Indianapolis Public Library reveals digital archive of Indy Parks history

06/08/2021
Indianapolis Public Library reveals digital archive of Indy Parks history
At a press event on June 7, Mayor Hogsett and representatives from The Indianapolis Public Library, The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, Ball State University, and Indy Parks and Recreation gathered at Garfield Park to officially launch the collection.
At a press event on June 7, Mayor Hogsett and representatives from The Indianapolis Public Library, The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, Ball State University, and Indy Parks and Recreation gathered at Garfield Park to officially launch the collection..

More than 16,000 photos, videos, and historical documents detailing the history of Indianapolis Parks are now available to view on The Indianapolis Public Library’s digitalindy.org website.

The Indy Parks and Recreation Digital Collection is the newest addition to the Library's Digital Indy archive, which includes collections of documents, images, videos, and recordings that highlight local history. Digital Indy’s content may be printed or downloaded free for personal use, study, or research.

The new Indy Parks collection includes photographs of 86 parks and golf courses, videos of historic events such as the U. S. Women's Olympic Swimming Trials at Broad Ripple Park, and board meeting minutes ranging from 1908-2017. Community events, performances, and groundbreaking ceremonies make up the bulk of the collection, offering a unique visual record of Indianapolis’s past.

“The collection provides a clear and striking picture of the changing city landscape,” said Roberta Jaggers, president of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. “Parks and libraries are free public spaces and have always been great partners. We are happy to work with Indy Parks and the Andrew Seager Archive of the Built Environment to ensure more of our city’s history is available.”

“The history of our city parks is the history of Indianapolis—and with today’s announcement, residents can explore that history like never before,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “These items now in the Digital Indy collection give us a better understanding of who we are, what lessons we can draw from the past, and how we can strive for a better tomorrow.”

The collection has been preserved in large part due to the diligence of long-time Indy Parks and Recreation employee Rupert Daily, who recorded, saved, and organized thousands of photo negatives and slides when he worked for Indy Parks between 1945 and 1993. The files were donated to Ball State University Libraries to be housed in the Andrew Seager Archive of the Built Environment and shared with The Indianapolis Public Library to be scanned and uploaded to Digital Indy.

“We were thrilled to have an opportunity to partner with The Indianapolis Public Library on this project and I’m very grateful for the excellent work of their librarians and staff in digitizing and describing such a vast collection,” said Michael Szajewski, Assistant Dean for

Digital Scholarship and Special Collections at Ball State University. “The collection will be an invaluable resource for researchers and community members.”

The Indy Parks and Recreation collection is the final addition to a five-year project funded by a $1.8 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. The grant enabled The Indianapolis Public Library to finish digitizing the Indianapolis Firefighters’ Museum collection and to create new digital collections for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indianapolis Public Schools, and Indy Parks and Recreation.

“Our city’s parks remain a popular destination for fitness, special events and programs, free meals, and for individuals and their families to spend valuable time together,” said Linda Broadfoot, Indy Parks and Recreation director. “Indy Parks is thrilled to be featured in Digital Indy, and our entire team remains grateful to the Lilly Endowment Inc., Ball State University, and our partners at The Indianapolis Public Library for making the collection a reality.”

At a press event on June 7, Mayor Hogsett and representatives from The Indianapolis Public Library, The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, Ball State University, and Indy Parks and Recreation gathered at Garfield Park to officially launch the collection. You may view the Indy Parks and Recreation Digital Collection online at digitalindy.org