top of page

History Lost: 2802 N. Capitol Ave.

A few Saturday's ago, I was recuperating in my car after a two hour running race, the majority of which was done in a driving rain storm. On Twitter there was a report of a building collapse at 28th and Capitol, specifically 2802 N. Capitol. An Indystar story about the collapse can be accessed here.

I could only find one period photo of building from the Indiana Historical Society Archives, which I accidently ran across a few years ago while researching another topic. The building, located across from the old Franklin School, housed a Dunnington's Pharmacy and a Standard Grocery Store at the time of the photo. However, the date of the photo isn't known, although it is listed as being taken sometime in the 1920's. Considering the vehicles in the image, and the tenants, this would be a close estimate.

Credit: Indiana Historical Society

The Standard Grocery chain was a well established chain in Indianapolis and surrounding areas at the time. Dunnington's was one of many small drugstores spread throughout Indianapolis in this time period. I could not find the exact date when the building was constructed, but the 1898 Sanborn map shows the structure, and that it was being used as a drugstore that time. An Indianapolis Star from 1904 ndicates a phamracist named D.F. Cox was operating the drugstore at this time. The 1930 Sanborn map also shows the drug store, and the Franklin School 36 across the street:

Credit: IUPUI Sanborn/Baist Collection

Fred Dunnington died in 1980 at the age of 85. Some time after the IHS photo was taken, Dunnington had begun working for the Hooks Drugstore chain and retired in 1960. He worked a further 10 years with a McCord Pharmacy before his final retirement. In his latter years he volunteered considerable time with American Cancer Society. He and his wife had lived at 220 West 43rd Street in Butler Tarkington for many years before selling the home in 1960, and moving near Broad Ripple. 

After Dunnington's departure, 2802 N. Capitol was used as an home and auto supply store called Felts, and an Army-Navy surplus store. More recently, 2802 N. Capitol had been vacant, although its façade, especially the brick work along the roof line, was clearly visible and matched the IHS's photo. Also seen is the small pillar on the southeast side of the building. The photo below is from Google Street View: 

In 2014, the owners redid the façade, encasing it in some paneling material, and installed new windows. Two doors, one of the southeast corner (the former entrance for Dunnington's), and the other on the Capitol side, were replaced as well. However, no new tenant ever moved in. The photo below is from 2018, again, thanks to Google Street View: 

On Saturday, October 26, 2019, a massive storm system moved over most of Indiana, dumping in excess of 2 inches of rain on Indianapolis over the course of the day. Around noon on October 26, the roof collapsed into the building, which then sent the brick walls falling outward onto Capitol and 28th Streets. The Indianapolis Fire Department responded to the building collapse, and took photos on scene. The following photos were posted to their Twitter account, @IFD_NEWS:

Thankfully, no one was injured in the collapse, and the northern wall remained standing, and did not damage the house a few short feet to the north. While the façade of 2802 N. Capitol had been redone, I doubt much else had been to shore up the structure of the building itself. The heavy rain fall compromised the roof (which was likely already in a state of decay) and finally caused the collapse. Unfortunately, the building was unsalvageable and quickly demolished. Within a few days, all that remained was a gravel lot.


Indianapolis Star, various dates.

Indianapolis Fire Department Twitter, October 26, 2019

Indiana Historical Society, Digitial Images Catelog.

IUPUI Sanborn and Baist Collection

129 views0 comments


bottom of page