Holliday Park is a city park located in the near north-side of Indianapolis in one of the more higher end neighborhoods. The park is a beautiful setting with hundreds of trees, flowers and wildlife. In addition to the natural features of this inner city recreation site you will find an eclectic display affectionately tagged “The Ruins”.
The centerpiece of this ‘artwork’ is a structure that is the home of three massive sculptures atop a brick and mortar conglomeration of various architectural details. The three statues are called “The Races of Man”, are carved from (fittingly) Indiana limestone and represent Caucasian, Asian and African ethnic groups. Karl Bitter was the sculptor.
The original home of the three statues was the St. Paul building in downtown New York. The building was the work of famed architect George B. Post (1837-1913) who was the architect of many of the most important landmarks in New York City, including the New York Stock Exchange. At the time of the completion of the St. Paul building in 1898 it was 315 feet tall and the tallest in New York City.
The original St. Paul building was torn down in 1958 to make way for a new skyscraper. The building’s owner, Western Electric, held a contest among US cities for the rights to have the sculptures. Long story short, Indianapolis won the competition. It took two decades and tons of money to bring “The Ruins” to a condition suitable for public use. For a while Western Electric considered retrieving the statues. Then Mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar pushed the completion of the project, which included the three original entrance columns, in the mid 1970’s.
When we visited the park we frankly were amazed. What a beautiful setting! The Ruins were fascinating to see. It was fun walking the grounds and touring the extensive nature center as well. Note that there was adequate parking for RV’s and buses, making access very easy.