Arsenal Heights, Indianapolis Homes for Sale
The southeastern portion of the Holy Cross district, bordered by the streets of New York, Washington, Oriental, and State, is also an historic district in its own right: Arsenal Heights. The athletic park that once stood there in the late 19th century provided one of the initial sites for baseball's American League, and was also the birthplace of Indiana football.
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The district was named for Arsenal Avenue, which in turn was inspired by the actual United States Arsenal that was built shortly after the Civil War. A small brick guardhouse erected in 1872 still stands at the corner of Arsenal and Michigan, watching over the entrance to the campus of Arsenal Technical High School. The military no longer required the land or its buildings in the early 1900s and sold them to the school, which officially opened in 1912 and is still serving the area today. Though the high school and its historic guardhouse are several blocks north of the Arsenal Heights district, they played a large role in the community's development.
But the true heart of the neighborhood was the YMCA's athletic park, which was bordered by Arsenal and Oriental and ran from Ohio all the way up to Michigan. Indianapolis's baseball team was ejected from the National League in 1890, leaving the city without an outlet for its newfound pastime. Instead the Western League was formed, which included teams such as the Chicago Cubs (then known as the Colts); many of these games were played in the YMCA athletic park. Desiring to rise above the minor leagues, however, Western rebranded itself as the American League at the turn of the century. And just as it had a decade before, Indy's luck ran out: the city was once again ousted from a national baseball league. The lasting legacy of this tumultuous period is the Indianapolis Indians, formed in 1902 to appease baseball-hungry Hoosiers. Today it is second oldest minor league team in the nation.
College sports were more successful on the same turf. In 1899 the Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association was formed, and included teams such as Purdue, DePauw, Wabash, Indiana, Butler, and Hanover (which would later be replaced by Rose Polytechnic). All of the games were played in Arsenal Heights. They were also the first games in Indiana that followed American football rules rather than European rugby regulations. Football fever soon took over the city and the whole state. Purdue's special prowess on the fieldand their continual trouncing of every other team in the stateencouraged university president James Smart to create a new conference with other large Midwestern schools, granting both national prestige and more challenging opponents to the Boilermakers. The conference is now known as the Big Ten.
Today, the area is experiencing a residential renaissance, thanks in part to organizations such as the Arsenal Heights Civic League, as well as a growing number of local businesses and investors. Old properties are being purchased and flipped, retaining their historic charm while also bringing life back to the neighborhood. The proximity to downtown Indianapolis (as well as bars, restaurants, and major employers such as Angie's List) contributes greatly to the district's growing desirability, but it's the diversity of residents and their dedication to the area's unique culture and history that sets Arsenal Heights apart.
- Arsenal Heights Civic League ()
- Near Eastside Community Organization (NESCO)
- Holy Cross Neighborhood Association
- Arsenal Guardhouse
- Angie's List