Butler Tarkington



1821 William Cravens helps to organize the first Methodist church in Indianapolis, the forerunner of today’s Meridian Street United Methodist Church.  Meetings are held in a log cabin on the grounds of the present State House.
1825 The mission founded by William Cravens moved to the corner of Meridian and Maryland Streets, where it was enlarged at a cost of $300.  Now called Wesley Chapel, the building accommodates 200 people and serves as both a school house and a church.
1829 Wesley Chapel relocates to the southwest corner of the Circle and Meridian Street where a two-story brick building is erected.
1843 Sugar Grove Mission is organized at the cabin of Delanson Slawson, in the vicinity of present-day 38th and Meridian Streets.
1846 Wesley Chapel is rebuilt at a cost of $10,000.
1850 Village of Sugar Grove applies for a post office.  Since another community of that name is already registered in Indiana, the post office is granted under the name of Mapleton.
1851 Twenty-four members from Second Presbyterian organize Fourth Presbyterian Church.
1855 The Sugar Grove Mission is organized into the Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of  Maple Road and Meridian Street.
1857 Following years of struggle, Fourth Presbyterian Church moves into its first permanent structure on the southwest corner of Delaware and Market Streets.
1860 Indianapolis street railway is extended up Illinois Street to Crown Hill Cemetery.
1869 Wesley Chapel moves to a new location at Meridian and New York Streets.  The church changes its name to Meridian Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
1870 Mapleton continues to serve as a streetcar stop, with the turn-around west of the intersection at Maple Road and Illinois Street.
1871 Mapleton town plat is recorded.
1874 Fourth Presbyterian Church moves to a new building at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and Pratt Streets.
1883 The forerunner of IPS School 43 is opened in the village of Mapleton.
1884 Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church is enlarged.
1886 Hall Place Methodist Episcopal Church, located at Hall Place and 16th Street, is dedicated.
1889 The Board of Directors and owners of the Citizens Street Railway Company are authorized to purchase the 246-acre farm of Adam Scott, located along the Central Canal north of Indianapolis, for the purpose of developing a “suburban park” at the terminus of one of the streetcar lines.  The park is named “Fairview” in honor of the site’s “picturesque scenery.”
Crown Hill Cemetery begins purchasing its “North Burial Grounds” north of 38th Street.
1890 The streetcar line to Fairview Park becomes the first in Indianapolis to be electrified.
Oscar McCulloch, pastor of Plymouth (Congregational) Church, founds the Summer Mission for Sick Children (a.k.a. the Fresh Air Mission) in Fairview Park.  The mission is dedicated to “taking inner-city children, and oftentimes their mothers, into the country for rest and recreation.”
1892 Fourth Presbyterian moves to a site on Delaware Street near 17th Street.
1895 Fourth Presbyterian Church relocates to a site at Alabama and 19th Streets.
1897 The North Park Christian Church organizes at 29th Street and Kenwood Avenue.
Grace Presbyterian Church is organized at the corner of Capitol Avenue and 32nd Street.
1899 Grace Presbyterian Church dedicates its new building. at Capitol Avenue and 32nd Street.
ca. 1900 The Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church builds a larger, white frame building on the same location.  The church is renamed the Mapleton Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Summer Mission for Sick Children erects a permanent dormitory, a hospital, a dispensary, and a camp for tuberculosis patients.
1904 The Maple Lodge, a boarding house catering to young women moving from rural communities to work in Indianapolis, opens on the property now located at 615 West 43rd Street.
The Meridian Street Methodist Episcopal Church is destroyed by fire.
1906 The Meridian Street Methodist Episcopal Church is rebuilt at the corner of Meridian and St. Clair Streets at a cost of $165,000.
Grace Presbyterian Church responds to a request from the neighborhood of Meridian Heights and begins sponsoring a mission and Sunday School in a school house at 46th Street and Central Avenue.  Plans are made to move the church into the area.
1909 The interior of Fourth Presbyterian Church is damaged by fire; services suspended for six months while repairs are completed.
IPS School 43 opens at 150 West 40th Street.
1915 The Mapleton Methodist Episcopal Church is moved back 100 feet to accommodate the widening of West 38th Street.  The church adds a basement, new Sunday School rooms, a social room, and a kitchen.  The church is renamed the Maple Road Methodist Church.
