Mapping Old Addresses
In case you did not know, addresses can change over time. My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. The early years were downtown, then the near northeast suburbs and finally Irvington. Street names and addresses of 100 years ago do not match those of today, old atlases and the city ordinance records are useful reference tools to determine modern addresses.
This is a good example of (mostly) NOT finding what I set out to find. Over the years of researching my great grandfather, I came to realize he lived at MANY addresses during his adult life. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
David Louis Osborne
Between 1876 and 1942 my great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (DLO), lived at 23 addresses in Indianapolis, I decided to document the current condition of his former homes.
17 Fletcher’s Block
This address does not now exist. Based on information on the 1887 Sanborn Map this address is likely the southeast corner of College and Fletcher Ave. DLO had ‘rooms’ at this address while working as a paper hanger.
218 E. South St.
This is now an empty lot between S. New Jersey St. and Virginia Ave. John Dennis, father of Susie, also lived with the young couple.
338 S. New Jersey St.
This address no longer exists, it is now a part of the Lilly Research Campus. It was just north of E. McCarty St.
188 E Washington St.
DLO must have liked this place, he lived here twice. He was a boarder, probably lived upstairs above the bakery on the main floor. New construction now sits at this site. The modern address is 380 E. Washington.
The modern address is 625 Lexington Ave., the second building west of College. The two huge evergreens in the photo hide a massive garage, not a house. DLO was working as a paper hanger for Cathcart, Cleland and Co.
70 N State Ave.
This address no longer exists, based on the old Sanborn maps it would have been on the southwest corner of State and Market, now an empty lot.
34 N. Walcott St.
This address is now 46 N. Walcott, it’s the southwest corner of Walcott and Ohio, now an empty lot.
317 E. St. Clair St.
This home was next to the firehouse on E. St. Clair, just west of Massachusetts Ave., it’s now a parking lot for the Firefighters Museum. The modern address would be 627 E. St. Clair St.
113 Oak Ave.
This street was renamed Edison about 1900, the house was just north of what is now E. 10th St. This location is now home to an electric substation.
17 Omer St.
Omer was renamed 11th St., this house was not on the 1887 map. The modern address is 1319 E. 11th St., it’s now an empty lot.
Street renamed 12th St. before 1898. This address may now be 1604 E. 12th St., on the northeast corner at N. Newman St., about a tenth of a mile east of Brookside. According to daughter Pearl’s birth certificate, she was born at this address.
174 Eureka Ave.
This address no longer exists. Eureka ran between Michigan and 10th St. It was renamed N. Tacoma Ave. about 1898. The modern address is either 910 or 916 N. Tacoma Ave. The duplex at 910 is pictured.
914 N. Tacoma Ave.
This address no longer exists. It’s either the north half of the duplex at 910 N. Tacoma or the house at 916 N. Tacoma. The house at 916 is pictured. DLO lived here from about 1895 (174 Eureka) to 1906.
538 N. Keystone Ave.
DLO lived here about three years, it is now a parking lot for IPS #15.
1102 N. Beville Ave.
The northwest corner with E. 11th St., now an empty lot. DLO lived here about 10 years. Jennie passed in 1918, that’s when daughter Pearl moved in with her husband Earl LaFara and toddler Lois.
5929 Julian Ave.
This is the third house west of Arlington. Living here also are the LaFara’s and daughter Sadie.
105 Johnson Ave.
DLO bought this lot about 1920 and built the house that still stands. He lived here about 5 years with daughter Sadie who bought the house from him for $3000 in 1925.
27 N. Campbell Ave.
Living with the LaFara family. DLO split his time between here and the GAR post. The LaFara’s were at this address for about 4 years.
512 N. Illinois St.
This address no longer exists, there is a large parking garage now. This was ‘Fort Friendly’, the GAR post where DLO was a member and caretaker during this period.
36 S. Ritter
DLO lived here for several years with the LaFara’s, daughter Pearl owned the home that is next door to IPS #57.
33 N. Sheridan
DLO lived here briefly with the LaFara’s after they sold the home on S. Ritter.
115 S. Ritter Ave.
The third house south of Julian. DLO lived here at the end of his life with the LaFara’s, he shared a room with his grandson, Bob. They were renting the home.
Crown Hill Cemetery
The final resting place, DLO purchased 4 plots at the time of Jennie’s death in 1918. The other two plots hold Earl LaFara and Sadie Osborne.
My main obstacle was reconciling old addresses to modern addresses. Indianapolis went through a large scale overhaul of the street naming around the turn of the 20th century. I found a book online that contained the Indianapolis ordinances up to 1904, there is an entire section regarding street naming changes.
Find this book on Google Play Books: The General Ordinances of the City of Indianapolis
Even with this information I still had some difficulties reconciling all the old addresses. So I searched out old maps. I found two online from the late 19th century that were particularly helpful.
Visit the online IUPUI University Library’s Sanborn and Baist Map Collection
With these reference tools I was able to assign modern addresses to those from over 100 years ago. Next, I went looking for the buildings and homes. What I found was at first disappointing, then I decided to have a sense of humor about it given the facts could not be changed. Of the 22 addresses I have for my great grandfather in Indianapolis, 13 are vacant lots, parking lots or modern buildings. The houses still standing are the most recent addresses from the 20th century.