Lockerbie Square Neighborhood

Lockerbie Square was Indianapolis' first designated historic district under the auspices of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

Lockerbie Square 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. It is endorsed by the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission as an 'Official Indy Bicentennial Community Project.'

This tour should take approximately 90 to 120 minutes to walk.

Parking is most available on both sides of College Avenue between Lockerbie and Vermont Streets or Vermont Street east of College. Do not park on Lockebie, Park, Vermont (west of College) or north side of New York as it is residential only and requires a sticker.

Lockerbie Square, named for its main street, is a quiet residential area that abuts the eastern edge of the “Mile Square,” Indianapolis’ downtown business core. With its beginnings in the 1860’s, it is rich in history and charm, with tree-lined streets, a mixture of charming homes from small cottages to Victorian mansions, and even a cobblestone street.

Neighborhood History

Lockerbie Square is the oldest surviving residential neighborhood in Indianapolis and the first designated historic district under the auspices of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

After Alexander Ralston laid out the plan for the city of Indianapolis with a mile square formed by North, South, East & West streets with Monument Circle in the center, the city fathers sold excess land to developers for the creation of residential neighborhoods. The McQuat family purchased land adjacent to the northeast portion of the mile square, sharing East Street as the border and platted the first residential neighborhood with Lockerbie Street in the center. Being Scottish, the McQuats named Lockerbie Street for Lockerbie Scotland, home of their ancestors.

During the 1860s, Lockerbie Square prospered from the Civil War driven economy. During the rest of the 19th century numerous skilled German immigrant artisans and tradesmen used their savings to build small homes on narrow lots close to the commercial center of Indianapolis. Several prosperous families built larger homes in the neighborhood, while religious groups added substantial charitable institutions. (The large structures of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged and the original St. Vincent Hospital are no longer here but their locations are marked with historic signage.) The neighborhood saw its historic heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The neighborhood prospered into the early part of the twentieth century when the appearance of factories signaled the beginning of a downturn for the neighborhood. With the increase of commerce in the vicinity and economic changes following World War I, those who could afford to moved farther north, and the area fell into decline. Many of the homes were sold or abandoned, or became home to renters or boarders, few of whom had much interest in maintaining the neighborhood. Around WWII it was reputed to have become a “red light” district.

In 1958, what little of its original charm remained combined with the preserved residence of James Whitcomb Riley at its center, attracted the efforts of the Metropolitan Planning Department of Marion County--the first of a number of civic boards to seek to restore and preserve this unique, and now very needy, neighborhood. Had the “urban renewal” money been found, "Lockerbie Fair," as this first restoration concept was to be called, would have become a Victorian replica "Midwestern Main Street," inspired by Disneyland!

Fortunately, steps were made to stimulate more appropriate restoration and revitalization of Lockerbie Square. In 1973, the neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) located in a house on Park Avenue was restored by Indiana Landmarks. Inspired by the 1976 Bicentennial, and joined by the Junior League, the Indianapolis Garden Club, and the Department of Transportation, these groups worked together to bring noticeable improvements to the neighborhood—including replacing Lockerbie Street with cobblestones to match the historic ones located along its gutters and adding Victorian street lamps, brick sidewalks, and tree replacements. These latter improvements have been continued throughout the neighborhood by the Lockerbie Square People’s Club (now known as the Lockerbie Square Neighborhood Association).

In the early 1970’s “urban pioneers” began moving back into the neighborhood, revitalizing dilapidated structures and building contextual new in-fill. With the flurry of urban renewal projects in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana Landmarks (previously Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana) was able to rescue several endangered houses of the same historic period and move them to Lockerbie Square, providing a unique in-fill solution. Additionally, they initiated the stabilization of other homes for new owners. Revitalization of Lockerbie included the conversion of factory buildings that popped up in the early 1900’s to contemporary loft living. Many "before" photos have been included to illustrate the effort that has been put into this neighborhood to bring it back. Helen Small, one of the earliest urban pioneers in Lockerbie Square, provided these photos.

