I had no idea what the structure was at the time, and my photo caption in the blog post I put together at the time offers no detail about it. It turns out it had been infested by termites, its arch supports were decaying (or in some cases, missing), the concrete foundation was cracked or broken off, the roof was missing some roof shingles and decking, and the whole structure was leaning off-center.
I have since learned that the structure, located at the southwest corner of the park not far from Southern Avenue and the railroad tracks, is believed to be one of the last wooden-splayed arched trolley shelters in the state and, indeed, of its kind in all of the Midwest. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the Indianapolis Park & Boulevard Historic System District (Kessler Plan).
The trolley system of transportation -- also known as streetcars and, especially in Indianapolis, the interurban -- had its halycon era in the United States between the two world wars. They fell into disfavor and eventually disappeared as individual automobile ownership became increasingly prevalent. The shelter in Garfield Park was near one stop on an old interurban route along Southern Avenue.
Within the last few months, efforts to restore the shelter, which began two years ago, came to fruition. The shelter has been restored, complete with new roofing, new support beams and a new concrete foundation. I happened to notice it today when driving past it on a route I don't often take anymore, which is why I hadn't noticed the finished work previously.
The restoration effort was supported by the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation. Also participating in the project were the City of Indianapolis Parks Department, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, Friends of Garfield Park Inc., Indiana Landmarks, Efroymson Family Fun and Indianapolis Trails Fund Inc. Project coordinator was city/county parks department's Tina Jones, a park planner for historic landscapes and greenways.
Pictures in the top potion of this post are of the newly restored shelter, taken today (June 15). Below those, to use for comparison, are some of the shots I took in February 2011. In the 2011 photos, my HDR skills as well as the technology in the HDR processing software were still works in progress. (I guess when it comes right down to it, photographers' skills are always in a place called "a work in progress.")
The last two shots of the new ones are photos of recently planted trees in this area of the park, including a dogwood very near the shelter. The other is one in a series of pignut hickorys a bit away from the shelter.
Photo geek stuff: I shot all of these photos with a Canon 6D equipped with a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens. The lens was equipped with a polarizing filter. For each frame, I bracketed my shots in three exposures, each 0.75 of a stop apart. My shutter was the primary variable; the f/stop was static at 9.0 throughout. I adjusted my ISO depending on my light (which was reduced for each shot because of the polarizing filter). ISOs ranged from 100 to 800.