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September 30, 2019

Operation My Indy: Haughville

By: Jeremy Kranowitz

I am delighted to serve as the new president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, an organization we both love. Since I am new to Indy, part of my journey to explore the city involves staying at Airbnbs in different neighborhoods. As I share my thoughts and experiences, I hope that you will provide your own suggestions! 

This week, my travels around the city took me West of the White River to Haughville. My Airbnb host this week is a librarian with the Indianapolis Public Library, and shared two great stories with me.

I mentioned that I am new to Indy, moving from the East Coast. As a thoughtful touch, my host shared a book with me about the first librarian in Indianapolis, Charles Evans, who arrived in the city from Boston in 1873. With diligent, hard work (he apparently worked 12 hours per day, 7 days per week) Charles doubled the size of the collection, moved the library from temporary quarters in the high school to its first permanent location on Monument Circle in 1876 (where the Guaranty Building sits today), and made the library a leading example in the country.

While I do plan to take weekends off, I am determined to build on KIB’s 43 years of past success and have it recognized as one of the best citywide environmental organizations in the country. 

My host also explained that Benjamin Haugh established an iron foundry at the corner of Michigan Street and Belleview Place in 1880. Many of the houses in the surrounding neighborhood were constructed for skilled German, Irish, and Slovenian immigrants who worked in the foundry. Today, the foundry is long gone, but you can find a pocket park created by KIB just two blocks away at the corner of Michigan Street and Holmes Avenue. Look for the interesting iron sculpture there, across the street from the Kroger.  

Haughville is very culturally diverse neighborhood today, and there were a number of Mexican restaurants to visit. I chose La Posada on Washington Street, where the corn tortillas were unbelievably tasty. I also met with Lisa Laflin, Executive Director of the West Indianapolis Development Corporation at Cafe Mansion on Steeples Boulevard. It was originally the administration building for the Central State Hospital. The building has since been resurrected as a cooperative living space, with classes, a library, a pool, and office space, as well as a groovy little coffee shop on the main floor!

This week was also important for KIB because of it was the 11th annual Lilly Global Day of Service, and the kickoff to Indy Do Day. Hundreds of volunteers from Eli Lilly and Company spread across the city to plant native trees, establish a native prairie, paint murals at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, cleanup pocket parks, and other beautification efforts. You can check out the results of their labor HERE or HERE! Volunteers from Cummins helped remove pesky Asian Bush Honeysuckle in Brookside Park. And while we fortunately had no injuries, Red Cross was on hand just in case! Overall, it was a great success. We are starting to track the long-term benefits of corporate days of service to report what 10+ years of volunteer work by companies like Eli Lilly have done for the city.

Would you like to have your company sponsor a day of service? Let us know! Help us make Indianapolis more beautiful!

I’m interested to hear from you about the projects you would like to see in your neighborhood, or near your place of work or your house of worship. KIB wants to partner with people across the city to make more vibrant public places, and we rely on you to inform us on the best path forward. Send us a note, and let us know!

JEREMY’S NEIGHBORHOOD RECOMMENDATIONS

WHAT TO EAT

Corn tortillas from La Posada on Washington Street
Café Mansion at Central State

WHAT TO DO

Visit the Near West Pocket Park and sit on the train!
Learn about the history of the Haughville neighborhood!

Please join us in our work to make Indianapolis the best it can be, with vibrant public places and neighborhoods. Find out more at kibi.org!

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