Indiana Landmarks will host a media-only preview of Landmark Look: Coca-Cola “Before” at 11 a.m. on Aug. 12. Public tours, which begin at 1 p.m., are SOLD OUT, with 700 tickets sold.
For decades, people have admired the white terra cotta Coca-Cola bottling plant on Indianapolis’s Massachusetts Avenue, but few have been allowed to see that the Art Deco show continues inside.
James Yuncker built the bottling plant in 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression, in a style that was lavish by factory standards, especially at the time. It was a testimony to his faith in the growth trajectory of his core product, Coca-Cola. He commissioned the design from Rubush and Hunter, a firm known for prominent structures that are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Columbia Club, Guaranty Building, Circle Theater, and Circle Tower—all on Monument Circle. Jungclaus Construction Company, which remains in business just down the street on Mass Ave, built the plant.
As business boomed, the plant expanded with additions in 1941 and 1950. By 1950, the facility was considered the world’s largest bottling plant, with 260 employees and a fleet of 110 delivery trucks. After Yuncker died in 1964, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman bought the Coca-Cola franchise and moved bottling operations to Speedway. He stored his collection of vintage automobiles in the Massachusetts Avenue building until he sold it to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in 1968.
IPS turned the bottling works into a central kitchen for school lunches, and used other areas for storage, a woodworking shop, and as classrooms for adult and experimental education. The garages remained, housing school buses instead of soft drink delivery trucks.
Thanks to Indianapolis Public Schools and Hendricks Commercial Properties for access, and RATIO, the project architect, for financial support of Landmark Look: Coca-Cola “Before.”
MEDIA PREVIEW: LANDMARK LOOK: Coca-Cola “Before”
WHAT: A tour led by Gwendolen Nystrom, Indiana Landmarks’ Director of Heritage Experiences, of the historic Art Deco Coca-Cola bottling plant before its conversion to Bottleworks. The following representatives will be stationed along the tour route to answer questions:
Marsh Davis, President, Indiana Landmarks Jeff Bennett, Deputy Mayor, City of Indianapolis David Baker, Administrator, Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission Rob Gerbitz, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hendricks Commercial Properties William A. Browne, Jr. FAIA, LEED AP, Principal/President, RATIO Kristian Stricklen, Public Information Director, Indianapolis Pubic Schools
WHEN: Aug. 12, 11 a.m.
WHERE: Former Coca-Cola bottling plant, 850 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis
WHO: Sponsored by Indiana Landmarks, Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, Indianapolis Public Schools, and Hendricks Commercial Properties, with support from RATIO
Indiana Landmarks: Mindi Woolman, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 317-417-1204 Jen Thomas, email@example.com, 317-441-2487 Hendricks Commercial Properties: Kami Brauer, VP – Residential Property Management, Kami.Brauer@hendricksgroup.net, 414-550-7020
Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to 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 information on membership in the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.
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