The Ruins – Indianapolis, Indiana - Atlas Obscura

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The Ruins

Once adorning a New York skyscraper, these reclaimed ruins now haunt an Indiana park. 


Located in Indianapolis’ Holliday Park, the simply-named stone features known as The Ruins are not actually some ancient collection of statuary, but are instead the remains of a demolished New York skyscraper preserved as though they were works of classical art.

Which is not to say that the stone figures and arches are not beautiful. The three figures resting atop the portion of foundation that was moved to the park are artful pieces of sculpture collectively known The Races of Man. Originally a part of the now-demolished St. Paul Building in Manhattan, the squatting figures were once made to look as though they were supporting the weight of the high rise above them. According to the sculptor each of the bodies represented a different race, all working together; Caucasian, Asian, and African-American respectively (they were constructed in the 1890’s).

Since the initial installation of the St. Paul facade, other features have been added to the scene including a ring of classical columns surrounding the imported stonework, pieces of other buildings (although none as notable as the original), and water effects such as fountains and reflecting pools. Unfortunately in recent decades the site has been largely left to deteriorate although public outcry is leading to a push for restoration. Ironically, while the site was never home to actual ruins, the neglect of the space may be leading to it finally living up to its name.    

Update October 2016: The newly revitalized Ruins are now open to the public. The weeds are gone, with a garden in their place, and the restored monument is gorgeous. The fencing has also been removed, so that you can now wander among the Ruins.

Know Before You Go

Just put Holliday park into your gps, and once you arrive, the Ruins are impossible to miss from the parking lot.

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