Mass Ave, 1970.
The construction of interstate 65 prompts a mass exodus of city-dwellers who now have access to new means for a downtown commute. Foot traffic starts to dwindle. Buildings begin to board up. And just like that—Mass Ave slips to the edge of disrepair. It got so bad in fact, according to an 80s RTV6 report, “Mass Ave was once regarded by some as the ‘skid row area’ of downtown Indianapolis.”
But then, in 1981, things began to change.
Anchor institutions and local merchants stepped up, getting a seven-block stretch of Mass Ave recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. This designation led to tax breaks for businesses in the area, fueling investment, renovation, and redevelopment—and the subsequent wave of revitalization that’s still taking place today.
The Mass Ave that most know today—the one full of arts, entertainment, theater and food options—would not have been possible without those who came before. The ones who started it all. The ones who never left. Institutions like the Athenaeum, Circle City Industrial Complex, The Murat and Mass Ave staples like Stout’s, Chatterbox, and O’Malia’s paved a path forward—one that’s afforded others the opportunity to add to Mass Ave’s rich history.
In more recent times, businesses like Lovehandle, Black Market, and Rooster’s Kitchen have done just that, carrying the torch forward and adding their own unique flavor to the melting pot that is Mass Ave. Which is why there’s never been a better time visit. Have a meal at one of Mass Ave’s three dozen restaurants, catch a show at the Old National Centre or the Rathskeller, or bike or walk the Cultural Trail.
History has proven that the sweat of collective brows can transform a community—one where everyone benefits. And here at Bottleworks, we’re excited and honored to join our neighbors on Mass Ave, doing just that.
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