(photo of carriage house)
Admiral Heslar was the first commanding officer of the Naval Armory in Indianapolis, built in 1936.
Between 1943 and 1945, Navy strategists gathered at the Naval Armory in
Indianapolis to plan their wartime campaigns, including the D-Day operation.
A land-locked Admiral Heslar, transplanted to central Indiana by the Navy, designed and built a unique home in the Traders Point area to remind him of life at sea. Built on a 10 acre site west of Fishback Creek on the northside of West 86th Street (and just west of the Traders Point covered bridge that has since been relocated), Heslar designed a water filled backyard complete with aqueducts to
simulate being at sea or a sea view. Sadly, the only remnant of the Heslar mansion is the carriage house pictured here. The construction of the armory building on White River was constructed during Heslar’s tenure and is now named for him.
“Central Indiana is probably the last place most people would expect to find
a naval landmark of international significance. That was exactly the hope in
World War II, when Navy generals and admirals—seeking to avoid the constant
surveillance on the coasts—gathered regularly at the Heslar Naval Armory in
Indianapolis to plan their Atlantic and Pacific campaigns. In spite of its
comparative anonymity in the pages of history, the Armory has drawn
appreciative local attention since its construction in 1936. With its
gleaming white Art Moderne-style exterior, the building seems dropped by
mistake on the banks of the White River near 30th Street—something you’d
expect to see in Miami Beach, not Indianapolis. ” Indiana Historic Landmarks Statement regarding armory.