Until very recently, the south side of Indianapolis was seen as a mostly blue collar region. But revitalization of Fountain Square and Fletcher Place is starting to change the demographics of other nearby neighborhoods to the south as well.
Garfield Park was established in 1889, and as the popularity of the park grew, so did its adjoining neighborhoods. There are many historic homes of all sizes in the Garfield Park neighborhood, such as 1920s bungalows, Tudor Revival homes, and Four Squares. The neighborhood took a hit in the 1970s when the construction of the interstate divided some of its residents from the park, and some of the older homes fell into disrepair. But lately, the area has seen an artistic revitalization with such projects as the Tube Factory Artspace, thanks to the efforts of the Executive Director of Big Car Gallery, and who calls Garfield Park home. Indiana Landmarks has hosted neighborhoods walks and bike tours in the past; check their website for similar events in the future for an up-close look at some of the area’s most interesting homes.
Emmerich Manual High School, located near Garfield Park, is a state-run public school that has an emphasis on community involvement as well as academics. For children with special needs, the Rise Learning Center in nearby Southport focuses on children who have hearing or vision challenges, or for students with autism.
The University of Indianapolis is just inside I-465 and I-65 near University Heights and Carson Heights neighborhoods. The University is interested in strengthening ties with these surrounding neighborhoods, and offers its employees a $5000 Housing Assistance loan towards a down payment for an house in one of these areas.
The area known as Southport was established in the 1830s, and became a part of Indianapolis in 1853. The huge Southport antique mall attracts fans of collectibles from all over the area. Another haven for antiques collectors is the popular auction at Christy’s of Indiana in nearby Homecroft every Wednesday. The Homecroft Historic District features many brick houses built in the 1920s, and is listed on the National Historic Register.
If you’re interested in walking and biking for pleasure, the Pleasant Run greenway begins at Garfield Park and travels east through some attractive wooded areas.
You can learn more about this region at the Friends of Garfield Park neighborhood association; or from the South Side Times, covering life in the south side of Indianapolis, and in Johnson County. Or you can visit the Historic Indianapolis website to find out a little about the rich history of the region of Garfield Park and the University of Indianapolis.