Two Decades Lost in The Ruins

The Ruins at Holliday Park reopen this weekend.
Located just 6 miles north of downtown Indianapolis, Holliday Park is hosting a celebration for its newly restored Ruins. Their focal point: the façade adorned by The Races of Man, built around 1890—the city won it from Western Electric Company in 1950 by presenting a plan to preserve the façade that had once been a part of New York’s first skyscraper, the St. Paul building. Even though the façade and other sculpture pieces that were added over time to the Ruins are not native to the Indianapolis area, this was forgotten due to decay and natural weathering. The plan to preserve failed, and the grand architecture began to live up to its name.

After their dedication in 1976, the Ruins only stayed open for about twenty years before they became too dangerous for park guests. They were closed off behind locked fences, not to be opened again. However, when the call arose to tear down the Ruins in place of the new nature center (opened in 2004), public outcry rejected the notion. “It’s a part of history,” says park manager Adam Barnes. “If you know Holliday (Park), you know the Ruins.” So a plan was set in motion to restore the ruins to their former glory, starting in 2009.

Lisa Hurst, a longtime volunteer and committee member of Friends of Holliday Park, has had a lot to do with getting the ball rolling on the restoration project that would take around seven years to complete. Hurst and fellow committee members helped collect a total of $3.2 million to restore and a half-million to help preserve the Ruins in future years.

Now that the Ruins have been restored, Holliday Park is having a dedication for the restored beauty and the newly added interactive Shimmer Fountain that the president of Friends of Holliday Park, Rodney Mail, hopes will bring families together. Committee member Sesie Kunz says that she is “completely and utterly excited” after seeing all the hard work and dedication of the committee and volunteers pay off.

Rock The Ruins: Dedication and Celebration will be taking place on Saturday, September 17, from 5:30 to 8:00.