Prior to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum’s current main building being opened in 1976, this former mansion at 30th and Meridian was its home from 1946-1973.

The Children’s Museum opened in 1925 in the carriage house of the Propylaeum, at the corner of 14th and Delaware Streets. That carriage house still stands. After moving to the shelterhouse in Garfield Park in 1926, the growing museum moved again into the mansion of its founder, Mrs. John N. Carey, at 1150 North Meridian Street. The mansion is now underneath I-65.

The Carey mansion remained its home through the 1930s and early 40s. The popularity of the museum as an inexpensive outing for families through the Depression and War years caused the assistant director Grace Golden to look for a new location for the museum. The St Clair C. Parry mansion seen above was purchased, and by late 1946, the museum was opened on its final site at 30th and Meridian.

Through the 50s and 60s, the museum grew and several additions and buildings extended across the former mansion estate. In 1972, problems with visitor capacity and inadequate exhibit space forced the decision to construct a new building. Starting in 1973, the various existing buildings were razed in stages and the new 203,000 square-foot building, the largest children’s museum in the world, opened October 2, 1976.

We do not know if any pieces of the mansion were retained in the museum collection; it would not be surprising.

As one of Indianapolis’ greatest attractions, the museum, in the mansion or its current building, was ingrained in the memories of nearly every Hoosier child. Who has recollections to share of the prior homes of the Children’s Museum?

Primary source: Children’s Museum website.

4 responses to “Preservation Denied: Children’s Museum at 3010 N. Meridian”

  1. Jim McBride says:

    In the late 40’s my Dentist’s office was near, maybe next door to the Museum at 3101 N. Meridian. I would ride the bus from my home near 30th and Winthrop to my dental appointment and would go early so I could tour the small museum. (probably to get up my nerve). I love the new museum which I recently visited from my home in Denver, but of course miss the beautiful mansion at 3101. Note ; I graduated from Broad Ripple in 1956 and ran cross country all four years. I remember the carousel that is now at the museum being in Broad Ripple Park when we would run there. On my recent visit to Indy my wife and I rode the beautifully restored carousel. I still do my “impression of running” at the park on my many visits to Indy. Thank you Historic Indy for feeding my nostalgia. Jim

  2. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    Our pleasure, Jim. Thank you for sharing. We love connecting with others who share a love of Indy and its many fascinating stories.

  3. richard t quinn says:

    l believe my great grandfather Sam Quinn’s home was one of the North Meridian homes razed to make room for the Children’s Museum. l would love to find some pictures of the house.

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