Southport is a small city in southern Marion County bounded by Buck Creek, Stop 11 Road, McFarland Road, and Madison Avenue. 

Business district, Southport, 1908
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

In 1822, Jacob Smock settled on the land south of Buck Creek, followed soon after by other settlers. The area gained its name from pioneers traveling south from Indianapolis who used the small town as their first stop (or port) outside the capital. Southport was not platted until 1849, following the construction of the Madison And Indianapolis Railroad through the settlement. An addition to the original plat occurred in 1850, and Southport incorporated in 1953.

The town grew slowly through the 19th century; its population in 1880 was only 388. Railroad crossings on the southern edge of Indianapolis made travel to the south side difficult until tracks were elevated in the 1920s. Following this change, and the introduction of the Interurban, residents in Southport could commute to jobs in Indianapolis, and the town gained a number of new inhabitants. 

The Southport Covered Bridge, a single-span Howe Truss standing 65/75 feet, crossed Little Buck Creek, ca. 1930s
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

The enlargement of Madison Avenue in the 1960s further increased accessibility to the south side. In 1960, Southport’s population was 892; by 1980, it was 2,266. Since then, the population has been stable. The 2020 census counted 2,123 residents. The implementation of Unigov in 1970 encompassed Southport, but it remained an Excluded City within the Unigov system. Like Beech Grove, Lawrence, and Speedway, it retained its own mayor, city council, and police department.

Southport is a city of single-family dwellings, The housing stock in the city dates primarily from the late 20th century, although some historic homes remain. While there are several popular local businesses within the city limits (such as Long’s Bakery), most residents primarily work outside its borders.

Revised April 2021

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