Surely you’ve heard by now: Bush Stadium is not going to be flattened, but rather, is going to be creatively integrated into a new complex of  “Stadium Lofts,” and in so doing, preserving a beloved former ‘regular’ on the Indiana Landmarks 10 Most Endangered List. Friday October 28, 2011- a small crowd gathered for a “Dusty Boots tour,” manned by the fabulous volunteers of Indiana Landmarks, which was kicked off with words from Mayor Ballard, John Watson and Indiana Landmarks President, Marsh Davis and others. What started life as Perry Stadium in 1931, will be integrated into 136 loft apartments- the aforementioned “Stadium Lofts.”  A sign with proposed rendering stands facing 16th Street amongst other signs (see below).

Rendering of Stadium Lofts

Sign outside Bush Stadium, facing 16th

There were 50-100 people or so on hand to wander the old halls and land. The transformation will be fascinating to observe, and will undoubtedly raise the bar on what the limits of ‘adaptive reuse’ may be.

I randomly asked some gentlemen if they had attended games here, and turned out, (lucky me) they are still involved with the Indianapolis Indians. I’m notorious for sticking my foot in my mouth, and go figure, I found later (after fully reading the business card I was handed), the first gentleman who appears in the following clip is the Chairman of the Board & President of the Indianapolis Indians. He is noting the way the crumbling steps are revealing the underlying infrastructure. Apologies for the poor sound on that part and the lackluster interviewing skills. I love what Mark Schumacher had to share: especially the fact that his parents met in this place. Countless and untold other romances  undoubtedly sprouted here as well. How fabulous that future generations will have a real place to visit, rather than a giant placard.

Entering the Dusty Boots tour


What it must have been like to see these halls overflowing with giddy fans…

Though you can barely make it out, the number on this one is 41, 407- and it was still working, despite having its guts open to the elements…

Gorgeous detail on column

Heading into the stands

Looking towards the outfield

Love the art deco details like the one below- hallmarks of architects, Pierre & Wright, to remain for posterity.

Gorgeous Limestone/ Art Deco Detail

Though I have heard from a couple of people they are not fans of this idea, I applaud the innovation and creativity it took to save this landmark. I’m not a big sports person, but I understand that this place has hosted thousands of people: from the every day to the famous, and I’m thrilled it isn’t headed for a scrap heap. This is the same kind of creative problem solving employed by the Cook Family–the place must have a use that can generate money. Saving and restoring a place just for saving’s sake isn’t practical or responsible, and despite what our heart’s may sometimes yearn for, practicality usually has its say.

View from the outfield


5 responses to “Sunday Prayers: A Hail Mary Saves Bush Stadium”

  1. Joel Goodwin says:

    This has long been one of my favorite hidden treasures of Indy. Granted it has lost its luster over the years but on a recent photography adventure I took some shots that reminded me of the former glory. As probably many have similar memories, I went and heard my first crack of the bat at Bush Stadium. Whether you appreciate it for the childhood memories, know its architectural significance or remember its backdrop roll in the movie Eight Men Out, it is a historical gem. Can you imagine seeing the great Randy Johnson, Roger Maris or Ken Griffey Jr. play there? They did! Or if your like me the name Razzzzzorrrrr Shines brings back the memories faster than any name that may be more famous outside Bush Stadium but not nearly as famous inside the walls. I am so excited that Indianapolis understands the importance of Bush Stadium and will be anxious to see the end product. Thanks Tiffany for capturing the great pictures and telling the story!

  2. Jeff Downer Indianapolis says:

    I too was pleased when I first heard of this project. For the life of me I couldn’t figure what they could with the place. Kudos to an imaginative and useful solution.

  3. Miriam says:

    I went to many, many Indians games at Bush Stadium when I was a child. It is very sad to see that is has fallen into such disrepair as I vividly remember going into the stadium and thinking that it was such a grand and beautiful place (as it obviously was). I am torn about the idea for the lofts, but ultimately it saves most of the historic resource…which is the ultimate goal.

  4. Jack says:

    Will there be any more tours? I’m sad to have missed this. Great post as always!

  5. Jeff Emery says:

    I am also glad to see that they are going to redevelop Bush Stadium. There a LOT of memories there.
    My Dad used to take me and my two brothers there whenever he could. A few times we’d run into my uncle & cousin, and we’d go down & sit with them in the box seats later in the game. Years later, We started taking our daughter to games, she played softball & loved to watch the games. My wife & I, my daughter, & my mom & dad were all there for the last game on July 3rd 1996 which was our 20th anniversary, & my dad had our names run across the scoreboard announcing our anniversary. Lots of memories. Thank you, Tiffany for the story & pictures.

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