Few Indianapolis neighborhoods have the colorful, evocative history as Herron-Morton Place does. There might as well be a few of those large-wheel-in-the-front penny farthing bicycles and ladies walking around with flouncy skirts and parasols. Men sipping on iced tea on their front porches playing checkers, too. When you walk down a street here, that’s exactly the type of scene this neighborhood conjures up!
The neighborhood was once a Civil War encampment, where thousands of Rebel soldiers were held prisoner here in the 1860’s when the area was called Camp Morton. Today, wide, tree-lined streets serve as a beautiful canvas to colorful homes that the residents clearly show pride in. Queen Anne style houses are predominant, but some other architectural styles are represented as well. The bordering streets of 16th and 22nd make the neighborhood a slightly ambitious but close enough walk to the downtown Indianapolis square mile, and features the Herron-Morton Historical Park which has a playground and a pavilion. (The park is located at 1900 Alabama Street and is supported by the Herron-Morton Place Neighborhood Foundation.) Events include the annual Talbot Street Art Fair, Oktoberfest, the bi-annual Herron-Morton Home Tour, and in what has become an excellent trademark of the neighborhood’s unique identity, informal porch parties are held with greater frequency.
(These porches are big! Several kids could be playing on one end while adults sit at a table and enjoy wine and cheese at the other!)
Once home to Indiana artists T.C. Steele and Otto Stark, several US senators, Dr. William Wishard (namesake of Wishard Hospital) and Evans Woolen, (the architect whose most notable local design is Clowes Memorial Hall), the neighborhood became an Historic Conservation District in 1986. As such, guidelines are in place to protect the area’s distinctive historic characteristics.
Herron-Morton Place is in the Indianapolis Public Schools district.
Herron-Morton place resident Tiffany Benedict-Berkson has lived here for 11 years. She is the creator and Chief Inspiration Officer of the online media property, HistoricIndianapolis.com and also currently serves as a Project Manager for the Choose Indy Committee for Plan 2020, the bicentennial plan for Indianapolis. This LA native came to Indianapolis, her mother’s hometown, with a desire to own a Queen Anne home, which she now does. A trained actress, she found her love of history and curiosity about her new city to be the perfect launching point for Historic Indianapolis.com.
She was recently named to Class XXXIX of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Series, and in quite an appropriate role, serves as the Herron-Morton place historian.
1.) What is your favorite thing about living in Herron-Morton Place?
Rather than enumerating its wonderful qualities—because there is no way I could pick just one favorite thing— I’ll say it’s the sum total of having lived here 11 years.
I’ve never lived any one place so long and it’s been a joy to watch an evolution; to note the changing faces, restored homes, commercial developments and community events. Having moved from Los Angeles to Indianapolis, Herron-Morton Place IS Indianapolis to me and will always hold a special place in my heart.
2.) What do you think the neighborhood’s best asset is?
The people. Sure, Herron-Morton Place has to-die-for historic housing stock–which is how I ended up here–but the community that has formed within it, the progress previously alluded to—that’s all due to an awesome bunch of people I am proud to call my neighbors.
3.) If you were to write a tagline for this neighborhood, what would it be?
For me, “Home, sweet home.”
4.) Describe your neighbors
A group of diverse and passionate people who make Indianapolis a better place.
Whether it’s rallying to the aid of someone with a family issue; apprising others of which blocks have lost electricity after a storm; volunteering at the Talbot Street Art Fair or the bi-annual Home Tour; or partying like it’s 1999 together at the annual Progressive Dinner, I have a great affection for the wonderful people I’ve come to know in my time here.
5.) Anything you want to say about HistoricIndianapolis.com?
At least once a week, someone will say how much they love “HI.”It’s especially gratifying when we get emails from readers, sharing how we helped solve a long-held mystery—like the gentleman who found a picture of his great-grandmother in one of our articles. Said grandmother had died in childbirth, and for some reason, his family had no photos of her. Or, stories we hear like a local woman who bonded with her dying father by reading him stories from our website, leading to a discussion where father and daughter had an opportunity to bond. Those stories touch my heart.
“HI” just celebrated its 5th anniversary in July, launched a new weekly newsletter, and has an awesome and dedicated team of contributors who continue to amaze, delight and inspire those with an interest in Indianapolis.
The value of homes in historic districts of Indianapolis, including Herron-Morton Place, remain strong. Check out the Herron-Morton Place listings, and let us know how we can help you find a home! (Photos by Laura Neidig)