The Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood is bounded on the north by 38th Street; on the southeast by Fall Creek Parkway North Drive and on the west by Meridian Street.
The area now encompassed by the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood was once two separate developments, the village of Mapleton on West 38th Street and residential subdivisions between Fall Creek Parkway and Meridian Street.
In the 1870s, Mapleton was a streetcar stop along West Maple Road (now 38th Street). Ten years later, about 300 residents lived in the area, which included a church, post office, school, general store, and blacksmith shop. Annexed by Indianapolis in 1902, Mapleton grew quickly as a residential suburb.
To the southeast, George E. Kessler designed Fall Creek Parkway as a scenic boulevard in the early 1900s. Affluent residents built homes near the parkway and motored to the city, easily accessible by a series of bridges spanning Fall Creek. Most homes were built between 1900 and 1930 and featured such architectural styles as Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, and Arts and Crafts. In addition to single-family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings were constructed in the neighborhood.
Meridian park, a sub-area bounded by 34th Street, Washington Boulevard, 30th Street, and Pennsylvania Street, boasted residences designed by prominent local architects and built by affluent families between 1892 and 1930. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Commercial nodes developed along the main thoroughfares, such as 38th Street, where restaurants and retail shops were constructed. Churches, including Trinity Episcopal, Tabernacle Presbyterian, Broadway Methodist, and Our Redeemer Lutheran also were built in the peak years of development and continue to play prominent roles in the community. North United Methodist Church, located at 38th and Meridian streets, was founded in 1855 as Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church.
In the 1960s, the Mapleton-Fall Creek area began to change as newer suburbs attracted residents and businesses. The racial makeup of the area changed as well. Two percent of the residents were Black in 1960; by 1983, 87 percent of the approximately 12,000 residents were Black.
Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood Association, formed in 1962, brought the two neighborhoods together by providing social services and a forum for residents to discuss problems. The group also cofounded the Mapleton-Fall Creek Housing Corporation with five area churches in 1988. The corporation sponsors home improvement programs, including handyman training for residents and rehabilitation assistance. Five mini-neighborhoods have been adopted by a partnership of churches and neighborhood groups in the corporation’s Adopt-A-Block Program. Funds pay for low-interest loans to homeowners, neighborhood clean-up campaigns, and crime-watch programs.