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We’ve all seen plenty of these around Indy, a home or commercial building covered in Insulbrick.

This one, on West New York Street looks as though it was once a store front–and despite its decrepit condition, captures the imagination: fodder for fascinating daydreams, imagining how a little neighborhood place like this once served its nearby community. ¬†If this place could talk, what would it have to say about Indy?

This sort of ¬†asphalt covering was a popular alternative to repairing or replacing wood siding from the 1930’s- 1960’s and the city still has much property swathed in the stuff. Having arrived here to 2013, however, it would be nice to see this little gem restored to its original exterior treatment. For some, buildings like this are what dreams are made of–reflecting on its past and wistful about its future…

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4 responses to “WTH: Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of…”

  1. Keith Brown says:

    Looks like the city did take down the apartmant / tenament buliding at the northeast corner of Washington St & Oriental. (near eastside) probably for the better as it looked like it was going to fall over soon enough.

  2. Aaron K says:

    The nice thing about “tuna canning” these facades is that the original integrity of the structure is often preserved. I agree that it is very interesting to see these structures shed their unsightly coverings to show their true colors/materials.

  3. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    This property is smack dab in the middle of “Stringtown,” just across the White River from downtown. If you look at the structure from its sides, it appears that it could have originally been a single-family residence. On the east (right) side of the house, there are the vestiges of a porch like you would see on a typical home built in the 1880s or 1890s. I can imagine a wrap-around porch across the front of the home and along one side of the home, with a door leading into the parlor and a second door leading into the dining room.
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    At some point, an owner of this property may have added the storefront onto the south (front) end of the home, which would have resulted in the porch along the front elevation going away. The house could also have had a pitched roof if it was a residence early in its life. Someone may have decided to reduce it to a flat roof, so that the building would appear more commercial. The place must have been owned by someone like a grocer, who could both operate a business and reside under the same roof.
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    It would no doubt be informative to remove the Insulbrick and see what’s underneath it. It would also be interesting to get inside this place and try to figure out just how it evolved. BTW, I note that this property is adjacent to and immediately west of your January 9th WTH installment, “Taste The Rainbow.” There seems to be plenty of fodder for “WTH Wednesday” in the neighborhood. It doesn’t appear that the City of Indianapolis has paid much attention to the things that were done to properties in Stringtown over the years, which is a shame.

  4. Dawn Olsen says:

    Hmmm … something about that last sentence, “reflecting on its past and wistful about its future”, that makes me want to dig a little deeper into this poor little property…