Locke Street: Erie Locke, Indianapolis City Councilman
Before becoming market rate apartments, Lockefield Gardens (designed by William Earl Russ) was one of the first public housing projects in the nation, with construction beginning in 1935.
The project takes its name from “Locke Street” which was the western boundary of the site and named in honor of Erie Locke, a city councilman representing the area in the 1860s and 1870s. “Field” was added to reflect the openness of the project’s site and give the project a bucolic image.
Major Erie Locke was born in 1822 in Cecil County, Maryland to Elam, who hailed from New York, and Pennsylvania native Jane Jones Locke. He married Pennsylvania native Rachel Coates in 1845, and they had at least five children. They lived in Cincinnati for while, but later settled in Indianapolis, where he worked as railroad agent and a paper merchant. During the Civil War, he was a major in the pay department for the Union Forces. He lived at 76 California Street.
Locke was elected to the Indianapolis City Council and served from 1857 to 1861 and again from 1869 to 1872. He was listed in a city directory as a “banker and broker” before he moved to Pasadena, California with his wife in 1874. He died in 1879 and is buried next to his wife, who died in 1890, in Altadena, California.