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A TIMELINE OF FAITH AND COMMUNITY:

UNITED NORTHWEST AREA, 1839 TO 1996

1839

The Central Canal opens.  Disappointing as a transportation route, the canal succeeds in drawing industry and settlers to the western edges of Indianapolis.  For instance, Nathaniel West built a cotton mill near where the Central Canal crossed the Michigan Road.  This area eventually becomes known as Cottontown.

1863

Crown Hill is incorporated as a nonprofit, nondenominational cemetery located nearly three miles northwest of the Circle.  By 1864, a mule-drawn street railway has extended to the cemetery.  Many residents visit Crown Hill on weekends to enjoy the green spaces and landscaping.  Some settle near to the streetcar station in a village that becomes known as Mapleton.  By 1967, when the United Northwest Area organizes, Crown Hill includes 555 acres and is the nation’s third largest cemetery.

1869

Mt. Zion Baptist Church is founded nine miles southwest of Indianapolis. Three years later, the church moves to 11th and Lafayette streets.

1872

Golden Hill is platted on the northwest edge of present-day UNWA.  The area is not developed until businessman David Parry buys the property early in the 20th century and builds his personal estate on it.

1873

The Udell Ladder Works, the North Indianapolis Wagon Works, and the Henry Ocow Manufacturing Company locate in the neighborhood, emphasizing its desirability and growth as an industrial center. The industrial suburb of North Indianapolis is platted for the area

1878

The Belt Line Railroad is completed. The railroad’s western terminus on the northwest side spurs further industrial development.

1879

The Rev. T. R. Prentiss, founder of the church that later becomes Barnes United Methodist, begins conducting services in the homes of community members. In 1889, the church builds its first permanent meeting place with money and land donated by Albert Barnes.

1885

First Baptist Church is founded.

1891

Indianapolis Country Club organizes and locates on southwest of Michigan Road and Maple Road (now 38th Street).  Members develop a clubhouse, tennis courts, and a nine-hole golf course at this site.

1895

Residents of North Indianapolis successfully appeal to be annexed into the city in order to take advantage of cheaper natural gas rates.

1898

Flanner House, a settlement house for African Americans, is founded in a cottage donated by Indianapolis mortician Frank Flanner.  In 1911, with help from the Women’s Board of Missions, Flanner House moves to larger facilities on North West Street and expands its services and programs.

1900

Newly laid interurban (electric railway) lines in the area make it more accessible and help it blossom as a residential area.

1903

Riverside Amusement Park opens at 30th Street and White River with a “double eight toboggan railway” and several concession stands. The park owners soon adds various other attractions, including two large roller coasters. The 26-acre park has more than two dozen rides by mid-century.

 

Holy Angels Catholic parish is founded, and a building is built at the corner of 28th and Martin Luther King, Jr. streets. The church’s first full-time priest is appointed the following year.

1904

Riverside Methodist Episcopal Sunday School begins meeting in one side of a double on Roache Street. A year later, the church is officially organized and breaks ground for a building, which is completed and dedicated in 1906.

1906

Mt. Paran Baptist Church is founded.

1907

Holy Angels School is founded as the parish school of Holy Angels Catholic Church.

1908

Garfield T. Haywood founds Christ Temple Church on West Michigan Street. The church moves several times before settling at 430 W. Fall Creek Parkway in 1923.

1913

St. Vincent Hospital relocates from South and Delaware streets to Fall Creek Parkway.

1914

Indianapolis Public School 42 opens.

 

After the clubhouse at the Indianapolis Country Club burns, the membership splits to form two new organizations.  The Country Club of Indianapolis moves to the far-westside and Woodstock Country Club remains at the existing location.

1915

Following David Parry’s death, the family subdivides his Golden Hills estate and hires a landscape architect to plan the area, which becomes an affluent neighborhood of curving streets and large, architecturally diverse homes.

1916

Nationally known urban planner and landscape architect George Edward Kessler presents plan for a city part along White River north of 16th Street, to be known as Riverside Park.

1923 

The Children’s Museum moves from Garfield Park to the Carey Mansion at 1150 North Meridian Street.

1929

Riverside Methodist Church builds a building at 2440 N. Harding.

1930

Population of UNWA is approximately 36,195: 80.4 percent white; 19.6 percent black.

1936

Indianapolis Public School 87, a school for “colored” children, opens on Indianapolis Avenue. It replaces a facility consisting of five portable buildings heated by stoves, with toilets and drinking fountains located outside.

1939

A stone memorial colonnade is erected in Riverside Park and dedicated to Thomas Taggart, mayor of Indianapolis from 1895-1901. Under Taggart’s leadership, the city purchased the land that would become Riverside Park.

 

Pilgrim Baptist Church is founded.

1940

UNWA population is approximately 37,456 -- 75.4 percent white; 24.6 percent black.

