Reader’s Question:

Since moving back to Indianapolis, after living out west for a number of years, I have enjoyed rediscovering parts of the city I knew when I was growing up. The other day, I found myself in New Augusta and was overcome by a feeling of having stepped back in time. Could you give a little history of the area? ~ Pam M., Indianapolis

HI’s Answer:

The area of Pike Township that would later be named New Augusta was purchased from the federal government in 1834 by Thomas Reveal Jr. Reveal lived in Highland County, Ohio, at the time of the land purchase. He and a number of other family members migrated to Marion, Boone, and Hamilton Counties in the 1830s and 1840s. The document certifying Reveal’s purchase, issued by President Andrew Jackson, appears below.

1834 Land Patent shows Thomas Reveal's purchase of land from the United States of America (scan courtesy of Ancestry.com)

1834 Land Patent shows Thomas Reveal’s purchase of land in Marion County, Indiana, from the United States of America CLICK ON DOCUMENT TO ENLARGE

By the 1850s, the northwest portion of Reveal’s land was acquired by Christian Hornaday, and the south and east portions of Reveal’s land were acquired by Joseph Klingensmith. The map below shows their parcels, as well as those of surrounding landowners in Pike Township (note that Hornaday is misspelled as Horniday [sic]).

In 1852, the Indianapolis & Lafayette Railroad built a route about a mile-and-a-half west of the existing town of Augusta. The tracks, which were laid parallel to the Michigan Road (aka US 421), passed diagonally through the parcels of land owned by Hornaday and Klingensmith. As no town existed yet at the spot where the railroad depot was constructed, it was called Augusta Station for the town to which it was the nearest, Augusta.

The 1855 Condit, Wright, and Hayden map shows the existence of Augusta Station but no streets or development (map courtesy of the Indiana State Library) CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE

The 1855 Condit, Wright, and Hayden map shows the existence of Augusta Station but no streets or development there yet (Indiana State Library) CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE

The first Augusta depot burned to the ground about 1890. Within a few years, a new station was built, which survives today. When passenger trains ceased to travel the route, the building was acquired by the Purdy family, whose 贵州11选5网上投注 was immediately north of it. Mary, Emma, and Olive Purdy, the grandaughters of New Augusta settlers Ephraim and Adeline Purdy, maintained the depot to the ends of their lives. The residence and Augusta Station were inherited by a Purdy relative and are still in the family today.

The Augusta Station train depot was built in the early 1890s, after the original depot burned down (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The Augusta Station depot was built in New Augusta about 1895, after the original 1850s train depot burned to the ground (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Christian Hornaday passed away around the same time the railroad was constructed. As the administrator of Christian’s estate, William Hornaday decided to capitalize on the opportunities provided by the new railroad. He enlisted the assistance of Marion County Surveyor Percy Hosbrook to plat the land west of the railroad tracks. In recognition of the surveyor who helped him lay it out, Hornaday named the development Hosbrook.

For the next couple of decades, the settlement was alternately called Augusta Station and Hosbrook. It was never officially incorporated as a municipality, but with a train depot and a post office, as well as a number of commercial enterprises, it functioned as a town. Eventually, the United States Postal Service required that a new name be chosen, because both Hosbrook, Indiana, and Augusta, Indiana, already existed. Effective October 1, 1876, the name “New Augusta” was adopted.

An 1876 Indianapolis Daily News blurb mentioned the renaming of Hosbrook aka Augusta Station to New Augusta (scan courtesy of newspapers.com)

1876 news blurb mentioned the renaming of Hosbrook / Augusta Station to New Augusta

None of the earliest commercial structures survive from the 1850’s and 1860’s, but numerous buildings from the 1870’s, 1880s, and 1890s still exist today. The Oddfellows Building, built about 1890 on the northwest corner of 72nd and Dobson Streets, has provided space for a variety of businesses over the years.

The two-story brick Oddfellows Building housed a grocery store, barber shop, and ice cream parlor (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The two-story brick Oddfellows Building housed a grocery store, barber shop, and an ice cream parlor, as well as the lodge (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The narrow streets in New Augusta date to the 1850s, when the village was created. The names of the streets reflect the names of some of the families who owned property in the area in the late 1800’s and are not found anywhere else in Indianapolis. They are Purdy, Dobson, Pollard, and Coffman.

Other surnames with early New Augusta ties (besides those surnames already mentioned earlier) included Avery, Coble, Cotton, DeLong, Englehardt, Fearin, Featherstone, Griffey, Guion, Gullefer, Guthrie, Hessong, Hightshue, Hollingsworth, Kissell, McCurdy, Neidlinger, Poe, Rodibaugh, Staton, Stirwalt, Sweeney, Turley, and Wachstetter.

The great-granddaughter of New Augusta physician, George A. Coble, M.D. (1861-1937), has graciously contributed three photos from her personal collection, which appear below.

