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Hoosier History Live

Aug 24, 2023

Roadhouses, saloons and gambling were part of the wildness during the late 1800s and early 1900s at Brighton Beach, a long-forgotten, notorious area just west of downtown Indianapolis. Newspapers in the 1890s called Brighton Beach (where enticements included "chuck-a-luck", a game of chance played with dice) "one of the toughest places in town".

Ed Fujawa, an Indianapolis attorney and founder of Class900 Indy, a blog about city history, has researched some bygone rowdy pockets of Marion County, including Brighton Beach, which was located north of W. 16th Street and west of today's I-65. The area now primarily consists of infrastructure for the Indianapolis Water Company.

"The infamous reputation of the Beach, and its saloons and roadhouses, continued to grow (during the 1880s), as did a criminal element", Ed Fujawa wrote in a recent blog post. "Reports of crime were frequent. Robberies, assaults, stabbings, even murders, were reported."