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?

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September 6, 2013 - 1:00pm
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