The Blacherne
Location: Downtown
Named after:  Suburb of Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey)

The Blacherne was the first luxury high-rise apartment building in Indianapolis.  It was developed by General Lew Wallace, the famous Indiana military leader and author of Ben Hur.

Blancerne 3


From 1881 to 1885, under Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, Wallace served as the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) where he lived in Istanbul.

Blancherne 2

He named the building after Blachernae, a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey, that is home to the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae.


That’s what’s behind this name. To learn more about the building’s history, go here. Photos courtesy of Ryan Hamlett.

5 responses to “What’s in a Name: The Blacherne”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    There was also an old Byzantine Palace built of red stone at Blacherne that this apartment building appears to resemble as well as the Church of Saint Mary of Blacherne (Eastern Orthodox). A very informative article!

  2. mike says:

    I recall reading or hearing that James Whitcomb Riley had an apt. in that building at one time. (?)

  3. Christy Scofield says:

    In the early 1970’s, artist Mildred Niesse did a wonderful painting of the Blacherne. It was one of those available at the IMA Rental Gallery. Wish we’d purchased it.

  4. Doug Meagher says:

    Side Note: In the Lew Wallace study in Crawfordsville is a letter to the Wallace family informing them that the General’s son had been killed in WWI. The Blacherne is specifically included in the letter’s address.

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