One of America's Great Streets

I’ll never forget the first time I came to Indianapolis. It was 1976. My dad’s best friend knew the director of the about-to-open Children’s Museum and had arranged us a preview tour. We had the museum and its exhibits all to ourselves. That’s memorable enough — but my other great memory of that day is entering town on US 31, Meridian Street, and having my breath taken away by the stunning homes that line it.

More than forty years hence I still love to drive along Meridian Street to see its wonderful homes. Many of the most expansive and expensive homes are within the North Meridian Street Historic District, which runs from 40th St. north about a mile and  a half to Westfield Blvd.

The District’s homes were built between the two World Wars in classical styles. All are large, detailed, and well kept. Here now, a brief tour from a walk I took from 40th St. up to about 46th St.

On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
On Meridian Street
The Booth Tarkington House

Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK, Ultrafine Extreme 100

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


12 responses to “The North Meridian Street Historic District in Inianapolis: “One of America’s Great Streets””

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    I had a North Meridian Street address for two years. Unfortunately, it was in an apartment building just south of 38th Street, which is an altogether different thing. But I drove this stretch quite frequently and, like you, were (and remain) in awe of those homes. The black and white photographs add another layer of depth to something already familiar to me.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder how long before those old apartment buildings experience a renaissance and become hip and cool again.

  2. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    When I think of Indianapolis that’s what I think of …. That’s what I remember too, from trips there as a child …. Looking out the car window at all those big homes and wishing I could see them inside.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Every now and again Indiana Landmarks arranges tours of lovely and historic homes around town…maybe someday they can arrange a tour of one of these!

  3. Shape Shifters Fitness Trainer Avatar

    Wow, very cool history and pictures, and really cool architecture. One of my favorite things to do is drive through historic neighborhoods like this and admire the architecture and craftsmanship of houses like these.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s remarkable that these are on Indianapolis’s main north-south street, easily accessible to all.

  4. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    Nice photos and very impressive homes. Unfortunately, in many large cities homes like these are now in blighted neighborhoods and the homes do not receive necessary repairs. Good to see that Indianapolis does not fit that pattern.

    That film does not seem to be very fine grain despite the name, and I would also fault the latitude as the highlights seem to be blown out in several shots. The Contessa/Tessar however did a very nice job.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Indy has its blighted neighborhoods to be sure, with some really lovely homes in sad shape. But Meridian Street and, to some extent, streets a block or two in either direction from Meridian Street, have always remained sought-after places to live.

      This is the first time I shot Ultrafine Extreme 100. It’s a good enough film to test a camera but otherwise nothing much to write home about.

  5. M.B. Henry Avatar

    Such fantastic pictures of these beautiful homes. My husband is from Indiana and he said that when he was a kid, his mother used to drive him around looking at these homes all the time :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      They’re lovely to be sure! Meridian Street has always been a prestige address.

  6. Ward Fogelsanger Avatar
    Ward Fogelsanger

    The sixth picture from the top looks exactly like a house on E Main St in Casey,Il…I did a double take…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t know which one you mean exactly but it reminds me of this one:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.