Ransom Place Neighborhood Walking Tour

Indiana Builder’s Association - 11th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Ransom Place is the capital city’s oldest African American neighborhood, on the west side of downtown, north of IUPUI. The neighborhood takes its name from Freeman B. Ransom (1882 to 1947), general manager of cosmetics firm founded by Madam C.J. Walker. Once a thriving community of African Americans, it included both their homes and businesses.

From 1900 to 1920, the population of Ransom Place changed from an 86 percent white majority to a 96 percent African American majority. The area began declining as African Americans explored housing and business location options beyond their segregated neighborhood, beginning in the 1950s. IUPUI acquired and razed nearly 1,000 properties in the African American neighborhood, leading to tension.

The upswing in Ransom Place began when Jean Spears sold her Lockerbie Square home and moved to Camp Street in the late ‘80s, determined to resurrect the neighborhood. Spears and others selected the name Ransom Place to inspire upwardly mobile African Americans. Ransom Place won National Register status in 1998.

Today, the racially mixed neighborhood offers restored historic houses and modern homes built in compatible styles. Nestled between 10th Street (N), St. Clair St. (S), Paca St. (E), and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., the local conservation district is close to the amenities offered in downtown, at IUPUI, and in the canal and Indiana Avenue cultural districts.

Longtime residents Theresa Crawford, Beryl Borel, and Cassandra Williamson will lead the tour that begins at the Indiana Builder’s Association, 11th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Tour-goers will visit a private home in Ransom Place.

After-tour dining options include Sushi Boss and the many restaurants at 10th and Indiana Avenue on the western edge of the neighborhood.

Staged by Indiana Landmarks and HUNI, each tour begins at 6 pm, led by Indiana Landmarks and a resident of the neighborhood. The 90-minute tours are $10 per person (discount for Landmarks members and residents of the tour neighborhood). Register online: neighborhoodtours2015.eventbrite.com or call 317-636-4534. Capacity is limited, so please order soon.