Emerson Heights is an unique neighborhood located on the eastside of Indianapolis, with many of the homes built in the 1910s and 20s, during an historical sweet spot between streetcars and the proliferation of automobiles. The homes, many Craftsman and American Foursquare, were very popular pre-WWII architectural styles. Their boxy shape provides a maximum amount of interior room space, and allowed builders to use small city lots to their best advantage.
DISTINCTIVE NEIGHBORHOOD FEATURES
The area’s name is representative of its eastern border — Emerson Avenue — and the fact that the entire neighborhood lies naturally at a higher elevation than the surrounding neighborhoods and heart of the city. The houses themselves were also built on terraced streetscapes, which provide another element of height.
Concrete alleys and small garages are distinctive throughout the entire neighborhood, and most of the sturdy homes have a full basement. In 2010, the neighborhood was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Few buildings would qualify individually, but the neighborhood as a whole is a really great representation of this time in American history. Its location 4 miles from downtown, friendly neighbors and close proximity to Irvington’s eateries and retail shops make the incredibly affordable homes in Emerson Heights worth a look.
Emerson Heights resident George Hanlin has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years. He is a Jay County native, originally from Pennville, Indiana, where his family has owned the same farmland since 1837. He is a sixth-generation Hoosier. George is a consultant at the talent management firm, Flashpoint. He is also the president of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, a community chorus celebrating their 25th anniversary season.
Here’s what he had to say about his neighborhood:
1.) What is your favorite thing about living in Emerson Heights?
It’s a safe, affordable neighborhood close to a lot of things. A seven-minute drive gets you to Mass Ave downtown. You can easily walk to nearby Irvington, which offers an increasing amount of amenities. You’re only 15 minutes away from Glendale. It’s easy living close to a lot of action.
2.) What do you think your neighborhood’s best asset is?
Emerson Heights’s best asset is that it is a well-planned neighborhood. The homes are solidly built 1910s and 1920s Arts and Crafts bungalows and four squares. They have a uniform setback from the street, and many are built on terraces. The three eastern streets in the neighborhood feature esplanades lined with sweetgum trees. All of this helps to give the neighborhood a strong visual appeal, and a lot of younger people are starting to take notice, move in, and rehabilitate the homes.
3.) If you were to write a tagline for your neighborhood, what would it be?
Hmmm. Maybe “Emerson Heights: Quality Living in the Heart of the City.”
4.) Describe your neighbors.
The people of Emerson Heights are diverse in many ways, but for the most part it’s a solid middle-class community. The thing that strikes me most about the neighbors is that there are so many of us who are committed to the neighborhood and want to make it better. We work hard to improve Emerson Heights and to keep it safe, and we look out for one another. The care, concern, and dedication of the neighbors are a real gift.
5.) Is there anything you want to say about the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus?
As for the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus–I’ll just say that it’s an honor to be part of such a talented group of performers. Aside from neighborhood involvement, it’s one of my favorite ways to be engaged in the community. We put on amazing shows, and I certainly encourage your readers to come see us sometime. Our annual holiday concerts are December 19 & 20 and you can learn more at www.indianapolismenschorus.com
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