Explore the history of each home and compare photos from the early 1980s vs 2021.
Constructed in 1923, the Ambassador represents a second generation of apartment development in Indianapolis, featuring commercial space on the first floor and five stories of residential units above. Immediately upon completion, the Ambassador became one of the most fashionable addresses downtown. The building was developed by Thomas A. Moynahan, who began his career with his own contracting firm, Moynahan Construction Company. With the erection of the Ambassador, he formed Moynahan Properties, Inc. to construct, acquire and manage apartment buildings. This firm greatly expanded in 1927 when it purchased twenty apartment buildings from the retiring Edgar Spink. Moynahan also built the Chamber of Commerce building and the interior of the Indiana War Memorial. Related history to the townhouses at 9th & Alabama St. (Photo from 1924)
It's hard to discuss this area without mentioning the Cathcart family, specifically Charlotte "Pink" Cathcart who is featured on a mural at 901 N Pennsylvania. Her family home was at 9th & Pennsylvania St, where The Cathcart apartment building now stands. She lived most of her life at this location from her birth in 1877 to 1964, outside of a few years when she was serving overseas for the war effort. She recorded her memories of her time there in a memoir titled Indianapolis from Our Old Corner, published in 1965.
Check out an article with more details of Pink's life and photos.
The Cathcart is an example of the "Eastern Flat" apartment style that became popular in Indianapolis at the turn of the century and that significantly altered the residential nature of the St. Joseph neighborhood. Owner Alice Morrison Cathcart was the widow of successful Indianapolis businessman Robert Weir Cathcart (Cathcart & Clelland Bookstore). She had her family home at the south east corner of Pennsylvania & Pratt (9th) streets demolished in order to build the three-story, twelve flat building in 1909. She was undoubtedly influenced by the successful nearby rental developments at the Lodge (1905) and the Sylvania (1906). Local contractor Joel T. Elliott constructed the building valued at $22,000. Alice lived in the flats until her death in 1936. Her youngest daughter Charlotte "Pink" Cathcart maintained a residence there until 1964. Photo from October 1982.
Photos from 1994 and 2009 (renovation year) before the structure was destroyed by fire in 2014. It is believed to have been constructed between 1887 and 1898. Though the official St. Joseph documents say nothing is known about its construction, the most recent owner before its demise, Bob Connor, stated that the home dates to 1903, belonged to the Cathcart family for decades before it shifted in both ownership and tenancy. Prior to Mr. Connor's renovation, the home housed two units on each side—a four-unit dwelling. (Source: Urban Indy) With its proximity to The Cathcart and their family residence, this history is plausible.
This house was constructed for Joseph T. Elliott between 1898 and 1899. The Elliotts owned the property into the 1920s. Since the 1930s, the house has been the home of insurance agencies, realtors and the Krebay Construction Company as of the 1990s. The home is now a single family home. Here are photos from its latest listing in 2018.
This cottage was constructed sometime between 1854 and 1866, and has had very little alteration, except for the construction of a front porch which was added sometime after 1969. It housed a salon business in recent years and is believed to be a multi-family home as of 2020.
Barbara Dorman owned the property when this house was constructed sometime between 1866 and 1877. She and her heir, Caroline Dorman, owned the property from 1859 until 1903. The house has changed little over time. A front porch was added after 1913 and removed after 1969, probably when the aluminum siding was added. The home has since been restored with the siding removed.
This garage-residence was constructed sometime between 1913 and 1914 as a one-story garage. The second floor living quarters were added sometime before 1949. It served a large two and a half story masonry Italianate residence built around 1880 which was located at 841 N Delaware St.
A modest example of an "Eastern Flat" building, the Myrtle Fern was constructed in 1925 for Ella Elizabeth Thomas. She was the wife of Henry Thomas, heir of the Thomas Manufacturing Company, a local furniture manufacturer. Widowed in 1910, Mrs. Thomas purchased the property in 1915. Like other residents in the St. Joseph area, she decided to demolish her own home in 1925 and replace it with an income-producing apartment building.
The six-story Spink is one of the earliest "high-rise" apartments erected in Indianapolis. Constructed in 1922, it was built by the E.G. Spink Company, an organization that was ultimately responsible for the development of sixty apartment buildings in the city. The building was originally named The Spink, and later renamed the Jefferson. The firm was founded by Edgar G. Spink, who was a leader in the development of multi-family housing in the Indianapolis market. He pioneered the concept of combining apartment construction with building management, and he targeted demographics that were in need of comfortable, affordable housing: young married couples, single women and the elderly. The building was not occupied until 1923. The building was renamed Renaissance Tower when it was redeveloped in the mid 1980s.
This apartment building was constructed in 1918 with thirty-seven units. By the early 1920s the building was listed as The Spink, one of several named that at the time. By the early 1930s the name changed to Moynahan Apartments (related to The Ambassador history). By 1970, the name changed to Ninth Street Courts. It is presently called Grace Manor (as of 2022).
Christian Place is a prominent fixture on 9th Street. In reading more about John E. Christian, who built all four structures in this quad, it surfaced that his wife, Emma (Clark) Christian, was the grand-daughter of John Moore, who settled in Zanesville, OH in the early 1800s from Ireland. Emma came to Indianapolis in 1875. John's brother/Emma's great-uncle was Thomas Moore, who decided to keep moving west of Zanesville, making him one of the early settlers of Indianapolis. His settlement included the land that is now Christian Park (Irvington) and the Christian-Moore family home dating to the late 1870s still stands along Pleasant Run. After her husband's passing, Emma lived out her days at 218 E 9th St until she passed in February 1932. As you read more about the individual buildings, you'll see that she was a resident of our neighborhood from at least 1888 to 1932! If you are interested in a slight tangent further south on Alabama, you can read more about Thomas Moore's daughter, Margaret, who coincidentally/confusingly also married into the Christian surname in this article from Historic Indianapolis. Her residence was located at 404 N Alabama, now the parking lot for Roberts Methodist Church.
The front portion of this structure appears to have been constructed in 1903 and appears to have started as a one-story single family residence. It later received a second story and a rear addition. Finally, the roof was raised 4' to accommodate a 3rd story living space. The separately constructed rowhouse with 4 units was bridged to the front house sometime between 1908 and 1913 with the addition of two additional units. The rowhouse used to have a mirror set of rowhouses just east of the existing structure which was demolished in the 1980s. The house and rowhouse were restored in 1994, creating 10 living units in the rowhouses and 3 living units in the front house, as part of the 1994 Christian Place Renovation with Indiana Landmarks.
The first of several buildings constructed at the southwest corner of Alabama and Pratt (9th) by John Christian in 1887. It was the family home with his wife Emma from 1888 to 1908 when they moved across the street to 218 E 9th St. The house was converted to multi-family units sometime after the Christians departed. There is evidence of several additions in the early years. After constructing this home, he started the development of the two homes on Alabama St. In 1903, increasing his developments, he moved to the construction of the single family home featured above and then the rowhouses behind it.