Ransom Place's boundaries are
nestled at the the edge of the IUPUI campus,
W. 10th Street on the north, West St. Clair Street on the
south, Camp Street on the west, and North West Street on the
east. In 1992, Ransom Place was added to the U.S.
National Register of Historic Places.
This area did not officially receive it's name until 1991 and
was named after Freeman Briley Ransom, an outstanding
African-American attorney and businessman who made his Indianapolis
home in the neighborhood at 828 North California Street.
(This home still stands to this day and is pictured below.)
The first lots of this area were platted in 1865 by two
printers named, Charles P. and J.M. Meikel. In 1871, a real
estate broker named William Y. Wiley became part of the mix.
(In fact "Wiley" is part of the legal description in many of the
properties.) Settlement was a trick at the time due to the
floodplain of the White River. Much of the land was marshy in
First settled by working-class Irish and German immigrants,
Ransom Place boasts a mix of wood-frame, gabled Queen Anne- and
shotgun-style cottages built in the late 1800s. The area's
demographics shifted dramatically from an 86 percent white majority
to a 96 percent black majority from 1900 to 1920. Some of the
names of the residents of this area were:
Freeman Ransom (828 California Street) Attorney, General Manager
for Madam C.J. Walker Company (see above)
John Puryear (854 Camp Street) City
Henry Richardson (941 Camp Street) Attorney, Democratic
candidate for 1932 State Representative
Rev. William D. Speight (835 California Street)
Minister, AME Zion Church
Oscar W. Langston (835 California Street)
Dr. J. Ward (941 California Street) Physician
Another interesting part of this neighborhood is the "Museum Without Walls."
This is done with about 40 signs placed in front of residences
within this neighborhood giving the name and occupations of the
earliest known residents.
The neighborhood fell on hard times during the Depression, when
many family homes were replaced by renters who failed to keep up
the properties. The decline continued into the '60s and '70s, when
highway construction, university expansions and urban ills took
their toll on the neighborhood. This historic district once known
for its pristine homes and tree-lined streets became an isolated
pocket of vacant, weed-filled lots and run-down, abandoned
homes. Fortunately, a well-known activist named Jean Spears
started reclaiming this area by purchasing a Queen Anne on Camp
street. Spears is the historian and program director for the
Heritage Learning Center Museum. For a very detailed PDF File
about the people and businesses of this area, visit this link
The Walker Theatre
is a well-known building located in this Historic District.
Opened in 1927, it was part of Madam Walker's College of Hair
Culture and Walker Manufacturing Co. To read more about this
remarkable woman visit Madam C.J.
If you are looking for a Historic Home located on the
North-west side of downtown Indianapolis considering Ransom
Place. Currently, there's six properties listed for sale in
the MLS. Prices range from $135,000 to $215,000.
There's even a large church with extra lot a waiting for someone to
revitalize it into a residential single or multi-family home. For
more ideas and information about the Greater Indianapolis Area,
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