Broad Ripple



1822 Jesse McKay and John Calip purchase 147 acres from US government.  Jonas Huffman purchases 60.05 acres.
Washington Township organized.
1836 Indiana General Assembly passes the “Mammoth Internal Improvements Bill,” which proposes a statewide network of improved roads, canals, and rivers.
Jacob Coil and family move from Virginia and purchase land from McKays and Calips, establishing a ford across the shallow part of White River.
Surveying for the new Central Canal begins at the intersection of what is now Westfield Boulevard and the White River.
John Wray builds a home, grocery, and saloon near the location of the river dam.
Robert Earl operates a general store.
John Burke heads canal project and hires Irish workmen to build a feeder dam and begin digging the canal
1837 Jacob Coil lays out 48 lots north of the canal and calls the community Broad Ripple.
James A. and Adam R. Nelson plat Wellington—consisting of 32 lots—on the south side of the canal.
1839  Canal opens.  Parades and celebration mark the opening.
William Switzer opens a store in Wellington.
The state of Indiana goes broke due to the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836.  Only 8.79 miles of the Marion County portion of the Central Canal has been completed to date.
Robert Earl begins a canal boat service between Indianapolis and Broad Ripple.
1843 Washington Township Graded School #5 built.
1845 Peter W. Koontz becomes Burke’s partner and builds a grist mill.
1850 Post office opens in Broad Ripple, soon moved to Wellington.  William Earl is the first postmaster.
1851 The state sells the Central Canal to a private company for $2,500.
Local residents subscribe to build a Union Church; it stands at the site now occupied by a fire station at 6330 Guilford Avenue.
Dr. Harry Kerr is the first physician in Broad Ripple and practices until 1880.
1852 Broad Ripple Methodist Episcopal Church is organized.
1854 Washington Township Grade School #14 opens (Broad Ripple and Evanston Avenues).
1867 The canal is sold to the Hydraulic Company, later the Indianapolis Water Company, and becomes the principal source of water for the growing city of Indianapolis.
1873 A local chapter of the Grange is established.
1875 A flood destroys the gristmill, the community’s oldest house, and a grocery store on north side of White River.
1877 International Order of Odd Fellows, Broad Ripple Lodge No. 548, is organized.
1883 Indianapolis, Delphi, and Chicago Railroad comes through Broad Ripple.
1884 Broad Ripple and Wellington merge and incorporate as Broad Ripple with 150 residents.
First Methodist Church established at 6145 Guilford.
White River breaks through levee constructed in 1875 and floods the town.
Broad Ripple school opens.  The two-story school is located on the south bank of White River.
Train bridge over White River collapses and several people die.
1886 Broad Ripple High School opens.
1887 Indianapolis, Delphi, and Chicago Railroad becomes the Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville Railroad.
Kingan Meat Packers Company establishes several ice houses.
1889 Broad Ripple Hotel burns.
1891 Gas explosion damages the Broad Ripple Hotel, Christian Church, I.O.O.F. Hall, and several businesses.
1894 Electric street cars introduced.  Dr. Robert C. Light and William Bosson establish the Indianapolis and Broad Ripple Transit Company.  Three days of celebration mark the event.
1895 Broad Ripple High School is commissioned by Indiana Department of Education.
1896 Broad Ripple High School is destroyed by fire.
Natural gas and oil are discovered in the area.  Local physician Dr. Robert C. Light forms the Broad Ripple Gas Company and joins the drilling operations in the area.
1897 Rebuilt high school opens.
Indianapolis & Broad Ripple Transit Company becomes Broad Ripple Traction Company, which eventually becomes the Union Traction Company.
1898 Pentecost Church is established.
1899 Christian Church is established.
1902 Kingan ice houses burn and the company rebuilds.
1903 Floods overrun the town.
1904 Interurban introduced to Broad Ripple.
1906 White City Amusement Park opens.
Broad Ripple residents seek annexation by Indianapolis.
Extensive fire damages business area.
1907 Masonic Lodge built at Guilford and Broad Ripple Avenues.  It becomes known as “Mustard Hall” when the Mustard family donates money to the Lodge.
W.H. Tabb and Robert C. Light form the White City Company of Indianapolis and obtain a nine-year lease for the amusement park facility.
