December was a hot mess. Sunsets at 5:30. Near 70-degree temperatures. January was no less confusing. A practically balmy spring day, shortly followed by a 40-degree drop and four days of flurries. Thunderstorms--wider than the state, even--dumped upon us heavy rains and strong winds. Vivid, pink sunsets. Crunching snow. Green grass. Brisk air. Light breeze. The weather cannot make up its mind. Regardless, on one of those warmer days (and just before a rainstorm), I took a walk around my neighborhood, Herron-Morton Place.
In the early days of the Civil War, my neighborhood was called "Camp Morton" (after Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton) and was used initially as a training and induction center. However, Camp Morton later served as a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp, and some of the soldiers were buried at Crown Hill Cemetery (which I've heard is quite beautiful, actually; I have yet to visit). After the Civil War, this land was used for the Indiana State Fair. But, in 1891, the fairgrounds were purchased by three businessmen, divided into residential polots, and renamed "Morton Place." Then, in 1902, the John Herron Art Institute, designed by Vonnegut & Bohn (the former of which was Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., the famed author's father), was established.
During the mid-1900s, many of the homes fell to disrepair, even though the intial residents of Herron-Morton had been well-known in Indianapolis. In 1938, however, Herron-Morton Place was included on the National Register of Historic Places. To this day, there are still some homes that are in need of repairs and rehabilitation. There are still a few empty lots from those that were demolished 50 or so years ago. But there is also character. And history. And color.