The Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Landscape Architectural Drawings Collection chronicles the development of the extensive park and boulevard system in Indiana’s largest metropolitan area from the 19th century to the mid-20th century. The collection gives an unparalleled look into the creation of both major destination parks and small neighborhood parks, as well as the tree-lined boulevards that transverse the city thoroughfares.
The Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation collection contains 3 damage assessment rolls; 1, 400 landscape, engineering, and architectural drawings and presentation boards; and 2,345 aperture cards for over 200 Indianapolis parks, parkways, golf courses, bridges, boulevards, playgrounds, amphitheaters, stadiums, greenhouses, and other public facilities managed by the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation from 1898 to 1988. The majority of the collection dates from 1900-1920.
The earliest records in the collection are the damage assessment rolls, which are ledger records for land purchases the City of Indianapolis made from individuals and corporations to create the parks and increase the size of roadways to create parkway dividers and other amenities. The bulk of the collection consists of drawings. Typically, these are ink on drafting cloth—what is typically referred to as linen—and can vary from very small 10 x 10 inch detail drawings to large, expansive landscape drawings that are 36 x 120 inches, or larger. There are also blueprints and some of the later drawings are ink on Mylar, but the collection mostly consists of drawings on drafting cloth. These drawings are extraordinary examples of civic landscape plans of the time period. They often include detailed programmatic information about the land prior to purchase that has largely been lost to history.
This project is part of the Indiana Memory Digital Library and is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library. It was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant to the Ball State University Libraries for 2016-2017.
Drawings and Documents Archive