Editor’s Note, March 2015: Hot Neighborhoods

The neighborhood I grew up in was barely a neighborhood at all. Holly Springs existed as a patchwork of ranch homes and farmhouses where sharecroppers like my grandfather used to pick cotton and peaches. From out in the country, it took us 30 minutes to “go to town.” The first time my husband heard my family say this, he laughed, looked at me askance, and said, “Go to town? What, are you going to hitch up your buggy and ride in?”

Now that we live in the heart of Indianapolis, a trip to town only takes a few minutes. I admit, there are things I miss about living among the cow pastures—wild turkeys waddling through the yard, the silence at night, an unadulterated view of the stars. But thankfully, the sense of community I treasured there thrives in Indy’s standout neighborhoods, eight of which we highlight in this issue.

For the Hot Neighborhoods package, I researched Traders Point. My previous visits had been limited to meals of roast pork and chocolate milkshakes at Traders Point Creamery’s Loft Restaurant. But as I explored the rolling backroads of northwestern Marion County, I was struck by how much the traditional farming enclave reminded me of my own bucolic upbringing. Here, within throwing distance of I-465, fields stretched between farmhouses and trickling creeks. The passion behind Creamery owners Fritz and Jane Kunz’s push to get Traders Point named a rural historic district came into focus—as did how lucky we are to live in a place with a such a varying set of neighborhoods.

On my own street in Holy Cross, residents can practically reach out their windows and touch the Victorian home next door. We see one another in our pajamas getting the mail. Life is intimate. Then, not 20 minutes away in Traders Point, you have the type of life I grew up with—big yards, forested acreage, an island of solitude. Yet the investment in the community is no less apparent, from the Kunzes’ fight to preserve the area to the influx of new businesses set on continuing the agricultural heritage. In the neighborhoods trending upward, people care deeply about where they live—no matter how long it takes them to go to town.

Amanda Heckert is the editor-in-chief of Indianapolis Monthly.