Each year we announce our 10 Most Endangered list of buildings and other places around Indiana at risk of being demolished or of crumbling in obscurity. We do this to draw attention to their plight, and in hopes of attracting new owners, developers, or community groups who will commit to restoring or repurposing them and maintaining their singular appeal.
With the help of these partners, and with your support, we’ve secured the futures of the formerly endangered places you see here.
Bush Stadium, built in 1931, was one of the greatest minor league parks in the nation, home to the Indianapolis Indians, and host to significant Negro league teams. Designed by Pierre and Wright, the stadium boasts an Art Deco entry pavilion, handsome architectural detailing, with stands that held 12,000 fans under full roof. In the 1980s, Bush stood in for Comiskey Park and Crosley Field in the movie Eight Men Out.
After the Indians moved downtown to Victory Field in 1996, Bush Stadium sat empty and deteriorating. It spent three years on our 10 Most Endangered list beginning in 2008, after the city proposed demolishing the stadium. “Cash for clunkers” vehicles made the entire field an auto graveyard.
A last-minute save arrived after Indiana Landmarks teamed with our former chairman, John Watson of Core Redevelopment, to present a redevelopment plan to a city task force. The task force voted for his proposal, turning the landmark into the Stadium Lofts apartments while preserving key historic elements, including the Art Deco entrance and the diamond, reused as green space. The lofts opened in 2013 and filled immediately.
In the mid-twentieth century, 5,000 roadside diners were favored stops for blue-highway motorists but now they’re a disappearing breed of landmark, rendered obsolete by fast-food chains, urban sprawl, and interstates. The Plainfield diner arrived by rail from its New Jersey manufacturer in 1954, a Streamline Moderne-style beauty with a coffee cup sign and pink tile interior.
After the health department closed the restaurant, citing structural deterioration, it landed on our 10 Most Endangered list in 2010. The large parcel it occupied was priced far too high for anyone interested buying it to operate the diner.
Owner Wally Beg donated the diner to Indiana Landmarks, and we used a $15,000 grant from the Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation to fund the diner’s move to a site still on the National Road in Plainfield. We sold the structure with our protective covenants to developers Doug Huff and Don Rector, who moved, refurbished and reopened as the Oasis Diner—the original name—at 405 W. Main St. in Plainfield in 2014.
Oasis features the usual diner fare—burgers and tenderloins, fries, wedge salad, shakes, malts, pie a la mode—but with a few modern updates: for your burger, you can choose among six sauces, including Asian Thai and Garlic Mayo.