Indianapolis’ historic Bush Stadium has served as a home for auto racing, concerts, sports teams, movie sets, and even a Cash for Clunkers program. For some folks nowadays, it’s just home.
The stadium has now been turned into quite a unique apartment complex, called Stadium Lofts. The $13 million project’s goal was to balance modern amenities with Bush’s baseball tradition. The result? An apartment community surrounded by Bush’s original stadium lights, Art Deco columns, turnstiles, the owner’s suite and even an old ticket booth or two. “Our owner, John Watson, was approached by Indiana Landmarks about the fate of the old Bush Stadium,” said Maggie LaRoche, Stadium Lofts property manager. “The city was discussing tearing down the structure as it had sat vacant for many years. Once the unique idea of turning a baseball stadium into apartments was accepted by the city, we knew it would be a grand slam! It is the only apartment building in the country to have been re-purposed from a former baseball stadium.”
Bush Stadium also hosted several Negro League teams, including the ABCs, American Giants, Athletics, Crawfords and most notably the Indianapolis Clowns— baseball’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters—who called the stadium home from 1944 to 1962. While he didn’t play any games at Bush Stadium, the 1952 Clowns, who won the Negro American League Championship that year, rostered an 18-year old Hank Aaron. The next year, Toni Stone, who had become the first female player in Negro League history, was on the team. While red concrete has replaced the dirt infield, the essence of baseball still remains at Bush.