Article Archives: Building Blocks

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

Flickering Light on the Silver Screen, Part 1

The Paleface — Bob Hope singing “Buttons and Bows” and Jane Russell, well, being Jane Russell — is my earliest memory of seeing a motion picture show. I saw the film with my parents at The Indiana. A few years later I was old enough to join over 500 of … Read More

On Thin Ice

Winter sports in Indianapolis in the 1950s were very limited. Most of my outdoor activity centered around sledding on Brown’s Hill ([southwest corner of Washington St and Emerson Ave.), building snow forts, and engaging in snowball fights. Once there was a strange sight of a cross-country skier slowly gliding across … Read More

“Over the River & Through the Woods….”

The holiday season is upon us and most of us will travel near and far to spend a joyous time with loved ones feasting and gift giving. Once the traveling refrain was “the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,” while today the massive herd under the automobile hood … Read More


“We’re coming to a graveyard, hold your breath until we pass by,” is an old admonition travelers would say to one another. The superstitious saying reflected a belief that one risked allowing an evil spirit to enter the body and possess one’s soul if the breath was not held. In … Read More

When It’s Gone, It’s Gone Forever

For almost 90 years, storefronts at the northwest corner of Emerson Avenue and East 10th Street offered the surrounding community services from groceries to pharmaceuticals; from a haircut and a perm to family dining. Today, all that remains of a once vibrant commercial strip is a truncated site. Indianapolis realtor … Read More