It was my co-worker who posed the question. “So, you write about dilapidated properties, right?”
“Yes,” I grinned, “and I’m always up for more ideas.”
Historic Indianapolis appreciates and loves your comments, suggestions, and questions. We are ever-eager to hear your memories and see your photos. We want to hear your stories—Indy’s stories—and share them with others.
So, this time, instead of putting together an in-depth look at one—and only one—property, I thought I could let you—the reader, the lover of history, the resident of Indianapolis—choose. Below are six properties—two residential homes, two corner commercial buildings, one theater, and one residential complex comprising eight doubles. If any of the properties intrigue you, share your thoughts below; I’ll feature the buildings in future Sunday Prayers posts. And, of course, if you have additional suggestions (especially any in the west or south), share them as well!
Rivoli Theater, 3155 E. 10th St.
The Rivoli Theater was constructed in 1927, and was designed by architect Henry Ziegler Dietz in Spanish Mission Revival style. Joan Hostetler formerly featured the Rivoli in an Indianapolis Then and Now post in Aug. 2012. The Rivoli was the first Universal Studios-owned theatre in Indiana and was proclaimed as a “new home of happiness for the entire family.” In 1937, Universal sold the theater to Joseph Cantor, who used it for both live performances and motion pictures. Since 1992, however, the theater has been vacant. In 2007, it was acquired by the Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., whose mission is to preserve and rehabilitate the property. A public information session concerning the Rivoli will be held at 6 p.m., May 1, at the John H. Boner Community Center (located at 2236 E. 10th St.).
1415 S. Olive St.
Built circa 1910, this gambrel-roof home has had the word “foreclosure” attached to it in recent times. Though it has been well-cared for in the past, we all know that a vacant home can sometimes remain just that—empty.
3201 E. 10th St.
This property shares a corner, Dearborn and 10th, with the Rivoli Theater. The 1915 Sanborn Map (updated to 1941), dissects the building into five businesses (the front entrances still are visible today). Behind the property were five structures, including three residential homes. Since then, all five buildings have been demolished. Today, this structure sits on an L-shaped lot that consists of two parcels. Both parcels are owned by the Riley Area Development Corporation. Surprisingly, the boarded-up windows and doors are almost cheerful—the sky-blue plywood is bedecked with airplanes.
1726 Cottage Ave.
These doubles instantly caught my eye. “Stop the car!” I half-shrieked to my fiancé, who willingly paused in the middle of the street. An early estimate states that the homes were built circa 1922. The homes do not face Cottage, which runs east-west. Rather, they face each other and, according to the Sanborn Maps, “Emily Court” is the name of the grassy patch that separates them. The Maps also reveal that there was once a dwelling at the north end of the complex (perhaps the home of the owner or property manager?). That particular building has since been leveled.
2151 N. College Ave.
This sad structure overlooks the corner of College and 22nd streets, one of countless corner buildings that have grown old and forgotten. It was built sometime before 1914, and most likely supplied College Ave. residents with a variety of goods and services. There were three storefronts that faced College, and the upper levels were probably used as apartments or offices (to be determined later with further research).
(Post script: since demolished, circa 2014)
1301 Broadway St.
This Italianate home has been empty for awhile. Unfortunately, in the three years since it was featured, the home has changed little; sawhorses remain atop the gray brick, and bits of scaffolding are anchored nearby. The home—located in Old Northside—could be beautiful once more. It is situated just a few blocks from the immaculate Morris-Butler House, and is across the street from the McKay House (also vacant at this time).