1918 The Summer Mission for Sick Children consolidates its work with a number of the city’s other philanthropic organizations.
1921 The Indiana Area of the Methodist Church purchases the corner lot at 38th  and North Meridian Streets, for $25,000, with the intention of establishing a new church.
1922 The Maple Road Methodist Church agrees to merge with the new church which is to be built at the corner of 38th Street and North Meridian Street.  The new church is named the North Methodist Episcopal Church.
Orchard Country Day School, a progressive elementary school, is established by Mary Stewart Carey in her home at 5050 North Meridian Street.
Butler University purchases the 250-acre Fairview Park from the Indianapolis Street Railway Company for $200,000.
1923 Author Booth Tarkington moves from his residence at 1100 North Pennsylvania Street to a new home at 4270 North Meridian Street where he lives until his death in 1946.
1924 Following decisions by both Fourth Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church to relocate to the Fairview Park area of the city, the two congregations agree to merge, forming Fairview Presbyterian Church.  A temporary chapel is erected at 46th Street and Capitol Avenue.
Butler University establishes the College of Religion.
The Summer Mission for Sick Children closes its camp and sells the property to Butler University.
1925 Crown Hill Cemetery clears and prepares the North Burial Grounds at a cost of nearly $22,000.
Fairview Presbyterian Church enlarges its “temporary” chapel.  An addition is built to house Sunday School classes.  Both a Boy Scout troop and a Girl Scout troop begin to meet in a bungalow located on the church’s property.
1926 The 51st Street Methodist Episcopal Church is founded as a mission.  Services are held in a storeroom at 49th Street and College Avenue.
1927 Orchard Country Day School moves to 610 West 42nd Street.
1928 Butler University relocates its campus to the former site of Fairview Park following the construction of a fieldhouse, a stadium, and a three-unit classroom building named the Arthur Jordan Memorial Hall.
IPS School 86 opens at 49th Street and Boulevard Place in what was called a “temporary” frame structure.
1930 The population of the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood is approximately 10,295, of which 97.4 percent is white.
Butler University establishes a Division of Evening Courses and merges its Department of Education with the Teachers College of Indianapolis to form the Butler College of Education.
The North Park Christian Church merges with the University Place Christian Church to form the University Park Christian Church.  The new church occupies the former University Place Christian Church building at 40th Street and Capitol Avenue.
1931 North United Methodist Church, 3803 North Meridian Street, which began construction in 1925, dedicates its new building.  The structure, built at a cost of  $315,000, includes a $15,000 Hammond Organ speically designed for the church.
Hall Place Methodist Church merges with the 51st Street Methodist Church.  The combined congregation meets in a temporary structure at 51st Street and Central Avenue.
1939 The Diocese of Indianapolis creates St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.  Its boundaries are:  Meridian Street from 34th Street north to the Marion County line, 34th Street west from Meridian Street to Boulevard Place, Boulevard Place north to 38th Street, 38th Street west to Northwestern Avenue, and Northwestern Avenue to the Marion County line.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church opens in a temporary frame structure at 46th and Illinois Streets.
1940 The population of Butler-Tarkington is 12,244, an increase of 19 percent since the previous census enumeration.  Whites comprise 96 percent of the residents; African-Americans, 4 percent.
IPS School 86 moves into its new building at 200 West 49th Street.  The structure costs $130,000.
IPS School 43, The James Whitcomb Riley School, located at 40th Street and Capitol Avenue.
1941 St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church opens a school at 4600 North Illinois Street.  The school building, which cost $62,000, serves kindergarten through eighth grade.
1945 The Indianapolis Park Department purchases a 10-acre tract at 39th and Meridian Streets for $63,000.  The park is named Tarkington Park in honor of noted Hoosier author, Booth Tarkington.
Butler University establishes the Butler College of Pharmacy by incorporating the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy
1946 Formed through the merger of the North Park Christian Church and the University Place Christian Church, University Park Christian Church purchases property, known as the “Blue Farm,”  at 46th and Illinois Streets.
1947 The merger of the Meridian Street United Methodist Church with the 51st Street United Methodist Church is finalized.  The new entity continues to use the Meridian Street name.
1950 The neighborhood’s population is 13,849, an increase of 13 percent in ten years.  Whites still comprise the largest segment of the neighborhood–90 percent–however, African-American representation increases threefold.
