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Before and After: The IUPUI Campus

IUPUI After: Downtown Indianapolis with campus in the foreground, April 19, 2018.

The urban space currently occupied by the IUPUI campus has undergone a significant transformation from what it was in the mid-20th century. As we approach IUPUI’s 50th anniversary and consider the university’s future, we also pause to consider the past.

The past revealed in these photos is complex. Some have described Indianapolis’ growth in the post-war era as a “renewal,” and the old neighborhood pictured here as “blighted” with disease, dirt roads, and rats. From this perspective, the transformation of this space has been a positive one and has added much to the health and vitality of the city. However, for some, the issue is more fraught and represents the displacement of Indianapolis’ minority community.

These photos were taken from almost the same perspective, more than 70 years apart. To get your bearings, look for the round roof of the Indiana Statehouse, center-right, and the triangular roof of the Indiana World War Memorial, near the left side of the frame on both photos.

IUPUI Before: A view of downtown Indianapolis in the 1940s, with the neighborhood that would become IUPUI in the foreground. Photo courtesy of IUPUI Archives.

This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of 200: The IU Bicentennial Magazine, a special six-issue magazine that highlights Bicentennial activities and shares untold stories from the dynamic history of Indiana University. Visit for more Bicentennial information.

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IU Office of the Bicentennial

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