Homecroft is a Perry Township community roughly bounded by Banta Road on the north, the Conrail tracks on the east, Tulip Drive on the south, and Shelby Street on the west. The area began to grow when, in January 1900, the Indianapolis Columbus and Southern Interurban Company opened the interurbans line along Madison Avenue, formerly the southern leg of the pioneer-era Michigan Road from downtown Indianapolis to several southern Indiana towns. 

By the late 1910s and early 1920s, automobile use along Madison Avenue and access to public transportation via the interurbans accelerated suburbanization of these southern towns as downtown Indianapolis residents searched for ideal middle-class enclaves outside the city where they could own homes.

In 1923, Indianapolis realtor Frank Gates and his son Oliver bought 150 acres in the area they named Homecroft, reportedly because the name implied a desire to own a home. Responding to the aspiration of homeownership, the Gates’ offered to build modest-sized model homes or a home of the homeowner’s design. 

Sales of lots in the first 80 acres were brisk, as the area proved to be a popular commuter suburb. In the 1930s and early 1940s, quick interurbans service made a trip to the city inexpensive. In the 1930s,  the Gates’ worked with the federal Works Progress Administration to drain the swampy area, install a storm sewer and build sidewalks. 

Homecroft incorporated in 1949. A 40-acre addition and a subsequent 30-acre addition were also developed by the early 1950s. The town counted over 800 residents, and at this time, Madison Avenue offered a convenient motor route. Since that time only a few additional homes have been built. The population, therefore, has remained fairly stable.

Designed to be exclusively residential, Homecraft featured homes of one or one and a half stories with a brick or stone veneer in Bungalow, American Craftsman, Tudor Revival, or Colonial Revival styles. In 1996 the National Register of Historic Places denoted the Gates’ original 80-acre home-build as the Homecroft Historic District. Sixty-three homes patterned after the Gates’ model home design sit within the district’s boundaries of Madison Avenue, Southview Drive, Orinoco Avenue, and Banta Road.

The community assumed the status of an Included Town in 1970 under Unigov and continues to be self-governed by an elected five-member town council which includes a clerk-treasurer. The community employs its own police force with a town marshal and eight part-time reservists. Local concerns have included street maintenance and zoning issues, particularly commercial encroachment along Madison Avenue.

Revised July 2021

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