Alexander Ralston’s original plan for Indianapolis consisted of a regular gridwork of streets, overlaid with four avenues virtually intersecting on the center, now known as Monument Circle. Instead of converging, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Kentucky Avenues stopped one block away from the circle.

Ralston's Mile Square
Original Ralston plan of 1821

That is, until the early 1970s. While Virginia Avenue has remained relatively intact, the opening of the new Indiana National Bank headquarters in 1970 closed the first block of Massachusetts Avenue, and Indiana Avenue was cut back in the late 70s by construction of the AUL Tower. However, Kentucky Avenue has suffered the worst of the four avenues.

View of the Illinois/Washington/Kentucky Ave intersection, 1854 and 1916. Kentucky Ave is to the left side. (Centennial guide to Indianapolis)

The former end of Kentucky Ave, 2010. Same view angle as above, Kentucky Ave would have been to the left. (Google Streetview)

With the building of the Indianapolis Convention-Exposition Center in 1972, Kentucky Avenue had been cut back to Missouri Street, shortening the avenue by three blocks. The 1977 erection of the Hyatt Regency and then the Hoosier Dome solidified the destruction of the street. Currently, Kentucky Avenue ends at West Street, some four blocks short of Ralston’s original plan.

kentuckyave-1941 kentuckyave-1979
Aerial views of Kentucky Ave, 1941 and 1979

kentuckyave-1986 kentuckyave-2010
Aerial views of Kentucky Ave, 1986 and 2010 (aerials from IMAGIS)

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