When I heard IndyHub was bringing the Hello Neighbor! series to Garfield Park, I thought to myself “that’s pretty close to where I work.” Indeed, I drive by Garfield Park along Raymond Street on a regular basis. And while I have been to the park on several occasions, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the neighborhood.
One of the new initiatives with the neighborhood series is a partnership with Indianapolis Cultural Trail. About half of the attendees arrived at the Pagoda in Garfield Park by bike from downtown (and most were using complimentary Pacers Bikeshare bikes). We started the tour by hearing from Garfield Park Neighborhood Association representatives.
I am always struck by the passion and knowledge that everyone shared about the place they lived (not unlike the tours I attended in Fountain Square and Irvington, also hosted by IndyHub).
We proceeded from the Pagoda and started the walking tour. We walked past the MacAllister Center and learned about the free events at the park (concerts, performances, and movie nights). We then arrived at the crown jewel of Garfield Park, the Sunken Gardens and Conservatory.
While I recalled being in the garden, I didn’t realize how well-kept it was. From what we were told, residents took turns to volunteer to keep up the gardens. (So many people wanted to get involved there is a wait list.) From there, we walked through the Conservatory and checked out a variety of plants.
The next stop we met up with the folks from Big Car. If you don’t know much about Big Car, it’s a non-profit that focuses on placemaking through art, design, and community engagement.
We learned first-hand they will be relocating from Lafayette Square to Garfield Park and about their upcoming projects. One of the reasons for the relocation was that they felt Garfield Park will be the next up and coming areas in Indianapolis.
The finale of the tour took place at the home of two local residents. I appreciate their opening their doors to a group of total strangers!
We learned about the history of the house (it’s 100 years old), and how they found their way back to the neighborhood after living somewhere else. You can feel their sense of pride and how they were emotionally attached to a place they called home.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Hello Neighbor! event at Garfield Park! Being a transplant to Indianapolis, I know very little about the neighborhoods around the city. The tours have been eye-openers in learning about the history, meeting the residents, and discovering places you wouldn’t normally visit. I look forward to the next neighborhood event, wherever that may be!
Photos by Tessa Tillett Photography