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Indiana Joneses: 1904

Indiana Joneses: 1904

Indianapolis, Indiana, circa 1904. "North Delaware Street." A block east of our previous Indy view, this leafy residential street is furnished with a mailbox and mounting blocks as well as hitching posts; one block bears the house number 656. Detroit Publishing Company, 8x10 inch glass transparency. View full size.


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Benjamin Harrison House

The Benjamin Harrison House is now used for naturalization ceremonies for new citizens. My father took the oath their just a few years ago.

Buggy Steps and Hitching Posts

Stone buggy steps and hitching posts can be seen in the mow strips along the curb. These can still be found sometimes although few know their original purpose.

Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music

I should be working instead of researching this, but there is a LOT of material available online for this area. The house with the mounting block with the number 656 seems to have been built by George D. Emery, a wealthy lumber baron, and later sold to Frederick M. Ayres, founder of a large department store. In 1928, this property and the one in the left foreground at 1116 N. Delaware were purchased by philanthropist Arthur Jordan and became the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music. Jordan died in 1934, but his trust purchased the Harrison house at 1230 N. Delaware in 1937, to use as a "female dormitory" for conservatory students. The conservatory moved to Butler University in 1951 (now Jordan College), and the Jordan trustees opened the Delaware Street property to the public as the Harrison Presidential house. More great Indianapolis info here.

Painful indeed!

These types of photos -- like the one of Portland, Maine, posted about a month ago -- invite us to step inside but also remind us of how our streetscapes have become homogenized. I do think of Benjamin Harrison, with his vast collection of walking sticks and canes, strolling up and down N Delaware!

Yes, painful!

I always want to step into these photos. They are so evocative. It is indeed painful how the landscapes and streetscapes of our country have been homogenized. I felt similarly about the photo of Portland, Maine, 1907 that was posted a few weeks ago.

Benjamin Harrison's Street

By the time this photo was taken, the houses had already been renumbered. Obviously, the person at 656 liked his mounting block the way it was. Sometime prior to 1898, 656 Delaware became 1204 Delaware. This house was next door to President Benjamin Harrison's house at 1230 Delaware. (which explains the reason for the photographers interest in this street).

In later years, a large Christan Scientist church (now a Jehovah Witness assembly hall) was built across the street from #656. The church building is still there, but #656 was absorbed into the Presidential House historic site at some point (maybe when the freeway was built?).

Indianapolis renumbering

The Street View shown is probably not of the same site as the 1904 photo. Indianapolis renumbered the homes and buildings on its downtown streets in 1911. Before then, the numbering scheme was not based on blocks from center, and could be a little difficult to decipher.

No cares!

I bet the man working with the broom thought he had a job for life!


While it is always interesting to see modern Google street views of Shorpy sites it's invariably distressing to see how much we have lost. This is one of the more dramatic contrasts I've seen. The original image is absolutely idyllic. I'd live there in a heartbeat. The modern view is hideously sterile. It's really sad.

Where did the trees go?

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