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Holliday Park ruins offer history lesson and new spot to explore

For a score of years (two decades), The Ruins were the iconic part of Holliday Park that were fenced off, sealed from the public.

 

The Ruins were installed in the 1950s and were functional until the 1990s when they were ultimately fenced off and separated. Overgrown with grass, The Ruins have always been there, but they haven’t been accessible to the public. Until recently.

 

But first, a quick history lesson: According to the Holliday Park website, New York’s first skyscraper, the St. Paul building, was built in 1898. On this façade {designed by the same architectual sculptor who created the exterior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art!} were three massive statues made of Indiana limestone.

Holliday Park ruins _ Indy's Child
Photo used courtesy of the Holliday Park website.

The statues, called “the Races of Man” represented the African-American, Asian and Caucasian races laboring together as they appeared to hold the skyscraper on their backs. In the 1950’s building owners decided to build a modern skyscraper on the site and sought a new home for the sculptures. A competition among cities was held and Indianapolis presented a plan to place them in Holliday Park. And the rest is history.
The core of Holliday Park is alive again, thanks in part to a $3.2M project spearheaded by the Friends of Holliday Park, but also a commitment from Mayor Joe Hogsett who has embraced not only the resurgence of The Ruins, but also Indy Parks in general. Adding to the good news of the ruins renaissance is that a portion of that money has been rolled into an endowment – almost ensuring that the future maintenance and needs of the park will be met, according to Holliday Park manager Adam Barnes.
Holliday Park ruins _ Indy's Child
So why should you visit? The central core of the Park offers a beautiful midway point, just steps from the famous nature center. Also new: The shimmer fountain. The “Children’s Table” as it is known {pictured above} has wonderful bronze animal statues and a fountain of water to pour over them. Park officials tell us these animals represent the ones found in the neighboring White River.

 

Now that the central core is open and useable again, The Ruins actually serve as an ideal starting point for visitors, and a place to connect all of the available amenities in Holliday Park. It has in a sense changed the way that people can and will use the park.
Holliday Park ruins _ Indy's Child
For those visitors looking for even more – be sure to check out the calendar of events for programs and activities held in the park. Holliday Park does offer year round environmental education programming for visitors of all ages.

 

If you have the chance, go witness something old that is new again, and witness for your own eyes the rejuvenation of one of Indy’s most iconic parks. A rebirth of sorts through ruins.
MORE INFO: Holliday Park is located at 6363 Spring Mill Road, in Indianapolis. For more details, call {317} 327-7180 or visit their website.

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