Old Speedway City

Old Speedway City is one of Indianapolis's historic neighborhoods.

Old Speedway City

Speedway, Indiana 46224, United States

Created By: Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis

Tour Information


This tour is 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 takes approximately 90 minutes to walk.

Parking is most available on North Main Street.

Neighborhood History

I’ll discuss the founding of Speedway in a moment, but first I’d like to point out the newer construction/new businesses that we’re walking past.

In autumn 1908, Carl Fisher and his friend Lem Trotter drove from Indianapolis to Dayton, Ohio, in an automobile. It was a tough trip, as the rough roads required numerous stops to repair punctured tires. Frustrated, Fisher insisted that his proposed track would help solve the problems of low-quality tires and automobiles.

A day or two later, Trotter and Fisher went for another automobile ride from Indianapolis, this time about 5 miles northwest of the city into the countryside. They arrived at the corner of the Crawfordsville Pike and a little cart track that eventually became Georgetown Road and saw four adjoining 80-acre tracts that were for sale.

Lemon H. (Lem) Trotter operated the Lem H. Trotter Real Estate and Insurance Company of Indianapolis, and the Speedway Realty Company. In 1908 he selected the site of the future Indianapolis Motor Speedway on behalf of friends Carl Fisher, James Allison, A. C. Newby, and Frank Wheeler. He chose the site because it was “nearly level” and suited the purpose of testing automobiles. In 1912 Trotter purchased 350 acres of land surrounding the track, and platted the town of Speedway.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in the spring of 1909, the result of a creative vision of Carl G. Fisher and his three partners in the venture, James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler.

Old Speedway City was deliberately built with the needs of auto testing in mind. The city combines residential houses, commercial businesses, and auto-related industries into the original plan for the city. Factory managers lived in larger houses on 15th and 14th Streets. Workers lived in smaller houses on 11th through 13th Streets, closer to the factory on 10th Street.

New Developments

To ensure Speedway’s growth and future prosperity, the Speedway Town Council was given the authority by the Indiana Legislature to form and appoint the Speedway Redevelopment Commission (SRC) in 2005.

The SRC was charged with addressing the Town of Speedway’s stagnant growth and eliminating industrial blight by building upon Speedway’s close identification with racing and encouraging business growth related to motorsports technology.

Since Speedway is landlocked and cannot grow through annexation, the town concluded it must turn to redevelopment and reuse as a means of ensuring its future economic viability. Using input from the entire community, the commission began developing a plan to revitalize a total of 700 acres. As a part of the redevelopment plan, the SRC identified two areas of redevelopment, and the initial phase focused on the redevelopment of Main St.

New developments include the Community Westview Health Center, Sara Fisher’s Karting facility and 1911 Grill, Daredevil Brewery, Dallara Factory, Ed Carpenter Racing facility. SE corner development at the intersection of 16th and Main St. will comprise a combination of Apartments, Condos, Hotel and Retail.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Not on this tour, but worth a visit, are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Museum. These are located just north of the area this tour covers.


