Pogue's Run

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Pogue's Run
Origin Massachusetts Ave. and Ritter Ave. on the east side of Indianapolis
Mouth White River at 1900 S. West Street
Length 11 mi (18 km)
Source elevation 720 ft (220 m)
Mouth elevation 675 ft (206 m)
Basin area 13 sq mi (34 km2)

Pogue's Run is a creek that starts on the east side of Indianapolis, Indiana and eventually runs through aqueducts beneath the downtown area before emptying into the White River. It is named for George Pogue, who, along with John Wesley McCormick, were among the first settlers in what would become the city of Indianapolis.


Prior to the arrival of Pogue and McCormick, Indians and wildlife would often follow Pogue's Run as a pathway.[1] George Pogue (c.1763–1821) was a blacksmith from Connersville, Indiana. In 1819 he blazed a trail that corresponds with the present-day Brookville Road. On March 2, 1819 he built a cabin for his family of seven where Michigan Street currently crosses Pogue's Run. There is some disagreement among historians about these events, as Jacob Piatt Dunn wrote in his 1910 work Greater Indianapolis, that Pogue actually arrived on March 2, 1820 and moved into a cabin that had been built in 1819 by a Ute Perkins, who had left before Pogue arrived. Perkins reportedly had left the area because of his loneliness, later settling in Rush County, Indiana.[2]

The creek became known as Pogue's Run after Pogue disappeared in April 1821; it had been called Perkin's Run (after Ute Perkins) prior to Pogue's disappearance.[3]

Original plat of Indianapolis by Alexander Ralston, with Pogue's Run in the southeast section

When Indianapolis was laid out, only Pogue's Run running diagonally across the southeast portion of the "Mile Square" disturbed the orderliness of the grid pattern. Alexander Ralston had to make compromises due to the stream's placement in the congressional donation lands given for the future Indianapolis. Before the state government could be moved to Indianapolis from Corydon, fifty dollars was spent to rid swampy Pogue's Run of the mosquitoes that made it a "source of pestilence".[4]

In the so-called Battle of Pogue's Run on May 20, 1863 during the American Civil War, several Democrats leaving the state party convention on the railroad running parallel to Pogue's Run threw various firearms and knives into the creek because Union troops were looking for contraband weapons.[5] The Run flooded in 1882, killing at least ten people. A covered bridge that once crossed Pogue's Run was eventually destroyed.[6]

In 1914 Pogue's Run was rerouted into the storm sewers under downtown Indianapolis in order to allow for a perfect grid pattern for Indianapolis' roads. The stream goes underground at New York Street, east of I-70, and eventually spills into the White River near Kentucky Avenue.

On the section immediately to the northeast of where Pogue's Run enters downtown Indianapolis, Brookside Park was built to take advantage of the creek as a recreation opportunity.[4]


Indy Parks established a Pogues Run Trail alongside the creek bed on the section northeast of downtown.[1] Wildlife found on the path include ducks, geese, and Red-winged Blackbirds, with herons sometimes seen as well. Goose excrement is a particular problem for those who hike along Pogue's Run.[7] A plan called "Charting Pogue's Run" intends to mark where the creek once ran in downtown Indianapolis. A blue line, made of thirty permanent steel medallions and a semi-permanent blue thermoplastic line, will "meander" across roads and parking lots.[8] Of note is the fact that this blue line's location shows Pogue's Run now lies under Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse.

In popular culture[edit]

The movie Twice Under (1987) about a Viet Nam veteran "Tunnel rat" terrorizing a city was partially shot in the underground portion of Pogue's Run between New York and Washington Streets.


  1. ^ a b Pogues Run Trail
  2. ^ Bodenhamer, David. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 1994) p., 1121
  3. ^ Bodenhamer p.1120, 1121
  4. ^ a b Bodenhamer p.1121
  5. ^ Bodenhamer 1121
  6. ^ Pogue's Run Covered Bridge, Marion County, Indiana
  7. ^ Pogues Run
  8. ^ Installation of Indy Public Art Project Begins – Newsroom – Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick