Guided Tours Explore Garfield Park Neighborhood on Foot and Bike

Indiana Landmarks is hosting walking and biking tours of historic Garfield Park and the surrounding neighborhood on Sept. 14 and 16.

The neighborhood suffered in the construction of I-65 in the mid-1970s but is enjoying a resurgence, with homebuyers drawn by the park and its refurbished historic features and the vintage brick and frame bungalows, Four Squares and Tudor Revival-style houses.

Tour participants will see the range in house styles, get the scoop on average sale prices, see the interior of a charming vintage home, and learn about the history of the area and its revitalization.

On both bike and walking tours, participants will visit the Victorian home of Page and Russ Clemens, an ongoing restoration project at 869 Southern Avenue on the south edge of the park. The couple turned a hillside into a perennial garden and installed a brick patio with a firepit in the back yard, where they added a raised-bed garden, bee hives, and a chicken coop with six hens. The Clemenses love the ways the home’s wrapping porches and balcony reinforce the connection to nature.

Participants will pass by the historic brick bungalow with a red tile roof at 902 East Garfield Drive. Erwin George “Cannon Ball” Baker, winner of the first motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 and a competitor in the 1922 Indy 500, built the house in 1925 and lived here until his death in 1960. The house faces the park at the elbow where South Garfield Drive bends to become East Garfield Drive.

The bike tour also will stop at Big Car’s Garfield neighborhood site to hear about the Tube Factory’s history, the organization’s arts-related revitalization projects in the area, and view current exhibits in the factory’s artspace.

Indiana Landmarks presents the tours with Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis (HUNI), the Garfield Park Neighbors Association, and Friends of Garfield Park, Inc.


WHAT:                  Garfield Park walking tour

WHEN:                 Sept. 14, 90-minute timed tours depart every 15 minutes from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. (Please note, the 5:30 p.m. tour is sold out)

WHERE:               Tours start at Garfield Park Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Dr., Indianapolis 46203.

COST:                    $10 per person ($8 for Indiana Landmarks members)



WHAT:                 Garfield Park bike tour

WHEN:                 Sept. 16, 3-hour timed tours depart every 15 minutes from 9 to 10 a.m.

WHERE:               Tours start at Garfield Park Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Dr., Indianapolis 46203.

COST:                    $20 per person ($15 for Indiana Landmarks members)


Garfield Park & neighborhood background

The city of Indianapolis bought the land that became Garfield Park in 1873, its first acquisition for this kind of public amenity. The park was named in 1881 in honor of the recently assassinated President James Garfield. By the turn of the century, the park had playgrounds, a picnic area, ball fields, tennis courts and walking paths. A neighborhood grew up around the park beginning in 1895 with the arrival of the Shelby Street streetcar line.

Well into the 1930s, a mix of immigrants and second-generation Americans bought bungalows on the pedestrian-friendly streets that radiate from the park, including an especially large contingent of German-Americans. Their kids grew up in the park, which improved over time with a sunken garden centered on a fountain that featured colored lights, a bandstand, pool, and botanical conservatory, all of which remain today.


Media contacts: Tina Connor, Indiana Landmarks Executive Vice President, 317-822-7903, cell 317-946-3127,; Jen Thomas,, 317-441-2487


Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. For more information on the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit



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