My family lived on Ruckle Street in the Fifties and Sixties, a block south of what was by then called Fairfield Avenue. I remember blue tiles with white lettering embedded in the concrete sidewalks at several intersections between Central Avenue and Woodland Avenue that read FAIRGROUNDS AVE (the letters on the tiles were all caps). Our mother told my siblings and me that Fairgrounds was the original name of the street.
    Check out the 1916 Baist Atlas map. The word FAIRGROUNDS is towards the southwest end of the diagonal street, and the abbreviation AVE is towards the northeast end of it: :

  7. Allison Summers says:

    I would love to learn more about where this was sourced from! I’m looking at a home in the area and would love to have a copy!

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