1951 The Jordan College of Music merges with Butler University, forming the Jordan College of Music of Butler University.
Fairview Presbyterian Church dedicates a new addition, which includes a new sanctuary.  The structure is built at a cost of $250,000.
1952 Meridian Street United Methodist Church moves into its new building at 5500 North Meridian Street.  The building, which cost an estimated $850,000, is located on nearly five acres of land acquired for $30,000.
1953 University Park Christian Church moves into its new $350,000 building at 4550 North Illinois Street.  The church is intended to serve the faculty and staff of Christian Theological Seminary.
1954 The Holcomb Observatory is built on the Butler University campus.
1955 The Hilton U. Brown Outdoor Theatre is built at Butler University.  Starlight Musicals opens its 1955 season there with a production of “South Pacific.”
1956 Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association is established to “conserve and improve the area by promoting cooperative efforts among residents, schools, churches, and civic interests.”  The group is one of the oldest groups of its kind in the nation.
Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution moves into their new chapter house at 4635 North Illinois Street.
1957 Orchard Country Day School moves to 615 West 63rd Street.
Noble School II opens at 615 West 43rd Street, occupying four buildings previously part of the Orchard Country Day School.  The property is purchased by the Parents and Friends of Retarded Children, Inc. with funds supplied through a Lilly Endowment grant.
1958 The College of Religion separates from Butler University and forms an independent institution, Christian Theological Seminary.  The new school purchases a 36-acre tract for its campus at 1000 West 42nd Street.
1959 The Tarkington Park Tennis Club opens with facilities costing $93,000.
The Holcomb Carillon is built at Butler University.
1960 The population of the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood is 14,480, an increase of only 4.5 percent from 1950.  As a result of court decisions, the neighborhood experiences “white flight” to the suburbs and a large influx of African-Americans, who comprise 30.4 percent of the population.
The Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association incorporates and begins publishing a newsletter.
1961 Fairview Presbyterian Church dedicates its new Christian Education building.
1962 The Sertoma Club begins sponsoring Home Economic courses in the Commons Building at  Noble School II.
1963 Clowes Memorial Hall opens at 4600 Sunset Avenue on the campus of Butler University.  Built at a cost of $3.5 million, Clowes Hall has a seating capacity of 2,200 and serves as the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
1966 Christian Theological Seminary moves to its new campus at 1000 West 42nd Street.
1969 St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church moves into a new building at 4610 North Illinois Street.  The structure is built at a cost of $300,000.
1970 Metropolitan Area Citizens Organization (M.A.C.O.) is sponsored by North United Methodist Church, among other organizations.  The group is intended to unite churches, businesses, and residences into a coalition which will help the community.  The organization disbands within a few years.
Butler-Tarkington’s population is 15,270.  Over 41 percent of the population is now African-American.
North United Methodist Church is one of three founding members of the Mid-North Church Council, a group dedicated to “addressing neighborhood problems in a unified manner.”  Its work focuses on the Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood.
IPS Schools 43 and 86 take part in the Lighted Schools Program, which offers a variety of classes for adults and children during the winter months.  Courses range from gourmet cooking and modern math to self defense and charm/grooming.  The Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association is a co-sponsor of the program.
1971 The Repertory Theatre at Christian Theological Seminary is formed.  It is the only community theatre in the nation with a “full season sponsored by a theological seminary.”
The Noble School relocates to new quarters at 2400 North Tibbs Avenue.
1972 The Butler-Tarkington Multi-Service Center opens “in a storefront.”  The Center is primarily founded as a “recreational outlet for youth.”
IPS School 43 opens late due to delays in its $1.5 million renovation.
1973 North United Methodist Church completes construction of a bell tower and extensive renovations.  The project costs $225,000.
The Mapleton Area Senior Citizens Center opens in the fellowship hall of North United Methodist Church.
1974 North United Methodist Church takes over an adjacent property on 38th Street and rents the property to a drug-abuse center.  The house later serves as a Crime Watch Office and the M.A.C.O. headquarters before being torn down to make way for a parking lot.
IPS School 43 dedicates its new Lucille Stack Library-Media Center.
1975 The State of Indiana acquires 4750 North Meridian Street for the official Governor’s Residence.
The Butler-Tarkington Multi-Service Center becomes an operating agency of Indianapolis Settlements, Inc.
