Broad Ripple raising money to preserve historic buildings

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A movement to protect historic buildings in Broad Ripple could target as many as 60 properties.

That’s how many structures appear on a list being compiled by the Committee for Historic Broad Ripple, a committee of the Broad Ripple Village Association that is raising money for preservation efforts. Those efforts include nominating some buildings for the National Register of Historic Places. The group is also weighing seeking protection from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, a move that would add teeth to the preservation effort.

Earlier this month the committee began seeking donations for its Historic Broad Ripple Fund, which will pay for National Register nominations, informational brochures about historic Broad Ripple buildings and plaques to affix to structures that are added to the National Register. The money raised could also be used to leverage historic preservation grants that require matching funds.

The National Register program is administered by the National Park Service. Nominations have already been submitted for Indianapolis Fire Station No. 32, a 1922 building at the northwest corner of Guilford Avenue and Westfield Boulevard, and the Kassebaum Building, an art deco building dating to 1925 at the southeast corner of the same intersection.

The next building to be nominated is likely to be the Broad Ripple Post Office, a 1935 Art Moderne building at 6255 Carrollton Ave., said Christine Carlson, who chairs the Committee for Historic Broad Ripple.

Carlson said the committee was formed by a group of concerned neighbors in 2008 when a residence in the neighborhood was in danger of being demolished. It didn’t become a committee of the Broad Ripple Village Association until the following year.

The house was saved, but the threat spawned what has become a slow but steady effort to protect commercial buildings.

“We’re all volunteers, so everything moves slowly,” said Carlson, who named a handful of buildings the group is most eager to save. Those include:

-Mustard Hall, circa 1920, the former Masonic Lodge at 6235 Guilford that houses a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

-The Odd Fellows Lodge at the northeast corner of Westfield and Guilford. Built in 1895, it housed Lobraico’s Drug Store for decades and now houses Chelsea’s, a card and gift shop.

-The Historic Monon Depot at 1001 E 64th St. The 1885 building was originally Broad Ripple’s train station. It now houses BRICS, an ice cream shop.

Not all of the buildings on the group’s radar are in the heart of Broad Ripple. For example, the building at the northeast corner of College Avenue and Kessler Boulevard that houses the Fox Art Glass Studio is also on the list of structures the committee wants to see preserved.

Protection for buildings on the National Register is limited. It’s primarily an honorary designation. Private owners of National Register buildings can alter them—even tear them down—if the work is done with private money.

The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, on the other hand, has the power to review and approve exterior alterations to buildings within its jurisdiction. Lockerbie Square, the Wholesale District and the Old Northside are among the 16 historic districts where development is governed by IHPC.

IHPC administrator David Baker, who spoke at a January meeting of Carlson’s committee, said Broad Ripple preservation advocates should consider having individual buildings protected by IHPC. Though the city agency is best known for its historic districts, it can designate individual buildings for protection if the property owner consents.



  • Keep it up BRVA!
    I'm a resident and business owner in Broad Ripple. I love what the BRVA and its various committees have been doing. I admire the community minded people that serve this neighborhood and I believe their hearts are all in the right place - smart growth in the Village. I don't feel any of the committees (including the Committee for Historic Broad Ripple) has an intention to stifle growth, just help to support smart growth. I'm excited for the future of the Village and I thank all of those who serve.
  • Committee for Historic Broad Ripple Meetings
    The Committee for Historic Broad Ripple meets on the second Wednesday of every month. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 9, at 6 p.m., at the BRVA office, 6311 Westfield Boulevard. Visitors and/or new committee members are always welcome. For more info, call 251-2782.
  • brva meetings
    when is the next meeting?
  • Let's Have Both
    Some seem to think that progress necessitates a disregard for historic places or that a regard for historic places dismisses considerations about progress, but all historic landmark organizations I've ever been involved with have taken a "Why not both" approach because they are aware of the research on the economic and ecological/sustainable development benefits of historic preservation. Do all the naysayers who posted think that communities composed of cookie-cutter, cost-effective buildings are what make for communities that are attractive to business and a pleasure to live in? If they do, they need to read these articles http://www.historichawaii.org/WhyPreserve/WhyPreserve.html and http://www.preservation.org/rypkema.htm
  • Clarification
    I think a couple of posters have overreacted to the intentions of this committee. The Committee for Historic Broad Ripple does not want to stop development or stifle growth in Broad Ripple. It wishes to work with others on thoughtful plans for the future of Broad Ripple. The CHBR does not intend to arbitrarily protect buildings just because they are old. Recording the history of a property is not the same thing as protecting it, although the former could lead to the latter. Furthermore, protecting a property requires the written permission of the property owner; no owner who has aspirations of selling, developing, or razing a property is going to seek a status that would prohibit him/her/them from doing so.

