To many long-time Indianapolis residents, the name “Indiana Avenue” conjures up images of the vibrant African American community, home to minority owned businesses and jazz clubs. Many famous musicians came into prominence in Indiana Avenue night spots, including guitar legend Wes Montgomery, trumpet player Freddie Hubbard, and bluesmen Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell. One of the few remnants of those glory days is the Madame C. J. Walker Theatre, at Indiana Avenue and West Street. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a beautiful example of Art Deco design with its colorful terra cotta trim.
Ransom Place was home to many African-American leaders and business owners in Indianapolis, with some homes dating as far back as the 1870s. It features a number of “shotgun” style homes and modest Queen Anne design houses. Nearby Crispus Attucks School opened in 1927, and like the Walker Theatre, features beautiful glazed terra cotta moldings and a Tudor Revival design.
Close to the Indiana Avenue and Ransom Place neighborhoods are the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum, and the Eiteljorg museum of American Indians and Western Art. White River State Park and the Canal Walk are great places to get fresh air and a little exercise, and feature regular cultural events and concerts. The historic Stutz Gallery in the region began life home to the Stutz Motorcar Company, and now houses the headquarters of local businesses and studio space for artists. The annual Stutz Open House attracts several thousand lovers to view works from dozens of prominent and upcoming local artists.
The neighborhoods are also close to the IUPUI (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis) campus, and several major medical centers. The Indiana University “people mover” rail system conveniently connects several of these medical centers, and is free of charge to ride.
You can learn more about this area at the Historic Ransom Place website.