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

From 16th to 15th Street along Main Street, all commercial development and activity occurred until the early 1930’s. The Rosner Building was built in 1915 by Joseph Rosner and included two upstairs apartments. The south side was a groc... Read more
The Bland-Zink Building was constructed in 1929 as a grocery store by Edythe and Bill Zink and Rex Bland. It operated as a grocery until it expanded in 1939 and built a new building just south of the Rosner building.  It later became a wom... Read more
The Eyster Building was built in 1918. It opened as a department store with an apartment above. It is now a florist shop.
Old Bank Building The Grande Building was constructed in the 1920s opened as a hardware store by Herbert Grande. In 1929 Speedway State Bank moved into the shared space.  This bank weathered the depression in the 1930s when 8500 banks clos... Read more
This building was built in 1917. It is a brick two-story building that opened as a restaurant with an apartment upstairs.  Later, it served as a furniture and appliance store, newspaper office, and legal firm.  Now, it is home to Leo’s... Read more
In the late 1930s, Mr. Rosner constructed the building at the southwest corner of 15th and Main Streets. Originally it housed Becks Drug Store then Speedway Drugs with five apartments above. The rear office area off 15th Street was leas... Read more
Constructed in 1937 by Rosner, the 600-seat Speedway Theater was equipped with modern air conditioning. It operated until 1960. There are apartments on the 2nd floor.  In 1965 the building housed a Furniture Store, Trend House, and in 20... Read more
This building was constructed in 1929 as a parking garage. The entrance was from a back alley onto 14th street. There were offices on either side of the hallway leading to Main street from the garage. It later became Kepler garage, where ma... Read more
This building was also built by Mrs. Hodgson. The grocery store of A& P moved in when they outgrew the building at 1550 Main Street.  The main Speedway physician’s office was located here until moving into a new facility at 10th &a... Read more
This building originally opened as Alexanders Five and Ten cent store. It later became a gift shop and a beauty shop. Currently, it's home to a Bourbon and BBQ Restaurant.
The building opened as a restaurant around 1939. Later, it became the first liquor store permitted Speedway in 1945. A Shoe Repair shop operated in the basement outside the staircase led to the shop. It is now the Zoom Hair Salon. 
Year Built: 1918 Architecture Style: Dormer Front Bungalow Key Features: Central Front Gable Dormer Decorative Brackets Large Porch with Brick Supports This beautiful home is one of only a few in this area on only its second owner.  It w... Read more
Year Built: Circa 1900s Architecture Style: Western Bungalow Key Features: Hipped Gables Clapboard siding Large Porch with Column Supports Two-Story
Year Built: 1930 Architecture Style: American Four Square with Italian Renaissance Influence Key Features: Slate Roof with Copper Flashing Sandstone with Limestone Detailing on Exterior Wood Window Casings This was once the home of William... Read more
Year Built: 1920 Architecture Style: Dormer-Front Bungalow Key Features: Large Central Dormer Stucco Finish on Dormer Exposed Roof Beams Henry and Minnie Noffke, owners of a restaurant at 1500 Main Street, lived here in the 1930s-1940s. ...
Year Built: 1912 Architecture Style: Gable Front House Key Features: Clapboard and Fish Scale Siding Cross-Gabled Decorative Brackets This was the former home of Lem Trotter a real estate agent with Speedway Realty Company. This company se... Read more
Year Built: 1916 Architecture Style: American Four Square Key Features: Off Center Porch Decorative Leading on Windows Large Hipped Dormer This home was once owned by racecar driver Bill Vukovich Sr. He completed 5 Indianapolis 500 starts ... Read more
Year Built: 1920 Architecture Style: American Four Square Key Features: Hipped Roof and Dormer Wide Overhanging Eaves Decorative Frieze on Porch Molded Concrete Block Foundation    ...
Year Built: 1930s Architecture Style: French Eclectic Key Features: Large Rounded Tower Stone Siding Shingle Roof An early owner was Dr. Thomas Hanna a Medical Officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had moved to the rear of the Sp... Read more
Year Built: 1930 Architecture Style: Western Bungalow Key Features: Hipped Roof Wide Overhanging Eaves and Prominent Dormer Red Brick Construction with Squared Brick Columns ...
Year Built: 1920 Architecture Style: Bungalow Key Features: Clapboard Siding Low Molded Block Foundation Wide Overhanging Eaves Paired Dormer Windows are Stained Glass Decorative Brackets on Porch Entry ...
Year Built: 1924 Architecture Style: Spanish Colonial Revival Key Features: Stucco Siding Mansard Roof Multi-Paned Windows with Unique Arches
Year Built: 1926 Architecture Style: Tudor Revival Key Features: Bell Parapet Stone Construction Pointed Arch Entryway This was the first church built in Speedway. Services took place in a one-room schoolhouse located 10th and Auburn Stree... Read more
Year Built: 1930 Architecture Style: English Cottage Key Features: Steeply Pitched Cross Gable Roof Brick Construction with Running Bond Fully Arched Front Door  
Year Built: Architecture Style: Gabel Front Bungalow Key Features: Limestone Foundation Decorative Brackets Brick Porch Enclosed with Craftsman Style Windows and Door   ...
Year Built: 1925 Architecture Style: Greek Revival Key Features: Pediments Porch with Column Supports Door with Side Lights Narrow Windows  
Year Built: 1930 Architecture Style: English Cottage Key Features: Double Gable Front Stucco Exterior Fully Arched Door Decorative Shutters    
Year Built: 1930 Architecture Style: Dutch Colonial Revival Key Features: Craftsman Windows Clapboard Siding Gambrel Roof Once the home of John Nadolny a Sales Manager of Prest-O-Lite Company in the mid-1930s.  Also, once home to Glen Ste... Read more
Year Built: 1925 Architecture Style: Mission Revival Key Features: Stucco Exterior Decorative Beams Bands of Narrow Windows This home once belonged to Mr. Spencer, who was general manager and later Vice President of Electric Steel Casting ... Read more
1300’s Main Street 1920s & early 1930s this was the home of the Speedway Coal Yard. Later it became a Service Station and Busard’s U-Haul Rentals. This block is currently undergoing redevelopment for a new complex of retail and hous... Read more
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Constructed 1948 by Ira Edwards– Speedway Furniture Early 1970’s – Lodge Hall Mid 1990 – Charlie Brown’s Restaurant
Dutch Boy Paint store Early 1970’s – Lodge Hall
1948 – Family Restaurant & Local U.A.W. office Late 1970s – Restaurant became Speedway frozen food store Mid 1980s – Union office became Speedway Lions Club office and storage Late 1980s – Frozen food store became Speedway Meat ... Read more
Allison Plant No.1 (arcoss the street)  Allison Transmissions Plant No. 1 manufactures aircraft engines. The original plant was built in 1915 and was the beginning of the industrial business development for Speedway along with other comme... Read more


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