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Historic Structures of

Indianapolis, Indiana

Public Buildings

Indianapolis, in the central part of the state, is the capital of Indiana and seat of Marion Co. In 1821 the community was named Indianapolis, and the U.S. engineer Alexander Ralston who assisted the French architect Pierre L'Enfant in planning Washington, D.C., was commissioned to lay out the community.

Incorporated as a city 1847, and the largest city in Indiana, Indianapolis is a commercial manufacturing, transportation, and cultural center situated in the productive Corn Belt agricultural region.

Points of interest include the home of President Benjamin Harrison; the home of the Hoosier Poet James Whitcomb Riley; the State Capitol (completed 1888); Union Station; the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1902), in Monument Circle, the heart of the city; Woodruff Place and Lockerbie Square historic districts; Indiana World War Memorial Plaza, including the American Legion national headquarters building; and the Gothic-style Scottish Rite Cathedral.

In the 1960s and '70s major programs of urban redevelopment were undertaken by the city. Indianapolis does not have the most progressive attitude toward historic preservation in the state, but a growing awareness of the city's architectural assets has resulted in a thriving preservationist community.

Christ Church Cathedral (1859) 125 Monument Circle Gothic Revival Public Buildings of IndianapolisChrist Church Cathedral (1859)

125 Monument Circle

Notice how the Columbia Club Building next door was built out of similar materials to complement the church next door.

Then, of course, we have the modern, out-of-proportion skycraper in back. One wonders if it caused foundation problems for this poor church, due to settling of the newer structure! It has happened elsewhere.

This church is a fine example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture, characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. This broad style of architecture stemmed from a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries aimed at reviving the spirit and forms of Gothic architecture.


Independent Turnverein, Public Buildings of Indianapolis Indiana

Independent Turnverein (1914)

902 N. Meridian St.

(A Turnverein is an athletic club.)


Athenaeum Building, Public Buildings of Indianapolis, Indiana

Athenaeum Building (1894)

401 E. Michigan St.


 Central Library, Classical Revival, Public Buildings of Indianapolis, Indiana

Central Library (1916)

40 E. St. Clair St.

Classical Revival, a popular style for government buildings.

These photos are courtesy of the photographer, Mike Habeck ( Mike is with EcoIndiana and, in addition to being concerned about historic architecture, is also looking out for the state's natural environment. Our thanks to Mike for sharing these photos with us.

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