Indianapolis’ Syrian Colony, Buried under Lucas Oil Stadium

It took all of grocer David Freije’s hard-earned $400 in savings, the equivalent of over $10,000 in today’s dollars, to bring Martha, his wife, and Salome, his child, from Ottoman Syria.

They made their first home in America on Willard Street on the south side of Indianapolis. Joining several other Arabic-speaking families, they settled on a road about a hundred yards long that ran over Pogue’s Run creek between better-known Senate and Capitol streets. The Indianapolis Journal described Willard Street as a “short thoroughfare divided into two parts by a dirty little stream whose banks in this particular vicinity were laden with tin cans, old shoes and other rubbish.”

Today, this place, the cradle of Arab Indianapolis, is buried underneath Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.

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