Indiana Landmarks Central Canal & IUPUI Image Collection

This collection contains images of the Indianapolis Central Canal held at Indiana Landmarks and the IUPUI University Library Special Collections and Archives.  

In 1974 Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana (now Indiana Landmarks) proposed studying the lower portion of the Indianapolis Central Canal for potential as a National Register of Historic Places historic district. The study sought to “examine the development potential of the lower Central Canal in light of preservation tools and techniques.” 

Field surveyors documented properties extending multiple blocks in each direction from the canal bed. Surveyors photographed each property, completed a survey form, and assigned a three-point rating based upon physical and historical attributes. The six-month project resulted in the publication of The Lower Central Canal: A Preservation Program in September 1975. The report contains details of the survey area, ratings, and revitalization potential.  Many of the buildings documented in the 1974-1975 report were demolished due to new development, deterioration, or in the case of many of the industrial buildings, lack of adaptive reuse. 

While some locations within the 1975 study boundaries eventually gained listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the full area did not become a designated historic district. The first construction contract for the redevelopment of the Central Canal occurred in 1986; dedication for the final Canal Walk project followed in 2001.

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