How Venerable Flackville got its name in Indianapolis, IN

The unique name of this west side neighborhood has an even more unique history. Find out how it got its “venerable” status, who it’s named after, and where exactly it is.

Screenshot of a map with Venerable Flackville

Yes, the area is still recognized on today’s maps when you search for it.

Screenshot via Google Maps

Table of Contents

A tiny slice of Indy just east of the International Marketplace + Speedway has been on the maps for years — with a made-up name. That’s right, we’re sharing what we know about Venerable Flackville.

Why is it called that?

While it doesn’t seem like anyone knows exactly how the term made it onto today’s maps, the most common belief is that it all started with a simple miscommunication. The area was originally just named “Flackville” after Joseph Flack, a businessman we’ll tell you more about in a moment. As far as we can tell, that’s what it was called until 2008, when it appeared on the popular NapLabs’ “Neighborhoods of Indianapolis” map (which you can buy at places like Silver in the City).

It’s anyone’s guess why the cartographers decided to include “Venerable,” but Indy history blogger Class 900 traced it back to an IndyStar real estate article. The term was used as a descriptor but perhaps became an assumed formal name.

Who was Joseph Flack?

The man behind the venerable town was a landowner and businessman in the late 19th century who started a brickyard in the area — producing nearly three million bricks every year. Originally, the town wasn’t even in Indianapolis, but was looped in during the 1960s when the Indianapolis school system bought Flackville School 100, a local school that the city wanted to incorporate. Joseph also operated a dairy farm that was rumored to produce “sub-standard milk,” but that’s a story for another time.

And where is it, again?

It’s currently between 38th and 16th streets from Tibbs Avenue to Kessler Blvd. Though the area is no longer an epicenter for commerce, it still has plenty of houses for sale and it’s home to Cardinal Ritter High School + Centennial and Groff Park.

More from INDYtoday