500 Festival
Airport
Arts
Attraction
Beer
Big Ten
Biking
Broad Ripple
Colts
Concerts
Convention
Cultural District
Cultural Trail
Culture
Deals
Devour Downtown
Dining
Eleven
Fever
Food
Fountain Square
Fourth of July
Free
History
Holidays
Hotel
Indiana State Fair
Indians
Indy 500
Kids
LGBTQ
Mass Ave
Monon Trail
Monument Circle
Museum
Music
NCAA
Nightlife
Pacers
Racing
Running
Shopping
Sports
Theater
White River State Park
Zoo


Alex Sventeckis
Annie Browning
Becca Schmiegel
Cherie Lowe
Chris Gahl
Christine Zetzl
Dawn Olsen
Janelle Johnson
Jeff Robinson
Jessica Young
Katy Mann
Lara Neal
Larry Pranger
Maeve Wangler
Marissa Renaldi
Morgan Snyder
Nate Swick
Roberta Tisdul
Seth Johnson
Sierra Holmes
Victoria Smith
Guest

Indy Architecture Through the Ages

JUNE 14, 2021

It’s not every day you turn 200. This year, Indianapolis celebrated its bicentennial by recognizing twenty decades of innovation, expansion, and civic pride. Part of the city’s history, though, lies in its architecture. Through these iconic buildings, you can explore Indy’s architectural styles—and its past.


1850s-1870s

James Whitcomb Riley HomeOne of Indy’s oldest buildings is right on Monument Circle—Christ Church Cathedral. There’s also the Slippery Noodle Inn (1850), Indiana’s oldest, continually operated bar. Crown Hill Cemetery’s Gothic Chapel was also constructed during this period, as were the Morris-Butler House, the James Whitcomb Riley Home, the Benton House, and the Benjamin Harrison Home


1880s-1900s

City Market interiorIndy’s population more than doubled during this time, and many iconic structures were built, including the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Other renowned buildings include City Market, Union Station, the Indiana State Capitol Building. On Mass Ave, there’s the famous Chatterbox and the Germanic-style Athenaeum.


1910s-1930s

Madam Walker Legacy CenterMany present-day cultural institutions were constructed at this time, such as the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Old National Centre (the Murat), and the Madam C.J. Walker Legacy Center. Art Deco buildings from this period include Circle Tower and what is now Bottleworks. There’s also the Scottish Rite Cathedral, where every dimension of the building is divisible by three.


1960s-1970s

Minton Capehart Federal BuildingSave for the Irwin Library at Butler University, most notable architecture from this period is downtown. The 28-story City-County Building opened in 1962, and the “Gold Building” (a.k.a. Market Square Center) was completed in 1974. The Minton-Capehart Federal Building, a love-to-hate-it Brutalist-style building, was also constructed.


1980s-2000s

Central Library interiorThis is when Indy’s skyline really took shape. The six-sided OneAmerica Tower was built, and the Salesforce Tower (originally called the “Bank One Building”) was completed in 1990. One of Indy’s sleekest-looking spaces—the Central Library addition—was completed in 2007. 


2010s-present

JW MarriottModern and shiny is the best way to describe present-day architecture. Indy is bookended by the Julia M. Carson Transit Center to the east and the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park to the west. The Cummins Distribution Headquarters is a feat of engineering, and the JW Marriott—the third largest in the world—is one of Indy’s most-photographed buildings.