Lockerbie Square Historic District presents an interesting glimpse into the rich heritage of Indianapolis. Established in the 1840s, this charming enclave remains remarkably intact and displays a gorgeous array of Federal, Italianate and Queen Anne-style architectural designs. Wander down the preserved streets and picture a time when the city was in its infancy. Learn about the German-American heritage of Indianapolis residents and visit a house museum.
Go on a docent-led or self-guided walking tour around the district. This area was among the first suburbs to be built after the original Mile Square planning of downtown Indianapolis, which dates back to 1821. The district’s oldest section lies on its western border. Stroll down the quaint streets, which were originally inhabited by Scottish, Irish and German immigrants. The district’s German ancestry earned it the nickname Germantown in the 19th century.
Discover a slice of 19th-century history in the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, which was inhabited by the famed Hoosier poet for over 20 years. Explore the classic Italianate mansion to see some of Riley’s original period furnishings and belongings.
Admire the James Ray-Buscher House, which was home to the former Indiana governor and dates back to 1835. It was moved to the district in 1977. Houses from the mid-19th century include the Joseph Staub House, the William and Netty Holler House, Despa House, the Reading-Kindell Cottage and the Webber House. Find out about the city’s German-American heritage at the Athenaeum (Das Deutsche Haus), which is an ornate example of late 19th-century German architecture.
Lockerbie Square Historic District is an easy walk east from downtown Indianapolis. The walk is signposted by historic markers. The district’s homes and buildings are not open to the public, aside from the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, which is closed on Mondays. Contact the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and the Lockerbie Square People's Club to find out about guided walking tours in the district. Alternatively, pick up a free brochure with a self-guided tour map from the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. The district is free to visit and open daily.