The first time I saw the ruins was about 10 years ago, maybe not quite that long. My daughter was much smaller, of course. I took her to the Holliday Park in Indianapolis just to check it out. The ruins were there then, next to a run-down nature center that wasn’t open while we were there.
They sort of looked like someone’s giant, tacky lawn ornament. That was my first impression. Seeing them there in a park smack in the middle of the city threw me off, I guess.
A couple of weeks ago, I returned to Holliday Park with the boy. Before I went, I looked at the website to make sure that I got the location correct. There was information about The Ruins there. I’m going to grab a bit of their description and slap it on here.
“In the 1950s, the St. Paul Building, at 220 Broadway in New York City, was torn down to make way for a modern skyscraper. Karl Bitter, one of the outstanding architectural sculptors of the late 19th century, had designed the facade of the original building, including three massive statues made of Indiana limestone called “the Races of Man.” To find a new home for the sculptures, the building’s owner, the Western Electric Company, held a competition among U.S. cities, which were required to submit plans for their display and preservation. Indianapolis proposed to place them in Holliday Park, which was then an arboretum, and the city was ultimately awarded the highly prized sculptures, valued at the time at $150,000.
Elmer Taflinger, who provided the sketches for the proposed structure, was chosen to carry out the design. He worked to complete the project over the next 20 years.”
Since I was last there, the park people had torn down the old crappy nature center and built a beautiful, new nature center in a different spot in the park. The Ruins now stand alone in a field, which is a much better situation. They don’t look like tacky lawn ornaments anymore.
Photo number one is The Ruins from the front. The second is the view from the back. It’s pretty overgrown with weeds in the middle but still looks kind of cool. The third picture is a creepy statue. She had a sheep sans head on the opposite side.
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