1908 Fire destroys White City Amusement Park.
1909 First organized school basketball squad in Marion County.
Indianapolis City Council annexes Broad Ripple but Mayor Bookwalter vetoes annexation.  The council fails to override the veto.
1911 The Union Traction Company buys White City Amusement Park.
1912 Broad Ripple High School basketball team wins the Marion County Basketball Tourney.
1913 New Broad Ripple High School constructed.
Floods covers village for several days.
Fifteen petitions for and against annexation filed.
1914 Part of Broad Ripple annexed by Indianapolis.
1915 Annexation loses in court decision.
1917 Two existing telephone exchanges merge.
The Kingan meat packing company abandons ice houses along White River.
1920 Zivien’s Department Store opens on Broad Ripple Avenue.
1922 Businessman James H. Makin purchases Broad Ripple Park.
Indianapolis annexes Broad Ripple.
National Swimming Meet held at Broad Ripple Park.
Broad Ripple Chamber of Commerce established.
North Side Topics begins publishing.
1923 Broad Ripple Park is dis-annexed from Indianapolis.
Broad Ripple High School becomes a part of Indianapolis Public Schools.
1924 Broad Ripple Park hosts the Olympic try-outs where Johnny Weissmuller, the soon-to-be Hollywood Tarzan, wins the 100-meter freestyle qualification.
1927 Broad Ripple Park is sold to Terre Haute brewery executives Oscar and Joseph Baur.
1929 School No. 80 built at 62nd and Guilford.
1930 Public library branch opens in Broad Ripple.
1932 Jail torn down.
1938 “Moonriver” steamship ends cruises on White River.
The “new” Broad Ripple Park opens a new season, boasting the “world’s largest concrete pool,” mechanized rides, a new ballroom, and “20 acres of free parking.”
Vogue Theater opens.
1940 New Broad Ripple Post Office built.
1945 City of Indianapolis purchases Broad Ripple Park.
Broad Ripple Businessmen’s Association established.
1946 C.I.L. Railroad becomes the Monon Line.
1949 New Broad Ripple Library branch opens, the first library built in the county since 1914.
1952 Broad Ripple Park hosts the Olympic swimming try-outs.
 1953 Electric streetcar service ends.
1954 William H. Block Company, a local department store, opens a store in Broad Ripple.
1955 Steam Engine #587 donated by the Nickel Plate Railroad to the city of Indianapolis for display near the entrance to Broad Ripple Park.
1956 Local clothing retailer L. Strauss opens a branch store in Broad Ripple.
1957 Parking meters installed.
1958 Glendale Shopping Center opens at Keystone Avenue and 62nd Street.
1959 Monon Railroad Station is converted to a store.
1961 City constructs parking deck constructed over Broad Ripple canal.
1967 First African-American students arrive at Broad Ripple High School.
Monon Line ends passenger service in Broad Ripple.
1969 Broad Ripple Village Association founded.
1970 William E. Jones becomes first African-American principal of Broad Ripple High School.
Broad Ripple Merchants Association organizes.
1971 Broad Ripple Art Fair held.
1974 Westfield Bridge over White River replaced.
Raft racing on White River begins.
1975 Broad Ripple carrousel is restored and reopened at the Children’s Museum.
1978 First duck-crossing sign erected.
1980 School #80 closed.
The Vogue theater reopens as a night club.
1981 Broad Ripple High School becomes a magnet school for the humanities.
Shortridge High School closed, leaving Broad Ripple High School to absorb a majority of those students.
 1983 Engine No. 587, on display to the entrance of Broad Ripple Park since 1955, is moved to Beech Grove for restoration.
1984 Restoration of Broad Ripple Park completed.
1985 65% of student body at Broad Ripple High School is African-American.
1986 A new branch of the Marion County-Indianapolis Public Library opens in Broad Ripple Park.
1987 Broad Ripple celebrates its sesquicentennial with parade and festival.
1995 Construction begins on Phase I of the Monon Rail Trail in Broad Ripple.
Skateboarding is banned in Broad Ripple.
1996 Broad Ripple Village Association, in conjunction with local naturalists, decides to relocate the large duck population living along the Central Canal to other nature areas to protect them from the ever-increasing traffic in the area.
The Monon Trail, a “rails-to-trails” project, opens between Broad Ripple and 86th Street in Nora.