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Architects Pierre and Wright of Indianapolis designed the Ma-Co Market building in about 1928 for the Ma-Co Realty Company. It was located on the southeast corner of North College Avenue and 38th Street, formerly named Maple Road for all of the Maple trees lining the street. The building’s name was an amalgam of the two street names. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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The Art Deco structure featured limestone relief designs, leaded art glass windows, and a distinctive roofline on the two-story corner. It was developed as a market with adjoining office space. Ironically, one of the earliest tenants was Walgreen Drugs, for whom the building was later demolished. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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Tenants have included a record store, second-hand furniture, and the Mandarin Inn, still remembered by many residents for its Chinese-American food. (Ball State University, Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection)

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Despite the arguments of preservationists, the Ma-Co building was demolished in 1992. The area had greatly declined and neighbors were excited about having a new Walgreens. Developers felt that the structurally-sound building, by this time home to only a travel agency and hair products store, could not be modified into a useful space. The new Walgreens was constructed with a suburban mentality: it has a huge setback and parking lot in front. Note that salvaged architectural relief panels have been incorporated into the new parking lot wall.
(Google Street View, 2009)

The east wing of the Ma-Co building was spared the wrecking ball and today houses a Family Dollar store. Through the years it served as a movie theater and, after 1958, a coin laundry.

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11 responses to “Then and Now: The Ma-Co Building, Southeast corner of College Avenue and 38th Street”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    thank you, Joan. its unfortunate that the “city” let Walgreens use a cookie cutter “suburban mentality”
    design not in keeping with the neighborhood’s scale. The same thing happened with the Walgreens in Irvington at the northwest corner of Washington and Ritter Avenue. Totally out of scale with Irvington’s traditional business district. Same thing with a Burger King at West 38th near Capital in Mapleton…

  2. American Dirt (Eric M) says:

    Interestingly, we just received news today (4/1/13–no foolin’) that this Walgreens is slated to close. And the one mentioned by Basil Berchekas Jr in Irvington also closed for a new location down the street, leaving a vacant suburban prototype Walgreens with a huge parking lot, directly across the street from a surviving (if threatened) historic building at the other corner of Washington and Ritter.

  3. basil berchekas jr says:

    This IS unreal…and the “Ma-Co” corner’s Walgreens was induced (paid) by the City to reopen at that location after the civil disturbances of the late 1990s burned and looted the earlier Walgreens as well as other retail establishments on that corner…during that same period a Walgreens was burned off Fountain Sqaure, but apparently the area didn’t have the political pull to get the City to induce Walgreens to rebuild there, like on the North Side…

  4. Brenda H says:

    And to really make you feel ill… the Walgreens has announced that is closing its doors on May 17th, 2013. Destroyed a city treasure and barely lasted 20 years.

  5. Brenda H says:

    Sorry, just read the other comments (yes, should have done that first). I was already living in the neighborhood in the early 90’s but we weren’t very organized. I found out about the tear-down just a few weeks before it happened. Hopefully we have learned a thing or two since then, but it is a continual struggle.

  6. basil berchekas jr says:

    And to top it off, the City financially assisted Walgreens in building again at this location after the rioting that occurred in the latter 1990s to keep them from leaving the neighborhood…

  7. George Starkey says:

    The Family Dollar location (715 E. 38th St.) was also an A&P Grocery store in the 1960s & early 70s. I recall walking there from our home with my mother. However, the Kroger at 39th & College was a little closer, so that’s usually where we went after stopping off at the post office just north of it.

  8. George jr says:

    I remembered shopping at the Kroger 39th & College in the late 70s. It was a nice store. Too bad Kroger left area.

  9. Kris Needler says:

    Tearing down the Ma-Co building was a tragedy, And the Walgreens only lasted a few years before closing. A dollar tree for a while, now sits empty. Great for the neighborhood!?

  10. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    Nope, not good for the neighborhood. It never seems to be looking at long term plans though. People will settle for short-term “gains” or “progress,” despite the debatability of the usage of such words. 🙁

  11. basil berchekas jr says:

    Tiffany, you succinctly “summed up” the “narrow” and “short” mindset behind these decisions…

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