East Market Street was first plotted out in 1870 by J.M. Ridenour, after whom the subdivision is named. Ridenour was a prominent real estate developer in the late 19th century who owned property on State St and what would become “Ridenour’s Addition”. The lot where the property now stands was originally known as 1556 East Market St before being renumbered.
We dug into the unique past behind E Market St to uncover the stories of those who called this place home before a new house was constructed on the foundations in 2018.
In the 1890s, an influx of German immigrants built houses on the recently platted developments in Ridenour’s Addition. We know that E Market Street had been built at least by 1898, as evidenced by the 1898 Sanborn Map which depicts the property at E Market St as two stories with a one story rear addition.
1902, the death notice of resident Sarah L. Crane, age 74, was announced in the Indiana Tribune. This was a German language newspaper exclusively catering to the German immigrant population of Indianapolis. A second death notice was put forth in the Indiana Tribune for David H. Richardson in December of 1906, also listed as resident at E Market St. It appears that David had marital problems before his early demise, seen in the below article from the Indianapolis Star in June of 1904.
An early prominent resident of E Market St was John A. VanCourt. He lived at the property from approx 1929 - 1950. He was well known in the community as a woodworking instructor and hardwood flooring contractor.
The property spent most of the 1920s - 1940s split apart as separate apartments on the top and bottom. The bottom section had 5 rooms and bathroom, while the upstairs was a three room apartment. In the 1950s, the property was occupied by a Mrs. Hendrickson, who apparently was a drape producer and successful marketer in the Indianapolis Star.
The late 1950s - early 1970s saw the property rented out again as two separate apartments. In the 1960s, it was renting out for only $15 a week. In the 1980s, E Market St was converted to business use as a warehouse and office for the “Modern Photo Offset Supply” company. By the early 1990s, the property had fallen into disrepair. In 2003, a request was granted to demolish the property, but it was never followed through.
Two Chicks and a Hammer took on E Market Street in the fourth season of Good Bones. We successfully rebuilt a new home on the old foundations, making this 19th century property ready for its next chapter in history.