I am North Street - June 2013

I am North Street

Now that the weather is finally starting to cooperate it's time to get outside and enjoy the summer. What is your favorite street in town? I have several that would fit my "Top" list and they would all be on there for different reasons. For time and space I won't disclose what my favorite street in town is. You'll just have to ask me when you see me out and about. But let's just say it's has a lot of sentimental value.

Name a street in town that you could live on, attend school, go to the library, visit city hall, house a fire station, get your car serviced at a station, go to church, get your goods at the livery stable, attend a movie or musical act, attend a community reception and just plain looks good? Time's up! It's North Street.

In this addition I'm going to talk about North Street. When visitors go through town they often just think about US 40 or State Street. So in this addition we'll explore one of our "other" streets in town that has brought so much to this community. As listed the previous paragraph, North Street has had a lot going on. In future addition we'll visit other streets that I like. I'm sure most of you will agree on these same streets.

2013-06-01North and Noble St, Looking East



North and Pennsylvainia St looking West


We're going to explore all the different aspects of North Street but let's just start with the obvious.....it's hard to find a more beautiful street in the fall to drive down. With all the different colored leaves that hang from the trees that closely decorate the street, along with the back drop of all the old homes makes for a picture right out of a movie.

When Greenfield was first developed North Street became one of its principal streets and was first known as the "back street". At this time it was just a dirt road. North Street would have been developed shortly after settlers first came to Greenfield and began clearing streets. The first sections of North Street were included in the original plat of Greenfield which was done in 1828. As additions were developed and added to the original plat North Street grew.

North Street runs parallel, one block north of Main Street (US 40/National Road). It starts on the east side of town at Howard Street and goes sixteen blocks west to Garfield Street. Now when it was originally constructed it did not span this total distance but over time was extended.




This is a copy of the plat for Spillman's Reserve. This is a good example of how North Street was developed in sections over the years.

On January 26, 1870 Greenfield opened its new free school. This school became known as the West School and it was located on the corner of North and School Street. This school was eventually razed to make way for a new high school structure that was built in 1926. It later became Lincoln Park Elementary. Today that property is known as Lincoln Park Apartments to city residents. The old school building was converted into apartment housing.



The West School Building

When Greenfield was incorporated into a city in 1876 some streets were properly graded and even graveled. Sidewalks began to be added as well. North Street was the second street in town to be improved at this time. Pennsylvania Street was first. It was graded by Thomas B. Miller.

On east North Street there was a hollow along what is now Potts Ditch. It is said that this hollow added a picturesque feature to the town. It was a favorite playground area for the kids. Eventually this hollow was filled to level the area out and making streets easier to grade. When this was done it was viewed with a great sense of disappointment by many of the older citizens who had great memories of the fun had down at the hollow. Upon learning of this improvement, one time resident Mr. Crawford is said to have remarked that he never cared to visit Greenfield again. This must have been quite a place.

In 1895 North Street became home of Greenfield's new high school building which was located on the northeast corner of North and Pennsylvania Street. The stone structure with triple arch main entrance resembled the courthouse and quickly showed the pride our community had in education. A fire took this building in the mid-1980's. Today the only part of the building that remains are the three arches at the main entrance of the new structure that was built. The Greenfield-Central School Corporation Offices are now located in the building.




The Greenfield Christian Church was constructed in 1895. It's located on the southeast corner of North and East Streets. This building still stands today.














Greenfield Christian Church

In 1898 St. Michaels Roman Catholic Church was constructed at 226 W. North Street. This structure still remains today and is home to the Garden Wedding Chapel.



In 1908 North Street saw the construction of a library which was completed and opened to the public in 1909. The first city library was housed in the new high school building but after some time more space was needed to accommodate those attending the school. Arrangements were made for a new library building. The community reached out to Andrew Carnegie, who had aided in the establishment of a number of library buildings in Indiana and he came through with a $10,000 donation. The Carnegie library building still stands at 98 W. North Street and is now home to Carnegie's Restaurant.




