In 1980, urban activists from several of Indianapolis’s early historic districts created HUNI as an advocacy group of Indiana Landmarks.

IHPC 50th Anniversary Tour, 2017 Credit: Lorraine Phillips Vavul View Source

HUNI supports the preservation, revitalization, and interests of Indianapolis’s urban historic neighborhoods through its threefold charge to promote historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization, provide a forum for members, and represent members’ concerns to government and other entities.

Membership in HUNI is multi-faceted. Eligibility includes neighborhoods with defined geographic boundaries located within Marion County, registered with the City of Indianapolis, and encompassing 10 or more households. Additionally, neighborhoods must be on—or eligible for—National Register of Historic Places designation and/or district status under the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC).

Rethink I-65/I-70 Coalition meeting featuring speakers from HUNI, ca. 2018 Credit: Lorraine Phillips Vavul View Source

HUNI extends membership status to neighborhoods deemed eligible for historic status by Indiana’s State Historic Preservation Officers. Indiana Landmarks collects membership dues for neighborhoods and individuals at HUNI’s annual meeting held in February each year. Representatives from Indianapolis’s 30-plus historic neighborhoods also meet quarterly for an educational program and to discuss issues of concern. 

In 2009 HUNI established, a website to highlight the vitality of Indianapolis’ historic urban communities and more deeply involve those interested in them. These portals serve to acquaint people with the location and architectural character contained in various historic neighborhoods and to share special events of community-wide appeal. Home tours, walking tours, legislative updates, pertinent news and lectures, and guides to researching home history also appear on the site. HUNI also maintains a social media presence.

Architectural archivist Jordan Ryan speaks at HUNI’s annual meeting, 2019 Credit: Lorraine Phillips Vavul View Source

The 2010s witnessed new threats to historic neighborhoods. These included a legislative attempt to dismantle IHPC, unsuccessful efforts by billboard companies to expand digital billboards within the city, and planning efforts to reconstruct Interstates 65 and 70 in ways harmful to historic districts.

HUNI successfully led the charge for saving IHPC, limited digital billboards, and co-established the Rethink 65/70 Coalition. In 2012 HUNI established a Mayoral Forum and successfully promoted it as one of the few must-attend events for mayoral candidates.

Mayor Joe Hogsett on stage for HUNI’s “Mayoral Candidates Forum on Neighborhoods,” 2015 Credit: Lorraine Phillips Vavul View Source

By 2019, HUNI membership had grown to 32 neighborhoods across Indianapolis with 22 of these neighborhoods located within Center Township.

Revised March 2021

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