Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n01)
Random Rippling - BROAD RIPPLE MELODIES - by Sally Kellerhals - part one of two
posted: Jan. 12, 2007
Broad Ripple was an overwhelming playground and influence of all kinds to me when I was young. I saw that area much more frequently than I saw downtown Indianapolis. My first home, the bank, the service station, the hardware store, and the library were only part of this 1940's Broad Ripple.
The corner of College, 63rd Street and Westfield was the west end of the action since the Vogue Theater was where I went to see movies, often Saturday matinees, a few hundred times at least. We paid 25 cents to get in until we hit the grand age of 12 when the fee changed to 50 cents. The drugstore on the corner (now Scholar's Inn Bakehouse) retained its old-fashioned flavor at least into the 1960's, encouraged by a beautiful set of long wooden counters and a small black and white tiled floor with wrought iron ice cream tables and chairs to sit on while sipping a soda. My parents used to live above the drugstore in a second-floor apartment in the late 1930's - that is one thing about Broad Ripple, isn't it, our lives are really entwined in the place!
The Vogue Theater in 1948 after a remodeling.
image courtesy of Steve Ross and the Vogue
Westfield Boulevard from Meridian Street all the way out of town was always a lovely drive with the water in the canal sparkling from sun or street lights, and pretty houses and lawns. On Westfield east of College was (and still is) the old red brick firehouse, a great place to be near when the fire trucks came rushing out to the piercing sound of the loud fire alarm. South diagonally across the way in the long yellow brick building was the upstairs office of our family dentist, Dr. Charles Everett, so my mother and I walked up and down one of the very long staircases (in the days before the elevator) for our appointments. He was a super dentist, but I still think of my anxious times up there whenever I see that building. His favorite line for me (and others, I am sure) was that I had the best teeth in Indianapolis, and at the age of eight I believed him.
The 63rd Street strip of Broad Ripple from College to Broad Ripple High school has always held the pulse of the area. I can remember very old two-story frame houses along this way which were torn down one-by-one for new construction of the business buildings we still use. I can still see the one where G.C. Murphy's (where I had my first job at 16) used to be being pulled apart as I watched from the back seat of our old Chevy. Perhaps we were waiting until my father returned from a visit to the American Fletcher Branch Bank. I used to go in with him when I was about 3, and he would set me up at a customer desk and hand me some slips to write on while he was talking to a teller. I abused this system by scribbling on about every slip at the desk, so after a few times Daddy was told he must keep me with him. I remember this discussion! So often someone had to stop my fun.
Large houses on Broad Ripple Avenue, in this 1928 aerial photo. On the corner is Abigail's dress shop (where Starbucks is now) and the house to the west is where Pitaya is now.