In 1895 the City of Greenfield constructed a new City Building. John Felt was the architect. The building is a Jacobethan Revival in style. City offices were on the second floor of the building while on the first floor held the city fire department. This building is still standing and is located at 19 W. North Street. Today it is now home to All Things Sweet. This building was also home to the Greenfield Senior Center from 1976 to 2002. A nice façade marker notes this location.

Right next to the city hall building stood the Gant Opera House. At this time I was unable to gather a lot of info about the opera house. But I plan on doing a future article about places of entertainment in Greenfield.


This picture is great because it shows both the city building and the opera house. Love the old horse drawn fire wagon.

Also in 1895 the Nye Wholesale Poultry Yard was established. This yard is located on the same property as the Memorial Building. You'll soon find that this lot was a very popular location!

In November 1914 all the churches of the city united to build the tabernacle building which stood on this same lot as the Poultry Yard. The building had a seating capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 people. The building was used for meetings and various religious gatherings. Later Greenfield High School purchased the building for the use of a gymnasium. It was reported that the building was poorly lit and was almost never heated. It had a dirt floor and several posts that had to be dodged. Not sure exactly when this building was razed but I think it would be safe to say that it was just prior to the Memorial Building being built.

A memorial to our service men and women was built in 1924 and is known as the Memorial Building. This building still stands today at 98 E. North Street on the same lot as the poultry yard and the tabernacle. Many community events took place in this building.





This church structure has been home to several different denominations over the years. It stands at 204 E. North Street. GIS states that it's currently owned by the Greenfield Community Church, Incorporated. This structure seems to have been constructed in the area of the "hollow" a popular area to downtown residents that we talked about earlier.

Many historical properties have been constructed along North Street. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to determine which one was built first. And historical writings from the Binford and Richmond history don't specifically state which residence was built first. It's also probably safe to say that the first structure built is no longer standing and was log or timber framed.

There were not homes built for some time along the south side of North Street from Pennsylvania to School St. Most of the homes on the western and eastern edges of North Street were constructed after 1900. The homes below are some of the earlier homes or homes with unique architectural character that were constructed along North Street.


This house is located at 22 N. Pennsylvania St. It sits on the Southwest corner of Penn and North St. Even though it has a Penn St. address this property is quite large and has a tremendous sight impact along North St. This Queen Anne was built by Andrew Banks in 1855. It is known to most residents today as the Spencer home since it was in this
Family for a long while. It recently has a new owner.


This house located at 322 E. North St. was built in 1861.


This garage still stands today at 4 W. North St.



This Classic Gothic home located at 204 W. North St. is owed by Robert & Rebecca Bernhard. This house is known as the Baldwin-Cooper-Bernhard Residence. It was constructed in 1869.


This Free Classic architectural style home was built in 1890 and is located at 210 W. North Street.


This home sits on one of the biggest lots along street and is located at 437 E. North St. on the corner of North and Pratt Street. It was built in 1870 and is owned by Lois Pearson.



This house is located at 722 W. North St. It is owed by Dennis & Gina Miller.



This Queen Anne home located at 216 W. North St. it is owned by Steven Harcourt. It was built in 1890.



This Colonial Revival home is located at 321 W. North St. It is owned by Rick & Jeannie Roberts. This home was built in 1906 by Nathan C. Binford.




This property is located at 741 W. North St. It is owed by Winston & Karen Mayer



There are many more homes that make the beautiful streetscape for North Street. Hopefully you’ll be able to take a drive and discover some more. So the next time you are out taking a ride around town. Stop and look at the architecture, the landscape, the layout of the streets. Those items will give you a lot of clues as to the history of that area. Enjoy your summer!


By Greg Roland

More Greenfield History

City Phone Directory

Mayor's Office - 317-477-4300
Clerk Treasurer - 317-477-4310
Utility Billing - 317-477-4330
Planning (Permits) - 317-477-4320
Street Department - 317-477-4380
Power and Light - 317-477-4370
Wastewater Department - 317-477-4360
Park Cemetery - 317-477-4387
Pothole Hotline - 317-325-1680
Parks and Recreation - 317-477-4340
Water Department - 317-477-4350
Animal Management - 317-477-4367