1976 Heritage Place of Indianapolis, a nonprofit multi-service agency for people 55 and over, is founded by the Butler-Tarkington and Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Associations.  The agency is headquartered on the first level of the University Park Christian Church at 4550 North Illinois Street.
1977 The Butler-Tarkington Multi-Service Center moves into a converted house owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation at 3951 N. Illinois Street.
North United Methodist Church starts “Mission 500,” a small community development program which tackles four projects a year.  Over time these projects include clearing trash from the church grounds, visiting and entertaining in nursing homes, and cleaning and painting homes in the Brightwood area.  The program runs for four years.
1979 The Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis is formed and uses the facilities of Central Avenue United Methodist Church.
1980 The Butler-Tarkington neighborhood experiences a population decline of 12 percent from the previous enumeration; the population now stands at 13,444–58 percent are white and 41 percent are African-American.
ca. 1980’s North United Methodist Church begins a soup kitchen/free lunch program, the Bread ‘n Bowl Program.  The church also launches a program for children of working parents.
Faith United Christian Church is established.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church stops paying the federal taxes on its parish telephone bill to protest the nation’s nuclear arms buildup.
1982 North United Methodist Church opens North Church Shepherd’s Center.  The center caters to the needs of the neighborhood’s elderly residents and is directed by its clientele.
The Peace Education Group of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, a group of parishioners who have joined the church in refusing to pay federal taxes on telephone service, announces that it will start a poor fund from the money saved.
1983 The Butler-Tarkington Multi-Service Center changes its name to the Martin Luther King, Jr.  Multi-Service Center and joins the Community Centers of Indianapolis, Inc.  The Center is charged with expanding both its service delivery area (to include the Meridian-Kessler and Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhoods) and the extent of its programs.
1984 The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra moves downtown to the Circle Theatre after a tenure of twenty years at Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler campus.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Center moves into new quarters at 3909 North Meridian Street.  The building is purchased at a cost of $275,000.
University Park Christian Church and Faith United Christian Church begin sharing the former institution’s facilities at 4550 North Illinois Street.
1985 The Sycamore School, a parents-supported educational institution for gifted grade-school age children, opens at West 43rd Street and Clarendon Road in buildings leased from the Unitarian Universalists Church of Indianapolis.
1986 North Meridian Street Historic District is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1987 IPS School 86 takes part in the new PrimeTime Plus summer program, designed to help “shore up” elementary school students’ academic weaknesses.
1988 IPS School 86 has its 3-feet-high, 300-pound bell restored.  It was damaged in a fire in the late 1960s.
IPS School 43 is selected as one of “10 inner-city elementary schools” to serve as a “test site” for the Participating Parents for Progress Program.  “Triple P,” sponsored by the State Department of Education’s Division of Educational Equity Programs and Indianapolis Public Schools’ Chapter II and Parents in Touch programs,  is designed to “help parents motivate their children to learn and to reinforce good parenting skills.”
IPS School 43 takes part in the Transitional First Grade Program which is  designed to assist “students of average ability who…lag behind other children their age.”
Christian Theological Seminary dedicates its new chapel.
1989 The Mid-North Church Council begins sponsoring the North Church Shepherd’s Center; the center’s name later is changed to the Mid-North Shepherd’s Center.
The Sycamore School moves into new quarters at 1750 West 64th Street.
1990 Butler-Tarkington’s  population is 13,211, the second consecutive drop in the total population.  The area witnesses a slight decline in the black population from the previous census.
The Caring Place Adult Day Care Center opens in the Fairview Presbyterian Church at 4609 North Capitol Avenue.  The Center is sponsored by the Caring Community, an outreach project of Fairview Presbyterian Church, Faith United Christian Church, University Park Christian Church, and St. Thomas Aquinas  Catholic Church.  The Center is co-sponsored and managed by Catholic Social Services.
1991 The Repertory Theatre at Christian Theological Seminary changes its name to the Edyvean Repertory Theatre in honor of the company’s founder, Dr. Alfred R. Edyvean.
1993 Starlight Musicals closes production, ending its 38-year association with the Hilton U. Brown Outdoor Theatre on the Butler campus.
1994 North United Methodist Church chooses not to “undertake a decision” concerning the Reconciling Congregation Program (the procedure under which Methodist churches openly  accept “declared” homosexual and lesbian members).
1996 North United Methodist Church begins additions and renovations to its building.