Group: Old Speedway City Neighborhood Association

Collaboration between the residents of the Old Speedway City Neighborhood Association and the 8th grade students at Speedway Junior High School led to the architectural identification and history of homes within the association boundaries and, eventually, nomination and acceptance as historically significant district.

Old Speedway City Neighborhood Association’s (OSCNA) initial concept of seeking the history and identifying home styles within its boundaries was realized when the association learned that the junior high social studies teacher was interested in historical architecture, and the possibility of working with him and his students was investigated. To assist with the project, the association gave funds to the junior high for the purchase of a digital camera, which has been used by the students during their architectural and historical study of the area.

Speedway Junior High School Social Studies teacher Charles Bennett developed a cross-curriculum instructional unit for cataloging homes in the older section of Speedway. Students contacted and interviewed the homeowner, took pictures of the house, determined the architectural style and prepared a presentation that was shared at several association general meetings.

Residents, many of whom were members of OSCNA, enthusiastically welcomed the students and shared the history of their house. In talking with each other, residents and students found that they both had greater appreciation of each other and increased pride in their community.

The information gathered by the junior high students became the catalyst for nominating the original platted area of Speedway as a state and national historic district. With the help of Ball State University Historic Preservation majors, these students gave guidance to Mr. Bennett on how to write a nomination for such designation. The historic award was granted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on July 27, 2005 and the National Historic Designation was received on October 21, 2005.