N. K. Hurst Co.

N. K. Hurst Co.
Reto Ultra Wide and Slim
Fujicolor 200

On the southeast edge of Downtown Indianapolis, in the shadow of Lucas Oil Stadium, stands the original home office of N. K. Hurst Company. You might know Hurst best for their 15-bean HamBeens soup kit. If it’s not available in your local grocery store, you can buy it and all of their other products at their Shopify site.

Hurst’s home office actually isn’t in this building anymore. They moved it to an industrial park on the east side of Zionsville, a suburb northwest of Indianapolis where I live. I drive by it on the way to Aldi, which does not carry HamBeens products.

I remember there being quite a kerfluffle when the land was purchased to build Lucas Oil Stadium. The N. K. Hurst Co. was on the south edge of the overall site. The authority that built the stadium wanted the land to complete a huge parking lot, but N. K. Hurst Co. did not want to give way. I’m sure billable legal hours ensued, but an agreement was reached that saved the building. After all that, a few years later N. K. Hurst. Co. moved its headquarters to Zionsville. The building is now used as an event space called The Heirloom, despite still bearing its N. K. Hurst Co. branding.

I made this photo with the tiny Reto Ultra Wide and Slim. The building’s corner has a slightly upturned look in real life, but something about the camera’s lens or how the film happened to be laying strongly exaggerated the effect.

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13 responses to “single frame: N. K. Hurst Co.”

  1. J P Avatar

    I had been unaware that the company had moved. I love the idea that little companies like this still exist. A company that does basically one thing that has not been bought by a big multinational conglomerate has become a rarity.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah! Go N. K. Hurst Co!

  2. brandib1977 Avatar

    My favorite part of this story is how they stood up to the sports people and then moved anyway. Good for them.

    I also love the trend to turn old industrial properties into event spaces. I do some event planning in my work and those places have so much more charm than a hotel ballroom or other facility that modern designers come up with for this purpose.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I rather thought it was a crappy thing of them to do, after the fight they put up! :-)

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Lol. Maybe something happened that they changed their minds. Maybe they just didn’t like the idea of being pushed out of their own neighborhood before they were ready to go because someone they didn’t like said they had to. Who knows? I have learned that small corporations have an entirely different set of internal workings than most of us understand.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          It occurred to me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep that perhaps N. K. Hurst Co. always planned to move to Zionsville, but were not remotely ready when Lucas Oil Stadium encroached, and they had to fight.

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Maybe so!!

      2. Russ Ray Avatar

        I agree. I remember it being a hot topic on the local non-WIBC talk radio station when it came up and they were going to the media to trumpet their cause. Funny how there was little fanfare when they moved. I didn’t realize it myself until I drove by the new location one day. I guess it proves yet again that if Jim Irsay wants something bad enough, he will pay for it. I believe the Colts still leased some of the space around the factory for parking.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Yes, they did move rather quietly! I remember when the sign went up on the new building.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I’m amazed at how nice this pic looks from that camera…I need one more camera in my life NOT, but you keep showing me why I should get this one.

    Great story about holding on against the business/sports juggernaut. I have to say, when I lived in Indianapolis, I thought they were about 40 years behind other cities in taking care of their vintage stock. I saw so many developers just come in and be allowed to sweep everything away, included vintage buildings that could have been kept and repurposed for their project. A Hard pro-business right-wing and little cultural education with a large focus on sports was quite an eye-opener for me compared to other places I lived before. Glad this was a success story…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Reto UWS is a toy camera for sure, but it does have excellent sharpness except in the corners.

    2. Kodachromeguy Avatar

      Tearing down historically or architecturally significant buildings to make space for parking lots – its so disgustingly American. Capitalism lubricated with payoffs to local officials. The instant payoff regardless of the damage to the fabric of the community. And some people wonder why so many American cities/towns look like the s***holes that you know who referred to. Oops, sorry, enough ranting.

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        I basically agree with you.

        I would also like to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Before Lucas Oil Stadium, this was a dingy, forgotten part of town. Lots of old buildings were in terrible shape. In a big way, Lucas Oil revitalized this part of town — even though it demolished a bunch of buildings to do it.

        I work a couple blocks from Lucas Oil, and I was in the office today. I know there’s a former street about a half mile west of there that has original cobblestone paving from Indy’s early days of street paving. A post about that is forthcoming.

        There were a lot of dilapidated buildings over there before Lucas Oil went in. They are gone now and the whole area is a skinty parking lot for the stadium. Google Maps Street View shows what those buildings used to look like, if you travel back in time on the timeline. Here’s the current view, and you can explore back in time from there:


        Was this really a loss? I could go either way.

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