Since Lockerbie Square became a historic district, most of the residences have been renovated, industrial buildings converted to residential use and many new homes and townhouses have been built, which now combines its convenience, rich heritage, and restored historical charm with new urban comforts and vitality. The challenges today in Lockerbie Square are no longer the halting of demolition and decay, but shaping and managing the new changes and growth, as the area builds upon its character as a historical urban neighborhood. Neighbors welcome visitors and hope that they enjoy a nice stroll through Lockerbie Square either as a destination or on the way to the many eating or entertainment venues in the area.


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:1859 Architectural Style: Federal  Key Features:  Flat, Smooth Facade Light Detail on Door Surround and Balcony This house was restored by Indiana Landmarks following the plans of H. Roll McLaughlin who is the great grandson of... Read more
Year Built: 1894-1895 Architectural Style: Queen Anne Key Features: Dominant Front Facing Gable Avoidance of a Smooth, Flat Facade Decorative Details - Scalloped Siding and Porch Flourish  Henry Runge built this two and a half story frame ... Read more
Year Built: 1872 Architectural Style: Italianate Key Features: Decorative Brackets Fully Arched Windows with Decorative Crowns and Keystone Low Pitched Roof This house was built in 1872 by John R. Nickum, a partner in the baking firm of Par... Read more
Year Built: 1856 Architectural Style: Double- Pen Key Features: Two Entry Doors- One For Each "Pen" Central Gable Facade Length Porch Miss Katie Kindell, James Whitcomb Riley’s housekeeper, lived in this small, one story frame cottage bui... Read more
Year Built: 1855 Architectural Style: Greek Revival with Victorian Influences Key Features: Pediment with Band of Trim Symmetrical Aesthetic Spindling and Decorative Brackets Mary Foote was the daughter of Janet McQuat, who platted Lockerbi... Read more
Year Built: 1872-1873 Architectural Style: Shotgun Key Features: One Room Wide and Three Rooms Deep Gable Front Clapboard Siding The cottage is typical of Lockerbie Square, particularly the gabled cottages around the corner on Park Street... Read more
Year Built: 2010 Architectural Style: I-House Influence Key Features: One Room Deep and Three Rooms Wide- Two Story Small Crowns Above Doors and Windows Clapboard Siding This house sits on a lot that was vacant for many years and served as... Read more
Year Built: 1864  Architectural Style: Gothic Stick and Stick Key Features: Board-and-Batten Siding  Decorative Gothic Arches Above Windows Decorative Half Timbering and Stickwork on Gable This gothic stick style house was built in 1864 b... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1860s Architectural Style: Gable-Front and I-House Key Features: 331 - Shotgun Style with Full Length Porch 333 - Fishscale and Clapboard Siding, Spindling, and Full Length Porch 329 - Simple, Smooth Facade with I-House La... Read more
Year Built: 1977 Architectural Style:  Key Features: Low Pitch Roof This is the second new house in Lockerbie, built in 1977 by Jim and Barbara Lee. Raymond Ogle, was the architect on the project.  ...
Year Built: 1849 Architectural Style: Key Features: Multiple Front Gables Fishscale Siding Spindles as Porch Supports This house has gone through many changes over the years including 1861 and 1900. In the early 1970s, Jean Spear, an early ... Read more
Year Built: 1860 Architectural Style: Federal Key Features: Sidelights on Door Surround End Chimney Refined and Balanced Aesthetic German born Friedrick Thoms, a furniture manufacturer, built this late Federal style house in 1860. He was ac... Read more
Year Built: 1860 and 1870 Architectural Style: Italianate Key Features: Decorative Brackets Decorative Window Hoods Low Pitch Roof This Italianate house is a large, two story frame structure which was once smaller than it is today. The Pal... Read more
Year Built: 1860-1870 Architectural Style: Gable Front Key Features: Clapboard Siding Light Decorative Detailing - Brackets and Vergeboard These three vernacular clapboard cottages were typical of the neighborhood in the mid to late 1800s ... Read more
Year Built: 1904 and 1984 Architectural Style: Key Features: The Indianapolis Glove Company was established in 1904 by Brodehurst Elsey (1878– 1968) and Charles F. Zwick (1869–1946). It was known for producing Red Apple work gloves with... Read more
Year Built: 1983-1985 Key Features: This block of attached rowhouses was constructed in 1983-1985 in tandem with the rehabilitation of the old Indianapolis Gove Company factory building. At the time of the construction of the townhomes, it ... Read more
