2 local sites make annual 'Most Endangered' list

April 25, 2013
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phillips temple
                              endangered landmarks 225pxIndiana Landmarks’ latest “10 Most Endangered” list includes a couple of entries from Indianapolis. New to this year’s lineup, announced Thursday, are the Flanner House Homes Historic District and Phillips Temple. The Flanner neighborhood, near 16th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets, comprises 181 homes built from1950 to 1959 through a cooperative aiding African-American families that could not secure conventional mortgages in a segregated city. More than half the houses still are owned by the builders or their descendents. But Indiana Landmarks says the grocery chain Meijer wants to acquire and demolish 35 of them and build a store in part on city-owned land north of the neighborhood. IBJ has learned that Opus Development Corp. actually would need to acquire the homes as part of a mixed-use development. Inside the southern border of the area, the vacant Phillips Temple, built in 1924, is in danger of demolition. Owner Indianapolis Public Schools wants to use the space for parking. “Our mission is to save meaningful places, and this is a list of ten important places in the greatest danger of being lost,” Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis said in a statement. View the complete list here. In the meantime, Indiana Landmarks has removed the “critical” label from one of 2011’s local entries, The Taggart Memorial at Riverside Park. Indiana Landmarks says the memorial has a new roof, thanks to a task force that raised the money and is working with IndyParks to pursue more improvements. Since the not-for-profit created the endangered list in 1991, Indiana Landmarks counts only 12 losses among 92 historic places that have appeared on the list.

  • Paved paradise....
    I'm still confused as to why IPS owns the Temple and needs it for parking? I drive by that area daily and have never seen the existing parking lot full, nor the one on the south side of the school, which is much larger. Seems like another waste of IPS funds. Unfortunately, I also don't see anyone else stepping in to buy the Temple and use it.
  • Not Worth Saving
    This building was bid and awarded for demolition over a year ago only to be stopped in order to attempt and find an entity willing to "save" it. It was bid for demolition yet again in March of this year. While the building might be historic it is most definetely not worth saving as any and all architectural significant details i.e. stained glass, woodwork, etc. have long been removed.
  • Few Know
    The majority of that area was used as the city dump in the 50's. I grew up in that area and still remember the smell of garbage when the wind was blowing south. Top soil wasn't very deep. Planting a garden often brought up cans, bottles, etc. Also a reason no of the homes in that area have basements. City had a clause that after 50 years (?) a home no longer stood, the land would revert to city control. Didn't think those co-op homes would last as long as they did. Am proud to say that my father helped build those homes and we lived there for many years. Also glad to hear that so many from those days, or their descendants, are still there. Egg on somebody's face!
  • Huh?
    Those houses were built between 1950 and 1959?? What makes these houses historic? What makes them worth saving?
    • Sell
      I don't know if I would say they are historic. I do believe that people should know the full history behind why and how they were built, and the 'fine print' that existed on the deeds. That is part of the city's history that few know about. I strongly suggest though, and the owners would probably agree, that there is no better time to sell than now.
    • Old vs. Historic
      Just because something is old, that doesn't necessarily make it historically significant. The house I grew up in was built in the 1920's. Sure I have great memories, but why should society care whether that house stands or falls?
      • Few Know
        I'll just leave it as I said earlier. It is not the homes that are historic, but the circumstances surrounding their construction. It was at a time of re-lining and othe racial discrimination. Owners should sell. The historic designation doesn't put money in their pockets.
      • why not?
        This doesn't need to be a zero sum game. I don't believe there are any height restrictions in that area so why not think outside the box and build up instead of out? Since most of the land would be used for parking, an attached garage could be built instead. The store could be built to the street bordering 16th & MLK.
      • My Legacy
        Many people fail to understand the history of this area and these homes. This was one of the few areas in Indianapolis a black man could build a new home. Many places in the city wouldn't let that happen. These homes were build under one of the 1st sweat equity programs in the country program that allowed these families an opportunity to get a loan and build their home. These homes were build with the blood sweat and tears of the owners.My father build a home there raised his family and cared about his neighbors and neighborhood. Its part of my history and my legacy and I don't think it should be erased. Its part of the history of Indianapolis.
      • Flanner House Homes
        Those homes were the first sweat equity homes built by African Americans in these United States of America where we call home! They can create "Historic Landmark" status to homes all over, but when it comes to us, it does not count! How dare anyone try to discount what my parents had to go through to get a home built back in those days! What we had to go through to get where we are today! The playing field was not level then, nor is it now! Until you have been in our shoes, and walked a mile, then the best thing to do is keep your opinion to your self!
      • Sigh
        More people playing the race card. No matter how "historic," if a place is run down, then new development should not be out of the question.
      • Home Sweet Home
        Regardless of the circumstances, if they want to remain in their homes, they should be able to do so and use any means and resources at their disposal, i.e. historic designation, to do so. I suspect the developer didn't expect any resistance from the neighbors and thought they would gladly take the money.
      • Don't destroy our neighborhood
        I grew up in the Ransom Street apartments and the neighborhood is very unique. We were and still are a close knit neighborhood. Meijer s is trying to destroy that neighborhood it is not a good time to sell where are you people that live in that neighborhood going to go? I think we will fight this with everything we have. Respectfully Anita Harrell
      • Historic?
        I can see how the church would be considered historical (it is an interesting little building worthy of preservation along with a handful of other structures in the neighborhood). But... those houses? Aside from sentiments I see no reason to preserve them. They are just houses (not even architecturally significant at that) and even though they may hold significance to the racial history of Indianapolis I still do not believe they are worth preservation. I am opposed to evicting the rightful residents against their will.
      • Socrates#!fan
        Socrates#!fan hit the nail on the head. No one should be forced from their home, but designating these houses as "historic" is a joke.
      • Finally a place to shop
        I hope Meijer finds a way to build here. It would be great to have them so close to downtown. That area along 16th street is very unattractive. This development would be a positive change. A photograph of a house, as an example, would be nice to see. I suppose it is subjective as to what is historically important. Most of the great cities today would not be what they are if they tried to save every historic structure. Areas need to evolve to work with modern times.

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