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Indi-Illi Park Historic District


ndi-Illi Parkway, Indi-Illi Park Historic District, Hammond, IN, National Register

Photo: Houses at 21 (left, ca. 1920) and 25 (right, ca. 1930) Indi-Illi Parkway, Indi-Illi Park Historic District, Hammond, IN. The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Photographed by User:Nyttend (own work), 2012, [cc0-by-1.0 (creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed May, 2014.

The Indi-Illi Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2014, The Gombach Group.

Indi-Illi Park is the first stylized working class neighborhood constructed within the city that embraced the automobile age. [see: Early Automobile Suburbs] The earlier additions that developed south along Hohman, such as Towle and Young's Addition (1880s), Homewood (1890s), Glendale Park (1900s) and Kenwood (1910s) had been built for the city's professional middle class and city elite. These, with the exception of Glendale Park, were densely constructed neighborhoods. These additions were constructed to provide for the maximum use of space so that the residents were close to Hammond's streetcar line which provided mass transportation into the center of the city's commercial and industrial districts. [see: Streetcar Suburbs, 1888-1928] Indi-Illi Park was an architecturally-stylized development constructed to attract the rising working class of Hammond. This makes Indi-Illi Park unique within Hammond's developmental history.

The Indi-Illi Park Historic District is located near the southern border of Hammond, in the city's southwest corner, adjacent to the Indiana-Illinois state line. The original Indi-Illi addition was platted March 8, 1923, by Dr. William Weis and developed by Frank J. Wachewicz, a prominent and successful real-estate developer in Hammond, Indiana, and West Hammond (now Calumet City), Illinois, during the 1910s and 1920s. The modern Indi-Illi Park Historic District includes four additional subdivision plats, Margenau's Addition platted May 27, 1920, the Ridgemoor Addition platted March 17, 1925, the Locust Terrace Addition platted May 19, 1925, and Posner's 1st addition April 20, 1939. The Indi-Illi Historic District consists of small houses, generally of five to seven rooms, finished in a variety of styles popular in the second decade of the twentieth century. The majority of the homes within the district were built by 1930. The district includes houses built in Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Neo-classical and Spanish Eclectic styles with a few post-WWII Ranch and Minimal Traditional style homes. The qualities of the architectural design around the original Indi-Illi Park addition are stunning with the majority of the homes having their own individuality. These homes are from one to two-and-a-half stories. With the exception of some of the infill in the post-WWII era the district remains true to its original design. Some houses have had additions and changes made to them with the majority of these changes being very considerate to the original structure. All of the homes within the district are in good condition and occupied. The district is today, as it originally was, a residential area with no commercial businesses located within its boundaries. Many of the homes have been maintained in their original appearance. Though a few of the altered structures do not contribute to the historic context of the neighborhood, the majority of the homes reflect the district's original design. There are no vacant undeveloped lots within the district, though there are some instances of double-wide lots. The area was once farmland yet there is no evidence of any previous use prior to development and it is doubtful that the district would yield any evidence of prior use before that period.

The original Indi-Illi addition was developed around a two-acre central park/plaza consisting of four one-sided blocks that face the park. The development's main entrance is Indi-Illi Parkway which gently curves westward from Hohman Avenue towards the northeast corner of park. This entrance way has a landscaped dividing island creating an informal park-like entry gate into the community. The remaining streets within the addition are linear, running east/west or north/south except for the two streets at the southeast and southwest corners of the park that angle at forty-five degrees where they exited the original Indi-Illi Park development. All streets within the remaining portions of the district, except the very north end of Rosewood Street, are set on an east-west grid between Hohman Avenue on the east and State Line Avenue on the west. The setback from the street within the entire district is linear with those houses surrounding the park being set slightly farther back and containing more landscaping than the houses constructed within the other additions in the district. The Indi-Illi Park addition followed the residential development within the city of Hammond that had been moving southward along Hohman Avenue beginning in the 1880s.

The Indi-Illi Park addition followed the residential development within the city of Hammond that had been moving southward along Hohman Avenue beginning in the 1880s. Indi-Illi Park is the first stylized working class neighborhood constructed within the city that embraced the automobile age. The earlier additions that developed south along Hohman, such as Towle and Young's Addition (1880s), Homewood (1890s), Glendale Park (1900s) and Kenwood (1910s) had been built for the city's professional middle class and city elite. These, with the exception of Glendale Park, were densely constructed neighborhoods. These additions were constructed to provide for the maximum use of space so that the residents were close to Hammond's streetcar line which provided mass transportation into the center of the city's commercial and industrial districts. Indi-Illi Park was an architecturally-stylized development constructed to attract the rising working class of Hammond. This makes Indi-Illi Park unique within Hammond's developmental history.

In some instances the architectural style used on a house is straight forward while on others there has been an eclectic blending of styles applied to the structure. Indi-Illi Park was the first platted, March 8, 1923, and is the center of the modern historic district. The development around the Indi-Illi Park plaza demonstrates a great degree of planning and development within the modern district. Its developer and sales promoter was Frank J. Wachewicz. The other additions were platted and began developing within a year of Indi-Illi Park. These additions, Locust Terrace and Ridgemoor, were laid out in a rectilinear grid and their builders provided no central landscaping scheme. All three of the additions that make up the Indi-Illi Historic District contain small to moderate sized stylish working class homes. The district is nestled between neighborhoods of larger upper-middle class homes to the north and south.

