Ransom Place Historic District
Indianapolis, Indiana

last updated 31 March 2009

The Ransom Place Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 for its significance in the history of Indianapolis's African-American community. The six-block district is bounded by Tenth Street on the north side, St. Clair Street on the south, Paca Street on the west and Dr. Martin Luther King (formerly West Street) on the east. It is a surviving fragment of the much larger black neighborhood that surrounded Indiana Avenue.

"Ransom Place" is a somewhat anachronistic name since the neighborhood was not called that until 1991. Freeman B. Ransom (1882-1947) was an attorney and general manager of the Walker Manufacturing Company, a cosmetics firm founded by Madam C.J. Walker. He moved to Indianapolis around 1910 and raised his family on California Street in the neighborhood that would eventually be named in his honor.

For my master's thesis, I researched Ransom Place Historic District between 1900 and 1920, when the population changed from an 86-percent white majority to a 96-percent black majority. Copies of my thesis are on file with the IUPUI Department of History, the Indiana University library system, and the Indiana Historical Society. You can also read my related article on Indianapolis during the Great Migration.

Or check out these other links:

Ransom Place Archaeology - Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

Article about Ransom Place archaeology at Suite101.com (scroll down past ads)

Ransom Place Historic District listing from the National Park Service

Ransom Place was also featured on HGTV's "Restore America" series (link now gone)

I also contributed my census databases for Ransom Place in 1900, 1910, and 1920 to RootsWeb, so you can search it using the form below. Unfortunately some of the data seems to have gone astray in the conversion process (for example, the entries do not list the relationship to head of household, and only 1900 shows the other people in the same household). I did supply them with the appropriate enumeration district numbers and explain that "Ransom Place" was a modern name for the neighborhood, but the entries at Rootsweb will come up as being in "Ransom Place Township."

The correct census references are as follows:

  • 1900 census for Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, E.D. 88
  • 1910 census for Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, E.D. 96
  • 1920 census for Indianapolis, Marion Co, Indiana, E.D. 105
View Census Records Online at Ancestry.com!

I could use the "Post-em/Notes" feature to make corrections, but that would take some time since each person would have to be searched individually by name, etc. (So don't hold your breath! ;o) Fortunately the sheet and line numbers appear to have made the conversion intact so you can use the above E.D. numbers and look at the manuscript census for yourself.

Search the Ransom Place census records at Rootsweb.com
Hint: Surname is required. Combine any of the other options to fine-tune your search.

Surname (required):
First Name: (optional)

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