Ten years ago when my kids and their mom moved to Fishers, a northeast suburb of Indianapolis, its downtown was a few aging buildings and a lot of little houses. Surrounding it was clusters of new neighborhoods, modern suburban homes stretching for miles in all directions. Downtown Fishers stood in curious contrast.

And then, one by one, the little houses north of Fishers’ main thoroughfare, 116th St., were razed. Modern multistory apartment and office buildings were erected, forever changing this formerly sleepy little downtown.

But south of 116th St., the little houses remain. I’m sure that in the coming years they, too, will pass into history. I was testing a new-to-me old film camera, a Kodak Pony 135 Model B, as I walked through Fishers’ near-southside and captured some of the scene. Look at these little houses while you can.

Fishers streetscape
House in Fishers
House in Fishers
House in Fishers

Five or ten years from now someone will stumble upon this post and be amazed that this is what downtown Fishers used to look like.

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12 responses to “Little houses in Fishers, Indiana on Agfa Vista 200”

  1. Dan James Avatar

    We have similar development here, in relatively small towns where you originally had a street of houses perhaps a hundred hears old or more, and gradually they’ve been replaced by something newer – more often than not a block of flats. At least if some remain, it retains some of the original character of the street, better than a whole new housing development built in a field.

    I like the look of the film Jim, very grainy, but charmingly so. What was it?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The film is just Agfa Vista 200. These Ponies’ lenses have characteristics that seem always to lend a special look to whatever film I put into them.

      I don’t know about the rest of the US, but in central Indiana at least there is a drive toward higher density. More and more apartment buildings are going up in places where single-family homes used to stand.

  2. TBM3FAN Avatar

    “More and more apartment buildings are going up in places where single-family homes used to stand.”

    That is truly a shame and just so wrong. Apartment buildings do not make a neighborhood given their transient nature most of the time.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I should have clarified something, as I’m leaving a wrong impression. Most of the little houses in Fishers weren’t residences anymore anyway. The few that remain north of 116th are boutiques and tea rooms. The ones south of 116th are often small businesses too. A doctor I saw for a while is in one of them.

      Fishers has long been this booming suburb in search of an identity. It’s trying to build its future on attracting technology companies, especially in the IoT space. It is building a hip and cool downtown as part of that. It’s not my cup of tea but I’m older than the demographic they’re trying to attract.

  3. Heide Avatar

    It’s sad to see these little houses being replaced by new cookie-cutter buildings, isn’t it? But as Dan James said, it’s better a brand-new housing development in a field, I suppose. The same thing was happening in my husband’s and my old neighborhood, which was a huge part of the reason we decided to sell and move. As for posterity: I think the images you captured already evoke a nostalgia for a neighborhood that is slowly disappearing. In 10 years they’ll be priceless.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s part of why I do so much documentary work: I want there to be a record of the places I’ve been as they were at the time. I think it’s valuable to have such photographs in later generations.

  4. susanJOY Hosken Avatar
    susanJOY Hosken

    Jim, I love architecture and love seeing the little houses. Here where I live in Melbourne, Australia suburbia many of the little houses are being knocked down and their lovely gardens disappearing too as huge houses are built on the blocks. I love that you are recording the history

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s what I try to do. Places change and it is so good years down the road to have photos of how it was.

  5. Marcus Peddle Avatar

    There are several neighbourhoods with these small houses in my small home town in Newfoundland. Grand Falls isn’t growing so no apartment buildings are going up and I imagine the houses will be there until they finally fall apart.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I can just imagine it. There are plenty of similarly decaying towns in Indiana too.

  6. analogphotobug Avatar

    Too Bad.. I thought that we had learned something in the 70’s about bulldozing neighborhoods and history.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fishers is hell bent on having a modern downtown, these little houses be damned.

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