Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue
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Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue

Summary of History and Significance

The Chatham-Arch Historic District exhibits both historical and architectural significance.  Its irregular street pattern, most of it dating before the Civil War, recalls life in Indianapolis when the city was just beginning to expand beyond the original Mile Square plat.  The area also boasts a group of Civil War era workers' cottages on Arch, St. Clair, and 9th Streets.  These houses represent the working man's presence in the early stages of Indianapolis' growth into an industrial metropolis.   Only a few pockets of these 1860's and early 1870's cottages survive in the downtown.

The northern portion of Chatham-Arch illustrates an unusual mixture of housing types.   Here, workers' cottages, middle class residences, rental duplexes, apartment buildings and flats, commercial buildings with second floor sleeping rooms, and a few large homes of the wealthy all existed at the turn of the century.

Massachusetts Avenue is the primary commercial district in Chatham-Arch and it exhibits several fine post-Civil War and early twentieth century commercial buildings, which recall the close relationship between the neighborhood merchants on the Avenue and the neighborhoods to the north and south.  The Real Silk Hosiery Mills complex, formerly home of one of the country's main silk hosiery factories, is evidence of the neighborhood's industrial significance along College Avenue.

The Chatham-Arch area also contains the historical roots of several major religious denominations of the city.  One of the oldest black congregations in Indianapolis, Allen Chapel AME Church, has occupied a location in the area for over 116 years.  The former First United Brethren Church was represented by two different church buildings on Park Avenue.  One of the largest German Reformed congregations of the city built Zion Evangelical Church at the west edge of Chatham-Arch.  The Roman Catholic Church was represented from 1880-1949 on the southern edge of the area by St. Joseph's Parish.

Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue Historic Area Plan

The following documents are various sections from the Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue Historic Area Preservation Plan.  The new plan has been approved by the IHPC and adopted by the Metropolitan Development Commission.

1982 Chatham Arch Historic Area Preservation Plan

The following documents are the original boundary map and plan for the Chatham Arch Historic District. Since the new Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue plan has been adopted, these are now obsolete and provided only as a reference source.

  • Chatham Arch Map [1982-2006 boundaries]
  • Chatham Arch Plan (1982) [This plan is provided for historical purposes only]


    Address Ranges

    524-665 E. 9th St. 1100-1119 N. College Ave.
    500-662 E. 10th St. 601-950 N. East St.
    500-820 E. 11th St. 650-699 Mary St.
    600-680 E. Arch St. 600-799 Massachusetts Ave.
    800-1124 Broadway St. 601-699 N. New Jersey St. (odd numbers only)
    1000-1115 Central Ave. 400-650 E. North St.
    600-640 N. Cincinnati St. 600-1124 N. Park Ave.
    600-640 N. Cleveland St. 417-699 E. St. Clair St.
    500-662 E. 10th St. 601-950 N. East St.
    500-662 E. 10th St. 601-950 N. East St.
    500-662 E. 10th St. 601-950 N. East St.
    701-739 N. Cleveland St. (odd numbers only) 417-699 E. Walnut St.
    640-1100 N. College Ave. (even numbers only)



    Neighborhood Association

    Chatham-Arch Neighborhood Association
    Gary Pike, President

    (317) 638-2875 – phone

    Note:  Neighborhood meetings are held the last Tuesday of every month at the Firefighters Union Hall on Massachusetts Avenue.  For additional information (agendas, dates, times, etc.) please visit the neighborhood website.

    Massachusetts Avenue Urban Design Committee
    Bill Gray - Executive Director, Riley Area Development Corporation

    430 Massachusetts Ave., Ste. LL1

    Indianapolis, IN  46204

    (317) 637-8996 ext. 200 – phone

    Note:  Committee meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month at the Riley Conference Room in the Davlan Building on Massachusetts Avenue. For additional information please contact Riley Area Development Corporation.

    The Chatham-Arch and Massachusetts Avenue Urban Design Committees Information Sheet (tips on when they meet, contact persons, recommended documentation to bring to meetings, etc.) and District Map.