Article Archives: Building Blocks

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


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

“At the sign of the Big Red Rooster”

Late last month there were news reports of a “gas war” between two south side Indianapolis stations, which reminded me of the “gas wars” of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In those days of black and white television and “duck and cover,” a gallon of fuel was 21.9ȼ which … Read More

Profane, But Not Sordid

While sitting in church one Sunday last month, the pastor spoke the words you don’t want to hear, “I’ve got some bad news.” I settled back in the pew to hear about what is now broken and what small fortune it will take to get it fixed, but instead of … Read More