Mile Square of Indianapolis


Fascinating glimpse of downtown Indianapolis in the first quarter of the 20th century.

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The “Mile Square” of Indianapolis is hemmed in by the cleverly named North, South, East and West Streets. This map, issued in 1923, is an interesting snapshot of the economic and cultural center of the city. From the Soldiers and Sailor’s monument radiate streets and business old and new. Coal yards, tinware wholesalers, and cold storage buildings, all now obsolete, are shown alongside Indianapolis mainstays like the Columbia Club (rebuilt in 1925), Circle Theater, City Market, the Athenaeum, and St. Elmo’s Steakhouse. Still other buildings, like the U.S. Post Office, have withstood the test of time but have been re-purposed.

Flanking the title block is a list of points of interest within the Mile Square, including parks, golf courses, public buildings (shaded with cross hatching) and “Home of Famous Indianapolis Men.” Opposite this list is a block of text with driving instructions for the intrepid automobile traveler, the first of which reads “KEEP OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET.” Other rules include tips on parking, driving through alleys (one way only) and right of ways. It’s easy to forget there were no stoplights!

Map Details

Publication Date: 1923

Author: S.A. Heinricks

Sheet Width (in): 29.75

Sheet Height (in): 33

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Discoloration and separation along originally issued fold lines, repaired on verso. Some edge wear, but otherwise very good.