1868 Danish Settlement in Indiana

  • February 23, 2021
  • Indianapolis, IN


In the late 1860's, approximately 200 Danes settled in the area near present day Indianapolis, Indiana.  In 1868, the First Trinity Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church was established there, with construction completed in 1872.  The original church still stands (at 701 East McCarty Street) and is shown here.  The first photo is from 1978 prior to the removal of the steeple.  The second photo was taken in 1986... (Photos - Indiana Historic Architecture Slide Collection)

The area is now designated as the "Holy Rosary - Danish Church Historic District".  A historical marker has been placed - the inscription shown below...

Side one:

Platted 1854; now bounded by South East Street, Virginia Avenue, and interstates 65/70. Early residents were Germans, Irish, Scots, and Welsh. Danes resided in area circa 1870-1890. By 1910, ninety percent of area residents were Italian immigrants.

Side two:

Area became Indiana's largest continuously occupied Italian neighborhood. Sicilians opened nearby produce businesses. District, containing mainly working-class cottages, includes Trinity Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church built 1872, Horace Mann Public School built 1873, and Holy Rosary Catholic Church built 1911-1925. District listed in National Register of Historic Places 1986.

Location: SE corner of S. East Street & S. Stevens Street, Indianapolis. (Marion County, Indiana) Installed: 2000 Indiana Historical Bureau and Italian Heritage Society of Indiana

It is believed there were other Danish settlements in Clifton (east of Indianapolis), and also Lake County near Chicago.

Thanks to Barbara George - Indianapolis, Indiana

National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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