Wholesale District, Indianapolis

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Indianapolis Union Station-Wholesale District
Motorcyclists line South Meridian Street.jpg
Nightlife along S. Meridian St., Wholesale District, Indianapolis.
Wholesale District, Indianapolis is located in Indianapolis
Wholesale District, Indianapolis
Wholesale District, Indianapolis is located in Indiana
Wholesale District, Indianapolis
Wholesale District, Indianapolis is located in the United States
Wholesale District, Indianapolis
LocationRoughly bounded by Capitol Ave., Maryland, Delaware and South Sts., Indianapolis, Indiana
Coordinates39°45′51″N 86°9′30″W / 39.76417°N 86.15833°W / 39.76417; -86.15833Coordinates: 39°45′51″N 86°9′30″W / 39.76417°N 86.15833°W / 39.76417; -86.15833
Area30 acres (12 ha)
Architectural styleItalianate, Romanesque, Cast Iron Design
NRHP reference No.82000067[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 14, 1982

The Wholesale District is one of six designated cultural districts in Indianapolis, Indiana. Located on in the southern section of Downtown Indianapolis' Mile Square,[2] the Wholesale District contains several notable attractions, such as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Circle Centre Mall, and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument.


Prior to its designation as a cultural district, the Wholesale District was one of Downtown Indianapolis's most decayed and blighted areas. Around the turn of the 20th century, Indianapolis had one of the largest networks of railroads in the United States and hundreds of trains passed through Union Station daily. The streets near the station were lined with businesses, hotels, warehouses, and retail shops. Wholesale grocers sold fresh goods daily before the advent of the modern grocery store. The district had many such grocers, but also wholesalers who sold dry and finished goods. The House of Crane, whose facade remains part of the Circle Centre Mall development, sold cigars; Hanson, VanCamp & Co. sold hardware. In addition, South Delaware Street became known as Commission Row, where farmers brought their produce to merchants who sold the goods for a commission fee. The Wholesale District was of primary importance in the transformation of Indianapolis from small town to big city. No longer did shoppers have to rely on retailers who sold finished goods shipped from Louisville, Kentucky or Cincinnati, Ohio. They could now go to a central location and buy the same items at wholesale prices. With Union Station nearby, wholesalers could ship goods more cheaply and more easily. Unfortunately, the Great Depression devastated the area and few businesses remained.

Wholesale Cultural District logo.

The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Indianapolis Union Station-Wholesale District in 1982, primarily for its notability as the former center for wholesale trade.[3]

Since 1995, more than $686 million has been invested in the area, transforming it into one of the city's premier entertainment and hospitality districts. Recent additions include more than 35 new businesses, Circle Centre, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, The Residences at CityWay, restoration of the Omni Severin Hotel, and a number of upscale restaurants. The area also includes the Hilbert Circle Theatre, home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, which underwent a $2.5 million renovation in 2003.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "The Wholesale Commercial Historic District (map)". City of Indianapolis.
  3. ^ James A. Glass; Mary Ellen Gadski (January 18, 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form: Indianapolis Wholesale District" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 56 Photos (1979, 1982)

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