Tight-knit community puts "home" in Cottage Home

I’m a serial mover. Once-sometimes-twice-a-year for the past seven years I have been unable to stay put. So when my partner Kristin and I decided to move downtown last year, we had high hopes of finding a neighborhood where we could put down our roots. As renters, we yearned for a place where we would know our neighbors, invest in relationships and contribute to the community. After just a few short days of apartment hunting, we settled in the Cottage Home neighborhood, just east of Mass Ave., the train tracks and the interstate. jdf01100

The day we moved in, Indianapolis decided to dip below 50 and snow--an anomaly for early 2012. Our first home (yes, this serial mover did it again...on the same block though, so does that really count?) served many purposes in its century-old life: grocery store, lawn mower repair shop, artist studio, garage, carriage house. As an homage to the days of housing autos instead of humans, the front yard was a driveway and the garage door was still attached to the living room ceiling. Throw in polished concrete floors, vintage appliances and massive paintings left behind from the studio days, and you’ve got yourself some character. If there’s one thing Cottage Home isn’t short on, it’s character.

And characters. Not long after that frigid move-in day, we were enjoying the balmy days of March on “the drive.” Just by sitting on our concrete front yard, we were meeting neighbors left-and-right and developing relationships with the quirky, creative, loving and inspiring cast of characters that make this place home. There’s so much individualism in Cottage Home that Masterpiece could make a new hit show about this place. There’s the chef, the baker, the farmer, the beer pourer, the antiquer, the cat lady, the accidental homeowner, the historian, the artist, the mechanic, just to name ten.

All these folks come together to form a tight knit community. Different lives, different interests, but a shared sense of looking out for one another. The people are certainly Cottage Home’s greatest assets, and they inspire me to stay, invest and do more. Often these good folks come together in the neighborhood’s greatest physical asset--the community space.

My favorite activity is to simply wander down to the community space, where I know I’ll bump into neighbors growing food in the garden, borrowing books from the microlibrary, sharing meals and stories around the bonfire, or watching their kids on the playground. If we’re free we might wander further to Dorman Street Saloon, Flat 12 or YoguLatte to talk and laugh some more.


Indianapolis is changing. As more people move downtown and the city becomes denser, I wonder what the future holds for Cottage Home. It’s inevitable that the neighborhood will grow and perhaps change, too. Some fear the CoHo dynamic will be lost as new people come in. I don’t, because I am a new person. I am excited for new neighbors to value Cottage Home as Kristin and I have come to value it--to appreciate its history, participate in its traditions, contribute to its well-being and develop relationships. On a more personal level, I’m excited to stay put for once. I’m excited to know that I’ll hear the hum of the interstate and blaring whistle of the train for a long time to come.