Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Churches, neighborhoods, history
... and walks in the park, along the trail

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the walking regimen I've been observing. In addition to the tulips (shown in yesterday's post) that have lured me to take pictures while on my walks, I've stopped to photograph other things that jumped out at me elsewhere on my walks.

All those "things" make up today's post, a veritable potpourri of photography subjects.

I start with the Big Car Collaborative organization and its mission to nurture "creative place-making and socially engaged art" in Indianapolis, a mission that has attracted growing publicity and interest since its formation in 2004. Big Car has had three home bases in that period -- it started out renting space in the Murphy Building along Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square, then moved to an out-lot at Lafayette Square and, most recently, settled an abandoned factory on Cruft Street in the Garfield Park area.

The nonprofit group purchased, renovated and enhanced a 12,000 square-foot facility (formerly used to make airplane parts) just east of Shelby Street and just south of Southern Avenue. It painted the stone exterior of the building a rich violet, adorning the trim in various shades of that color and light blues, illustrated in the photo leading off the post. In addition to being home, it has become Big Car's place for artists to convene, teach, learn and display work.

It's also been the launching pad for Big Car's most ambitious project yet -- buying modest homes in the struggling neighborhood that can be converted to housing for aspiring artists, essentially creating an artists' colony that could help transform the Garfield Park neighborhood into the next cultural hot spot.

Above: A block away from the Tube Factory, at 2620 Shelby Street, Big Car has its home base for an ongoing "sound art" project called Listen Hear. It is next door to the Compassion Center soup kitchen. 

Neighbors of Listen Hear include several automobile-service properties. There is the Car Beauty Center (above) on the same side of the street as Listen Hear, Morris Super Rose auto repair and Garfield Park Automotive Center behind it at the southeast corner of Nelson and Shelby (first photo below), and Peterman's Tire Center (second below), on the north side of Nelson just across from Morris Super Rose. 

Above: This building at 2658 Shelby Street across from Morris Super Rose has had many uses over the years. One that comes to mind was a service that converted videotape content to DVD, but alas, it didn't last very long. The right half of the building is now used by Standard Studio/Gallery, owned and operated by oil painter Benny Sanders, who presumably put his hopes and trust in the Big Car vision of making the Garfield Park neighborhood a burgeoning art community. 

Above: The other section of space in the building (carrying the 2660 Shelby Street address) where Sanders' studio and gallery are located is available ... 

There are plans to enhance the section of Shelby Street where these buildings can be accessed, plans that begin with slowing and streamlining vehicular traffic that makes it challenging for pedestrians to make multiple stops to the shops. Officials feel many southbound rush-hour motorists use Shelby as a shortcut, or alternative, to I-65, where traffic can jam just south of the Raymond Street exist.

The plans include installing a roundabout at the junction of Shelby and Southern Avenue, where the 2600 block of Shelby begins. (That also is the southeastern-most point of Garfield Park.) Currently, Shelby Street has four lanes south of Southern, but most of the time the far right lanes on each side is used for parking, opening up only during rush hour.

Once the roundabout goes in, the plan is to narrow vehicular traffic to one lane in each direction and permanently dedicate the outer lanes to either pedestrian traffic or parking (I can't remember which). There already is some municipal parking available in a lot in front of Garfield Baptist Church at the southwest corner of Southern and Shelby, but many people don't know it's public parking. It kind of looks like church parking.

And elsewhere ... 

I frequently venture north of Raymond Street when I'm out on my walks, following the Pleasant Run Trail as far north as Keystone Avenue before turning around and heading home. The official trail path heads northeast from Garfield park, ducking under Raymond Street before following Pleasant Run along the South Parkway. It crosses the creek and switches to the north side of the parkway a few blocks east of Shelby Street.

On April 14, I followed the trail path to Keystone, but when I turned around to do the return trip, I stayed on the south side of the creek, which is where I came upon the buildings you see below.

Three of the buildings are churches, one a school ... and the fourth, the "jewel" of them all, a structure that made the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, a former orphanage that dated to the 1860s.

This building, the former Bethany Temple Apostolic Church, 1401 E. Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive, was damaged by fire on Feb. 1. A congregation known as the Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus now uses the building and has been slowly working to rebuild and/or restore the damaged portions of the structure. 

Christ's Open Door Baptist Church sits at 2001 E. Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive. I did not remember this church from the all the trips I've made on the parkway.

Above: The outside of Indianapolis Public School 20 (also known as Otis E. Brown School) at 1849 E. Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive. 

Above: Perhaps the biggest challenge for me in identifying the buildings I photograph this day was this one at 1404 S. State Ave. The dichotomy here was that I remember this one vividly from many previous pass-bys a long time ago (the parkway had been part of my route when training for four 500 Mini-Marathons in the 1990s). But it had been quite a few years since those pass-bys, and last month, when I took this picture, there was no signage identifying the structure or grounds. My foggy memory from the 1990s recalled the signage indicating it was a branch in the Fairbanks Hospital system. Fairbanks treats people with alcohol and other substance addictions. But while composing this post, I could find nothing to verify that memory. In fact, the only uses for it that I could find was as a "resource treatment center" for Acadia Healthcare, and before that, the General Germans Protestant Orphans Home (and Pleasant Run Children's Home, which now is on Tibbs Avenue). The Wikipedia entry found at the link in the previous sentence indicates that in 1984, the building -- which dates to 1867 -- was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The view above is from Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive. If one approaches the grounds from State Avenue, you get to see the long access drive onto the grounds. 

Above: It was heavily overcast when I took this photo of Garfield Park Community Chuch (formerly Garfield Park United Church of Christ) at 743 E. Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive. While trying to brighten it and make it more presentable in post-processing, I lost some cool cloud detail. Losing that detail opened the door to applying a tight crop at the top of the photo, just above the steeple. Below is a mostly original version of the photo; the only significant difference is that I added a little shadow detail so you could see more of the church (it was very dark). But at least you can appreciate the clouds I was talking about. 

Above: Just a bench I came across along the parkway. 

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