Article Archives: Building Blocks

Building Blocks is a monthly feature by historian Steve Barnett about historic properties on the east side of Indianapolis.

Naughty and Nice . . .

‘Tis the Season…frosty morns and ebony nights illuminated by bright multicolored lights — reflected and shimmering on moist pavement — and the scent of pine and candle wax everywhere. Shoppers scurry amid the tinkling of Salvation Army bells and children’s eyes are full of wonderful delights. A special treat might … Read More

“Everybody Comes to Rick’s”

“Festive haunts of pleasure seekers” date to at least the fifteenth century (or maybe earlier to the Cavern on the Green frequented by the Flintstones and Rubbles) when Parisians sought drink and food — no song and dance — at the Suckling Calf, the Valley of Misery, and the Pomme … Read More


Nearly fifty years ago Indianapolis and Marion County government changed with “Unigov,” as the unified government for the Consolidated City of Indianapolis was called. The city limits became coterminous with the county lines and the mayor of Indianapolis became the county executive. The county assessor, auditor, and treasurer became the … Read More

Gilded Dreams and Bubbles

As an historian, I love maps, especially old maps — folding maps — atlases, especially atlases. I liked to flip though encyclopedias as a kid. The occasional photo was usually in black and white, so when I came across a map in color with its palette of pinks, greens, blues, … Read More

A Place to Call Home

Today we live in a world governed by numbers; from social security numbers to PINs to area codes, names are irrelevant. Even where we live is a number, beginning with street addresses and then postal ZIP codes. Thanks to modern technology and GPS, I now live at 39.7685° N, 86.0708° … Read More