In 1853, 36 of the city’s leading businessmen formed the Indianapolis Board of Trade to promote the benefits of Indianapolis. The next year the board published a circular detailing the city’s many advantages for new businesses, primarily the extensive railroad network. It continued to publish similar promotional literature for the next several decades.

An eight story brick office building sits at an intersection.  The first two floors have exterior, decorative-topped stone columns and an arched entrance.  The flat roof has projecting eaves with embellishments around the top and corbels running underneath.
Board of Trade Building, ca. 1900 Credit: Library of Congress View Source

By the 1870s, the Board of Trade had its own building at the corner of Capitol and Maryland streets, renting out office space to grain dealers, freight line representatives, and others. The board also held a daily grain call at noon. When it was incorporated in 1882, the Board of Trade consolidated all previously existing trade and commercial organizations in the city. In addition to promotional activities, it sought to establish uniformity in commercial practices, promote business ethics, and arbitrate trade disputes. In 1907 the board moved to 143 North Meridian Street.

In June 1946, the board reorganized again, becoming the Indianapolis Board of Trade, Inc., and eliminated the $1,000 mortuary benefit to encourage new younger members to join an organization whose average member was almost 60 years old. In September 1977, the Board of Trade’s shareholders voted to dissolve the organization, citing high operating costs, reluctance to raise rents in its building, and reduced downtown pedestrian traffic. Four years later the eight-story Board of Trade building was torn down to make way for the Bank One Tower (later known as Salesforce Tower).

Revised March 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.