Written By: Doug Meagher, Former Resident of the ONS Edited By: Megan Robinson President, ONS Neighborhood Association and Secretary, ONS Foundation
On the southwest corner of the 16th Street and Central Avenue intersection is a four-faced clock. It is a late 19th century, Victorian style commonly found throughout the architecture of the Old Northside. Although a beautiful landmark with its own history, commuters and downtowners might be forgiven some lack of notice as they walk or drive by.
Prior to the construction of the condos, the clock was mostly surrounded by a less than attractive urban landscape. Other than All Saints Episcopal Church and homes to the south and west, the area was long a large vacant lot (actually, multiple lots) and a gritty, busy intersection. Without much to attract notice, many went by time and again without paying attention. However, development at this corner welcomed long-anticipated improvement of this part of the ONS and gave new visual emphasis to the clock.
The clock was purchased and installed by the Old Northside (ONS) Neighborhood Association and Foundation in June 2005 as part of the neighborhood’s Central Avenue Art Project. The goals of the Art Project were to bolster identification and unite historically disparate sides of the neighborhood; College Corners and the Old Northside Association were separate organizations that long ago merged resources.
The Art Project and clock purchase was funded by a public art grant from the City of Indianapolis, federal TEA-21 grants, the ONS Association and Foundation, and individual donors. The Art Project includes the sculptures and plantings on Central Avenue near 15th and 12th Streets.
The clock was manufactured by the Verdin Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is electrically powered; the cost paid by the ONS Foundation. ONS resident and Land Use Chairman Dan Mullendore performs the semi-annual daylight saving time adjustments.
At the time of placement, a stainless steel container “time capsule” was buried under the clock; containing photographs, newspapers, neighborhood and other information from 2005.
The clock is dedicated as a memorial to ONS resident Curtis Heflin who passed away shortly after it was placed at the corner. Mr. Heflin was a builder/developer with projects in the ONS; most notably on the west side of Central Avenue from 15th to 16th Streets. He built the three brick houses on that section of the block and was planning development of the remaining lots at the time of his death. He built his own home at the corner of Broadway and 16th Streets.
Mr. Heflin served as president of the ONS Association and was very active with the Land Use Committee. He donated the space for the clock as part of the Central Avenue Art Project. He passed away unexpectedly and at only 43 years of age. His widow and daughters donated the plaque that is attached to the clock base.
A Sanborn map from 1948 shows a large commercial structure at this corner with a bit of architectural flourish where the clock stands now. An automobile service station was built at the corner in the 1950s or 60s. That building remained there long after it was vacated and until it was also demolished in anticipation of development.
The clock is part of an emerging ONS tradition of naming landmarks for generous, noteworthy residents such as the Thomas Mote Fountain in Great Oak Commons and Shawn Grove Park.
The new development creates an attractive backdrop to the clock, making it much more noticeable. The ONS appreciates the developer’s cooperation in preserving this neighborhood landmark. The new paving and landscaping surrounding the clock enhances its appearance and makes it easier to see up close. So, in a car or out on foot, take a look as time goes by.
Copyright © 2021, The Old Northside Neighborhood Association