History of Saint Joseph Hall
The “Historic” part of our facility’s name comes from a long journey through the foundation and life span of Saint Joseph Parish, established in 1873 by the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Created to serve the Catholics living in the near north-east side of Indianapolis, construction started on Saint Joseph church in 1879.
Today that building houses Saint Joseph Brewery and Public House.
Construction of Building
Through the 1880’s, more buildings were added to the church’s campus including a school built just to the south of the church in 1881 and a rectory on North Street just to the west of the church a year later. No definite reason is given, but sometime around 1890 the Sisters of Providence, who ran the school, decided that the boys and girls should have separate schools. So in 1892 construction was completed on a building just west of the rectory at 617 E North St and christened Saint Joseph Hall. It was used as a school for boys, as well as a Parish Hall for meetings and entertainment.
Following the closure of Saint Joseph Parish in 1949, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis still owned all the buildings, including 617 E North St. In 1949, the Archdiocese leased the building to the Near East Side Civic Association, which used it as a recreational hall for children to combat juvenile delinquency in the neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, the fire department closed the building due to unsafe conditions.
First ACLU Meeting in Indiana
Saint Joseph Hall remained empty for about four years until 1953, when St. Mary’s Church, recently built on the corner of East and New Jersey Streets, paid $16,000 for renovations to the building and began to once again use it as a meeting space and recreational hall. In late 1953, the ACLU was looking to found a chapter in Indiana and needed meeting space. No meeting hall or hotel would allow the ACLU to use their space in downtown Indianapolis, so the pastor of St. Mary’s allowed them to use the building at 617 E North St. On November 20, 1953 the ACLU of Indiana
held its first meeting at Saint Joseph Hall.
In 1971, the Hispanic Center was founded and began using Saint Joseph Hall as its meeting space. In 1977, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis donated the building to the Hispanic Center and they remained there until 2004.
Soon after, Saint Joseph Hall was purchased by a couple that used the space for offices and an event center.
An adoption agency took offices on the first floor and the second floor was mainly used for art auctions.
Historic Saint Joseph Hall took ownership and residence in late 2017
with the hope of maintaining and enhancing the wonderful history and beauty of this building.
We look forward to adding your event to the long and unique history of Saint Joseph Hall.