1968 BRHS History Booklet - Chapter Seven
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Chapter Seven

Canal villages thrive

Broad Ripple and Wellington, which started out as small river communities, were soon in the process of becoming bustling and growing Indiana towns.

In the early 1880's, the village of Wellington was a thriving community. In this area to the south of the Broad Ripple-Indianapolis Canal were Wray's Dry Goods Store, Florander's Blacksmith Shop, the United States Post Office, the Odd Fellows Lodge Hall, the Methodist Church, and Washington Township Grade School Number 14.

The village of Broad Ripple on the north side of the canal was at its lowest ebb at this time, however. Two-thirds of this area had been turned back to farmland and only about 35 people lived there. The only remaining business was the Koontz-Burke grist mill.

Broad Ripple, however, was soon to receive some of Wellington's good fortune for in 1884 the two villages were incorporated as one town under the name of Broad Ripple.

Many additions were made to the prosperous new community. A livery stable owned by Isaac White was built near the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Marion Road, now known as Compton Street. The town hall was erected at the corner of Westfield Boulevard and Bellefontaine, now Guilford Avenue. This building was also used as a jail, a polling place, and the base of operations for the volunteer fire department. In the early days, the fire engine was a hand-pushed wagon with a hand pump. When Broad Ripple became a part of Indianapolis, the volunteer fire department changed to Indianapolis Fire Station No. 32. This station was enlarged and improved in 1922.

Watt's Drug Store, now Lobraico's Drug Store was located at the northeast corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Bellefontaine. The Ripple Hotel was erected at the corner of Westfield and Winthrop. The Barthel Hotel and Tavern was built across from the Monon railway station, which is now the Whistle Stop Sausage House.

Train Station - click to see larger image
Train Station
In the early 1960's, the Broad Ripple Monon train station was converted into the Whistle Stop Sausage House, a cheese and sausage specialty shop.

Early Hotel - click to see larger image
Early Hotel
This photo, taken in 1900, shows the Barthel Hotel, also known as The When. The Barthel Hotel burned down, but the Ripple Hotel, built in the 1890's by the Medsker family on the southwest corner of Westfield and Winthrop, is still in use today with shops on the first floor and apartments above.

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Cover and Forward
1878 Surveyor's Record of Broad Ripple
Chapter One - Coil Starts Settlement
Chapter Two - Ripple Linked To City
Chapter Three - Canal Creates Rivalry
Chapter Four - Villages Start Schools
Chapter Five - Religious Life Grows
Chapter Six - Social Life Develops
Chapter Seven - Canal Villages Thrive (current page)
Chapter Eight - Trolleys Aid Travel
Chapter Nine - Farmer Shakes Jail
Chapter Ten - Floods Ravage Town
Chapter Eleven - Park Attracts Visitors
Chapter Twelve - BRHS Joins City
Chapter Twelve - Errata
Chapter Thirteen - City Annexes Village

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