Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fountain Square Thursday Night

Well OK, more like a Thursday dusk, but night rolls off the tongue...Sort of...






10 comments:

Indy Rock said...

Great pics! But quick question, why does the skyline (especially Chase Tower) from Fountain Square than it does Mass Ave? Perhaps it's depth perception, i dunno.

Anonymous said...

Virginia Avenue is the only one of the diagonal spoke streets that is still intact from the original Alexander Ralston plan. It's the only one where you can still see the Circle Monument from a distance. They took out the first block of Mass Ave. in the 60's to build the Indiana National Bank building, now the Bank-of-the-Month building. I was hoping when the building got messed up in that freak windstorm after the free Mellencamp concert they would pull down the whole building and put Mass Ave. back where it is supposed to be. But they sunk a lot of dough into a renovation for a building that is uninspiring to say the least and now we will have to wait another fifty years for another chance.

The first block of Indiana Ave. was taken up by the AUL building (or whatever they call it now)

The first blocks of Kentucky Ave. was taken up by the convention center.

I think Fountain Square is where it is because that was the end of the trolley line from downtown in the 1800's. It would be cool if they put the tracks back on Virginia Ave. and have a Fountain Sq. to Washington st. trolley again. Maybe the old tracks are still under the pavement.

CorrND said...

Technically, the CC took out the 2nd and 3rd blocks of Kentucky. The Hyatt is where the 1st block would have been.

Imagine all the interesting street frontage that could have been on the Hyatt block with Kentucky running down the middle. Instead we have an entire dead block in the urban fabric.

mheidelberger said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! I believe the major difference with the skyline from fountain square has something to do with elevation. Someone might be able to answer this a little more elaborately than yours truly, but I think it has something to do with the now sequestered underground Pogue's Run.

There is a certain grace about the original Ralston design of Indianapolis. A similar grace to that of Washington DC; this is not surprising since Alexander Ralson was a protégé of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, one of the co-engineers of DC.

Indy Rock said...

I suppose I'm the eternal optimist but I think we've done a nice job with half of the original diagonals. Mass Ave is as vibrant as ever and Virginia Ave is nice how it goes all the way into town. Even Indiana Ave is slowly but surely starting to turn the corner. It's just a shame that Kentucky Ave is all but forgotten about.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the correction, CorrND. I forgot about the Hyatt. Someone commented once that the Hyatt was built when the urban street environment was unappealing and dangerous. Indianapolis was not an exception in those days. It was built more as a fortress to keep inside people inside and outside people outside. The designers didn't predict the coming renaissance of the last twenty years.

CorrND said...

Yeah, elevation could be a factor. There's also a pretty significant difference in distance -- it's about 50% further from the fountain to Chase Tower as it is from 757 Mass Ave to Chase.

thundermutt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thundermutt said...

I should read first, THEN post!

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anon 4:04, I'm the local person who has written about the "castle" mentality designed into the Merchants/Nat City/PNC Center. (It even has a figurative "moat" and "drawbridge" on the Washington St. side.) That "castle" or "battlement" style first struck me on visits to Detroit and Atlanta, where the racial divide was much greater than in Indy.

In fairness to its designers, go to Bing and look at an aerial. It's clever the way they integrated both the old 70s modern Merchants "M" logo and the diagonal of Kentucky into the building plan. Too bad they didn't cut a main diagonal axis all the way through at ground level.

And anon 10:01, I don't think Virginia is really intact. You can't go northbound all the way to Washington; there's an orphan block between Washington and Maryland due to all the one-ways around it. And it even has a parking garage built over it in the next block south.

I think it really is the elevation that gives the great skyline view from FS.

Anonymous said...

I take Virginia northbound to Washington all the time. It is public access without fences or toll booths or land mines all the way from Fountain Square. It only gets tough if you are stuck in a motorized vehicle. That parking garage does mess up the view of Monument Circle though. I agree that was a clever touch about the M logo. If we had locally owned banks it would still be clever. I never noticed that about the diagonal element in the Hyatt, good you mentioned it, now just a cruel joke to remind us we once had unimpeded access. It used to piss me off when the Hyatt would lock the doors on a cold winters day after a Colts game at the old dome headed for Mass Ave.