Ransom Place Historic District
Established in 1897, Ransom Place is the oldest African-American neighborhood in Indianapolis. Some writings suggest that the area was a largely African-American settlement as far back as the 1830s. Development in the mid-twentieth century led to the destruction of many such neighborhoods; Ransom Place is the most intact 19th century African-American neighborhood.
Backstory and Context
The neighborhood consists of Queen Anne cottages, most of which date to the 1890s. Most of the homes feature T-plans and L-plans The Ransom family owned two homes at 824 and 828 California Street.
When racial discrimination began to decline in the 1950s, some African-Americans left Ransom Place and moved into other neighborhoods, and the community fell into a period of decline. A number of the homes were vacant and in a state of disrepair until the 1980s, when Jean Spears moved into Ransom Place. Spears was active in historic preservation and after buying a home on Camp Street in 1987, she began trying to revitalize the neighborhood.
The Ransom Place Historic District was certified by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.