    The Committee for Historic Broad Ripple is a standing committee of the Broad Ripple Village Association. The BRVA is one of the partners in the ENVISION BROAD RIPPLE initiative, along with Broad Ripple Alliance for Progress, HARMONI, Green Broad Ripple, and several experienced city planners. Many of the members of the CHBR have been regular participants in the EBR sessions. They know that smart growth is necessary for the neighborhood to remain vibrant.

    At the same time, the committee also knows that one reason Broad Ripple is such a desirable neighborhood of Indianapolis is due to some of its historic features. Not all of the properties on the committee's radar are buildings per se. Some of the places the committee thinks are worth preserving are amenities like the Central Canal, the White River, Broad Ripple Park, and the Monon Trail.

    Most of the properties that have caught the committee members' attention still need to be researched. At least one property on the committee's list has been researched and found to be something other than what was originally thought. Unfortunately, the active committee members are few, so doing the research is slow going.

    Buildings like the original Broad Ripple train depot (now broad ripple ice cream station) are important to keep around. Historic places like brics help define a neighborhood, make it unique, and remind future generations of the community's past. Once the details of a property are known, the current structure may not be worth protecting, but the history of the property may nonetheless still be worth recording for posterity.
    • BR
      I live in BR and get the BRVA information emails myself but unfortunately have never made it to one of the over 20 planning sessions. Net net I think the BRVA is doing an admirable job. I agree with the high standards - and I think they can do more here. But on the stiffling of new devevelopment I disagree. Is it stiffling that the project on Winthrop was allowed to go through and is only half developed and looks like an eye sore? Forget the housing crisis - they were overpriced! They didn't stiffle the new Brothers addition, nor the 3 Wise men brewery - both were great enhancements to the area. Ultimately though, there is not much historical to save save in my view the BRICs which was a great use of that building.
    • Envision and HARMONY rock
      I love what Harmoni and the various neighborhood groups are doing. Also, I have been to many meetings.

      Good development starts with good leaders and good planning.

      Still, this above article makes me sick and I hope property owners opt out. Preserve some facades sure but c'mon man. Gimme a break!
    • standards have been set
      In response to "stifle:" A volunteer group has already been formed to discuss what they would like to see in future developments for Broad Ripple - it's called enVision Broad Ripple and the meetings have been going on for almost 2 years now. The best part is that anybody can come and provide input, even you! Have you attended any of these meetings? Is it easier to sit on the sidelines and whine about how groups like Historic Broad Ripple are "stifling" growth than to dive in and get your hands dirty? If you don't like the current solution, be a part of a better one. Tell them how YOU would try to speed up growth...
      • high standards not barriers
        Let's set high development standards for midtown in general. Let's focus on design and smart planning to allow for growth in one of Indy's greatest crown jewels. Let's keep families from flying to the suburbs, add more amenities and stoke demand!

        Let's not arbitrarily protect buildings because they're old or people set in their ways don't want to accept change.
      • Best feature of Indianapolis
        This group sounds more like an effort stop development of Broad Ripple, rather than save historically significant buildings.

        Saving historic buildings is admirable, trying to slow growth in a high growth area is bad for our city.

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