Year Built: 1973 Architectural Style: I-House Key Features: Brick and Frame Construction Simple Aesthetic Small Windows Over Door This brick house was the first new home in Lockerbie Square and the first in the downtown for many decades and... Read more
Year Built: 1885 Architectural Style: Stick Key Features: Decorative Half Timbering Decorative Vergeboard and Brackets Clapboard Siding Built by the David and Maria Wiley in the stick style, it is larger than their cottage next door with ... Read more
Year Built: 1885 Architectural Style: Stick Key Features: Decorative Timbering Clapboard Siding Decorative Detailing on Window Surround The Wiley Cottage is a good example of a stick style cottage. The shutters with the flowers are original... Read more
Year Built:late 1990s Architectural Style: Key Features: The beautiful townhome on the north west corner of East and Vermont was built in the late 1990s by Andre and Julia Lacy and the other townhouses to the west followed. They filled a ve... Read more
Year Built:1889 Architectural Style: Key Features: Clapboard and Shingle Siding Large Wrap Porch Decorative Brackets Square Details in Windows and Doors This two story frame house was built as a rooming house and serves today as a Bed and B... Read more
Year Built:​ Circa 1980 The lovely garden on the corner of East and Vermont replaced a gas station that was demolished between 1978 and 1980...about the same time as the townhouses were built. The first owner of the adjacent townhome (Bru... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1980s Architectural Style: Gable Front Key Features: Simple, Smooth Facade Tall, Narrow Windows Clapboard Siding and Brick Construction Architect Ewing Miller, FAIA designed the East Street Townhouses which were the first ... Read more
Year Built: 1866-1867 Architectural Style: I-House Key Features: Symmetrical Facade with Two Entry Doors One Room Deep  Decorative Brackets This brick two story double was also built by brick mason William Keely. It fell into disrepair unt... Read more
Year Built: 1876 Architectural Style: Italianate  Key Features:  Decorative Brackets Pedimental Crowns Above Windows Hexagonal Lights Along Roofline This two story brick double residence was the first of three rental doubles built on East... Read more
Year Built: 1978 Architectural Style: Key Features: Large Bay Window Low Hipped Roof Simple Brick Construction In 1978, Don Perry, Architect designed the new home, garage & apartment on a large vacant lot on the corner of Lockerbie and ... Read more
Year Built:1891-1892 Architectural Style:German Renaissance Style (house) Key Features: House:  Prominent gables with fractables,  limestone accents, octagonal corner tower with metal concae roof slate-clad hip and gable roof grouped wind... Read more
Year Built: Architectural Style: German Revival Key Features: Stone Detailing Large Tower with Steeple Door and Window Archways with Keystones William Tate built the impressive two and a half story house, replacing a one story dwelling. He ... Read more
Year Built: 1882-1883 Architectural Style: German Revival Key Features: Fully Rounded Arches over Doors and Windows Stained Glass Windows Large Belltower with Steeply Pitched Roof This church has had many names but started as the German Eva... Read more
Year Built: 2005 Please look at the photo of the used car lot that was on this site during the 1970s. It later became a parking lot until it was developed into the townhouses in the mid 2000s seen there today. Early pioneers on the north si... Read more
Year Built: 1872 Architectural Style: T-Plan Key Features: Decorative Pediments Over Windows Spindle Work on Porch Supports Large Front Gable This is the first of the historic in-fill houses moved to Lockerbie by Indiana Landmarks & the... Read more
Year Built: 1835 Architectural Style: Greek Revival  Key Features: Symmetrical Facade with Central Doorway Sidelights on Door Surround This Greek Revival house has stood at least three different locations. It was originally erected about 1... Read more
Year Built: 1864  Architectural Style: Gable Front Key Features: Decorative Vergeboard Decorative Spindle Work on Porch Decorative Brackets Alfred Foster constructed this house in 1864. It is a typical story and a half frame house of the p... Read more
Year Built: 1885 Architectural Style: Gable Front Key Features: Clapboard Siding Full Front Porch Decorative Windows Above Door This home was recently restored and was one of the last restored homes in the center of Lockerbie Square.  ...
Year Built: 1863 Architectural Style: Gable Front Key Features: Decorative Details and Spindle Work on Porch Clapboard Siding Pediment Over Entryway This cottage was built by George Holler, a German born plasterer who was very active with G... Read more


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