Old Images of Indianapolis, Indiana

Categorised as Indiana
Meridian Street Indianapolis, Indiana c.1888
Indianapolis, Indiana c.1888: Meridian Street, looking north from Maryland Street

Step back in time with fascinating old images of Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States.

Indianapolis 1888 – 1914

Enjoy watching a selection of old photos of Indianapolis, taken between 1888 and 1914.

Old photos of Indianapolis(Indiana)1888-1914 – oldstuff4all on YouTube

Indianapolis 1916

The opening title of this 1916 newreel made by Ford tells us that Indianapolis is the largest inland American city, with a population of 291,940. (The 2021 population was 892,071).

The camera slowly pans across the city from a high vantage spot, before showing people going about their daily business downtown, including Pearl Street and at the market place.

It tells us the Capitol building was made of Indiana limestone, at a cost of $2 million.

Indianapolis 1916 – Evan Finch on YouTube

Indianapolis Speedway 1935

By the time the newsreel recorded the 500 mile race at the speedway in 1935, the annual event had been running for 25 years.

Kelly Petillo, an Italian living in Los Angeles, won the race (by 1 minute and 4 seconds) in record time, by averaging 106 miles an hour, wearing a short, tie and cardigan and without a helmet.

He won the prize money of $6,000, which was just as well as he had borrowed money to take part and fix up his car.

As the journalists and photographers crowd round him at the end, Kelly Petillo jokes this is the worst part of the race.

But worryingly, FOUR drivers lost their lives in the qualifying heats, and a FIFTH died during the final race!

Indianapolis Thrills Aka Indiapolis Thrills (1935) – British Pathé (YouTube)

Indianapolis Speedway 1941

Shot on May 31, 1941, this car race was opened with a marching band.

Indianapolis 1941 archive footage – Footageforpro.com on YouTube

Buildings in the 1960s

The locations seen in this 1960s film footage includes

  • former Indianapolis Star/Indianapolis News building (northeast corner of Pennsylvania Street and New York Street)
  • Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Central Branch
  • Majestic Building
  • Merchants Bank Building
  • Odd Fellows Building
  • Hotel Washington
  • Big Four Building
  • Marion County Jail
  • Virginia Avenue (looking north)
  • Barton Towers
  • Blacherne Apartments
  • Methodist Hospital
  • Crown Hill Cemetery
  • Monument Circle
  • Circle Tower
  • Riley Towers
  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church
  • Murat Theater
  • Maennerchor Hall
  • Illinois Street & back of the AT&T Building
  • Former IPS School No. 27
  • Marion Building

Footage of Various Indianapolis Buildings – 1960 – Indiana Historical Society on YouTube

Downtown Indianapolis 1963

The digitisation of archive films held by the Indiana Historical Society ,including this footage showing some of the downtown and industrial facilities of Indianapolis in 1963, was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and administered by the Indiana State Library.

Indianapolis Downtown and Industry, 1963 – Indiana Historical Society on YouTube

Indianapolis Street Scenes 1983

There must be hundreds of people seen going about their daily lives in this 11 minute home movie.

Indianapolis Street Scenes 1983 – tom barker on YouTube

Welcome to Indianapolis 1984

In 1909, the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) was founded at DePauw University.

75 years later in November 1984, the SPJ national convention was to take place in Indiniapolis. But to create anticipation for the event, this short film was played the previous year at the 1983 national convention held in San Francisco.

By coincidence, the promotional film has created a historic visual record of the city as it was back in 1983.

The $72 million RCA dome was in the process of construction. It actually cost $77.5 million and was demolished on December 20, 2008, replaced by the Lusus Oil stadium.

Indianapolis in 1983 – Society of Professional Journalists Video – DePauw University Video Archive on YouTube

Downtown Nighlife 1988

Nightclubs and Jazz clubs are visited as part of the WRTV news report from 1988.

1988: Nightlife in downtown Indianapolis – WRTV Indianapolis on YouTube

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