Mars Hill

A TIMELINE OF FAITH AND COMMUNITY: MARS HILL, 1821 TO 1991

1821 Town established by Abraham Miller.
1911 Mars Hill industrial suburb is founded by a group of Indianapolis businessmen calling themselves the Greater Indianapolis Industrial Association.  Their plan is to make the farming community an industrial suburb that would rival Gary, Indiana.   The group planned to sell 8,000 lots to raise the funds to move out-of-state factories to the site and to pay for city utilities.  Lots were sold for $400 each.
Romanian Baptists establish a congregation with the assistance of a local Baptist pastor.
Hugh J. McGowan, president of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal Company purchases 75 lots in Mars Hill.
1912 The Greater Indianapolis Industrial Association reorganizes as a stockholding company in a renewed attempt to sell lots in Mars Hill.  Although somewhat successful, the necessary number of lots still did not sell and not enough money was raised to implement the original plans.
1916 Mars Hill has streetcar service to Indianapolis.  Has about 60 cottages and “cement” sidewalks.  A hotel block is under construction.
1917 St. Ann’s Catholic Church is organized.
1918 Neighborhood population grows to 500 people because of war-time boom in production.  Area is still being promoted by Greater Indianapolis Industrial Association.
1927 St. Ann’s Catholic Church dedicates its first permanent building.  Membership is 50 families.  The church school expects 55 children in the fall.
1931 There are thirty-five members of the Mars View Christian Church.
1940 Romanian Baptists dedicate their first building.
There is a small building boom in the Mars Hill area by workers at the nearby Allison plant,   but there is still no city sewer or water services.
1941 Mars Hill Free Methodist Church is ready for dedication at First Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard.
Mars Hill Church of Christ at First Avenue and Gadsen streetis ready for dedication.  Structure costs approximately $8000.  The church has been meeting in the structure’s basement for 10 years.
1947 Mars Hill Church of the Nazarene is organized.
1951 Mars View Christian Church has 300 members.
1952 Mars Hill Church of the Nazarene hopes to move to its new building within 2 months.  It is currently meeting in the basement.
1955 Marion County Plan Commission delays vote on Mars Hill rezoning request to allow construction of low-income housing.  One concern is that schools will be overcrowded.
1956 Maywood Manor, a 338-house low-income housing addition on Tibbs Avenue opens.
1962 Raw sewage and garbage fill a stream that runs behind homes in Mars Hill.
Emergency maintenance is being performed on the WWI-era sewer system and plans are in drawing stage for new system.
New sewer system is being installed, causing its own set of problems for residents in closed streets, dry wells, and dust.
1967 Mars Hill hotel, built in 1919 is ordered to close 4 rooms that have “cages” for children in them.  The Marion County Health department wants the hotel closed down as “unfit for human habitation.”
Mars Hill Baptist Church is founded with 6 members.
1969 New St. Ann’s Catholic Church is constructed.  It will seat 450.  Located on Holt Road.
Mars Hill-Drexel Gardens Improvement Association will accept nominations at a meeting of residents for the 15-member board.  The group was spawned in the local “War on Poverty.”
1970 Mars Hill hotel has been the site of 2 arson fires.  Judge orders its demolition.
Mars Hill-Drexel Gardens Improvement Association seeks city help to clean up Neeld Ditch.  Citys says the responsibilty is the property owners.
Mayor Lugar has polluted ditches in Mars Hill declared emergencies so the city crews are cleaning them up.  A $5 million sewage plan is approved.
Following Unigov Indianapolis makes some attempts to offer city services, pave roads, and force cleanup in the Mars Hill area.  Problems in these areas continue, however, and the area remains in need of infrastructure improvements and services.
1971 Community leaders in Mars Hill area are frustrated with citizens who continue to throw their trash into ditches rather than place it out for pick-up.
1974 Mars Hill Elementary School is demolished.
1975 Mars Hill-Drexel Gardens Multiservice Center forms in January.
1978 Local citizens are distrustful of the Summer Program for Disadvantaged Youth, which they say is an “outsider’s” program.  SPDY contends the community is worried the program is the first step toward busing.
Mars Hill Baptist church has 600 members.
1981 Mars Hill residents are angry with Indianapolis politicians who promised sewer and street improvements eleven years ago and have not delivered.
1991 Mars Hill is the only area in Decatur Township that shows signs of suburban revitalization.  It is primarily an established single-family residential neighborhood with a few vacant lots.
There are twenty-two churches in Mars Hill area.