Garfield Park Neighborhood

Garfield Park Neighborhood is one of Indianapolis's historic districts.

Garfield Park Neighborhood

Indianapolis, Indiana 46204, United States

Created By: Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis

Tour Information


This tour is a part of the Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis Tour Series and endorsed by the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission as an official Indy Bicentennial Community Project.

This tour takes approximately 90 minutes to walk.

Parking is most available in the Pagod Drive parking lots. This tour creates a loop to bring you back where you started. Restrooms can be accessed inside the conservatory.

Neighborhood History

Garfield Park had its beginning as a horse track when it was bought by the Indianapolis Fair Association to replace the track at the State Fairgrounds. The venture was not successful, partly because of transportation issues, and in 1876 it became the first park to be owned by the city. Additional land acquisition over time resulted in the beautiful park you see now, consisting of 128 acres. First known as Southern Park in 1881, it was renamed in honor of the nation’s assassinated president, President James A. Garfield. Attendance to the park grew in the 1880s and 1890s, a bridge was built over Pleasant Run Creek, the first streetcar lines were built, and housing started to flourish. Famous landscape architect George Kessler, the most respected park system developer in the country, began design of the park in 1908. We’ll talk as we move along about the impact of the park on the neighborhood but first...

You see the Gardens where visitors can access the Conservatory, originally designed and built in 1913 with fountains installation in the Sunken Garden to follow a year later. At this time there were already 84 flower beds located in the Gardens along with five greenhouses featuring almost 200,000 plant varieties supplying plants for other city parks.

Deterioration of the Conservatory over time necessitated the construction of the current structure, completed in 1957, which became the first all-aluminum, all-welded greenhouse in America. Local architect David Burns called it a “rigid-frame design,” explaining that pillars and trusses would not be needed, creating far less shadow inside. Finally, it is also interesting to note that the 26 1⁄2 roof pitch is the same degree as the tilt of the earth.

The park and neighborhood are supported by the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association (for the neighborhood and residents) and the Friends of Garfield Park (which supports the park itself).


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Our Thanks

This program has been made possible through a Historic Preservation Education Grant from Indiana Landmarks, Indiana Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Funding provided in part by Indiana Landmarks.


Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Year Built: 1913 Architecture Style: Greenhouse Key Features: Aluminum Frame European Classical Formal Gardens The Conservatory was originally designed and built in 1913 by German architect George Kessler. Water fountains installation in th... Read more
Year Built: 1965 Architecture Style: Contemporary Key Features: Skylights Stone Construction Low Pitch Roof The library has had two names in its lifetime, Shelby Street Library (1918 thru 1965) and Garfield Park Library (1965 to present). B... Read more
Year Built: 1923 Architecture Style: Colonial Revival Key Features: Brick Construction Wide Porch for Each Townhome Simple, Symmetrical Design The Garfield Terrace Apartment Town Homes, built in 1923, are still well-maintained and popular ... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1900s Architecture Style: Single Pen Key Features: Squared Frame Construction Double Hipped Roof Brick Chimney As you can see on this lot, small houses were built at the rear of a property until the owner could afford to b... Read more
Year Built: 1914 Architecture Style: American Foursquare Key Features: Large, Embracing Porch Hipped Roof Simple Aesthetic Along East Garfield Drive, we pass houses of diverse architecture built as early as 1908 to take advantage of the pa... Read more
Year Built: 1951 Architecture Style: NeoClassical Key Features: Full Height Doric Columns Pediment Small Circular Windows on Facade Established in 1957, the building was originally home to the Sixth Church of Christ Scientist Reading Room... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1900s Architecture Style: Craftsman Key Features: Sleeping Porch Shingle Siding Square Footprint Bay Windows The home has a sleeping porch on the 2nd floor to catch the breeze on warm summer nights. Many of these homes wer... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1900s Architecture Style: Craftsman Key Features: Tiled Roof Large Second Story Dormer Decorative Roof Brackets Stucco and Brick Exterior The tiled-roof house at the Southwest corner of Bradbury Street was built on a hal... Read more
Year Built: 1940 Architecture Style: Tudor Revival Key Features: Full Archway Over Porch Decorative Masonry on Porch Pediment The brick house on the Northeast corner was owned by the Jardina family, who for decades supported two families w... Read more
Year Built: 1923 Architecture Style: Craftsman Key Features: Decorative Timbering Triple Gable Facade Detached Garage with Second Story Studio The garage at 961 East Hervey Street features an artist studio on the top level. Seven artists w... Read more
Year Built: 1916 Architecture Style: Gable Front Key Features: Large Porch with Slender Column Supports The house at 945 Hervey Street has been in the same family since 1942. James W. Hervey, a Union doctor during the Civil War, purchased... Read more
As the neighborhood flourished many prominent lawyers, business people, and doctors built their homes along East Garfield Drive, originally so named because it was east of the park. We see tiles along the street with that name. Today, the s... Read more
Year Built: 1925 Architecture Style: Craftsman Key Features: Decorative Masonry on Porch  Tiled Roof Decorative Roof Brackets This is the former home of legendary pioneering motorcycle and race car driver Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker. ... Read more
Here we see, on the hill past the parking lot, the Garfield Park Arts Center, site of art and other cultural classes and constant art exhibits and entertainment. The building, once known as the Shelter House, was for many years the site of ... Read more
Year Built: 1912 This monument lists the names of the 1,616 Confederate soldiers who died in captivity at Camp Morton and whose bodies were not returned home to their families. Camp Morton was a prisoner of war camp in Indianapolis during t... Read more
Year Built: 1865 Architecture Style: Neoclassical Key Features: Large Double Porch Supported by Brick Columns Large Central Bay Window  Fish Scale Siding on Dormer The Yoke family farm property stretched from the north Southern Avenue, ea... Read more


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