Broad Ripple Village Association

Environment

Broad Ripple is home to recent college grads just starting their careers, families with young children, retirees, and people who just like to live in a walkable, bikeable, vibrant community. The commercial district features a wide range of businesses, ranging from trendy boutiques to restaurants of every type. Bicycles and strollers co-exist with motorized vehicles at the popular Broad Ripple Farmers Market. At night the nightclubs come to life and revelers party the night away. 

Boundaries

The Broad Ripple Village Association is bounded by:

  • North:  White River 
  • South:  Kessler Boulevard East Drive
  • East:     North Evanston Avenue
  • West:    North Meridian Street

History

In the 1820's, travelers knew the area as a spot in the White River where the water ran shallow over the rocks, making ripples that indicated this broad stretch of land was a good place to cross the river. Jacob Coil laid claim to thise natural features in 1837, when he named his new community on the north side of the Indiana Central Canal "Broad Ripple." At about the same time, James and Adam Nelson platted their new settlement, called "Wellington," south of the Central Canal. The two communities competed for almost 50 years, with Wellington gradually losing ground. The rivalry came to a conclusion, when it was necessary to establish a post office in one name or the other. Although the post office was physicially located in Wellington, competition turned to cooperation in 1884, when the towns merged and incorporated as Broad Ripple.  

Broad Ripple grew into a commercial center because of the amenities it offered. In addition to mills along the river and a variety of stores, the railroad came to Broad Ripple in 1883. Businesses from ice houses to lumber yards emerged along the right-of-way. The railroads are gone today, but the old rail bed serves the public as a linear park called the Monon Trail.

Like many Indiana towns in the late 1800s, Broad Ripple enjoyed a short-lived gas boom. Along with prosperity, however, it also suffered a debilitating gas explosion, the collapse of a train bridge, and devastating floods and fires. Despite these hardships, in the first decades of the 20th century, Broad Ripple's pastoral setting became a haven for city dwellers who built summer getaways in the area. Others were drawn to the White City Amusement Park on the site of what is today Broad Ripple Park. 

Soon those same city dwellers wanted to move "up north" on a permanent basis. While the boom was stalled by World War I, when the hostilities were over, the rush was on. After several attempts and with some residents still opposed, in 1922, the Town of Broad Ripple voted in favor of annexation to the City of Indianapolis, citifying this country retreat. The vast majority of Broad Ripple's current housing stock was built between 1922 and 1942, including many bungalows.

Historic Designation

Broad Ripple does not have an official local or national designation for its role in the history of Indianapolis. 

Entryways and Landmarks

  • Binkley's Kitchen & Bar, 5902 N. College Ave (built in 1927 as drugstore)
  • Gateway sculpture "Illumination of Three" by Tim Ryan, on the median near 67th and College Avenue
  • Mustard Hall, 6239 Guilford Avenue (built in 1907 as a Masonic Lodge above a bank)
  • brics - broad ripple ice cream station, 901 East 64th Street (originally the Broad Ripple train depot)
  • American Legion Post #3, 6379 N. College Avenue (former an interurban power station),
  • The Ripple Inn, 929 East Westfield Boulevard (former hotel, brothel, and many restaurants)
  • Kassebaum Building, 6325 Guilford Avenue 
  • Broad Ripple Post Office, 6255 Carrollton Avenue
  • Broad Ripple Firehouse, 6330 Guilford Avenue (built in 1922, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011)
  • Indianapolis Art Center, 820 East 67th Street (founded in 1934 as a WPA project to encourage artists)
  • Various locations along the Indiana Central Canal
  • Various locations along the White River
  • Various locations along the Monon Trail linear park  
  • Broad Ripple Park, 1550 Broad Ripple Avenue