Ardmore Block, 1936. Image courtesy: Bass Photo Co. Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Preservation month may be over, but on this website, its a point of passionate advocacy at all times.

Another one of Indy’s long-forgotten corner buildings– that seems like it did not absolutely need to be demolished– stood at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Delaware and New York streets, built by local banker Volney T. Malott in 1897.

Construction on the Ardmore started sometime after April and designed by the firm of D. A. Bohlen and Son and the cost anticipated at $35,000. The Ardmore replaced the “Clem Grocery Corner, an old one-story brick building erected in 1868 by Mrs. Gillespie for Aaron Clem.

1887 Sanborn showing site of future Ardmore block (IUPUI Digital Library)

The new Ardmore was a four-story brick building with terra cotta and stone trim stretching 181 feet on Massachusetts Avenue and 149 feet, 10 inches on Delaware Street. The building was designed by D. A. Bohlen and Son with eight store rooms on the ground floor. The apartments in the upper floors were originally offered in configurations of two, three or five rooms. Early ads offered single and en suite rooms in this “elegant, modern” apartment building, with free heat and water, elegantly carpeted stairways and halls, and an elevator that ran “all hours.”

1898 ad for Keller’s at the Ardmore

One of the first businesses in the building was a grocer/ butcher called Keller’s opened in the most prominent retail spot on the corner by the end of 1897. They were replaced in 1905 with clothing store, R. C. Bennett, which became Bennett & Swain in 1910 and in June 1927, back to R. C. Bennett, solo again. In august 1930, burglars gained entry to the basement, and while the shop was closed on the weekend, bored a hole in the shop’s floor and absconded with $1500 worth of merchandise. That, along with the Great Depression, was not good for business, and the store went into bankruptcy in November 1931.

1905 Fire sale at Parisian Cloak House

1929 ad for R. C. Bennett Co.

From May 1932 through 1955, Hoffman’s Sporting Goods rented the corner shop space. As with any commercial building standing for decades, the building saw numerous other businesses come and go. Geiger’s Candy store; a Parisian Cloak House–which survived a 1905 fire in the building– eventually bought out by W. V. Hargrove; a milliner; a plumber; a paint and wallpaper store.

1912 ad for Moore Millinery in the Ardmore building

1887 ad for Bertermann Bros, in the same block years before the Ardmore replaced their earlier space.

The longest tenant by far preceded the building and remained there until they had to vacate for the demolition:┬áBertermann’s Floral Conservatory–a shop and greenhouse– was the one constant for many decades. They also briefly had a space in the Pembroke Arcade.

In July 1956, the Ardmore had its interior wiring updated, as many older buildings in the city were doing the same.

In the fall of 1968, the word was out that the building would be demolished, along with everything else within the two triangular slices bordered by New York, Penn, Delaware and Ohio streets.

Zebrowski sold what he could off the building, including a few urns off the parapet of the Ardmore before September 1968, but misplaced the names of the purchasers and advertised in the paper for those individuals to contact him if they still wanted their purchases.

Though the Ardmore became the home base for the George A. Fuller Company–contractors for the new Indiana National Bank Tower– that didn’t mean the building would be spared. The contractors moved into the 16th floor of the new building once it was up, so they could replace the Ardmore with a ramp that would allow trucks to enter the basement dock area of the INBT garage from the street. Sure, why keep a beautiful historic building when you can have a barren wasteland to service the back side of the shiny new building that just marred the face of the city’s map.


The last remaining wall of the Ardmore crumbled on March 16, 1970. Since then, the space has been an asphalt eyesore.

As of 2019, a new development is slated to be built upon the Ardmore’s grave. It may not be a charming old flat iron building, but the name will be revived. Here’s hoping there’s a flower shop.

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