The study area for this plan is within Kessler Boulevard, the Monon Rail-Trail, 38th Street, Meridian Street and the Indianapolis Water Company Canal on the city’s northside.
Prior to 1900 the area that became Meridian Kessler was primarily farm fields and orchards. But as Indianapolis expanded through the first half of the 20th century the farms were platted and the plats were built out. As noted in the “Encyclopedia of Indianapolis”:
The emerging neighborhood had become a prestigious address for community and business leaders as well as for those aspiring to influence. The neighborhood’s western edge boasted large homes, many of near mansion proportions, on sizable wooded lots. Homes became more modestly middle class toward the eastern edge where bungalows are predominant. Meridian Kessler also has a number of small apartment buildings located primarily along the major thoroughfares of 38th Street and College Avenue but also scattered along Washington Boulevard, Central Avenue, and Pennsylvania Street.
Commercial centers developed at 49th and Pennsylvania streets and along College Avenue at each major intersection to Kessler Boulevard, provide local residents with groceries, shops and service stations.