1944

Flanner House moves into new headquarters at 333 West 16th Street under the direction of Cleo Blackburn. Blackburn broadens the scope of Flanner House’s operations to include a wide range of programs—among them employment services, vocational training, health services, and a day nursery.

1946

The Children’s Museum purchases its first building, the Parry mansion at 3010 North Meridian Street.

1948

An Indianapolis Times article describes Christ Temple Church as “the only interracial Protestant congregation in Indianapolis.” One estimate puts the membership at 60 percent black and 40 percent white.

1949

Indianapolis Public School 42 is named in honor of its principal for more than twenty years, the African American educator Elder W. Diggs.

1950

UNWA population is approximately 38,386—66.7 percent white; 33.1 percent black.

1951

First Baptist Church moves from 980 Burdsall Parkway to Udell Street.  In 1979, the church builds a new building one street south, on the northeast corner of 28th and Annette streets.

1952 

An estimated 1 million people visit Riverside Amusement Park.

1953

Mt. Paran Baptist Church announces a home nursing service for its membership. The service is staffed by fifty-six men and women trained by the Red Cross.

 

Northside New Era Baptist Church dedicates its newly completed building at 30th and Ethel Streets.

 

City announces plan to use federal highway funds to construct a highway system connecting to a proposed interstate road network.  Local plans call for an outer belt encircling the city, as well as freeways connecting downtown Indianapolis.

1960

UNWA population is approximately 39,544: 27.1 percent white; 72.7 percent black.

 

Mt. Zion Baptist Church begins meeting in its new building at 3500 Graceland Ave. The church, which costs more than half a million dollars, is described as “the most imposing edifice in Indiana” by the Indianapolis Recorder.

 

Proposed plan for interstate highways includes roads through northwestern neighborhoods.  State officials begin purchase of homes, businesses, and churches in the highway right-of-way.

1962

Riverside United Methodist remodels its building under the direction of its first African American pastor.

 

Residents of northwestern neighborhoods in the path of the proposed interstate highway protest prices offered for properties.  Community Service Council of Indianapolis urges additional aid for displaced families.

1965

The Rev. Boniface Hardin is appointed associate pastor of Holy Angels Catholic Church, becoming the first black pastor in the parish.. Holy Angels is by this time a predominantly black parish, the third such parish in Indianapolis.  Father Hardin assumes a leadership role in the anti-highway movement.

1967

United Northwest Area Association is formed to fight crime and poverty and to lobby for improved city services. As an umbrella organization, UNWA includes three historically distinct neighborhoods: Riverside to the south, United Northwest in the center, and Crown Hill to the north. Each has its own neighborhood organization.

 

Flanner House moves to 2110 N. Illinois Street.

 

Mt. Paran Baptist Church, displaced from its 12th Street location by the construction of I-65, moves to a new building at 3431 Boulevard Place. The same year, Dr. C. Henry Bell, the church’s pastor since 1927, retires from full-time ministry and is named pastor emeritus.

 

The pastor of Riverside Methodist Church implements a youth program in an attempt to “fill the void left by the city administration’s failure to provide adequate recreation and other services in the area.” The church also serves as the home of a local neighborhood organization, Riverside Civic League.

1969

Mt. Zion Baptist Church opens Andrews Gardens, an apartment complex for seniors, at 3333 Boulevard. Two years later, the church dedicates Mt. Zion Apartments at 3655 Boulevard.

 

The archbishop of Indianapolis attempts to relocate Rev. Boniface Hardin of Holy Angels Catholic Church to a parish outside of the city but reconsiders in the wake of strong opposition from parishioners.  The aborted action came in response to complaints about Hardin’s outspoken style and high-profile protests on behalf of the black community.

1970

UNWA population is approximately 32,624: 10.2 percent white; 89.6 percent black.  Nearly 3,000 residents have left the neighborhood since 1960, reflecting displacement from highway construction.

 

Pilgrim Baptist Church burns, and the church temporarily holds services in the 25th Street Baptist Church. Pilgrim rebuilds and dedicates its new building the following year.

 

Riverside Amusement Park closes.

 

Holy Angels Catholic School receives a grant from the Lilly Endowment to implement an “open-classroom” structure and a new curriculum that allows students learn at their own pace.

1972

With the help of a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Mt. Zion Baptist Church buys land around its building and begins constructing a complex that will include a baby clinic, a nursery and day-care center, and a nursing home under the name Mt. Zion Center, Inc. The complex, which is completed in stages over the next few years, results from the vision of Mt. Zion’s pastor, Rev. R. T. Andrews, to provide “cradle-to-grave care” for the community.

1973

The Children’s Museum razes its Parry house facilities and begins construction on a new building, which is completed three years later.

1975

Construction of the I-65 and I-70 “inner loop” completed.  Critics charge that highway construction has displaced residents and divided the neighborhoods of UNWA.

1974

St. Vincent Hospital relocates to a new facility on West 86th Street, leaving its Fall Creek Parkway location. The hospital had been the largest employer in the neighborhood.

