|Ethnicity:||I'm from Slovakia|
|What is my body features:||My figure type is strong|
|What I like to drink:||Champagne|
Learn about the experiences of early residents and how they grappled with pivotal and ongoing issues of freedom, equality and faith.
What is a Barrio and why is it lost? First, Barrio is the Spanish word for neighborhood. It is typically a neighborhood where most of the folks are from Spanish speaking families. And why is it lost? I will later explain. Per the U. Census, Latinos have been calling Indiana home as early as the late s but did not have a real solid community presence until the late s.
I am third or fourth generation Mexican-American, depending on who you talk to in my family. This specific Latino narrative is not at all uncommon for some folks with long standing roots in Northwest Indiana. I would always hear stories about the early Latino community of Indiana Harbor and how they always referred to themselves and their neighborhood as La Colonia The Colony — never did I hear the term Barrio. Latinos have been making ificant contributions to Hoosier culture and way of life for an extraordinarily long time.
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In fact one of the oldest Latino-owned and nationally distributed food companies is still located in Northwest Indiana; El Popular. It is even older than the other commonly known nationally distributed Latino food brand, Goya.
The Latino community in Indianapolis does not go as far back as Northwest Indiana. However, growth of the Latino community in the Circle City was evident in the s and s. A small enclave of Mexicans settled on the east side of downtown Indianapolis. Specific details resurfaced in our collection of year old transcripts of oral histories from some of those early residents.
He and others recall folks living near the intersection of Pine and Market Streets. Like other immigrant and non-immigrant groups, work brought folks to the city of Indianapolis.
As the community grew so did their needs, and by the late s there was the Indianapolis Mexicano Club. North Street. The family lived in the house with the storefront and was located on their first floor.
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The Espinoza family would travel to surrounding farmland to sell music records, produce, tortillas and other goods to farmworkers in area agricultural camps. After the Espinoza family left their home and the grocery store closed at this location, it briefly moved into the City Market in or Around the same time of the closure of this storefront, just blocks away from the barrio at E. Today that building is now known as Historic Saint Joseph Hall, an event and rental location next to St.
The Hispano-American Center was later consolidated with other Latino organizations to form what is now known as La Plaza in the early s. This center served the varying needs of the growing Latino community and served as a place for folks to connect with the Latino community, such as Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar later Senator Lugar.
As the community grew so did the center and its offering of services. With this continual growth and success of this community, why did this east side barrio disappear?
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In the mid to late s the City of Indianapolis as well other American urban areas saw an infrastructure boom with highways and interstates. The State of Indiana began to buy up homes in this area and the families who were attracted to this barrio dispersed to other areas of town.
Maria Espinoza with family dog, Duke on North Street ca. The Espinoza family was one of the last holdouts, watching their neighborhood and community disappear in piecemeal. And thus this little eastside barrio was lost.
Exactly where was this located? Although this eastside Indianapolis barrio is gone, the Latino community continues to thrive and grow in the City of Indianapolis and surrounding metro areas. Intersection of E. Pine and E. Market Street, August Google Maps. Nicole Martinez-LeGrand is the multicultural collections coordinator in the Archives and Library department.
In her position, she enjoys conducting oral history interviews, doing day-to-day research, and especially genealogy research. She enjoys the thrill of connecting people to their past. She's an adrenaline seeker of a unique kind. Welcome Back! Learn More. Check out our latest exhibit!
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