New Augusta doctor, George A. Coble, M.D. and his buggy in the 1890s (photo courtesy of his great-granddaughter, Robin Engl)

New Augusta physician, George A. Coble, M.D. (1861-1937), with his horse and buggy (1890’s photo courtesy of Coble’s great-granddaughter, Robin Engls)

Residence of George A. Coble, M.D. circa 193os (photo courtesy of Robin Engls)

The former residence of New Augusta physician, George A. Coble, M.D., as it appeared when the dcotor resided in it (1930’s photo courtesy of Coble’s great-granddaughter, Robin Engls)

Doctor's office of New August physician, George A. Coble, M.D, (courtesy of his granddaughter, Robin Engls)

The doctor’s office of New Augusta physician, George A. Coble, M.D., as it appeared when he was practicing medicine (1930’s photo courtesy of Coble’s great-granddaughter, Robin Engls)

1889 Map of Pike Township shows New Augusta about a mile-and-a-half west of the Michigan Road aka US 421 (map courtesy of the Indiana State Library) CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE

An 1889 Map of Pike Township shows New Augusta located about a mile-and-a-half west of Michigan Road aka US 421 (map courtesy of the Indiana State Library) CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE

Some of the styles of 贵州11选5网上投注 construction in New Augusta include Italianate, Late Victorian, Gabled Ell, Bungalow, and Craftsman.

Built circa 1871, many of the 贵州11选5网上投注's Queen Anne style features were added circa 1890 (2014 photo by Sharo Butsch Freeland)

Built circa 1871, many of the 贵州11选5网上投注’s ornamental Queen Anne style features were added to the residence in the 1890’s (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

 

Built circa 1875, the brick Italianate 贵州11选5网上投注 is the most high-styled residence in New Augusta (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Built circa 1875, the brick Italianate 贵州11选5网上投注 just east of the Augusta Station depot is the most stylish residence in New Augusta (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Many frame cottages built in the late 1800's and early 1900's remain i New Augusta today (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Many frame cottages built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s remain standing in New August today (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Another late 1800s residence typical of those found in New Augusta (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Another late 1800s residence typical of those found in New Augusta (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The building at 73rd and Coffman Road has gone through several incarnations related to public education in its 134+ years of existence. Originally a four-room schoolhouse, it was later enlarged and housed both grade school and high school classes. The structure then became the gymnasium for a new school built immediately to the east of it in 1909. That high school building no longer exists.

Built before 1880, the former New Augusta grade school, then high school, then gymnasium is now a plumbing company (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Built before 1880, the former New Augusta grade school, then high school, then gymnasium is now a plumbing company (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

New Augusta High School served Pike Township from 1889 to 1938. The public secondary school for the area is now called Pike High School. A 2012 HI Mailbag article about Pike High School can be read by clicking here.

(scan courtesy of newspapers.com) CLICK ON ARTICLE TO ENLARGE

CLICK ON ARTICLE TO ENLARGE

The Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church was originally organized in 1836 as the Hopewell Evangelical Church. The congregation met in parishoners’ 贵州11选5网上投注s until the present church was built in the late 1870s.

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church at 72nd and Pollard Streets was completed by 1880 (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church on the corner of 72nd and Pollard was completed by 1880 (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

A park on Pollard Street is owned and maintained by Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

A public park in the 7200 block of Pollard Street is owned and maintained by the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Over the years of its existence, the Indianapolis & Lafayette Railroad was owned by various different entities, including the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis (aka The Big Four) Railroad; New York Central Railroad; Penn Central Railroad; and Conrail. In 1861, the railroad hosted Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural train, and in 1865, his funeral train.

On January 1, 1970, New Augusta became part of the City of Indianapolis when the city’s boundaries expanded to include all of Marion County under UniGov.

In 1989, New Augusta was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Plaque on the side of the former Oddfellows Building (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Plaque mounted on the south side of the former Oddfellows Building (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

In 1999, the property owners in New Augusta voted to become an Indianapolis Conservation District. A conservation district is a special category, different from a traditional historic district. It focuses on conserving an area’s historic community, rather than protecting its historic architecture per se. Roughly bounded by West 71st Street on the south, West 74th Street on the north, New Augusta Road on the east, and Coffman Road on the west, the district is overseen by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC).

Today, New Augusta retains the ambience of a 19th-century railroad village. Barns, sheds, root cellars, and carriage houses can still be found in 贵州11选5网上投注owners’ yards. It’s one of only two intact nineteenth-century railroad towns in Marion County. The other is Acton, in Franklin Township on the far southeast side of Marion County.

Map showing the boundaries of the New Augusta Conservation District adopted by the City of Indianapolis in 1999 (courtesy of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission)

Map showing the boundaries of the New Augusta Conservation District adopted by City of Indianapolis in 1999 (courtesy of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission) CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE

New Augusta’s architecture and streetscapes provide a glimpse of what it was like to live in the rural villages that sprang up al over the country贵州11选5网投 in the 1800’s, as a result of the building of railroads. The district retains many of its small town characteristics, and its residents and businesses maintain a strong sense of the community’s past.

Railroad tracks, looking north from the Augusta Station depot (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Railroad tracks, looking north from the Augusta Station depot (2014 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

If you have memories of living in or near New Augusta or visiting someone there, please leave a comment below.