Lockefield Gardens was the name of the first major public housing project built in Indianapolis. It was one of the first public housing projects in the United States, and was a product of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930’s. Lockefield Gardens served the dual purpose of providing crucial jobs for unemployed Hoosiers in an ailing economy struggling to recover from the great depression, and also offered the promise of a higher standard of living for some of Indianapolis’s poorest residents.
Lockefield was a model of thoughtful design, providing plenty of light and air, open spaces for recreation, and stores and shops to serve its residents. The development consisted of seven hundred and forty-eight apartments, a central park-like green area, a playground, and a small shopping arcade.
Initially the complex was segregated, and as a result it became the heart of the African American community along Indiana Avenue. Today, only seven of the original buildings remain, but they stand as a monument to this historic Indianapolis community.