Evolution of a landmark: From railroad headquarters to the Bud Light Hotel

February 3, 2012
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Bud Light Hotel IndianapolisWalking by the newly swanky and exclusive Bud Light Hotel the other day got me wondering about the building's history. I also wondered how I might finagle a ticket to the Playboy Party there, but that's another story for another venue.

The 180-room art deco style hotel at 105 S. Meridian St. was completed in 1930 as a new headquarters for the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four Railroad. Of course the railroad (now part of CSX) also served Indianapolis.

The nine-story structure's historic name is the Chesapeake Building. It was designed D. A. Bohlen & Son and redesigned as a hotel by Browning, Day, Mullins & Dierdorf in 1997. During the Super Bowl festivities, a cool night-time light show is drawing new attention to the building's brick and terra cotta façade.

The old Big Four Railroad also built what's now known as the CSX Building at the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and Georgia streets across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, to use as offices and a service shop for locomotives.

Ironically, the first-floor of that building is now a temporary sports bar pouring Bud Light rivals Coors Light and Miller Lite.

  • Eagle at Old City Hall
    What happened to the eagle at the old city hall? There were two eagles in front of the building, both from the old Traction Terminal, and now one appears to be missing, cut from its base.
    • Eagle and RR
      Ryan, the locals news covered it before the SB, but the IDADA folks backed into it during their 'Turf' art set up. Cory, we actually used to be a railroad town, and the two buildings you mentioned helps to prove it. That's how we became known as the Crossroads of the Midwest
      • Eagle
        To be clear, it wasn't IDADA's fault that the eagle was damaged. A privately contracted company to hang the banner toppled the eagle. Hopefully it will be replaced through that company's insurance.

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      1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

      2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

      3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

      4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

      5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.