 

Christ Temple Church completes a nearly $1 million renovation project.

1976

Mt. Zion Baptist Church begins offering college credit courses in partnership with Indiana Central University.

1978

By order of the city’s Division of Code Enforcement, the rides and buildings at Riverside Amusement Park are razed.

1979

Flanner House moves into a new, $1.25 million facility at 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. As a multi-service center, it administers federal and state welfare programs, houses a branch library, and conducts senior citizen and child-care programs.

 

The United Northwest Area Development Corporation is founded to “address the economic and development needs within the United Northwest Area community.” The corporation lists as its priorities “construction of new low/moderate income housing, rehabilitation of existing housing stock, and development of a program to encourage and support home-ownership.”

1980

UNWA population is approximately 26,509: 7.2 percent white; 92.3 percent black.  Population has decreased by over 10,000 people since 1970.  Population decline blamed primarily on highway construction.

 

In honor of the founder of Christ Temple Church, the City of Indianapolis names a stretch of Fall Creek Parkway, from Riverside Drive to Keystone Avenue, “Bishop Garfield Haywood Memorial Way.”

1981

IPS School 41 closes.

1982

Pilgrim Baptist Church establishes Pilgrim Multi-Service Development, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to provide social services such as counseling, job placement, a food pantry, and health care to the neighborhood.

1983

Christ Temple Church founds Christ Temple Christian Academy for children from pre-school through third grade.

1984

In honor of the former pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the city renames a stretch of Boulevard Place “Rev. R. T. Andrews Memorial Way. “

1986

Michigan developer Mel Sachs purchases an option to buy the Riverside Amusement Park site and agrees in 1990 to pay $600,000.  In 1993 he defaults on the property which is then sold to the City of Indianapolis.

1987

Barnes United Methodist Church dedicates a new sanctuary.

1990

Blackburn Health Center opens at 2700 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. Operated by Wishard Memorial Hospital, the center is named in honor of Cleo Blackburn, an African American minister and social worker who served for nearly forty years as the director of Flanner House.

 

The decennial U. S. census shows that UNWA’s population is 16,738. The unemployment rate is 16 percent, the median household income is $14,733, and nearly one-fourth of all families in the neighborhood live below the poverty level.

1991

Golden Hill is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1992

The Department of Metropolitan Development identifies the United Northwest Area as a neighborhood of special need and targets a portion of it as a redevelopment area.

1994

Construction begins on a new building for IPS School 42. The facility, completed the following year at 1002 W. 25th Street, replaces a 66-year old structure on the same site. It has space for about 560 students, more than twice that of the old building.

 

In June, a chemical explosion rocks Central Soya’s feed mill and processing plant, located at 1160 West 18th Street, causing injury to four people and an evacuation of the surrounding neighborhood.  In October the company announces it will move soybean-processing operations elsewhere while maintaining the grain elevator and feed mill.

 

The city awards a $300,000 loan to UNWA Development Corporation to renovate and convert former IPS School 41 to accommodate low-income senior citizen housing.

1996

Phase One of the Pilgrim Apartments is completed by Pilgrim Baptist Church in partnership with the United Northwest Area Development Corporation. The first phase involves renovation of former School 41 into apartment units for senior citizens, business offices, and community rooms. When the remaining two phases are complete, the project is expected to provide a total of 94 apartments for seniors, a youth recreation center, and a counseling center.

 

In response to crowded conditions, Holy Angels pays for a feasibility study to assess the costs of expanding. The church plans to have a new parish hall and a new school by the year 2000.

 

Riverside Park United Methodist Church, founded in 1904 and one of the oldest churches in the area, moves to a new location west of UNWA’s boundaries. New Birth Baptist Church buys the building at 2440 Harding Street and begins meeting in it.

 

Mt. Zion Baptist Church begins renovating its former geriatric center, closed in 1996 due to a variety of problems and unexpected costs, into a site for the Head Start program.

 

The site of the former Riverside Amusement Park, now vacant land overgrown with weeds, is slated for redevelopment by the UNWA Development Corporation in partnership with Citizens Gas & Coke and Methodist Hospital. The group plans to construct single-family homes and condominiums on the site.  Marion County health officials express concern about development of the site since the 1978 demolition of the amusement park is alleged to have produced a massive outbreak of histoplasmosis (a respiratory ailment) in the city

 

In February the Hoosier Environmental Council files suit against the City of Indianapolis, seeking to invalidate a prior vote of the Metropolitan Development Commission’s plat committee and the city’s Board of Parks and Recreation that would allow development of a housing project on the Riverside Amusement Park site.  The environmental group argues that the land in question was public land and is part of the White River Greenway.

 

In May Marion County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Metz rules that he has no jurisdiction in a lawsuit filed by the Hoosier Environmental Council against the city to stop the use of public park land for residential development.



 
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