Indiana State Road 67 originally passed through Downtown Indianapolis, making its northeasterly journey towards Muncie along Massachusetts Avenue. This street flows at a 45 degree angle to the city grid, and extends through the city’s Northeastside beyond the city limits.

In Downtown, however, Mass Ave (as we call it) is a hip, happening destination, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll also find some terrific architecture along this street.

First up is the Murat Shrine Center. That’s what we locals all still call it, anyway, even after naming rights to this building were sold several years ago to a bank that renamed it Old National Centre. Among other things, it’s an entertainment venue. I’ve seen a couple of concerts here, and the company I currently work for had an all-company gathering here. The building’s tower is visible as you drive northeast on Mass Ave.

Up Mass Ave

This very large building is challenging to fit into my camera’s viewfinder, even with a wide-angle lens.

The Murat Center

Completed in 1909, the building was designed with Egyptian and Middle Eastern exterior decorations. The Shriners always had a large membership in Indianapolis, and for a time in the 1980s was the largest membership of all Shrine temples worldwide.

The Murat Center

Across a very wide three-street intersection from the Murat is the Athanaeum, also known as Das Deutsche Haus. This was the German heritage club for the large influx of German immigrants to Indianapolis in the late 19th century. The building opened in 1898. Even though it’s on a corner with Mass Ave, it’s actually on Michigan Street.

The Athanaeum / Das Deutsche Haus

Today this building houses a branch of the YMCA and a German restaurant called The Rathskeller, as well as a few other things.

The Athanaeum

As big as both of those buildings are, the sprawling former Coca-Cola bottling plant a few blocks to the northeast takes up far more land. It’s an art deco stunner. Completed in 1931, for a time it was the largest Coca-Cola bottling plant in the world. Coca-Cola moved operations to a new plant in Speedway in 1969; in 1971, the Indianapolis Public Schools adapted the building to be its Service Center, which housed school buses. In 2017, it became The Bottleworks, which includes a hotel and other amenities.

Coca Cola Bottling Co / Bottleworks

The photo above shows the facade of the large building toward the upper right in this aerial image. The three buildings to the left of it are part of the complex too.

Imagery ©2023 CNES/Airbus, IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2023 Indiana University, Google.

This look up Mass Ave shows some of the detailing in this building.

Coca Cola Bottling Co / Bottleworks

This is the Garage building, just east of the hotel.

Coca Cola Bottling Co / Bottleworks

This is the hotel building itself, as it stretches north from Mass Ave. Looking at this building from Mass Ave straight on, you’d never guess how far back it goes.

Coca Cola Bottling Co / Bottleworks

This is what the other side of the building looks like, as it borders Bellefontaine Street.

Coca Cola Bottling Co / Bottleworks

The construction of I-65 and I-70 in Downtown Indianapolis caused Mass Ave to be severed. To return to Mass Ave today, you follow Bellefontaine Street to 10th Street, and then turn right and go under the Interstates. About a half mile of Mass Ave is one way southbound after you do that, so you have to follow 10th Street to Brookside Avenue, and then follow Brookside back to Mass Ave. We’ll look at that in the next article.

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8 responses to “Gorgeous architecture on Massachusetts Avenue, former State Road 67, in Indianapolis”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    These buildings are all so unique and I love they each have new purposes. The Bottleworks though- wow! I just looked it up. They’ve done a great job. Too bad it’s out of my budget!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes, those rooms are scandalously expensive.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Keeps the riff raff out, I guess!

  2. Tom H Avatar
    Tom H

    Gorgeous architectural photos as always, Jim. Do you ever use a PC lens or do you just use Photoshop if you can’t shoot from a straight-line position? Either way the shots and lighting are very effective. Tom

  3. Brian Purdy Avatar
    Brian Purdy

    Enjoyed seeing pix of these great buildings. Thank you, Jim.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Most welcome!

  4. J P Avatar

    I have been curious about the Bottleworks complex ever since they finished it, but have not been there. I keep seeing references to it being an amazing hotel, but it seems to have an amazing price to go with it.

    In the late 80s went to an old tavern in that part of Mass Ave that was really seedy back then. It was a family-owned place that didn’t look like anything at all had changed since maybe 1940. I only went once, and I suspect it is long gone.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve had drinks in the bar. But a $300+ hotel room – nope.

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