The lost art of the Terminated Vista

This is the 3rd post in my extremely intermittent series inspired by the book Suburban Nation. Terminated vista is a term used to describe a prominent building placed directly at the end of a street. These have become increasingly uncommon with the advent of the automobile, as they are bad for traffic flow, as well as the fact that most builders don’t want to deal with the risk involved with a driver mishap. The most famous terminated vistas in the city are Monument Circle and the State House. The one I have featured I like quite a bit, and I found it by accident on a walk one day: the Meridian Street Methodist Church at the end of 55th Street. The mature trees frame it nicely.

Here it is from about halfway down the street towards Pennsylvania:
A little closer:
Looks like a church from New England:
One last portrait:

Comments 11

  • This is easily one of my favorite buildings in the city.

  • Very nice!

    I just visited Irvington earlier this week (home of Circle and Squares' Jason) and was amazed by the terminated vista of Irvington United Methodist Church when looking north at Washington and Audubon. It's a simply gorgeous view. Google Street View gives a pretty decent impression of it:,+Marion,+Indiana&ll=39.77091,-86.070285&spn=0.006391,0.009645&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=39.770803,-86.070287&panoid=Q28yeeCKm2xVxw_G7OId6w&cbp=12,359.66,,0,15.61

  • Heck yes, I love that one. I had forgotten about it.

  • Other such vistas:

    –18th St. looking west from Meridian or Illinois into the heart of the Methodist complex (unfortunately the street is one-way east from Capitol to Illinois);

    –34th St. looking west from Illinois or Capitol toward the main gatehouse of Crown Hill;

    –south end of Virginia Ave., an oblique view of the Fountain Square Theater.

    There are some not-too-good ones:

    –the Red Cross building on 10th St. at the south end of Central Avenue

    –the Regions Bank (One Indiana Square) surface and garage parking complex across from the south end of Mass Ave.

    –the service side of the One America (AUL) Tower at the south end of Indiana Ave.

    But the worst one in town is the liquor store at Crawfordsville and 16th. Let's hope the SpeedZone street reconfiguration wipes that out. 🙂

  • The 18th St. view terminates on the building I work in.

    That block of 18th between Capitol and Illinois really shouldn't be one way. Theoretically they must do that for people leaving the hospital that want to go north-bound on Illinois, but in my year and a half working in the area, I've never seen the intersection of 18th and Illinois loaded more than 4 or 5 cars deep, even at rush hour. The one-way is totally unnecessary.

    Clarian will probably fix this if/when they build that new tower and spruce up 18th.

  • Fountain Square Theater came to mind when I wrote this…love that one. I've given directions to that building this way: "Go on Virginia until you look like you could drive into a big building. That's where I am"

    Another nice angled one is the old building at 10th and Fort Wayne/Central.

    And I liked the liquor store example simply for humor. Well done.

  • From the not so good realm: There's that red wood sided barber shop at 10th and Tremont…

  • There's more, Kevin, where E. 24th and W. 24th (separately) end at Meridian. 🙂

    At W. 24th, looking east, one sees the Teacher's Credit Union dumpster enclosure (cleverly disguised as a brick parking-lot screening wall).

    At E. 24th looking west, one sees an iron fence with brick pillars and dense landscaping at the Library Services Center parking lot, where one would really expect to see the attractive faux-Palladian front entry of the building.

  • The debate over the Georgia St. redo brought this to mind: the new front door to the Convention Center at Georgia and Capitol is a major "terminated vista". At the other end of Georgia street (Conseco Fieldhouse), not.

  • Yes! I also thought about that one after I posted this. The entrance to the Convention Center might look ok…I'm going to wait until it is finished until I decide.

  • Here in the state capital of Wisconsin we have BEAUTIFUL terminated Vista of our capital building!

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