Your Town Friday: Broad Ripple’s past, present and future

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The year was 1836. The place didn't even have a name yet.

But a man named Jacob Coil and his family were moving from Virginia and stopped on the banks of the White River. The first written reference to the name "Broad Ripple" was found one year later in Coil's will. He picked "Broad Ripple" because the ripple in the river at that point was the broadest in the country. So broad, legend has it, only one man could throw a stone across it.

David Letterman called Broad Ripple home. So did Second Lady Karen Pence and former Indiana Pacer George Hill!

Broad Ripple is one of seven areas in Indianapolis designated as a cultural district.

Today, the newest building bears Coil's namesake and 30,000 people call Broad Ripple home.

Mark Wolf moved there twenty years ago and has only briefly left.

"I remember getting dropped off at Butler, getting everything in the dorm and my parents said, well let’s go into Broad Ripple and have dinner, you’re probably going to eat here a lot," said Wolf. "Once I moved back in my adult life, it’s like, I’m going to move for the bars and I stayed for the restaurants! It’s fantastic!"

Mark fell in love with Broad Ripple Village and started digging into its history.

"Outdoor seating in the city started in Broad Ripple!" said Mark. "Then it’s just branched out! The Monon Trail, the first part of that, started here in Broad Ripple."

And did you know the carousel in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis was originally in Broad Ripple in the early 1900's?

Mark, now the president of the Broad Ripple Village Association, says there are 700 businesses in the village today. And he loves to bust the myth that Broad Ripple is a party town and for the younger crowd.

"We have one small strip that are bars! The whole square village is a couple miles!"

"You’re seeing that change all across the county now with urban density living and we’ve had that for a long time," said Wolf. "We’ve had it with the starter homes really close to the Village and then adult homes, if you will, that you can grow up into and then retire into. And now with the urban walk-able living, to go to your grocery store, your dentist, your dry cleaners, it’s all right here within a half a mile radius. People are wanting to live in that and it’s not just young people, but we’re seeing retirees that are coming to us."

Mark says two more apartment complexes will be built soon, and just take a drive around the Village and you'll see all the growth and construction!

The popular Broad Ripple Art Fair is next weekend. You can meet a lot of the FOX 59 family there! Check out the schedule here.