From time to time I like to troll through the city’s aerial photography records and see how the configuration of our city has changed over time. In particular, it’s fascinating and depressing to see the changes that interstate highway construction brought upon our urban neighborhoods. In some cases, the construction bisected once contiguous neighborhoods; in others, construction completely wiped them out. There’s a particular area I’d like to focus on here — a rough rectangle bounded by the Fall Creek on the north, Boulevard Pl. on the east, 21st St. on the south and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. on the west — that is an example of the latter. It was a dense urban neighborhood in 1962:
It’s tough to say for certain due to the low resolution of this photograph, but my finger estimate says approximately 100 homes (and perhaps a couple apartment buildings) once stood on this location. We can only guess, but it might have been a charming neighborhood with access to the Fall Creek for leisure on the north end.
By 1972, construction of I65 and the on/off ramps at 21st had removed all but a handful of houses in this area.
Notice that a number of houses were marooned to the west, boxed in by industrial uses to the west and south and the new interchange to the east. Over time, they were knocked down a couple at a time. Based on the aerial photography records, the last house was removed sometime between 1997 and 1999. On the east side of the interchange, a handful of houses remained until 2003 when IU Health cleared all that land to build the IU Health Day Nursery on that location. Today not a single home stands in this area and it’s difficult if not impossible to get anywhere near the Fall Creek.