Since June’s monthly theme is about the great outdoors, we’ve been looking around at trees a lot: in parks, along streets, in plazas, in yards. The topic of this article is an historic vestige of the Meridian Street mansions. The tree is a Ginkgo tree located behind the former WFYI building at 14th and Meridian, now home to Apparatus. It is approximately 50″ in diameter and likely 100-125 years old. The tree is surrounded by parking lot, and is unfortunately overshadowed by power lines and a transmission tower.
However, somehow it has survived–thrived even–in the face of adverse conditions. Jud Scott, registered arborist, in a walking tour of Indianapolis trees, says, “This is sort of like an archaeological ruin. You see it and know there’s a history behind it. This was somebody’s yard when it was still a homestead however long ago.”
Based on our research, the home located at 1415 North Meridian was that of the Henry Pierce family. The home was a classic example of Georgian architecture. Photos from the Bass photo collection are available here. The ginkgo tree may be one of the trees in the background on the right side of the photos.
The home was demolished in the late 20’s or early 30’s and replaced with a car lot. The WFYI building was built by 1962.
The ginkgo tree was there for it all and will continue to be a little known gem in the city of Indianapolis.
The building now used by Apparatus was originally built for WLW-I (now WTHR), and completed roughly a year after the station went on the air in 1957. They operated from temporary studios at the Roberts Hotel in the interim. In 1981, WTHR moved to new facilities at 1000 N. Meridian, and WFYI moved in, eventually outgrowing the building and an annex established the next building to the north, and relocating to the former Vectern building at 16th and Meridian.
Came here from the Anthropocene Reviewed Podcasts’ most recent episode (as of 6/30), discussing a particular Ginko Biloba in Indianapolis. Not sure if this is the right one, but regardless, what a beauty. Here’s to surviving – thriving even – in adverse conditions.