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How the Indianapolis Neighborhood Venerable Flackville Got Its Name

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My neighborhood is called Fishtown, which I think is pretty great. Venerable Flackville kind of blows that out of the water, though. So who put the Flack in Flackville? That would be Mr. Joseph F. Flack (1843-1926), who went west with his family from Ohio when he was a child. After working in agriculture for a while, he became a brick manufacturer and set up a brickyard in what was then a rural area northwest of Indianapolis.

Flack, apparently, was no slouch in the arena of brickmaking. According to the book Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes, he churned out some 55 million in his career, all of which were used in Indianapolis buildings and a million and a half of which were “consumed in the construction of the building for insane women in 1871.”

Flack expanded his business pursuits over the years, buying a dairy farm near his brickyard and commercial and residential real estate in that area and in downtown Indianapolis. At one point or another, according to one of his obituaries, he owned most of the land in what’s now the western part of the city. He owned so much of it, in fact, that the locals began loaning the area his name. 

To get downtown from his little kingdom, Flack and anyone hauling his bricks or milk had to use a toll road. Flack didn’t like that, so he bought a strip of land running parallel to the toll road and made his own roadway. “It was that kind of shrewd operating which made Flack 'the richest man in these parts,’” the Indianapolis Times said in 1962. “And naming the settlement in his honor followed naturally." No word on what made Flack or the neighborhood so venerable, though. 

Venerable Flackville might be one of the weirdest neighborhood names I’ve heard (see also: The Tenderloin, in San Francisco), but then I don’t spend a lot of time rooting around for weird neighborhood names. What are some good ones that I'm missing out on?

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

This Just In
What Do You Get the Person Who Has Everything? Perhaps a German Village for Less Than $150,000

Looking for a gift for the world traveler who has everything? If cost isn't an issue and they're longing for a quiet country home, Fortune reports that an entire village in East Germany is up for sale. The tiny hamlet of Alwine, in Germany's Brandenburg region, is going up for auction on Saturday, December 9. Opening bids begin at $147,230.

Alwine has around one dozen buildings and 20 full-time residents, most of them elderly. It was once owned by a neighboring coal plant, which shut down in 1991, soon after East Germany reunited with West Germany. Many residents left after that. Between 1990 and 2015, the regional population fell by 15 percent, according to The Local.


In 2000, a private investor purchased the decaying hamlet for just one Deutsche Mark (the currency used before the euro). But its decline continued, and now it's up for grabs once more—this time around, for a much-higher price.

Andreas Claus, the mayor of the district surrounding Alwine, wasn't informed of the village's sale until he heard about it in the news, according to The Local. While no local residents plan to purchase their hometown, Claus says he's open to fostering dialogue with the buyer, with hopes of eventually revitalizing the local community.

[h/t Fortune]


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