History & Culture

The West Indianapolis/Harding Street Neighborhood is one of the older neighborhoods in the city. The earliest residents arrived in the 1820s, many coming from Kentucky,Tennessee and southern Indiana. The area between White River and Big Eagle Creek, south of the Conrail tracks and north of Raymond Street was first incorporated as the town of West Indianapolis in 1882, and in 1890 had a population of 3,527. West Indianapolis became an incorporated city in 1894, and was annexed into the City of Indianapolis in1897. Much of the housing stock in the neighborhood was built prior to 1900. Parts of the neighborhood have been industrialized for well over 100 years. The West Indianapolis/Harding Street Neighborhood is part of the largest area of industrial concentration within the city. Industries such as National Starch and Chemical Corporation and the Indianapolis Stockyards were established before 1880. The current site of the General Motors Chevrolet Division factory, located on Oliver Avenue, just north of the study area, was in use as early as 1911 by the Perry Manufacturing Company, which built carts, wagons, and carriages.The residential areas of the West Indianapolis neighborhood developed as a result of growth of the factories along the Belt Railroad constructed in the 1870’s around the southside of the city.


History of West Indianapolis prepared for The West Indianapolis Historical Society by John R. Repass – 4 Volumes
Social History of the “West Indianapolis” Section of Indianapolis, Indiana by Margaret Wolfer

Early West Indianapolis – Members of the Mary Rigg Senior Citizens Group, October 22, 1979

  • Malcom Biggs
  • Esther Cauble
  • George James
  • Marcella James
  • Ernest Lewellen
  • Genevieve Repass
  • William Reuter
  • Lorena Totton
  • Leland Winsted 





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