Indi-Illi Park is the center of the modern historic district. The development around the Indi-Illi Park plaza demonstrates a great degree of planning and development within the modern district. Its developer and sales promoter was Frank J. Wachewicz. The other additions were platted and began developing within a year of Indi-Illi Park. These additions, Locust Terrace and Ridgemoor, were laid out in a rectilinear grid and their builders provided no central landscaping scheme. All three of the additions that make up the Indi-Illi Historic District contain small to moderate sized stylish working class homes. The district is nestled between neighborhoods of larger upper-middle class homes to the north and south.

Many people speculated in land sales in the 1920s, as an investment income. A review of the homes located within these additions shows a great degree of variation in style and form. Located on some blocks there are groupings of homes that share close similarities in form and style. These appear to be pattern or catalog homes; their close similarities and adjacent geographic locations indicate the possibility of a single investor/developer purchasing these lots and finishing them as a resale investment. However, most of the homes within the district have an individual appearance, not replicated within the district, suggesting that the house placed upon the lot was the individual choice of the purchaser.

The original 1923 Indi-Illi Park plat map shows that the original development consisted of four one-sided blocks with all of the lots facing a central park/plaza and four lots lining the north and south sides of the curving North Indi-Illi Parkway, the main entry road into the development from Hohman Avenue. The gateway, at Hohman and Indi-Illi Parkway, has the original landscaped island still separating the road. This road "S" curves westward one block, also visible in photo, where it intersects the northwest corner of the park/plaza before it straightens out and runs due west to where it intersects with Stateline Avenue. At the time of the original plat the land west of the development was farmland and was not developed until the post-WWII years. The streets surrounding the two-acre square park are all named Indi-Illi Parkway; east, west, north and south. At the southeast and southwest corners of the park, roads angle outward away from the park/plaza exiting the original development; these are also identified as Indi-Illi Parkway. The street coming off the southwest corner of the park exits onto Stateline Avenue. The street exiting off the southeast corner of the park intersects with a dog-legged angular extension of the north/south running Rosewood Avenue angling towards the northeast where it intersects with the section Indi-Illi Parkway that comes off the southeast corner of the park angling towards the southeast. A 1924 Hammond Chamber of Commerce map shows this southeast angling section of Indi-Illi Parkway originally exited directly onto Hohman Avenue near where the modern intersection of now 1691 h and Hohman Avenue is now located. This was altered when the Ridgemoor addition was platted March 17, 1925. A 1925 realty map of Hammond shows the district as it is today.

The two-acre park/plaza is still nicely maintained and landscaped. Original promotional advertisements touted "fountains, ornamental lights, tennis courts wading pools and plenty of beautiful trees and a profusion of shrubbery." Today the landscaped shrubs and trees and the tennis courts are what remain. The houses share a common setback all around the park providing a nice association between them and nature provided by the open space of the central park/plaza. The close placement of shrubbery and plants to the houses enhances the neighborhood aesthetics by providing a smooth flow between the houses and their natural settings. A sidewalk, set behind a wide parkway, extends all around the park. The street corners are rounded adding to the development's naturalness. The Locust Terrace addition, to the north of Indi-Illi, and Ridgemoor addition, to the south, do not reflect the detailed landscaping considerations that were applied around Indi-Illi Park. The streets in these additions, Locust, Midway Court, Rosewood and 169th, are on a linear grid running east to west between Stateline and Hohman Avenues, with the exception of Midway Court that runs eastward from Stateline and ends at its intersection with Rosewood Avenue. Rosewood is the only north-south running street located within the Ridgemoor addition.

Most of the homes within Indi-Illi Park Historic District were constructed between 1923 and 1930. They share a common set back with most being situated to the side of the lots allowing room for a driveway to access a detached garage that could be located behind the house; some of the lots did not incorporate a driveway and used the alleyway to access the garages. Only a few of the original garages remain with most being replaced by modern structures. A few homes have attached garages. Some houses were constructed on double-wide lots but the majority of the structures sit on one lot. The houses are one- and two-and-a-half stories in their construction, and with the exception of one structure built of concrete block, all are wood-frame balloon construction covered in a variety of materials such as wood, brick veneer and a few utilize stucco. With a few exceptions the homes are of moderate size and finished with the styles that were concurrent to the era of development. There are a few homes that reflect a higher degree of finish. Some are scattered throughout the district, however, these exist more along Hohman Avenue and along Indi-Illi Parkway. One of these, located at 49 N. Indi-Illi Parkway, was designed by the locally-renowned architect L Bernard Cosby. Several others, though not confirmed, also appear to be designed by a skilled architect.

† Gregg Abell, Indi-Illi Park Historic District, Lake County, IN, nomination document, 2010, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Indi-Illi Park Historic District Map

Street Names
169th Street • Hohman Avenue • Indi-Illi Parkway East • Indi-Illi Parkway North • Indi-Illi Parkway South • Indi-Illi Parkway West • Locust Street • Midway Court • Rosewood Avenue

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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