Oh, hi blog. I’m just ripping off the band-aid of my absence to eulogize a particularly special historic building.
The little building that stood at the corner of 16th and Capitol was a favorite of many, even those who knew little of architecture or preservation. There was just something about this little building that was aesthetically pleasing, which made it a favorite of many Indianapolis residents. After the last tenant, Crawford’s Bakery, moved out in 2008, its been heading towards an unfortunate end.
Here’s the story of its unnecessary demise.
Originally housing Pandell’s Florist, the building was constructed in the 1920s, designed by noted Indianapolis architectural firm Pierre and Wright. The building features a striking terra-cotta facade, with fluted columns, eagle details, and a glass storefront. I’ve heard many remark, “Oh, I’d love it if a coffee shop went there,” or “that would make a great lunch place.” Its placement on 16th Street makes it ripe for redevelopment. Just a few weeks ago, Erika Smith of the Indianapolis Star remarked on the renaissance on 16th Street.
The owner asked a steep $2 million dollars for the property. A few months ago, we got word that the building owner had given enough time for a owner to step forward to buy the building, so it seemed that its enviable demise was near. The news in itself was not terribly surprising, but still, sad. But still… it seemed like until the building was down, there could be some hope, right? Perhaps that’s the optimist in me.
This February, I helped organize a group of building lovers to do a little heart bombing (what’s heart bombing?) of two endangered Indianapolis historic buildings. Phillips Temple was the first, Crawford’s Bakery, the second. At each, we took photos with our hearts, while at Crawford’s, we affixed a few of our hearts to the windows of the facade. We took this moment to soak in those details we’d come to know and love one last time. It was perhaps fitting timing, as we’d soon come to find out.
This past Friday the 13th, I drove past the corner at 16th and Capitol and noticed some very important details missing from the building. The eagles. The leaded glass. The light fixtures. Elements of the building that made it so special, so unique, had been ripped away before the demolition could truly begin.
I knew the end was near. I almost didn’t want to, but part of me told myself I needed to drive by again the following day… Valentine’s Day. Our preservation Valentine. It’s almost surreal that something so beautiful, that has stood the test of time for decades, can be destroyed in a matter of hours.
This was around 3:00p.m. I assume by the end of the day, the single wall with the ghost markings of “Crawford’s Bakery” was gone as well. What’s left? A pile of rubble. A pile of wasted opportunity. Next, the land will be cleared and it will turn into a grassy or gravel lot. Maybe one day someone will build something on the land. But nothing as magical, as unique as this building.
But one day, I’ll drive past and think to myself, remember the Crawford’s Bakery building? How could you forget it.