Indianapolis has 13 local historic districts, 5 conservation districts, and 19 National Register districts. Not only are these districts important to the city’s history, but they also contribute to the city’s economy and culture. Compared with non-designated areas, historic districts have higher property values, population growth, tax contributions, and income generation. Historic districts are also diverse areas that contain much of the city’s cultural resources and foster local businesses.

Historic Districts

Local historic districts are overseen by the indianapolis historic preservation commission (IHPC), which was established in 1967 to preserve areas of historical significance within Marion County.

The commission defines a local historic district as “a single property or a collection of structures and sites that possesses a high degree of integrity in all of the following areas: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.” Each historic district has its own preservation plan with guidelines for renovation, new construction, and site work.

To ensure the continued preservation of a local historic district, the IHPC requires a Certificate of Appropriateness be filed for renovation, new construction, demolition, and site work–anything from adding a tool shed to changing the roof color. Depending on the work being done, the COA may be approved immediately or may require public notification and a hearing.

Local historic districts include:

  • Woodruff Place (2001)
  • Lockerbie Square (1987)
  • Old Northside (1979)
  • Chatham Arch and Massachusetts Avenue (2006)
  • Fletcher Place (1980)
  • Wholesale District (1990)
  • Lockefield Gardens (1984)
  • Herron-Morton Place (1986)
  • Fountain Square (1984)
  • Irvington (2006)
  • St. Joseph Neighborhood (1991)
  • Monument Circle (2013)

Conservation Districts

Conservation districts differ from local districts in that they focus on maintaining a neighborhood’s “distinctive character significant to the culture, heritage, history, and development of the community.”

Because the focus is on protecting the overall character of the district rather than specific architectural details, a Certificate of Appropriateness is only required for any major new construction or demolition. It is not necessary for smaller changes provided they adhere to the district’s preservation plan guidelines.

Conservation districts include:

  • New Augusta (1999)
  • Cottage Home (2008)
  • Ransom Place (1998)
  • Fayette Street (1995)
  • Cumberland (2005)

National Register Districts

Historic districts that are on the National Register, but not given a local historic designation, are maintained by the National Park Service and are not subject to the requirements of the IHPC.

National Register districts include:

  • Forest Hills (1983)
  • Laurel And Prospect (1983)
  • State And Prospect (1983)
  • Virginia Avenue (1983)
  • Holy Rosary-Danish Church (1986)
  • Indiana Avenue (1987)
  • Indiana World War Memorial (1989)
  • Meridian Park (1990)
  • Golden Hill (1991)
  • Fort Benjamin Harrison (1995)
  • St. Philip Neri Parish (1996)
  • Shortridge-Meridian Street Apartments (2000)
  • Central Court (2004)
  • Brendonwood (2004)
  • Traders Point Eagle Creek Rural (2009)
  • Emerson Heights (2010)
  • Watson Park (2012)
  • Emerson Avenue Addition (2012)
  • Riverside Drive (2019)
Revised September 2023

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