Class and Color at Municipal Gardens

Johanneson Cannon II

In 1916 the first Indianapolis Canoe Club structure on Lafayette Road burnt where Municipal Gardens sits today.

In 1916 the first Indianapolis Canoe Club structure on Lafayette Road burnt where Municipal Gardens sits today.

The Indianapolis park now known as Municipal Gardens has hosted several buildings at the site along Lafayette Road.  The site was first home to the Indianapolis Canoe Club, an exclusive boating club.  Club lore was that the idea for a White River riverfront club was hatched by a circle of veterans while serving in Puerto Rico with the 27th Battery of the Indiana Volunteer Army, which was in the Spanish-American War in 1898.  The club originally was located near Riverside Park, where the club opened in September, 1900.  During the winter of 1912-1913 the club built a new building on  Lafayette Road, with Indianapolis Speedway developer Carl Fisher providing land and some financial support for a new facility that opened in May 1913.  Membership flagged by 1916, when the club launched a membership drive and changed its name to the Indianapolis Athletic and Canoe Club in April, 1916.  In December, 1926, though, a fire burnt the clubhouse to the ground. Continue reading