813 Camp Street
The house at 813 Camp was built sometime between 1887 and 1898 as it is not present on the 1887 Sanborn map but appears in 1898. It is located in the Ransom Place neighborhood, three houses north of the northeast corner of Camp and St. Clair Streets.
The Tyler family, made up of Julia C. Tyler and her three sons John, Willard, and Wilbert, moved from Missouri to Indianapolis in the early 1900s following the death of Julia's husband, John Tyler. They moved into 813 Camp Street around 1914. John Tyler Jr owned the house as well as a Barber Shop located at 534 Indiana Avenue. In 1916, the entire Tyler family moved to 729 Indiana Avenue.
Moses Allen moved to 813 Camp Street in 1917. Born around 1863 in North Carolina, he worked as a teamster for Baldwin Piano Company. In 1903, Moses married Mary Baxter. Mary died sometime between 1910 and 1920, as the 1920 census indicates that Moses was a widower. Moses moved out of 813 Camp Street sometime in 1919. Two years later, in 1921, he died.
The Hurt Family
The Hurt family lived at 813 Camp Street for over 40 years. James C. Hurt, his wife Lillian, and her brother Charles Sweeney moved into 813 Camp Street in 1920. James was a mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office in Indianapolis for over 20 years. He died in 1946.
Following the death of her husband, Lillian Hurt continued to live at 813 Camp Street. Lillian Hurt was born in 1875 in Jeffersonville, Indiana as Mary Lillian Sweeney. Prior to marrying James Hurt, she was married to William Fisher. In 1893, Lillian and William had a daughter they named Zenobia Peg Fisher. Lillian died in 1963. Following her death, Zenobia continued living in the house at 813 Camp Street.
Zenobia Fisher worked as a secretary/stenographer and was a prominent member of the African American community for most of 20th century. Starting in her childhood, Zenobia appeared in the society pages of the Indianapolis Recorder on a fairly regular basis. She was also a member of the Colored Women's Republican Club, serving as chairman of its education commission in 1928.
In the 1960s, Zenobia took up the cause of getting a stoplight at the corner of St. Clair and West Streets to slow down traffic going past St. Bridget's Catholic School. The first mention of this campaign appears in the Indianapolis Recorder in 1960. By 1963, she was still fighting to get the traffic light and wrote into local newspapers to advocate for her cause.
In 1961, Zenobia became a founding member of the Indianapolis chapter of ALSAC (Assisting Leukemia Stricken American Children). She served as the group's secretary. The group hosted charity events such as a spring cotillion ball.
Zenobia Fisher moved out of 813 Camp street in 1969. In 1992, she died at the age of 96.
The Hughes Family
Following the departure of Zenobia Fisher, in 1970, the Hughes family moved into 813 Camp Street. The family consisted of Louis Hughes and his wife Leanna as well as their children Louis Jr, Melanie, Darryl, and Toni. Louis Hughes Sr was born November 4, 1926 in Tallahassee, Florida. He married Leanna Chandler in Indianapolis on January 26, 1952. During the family's time at 813 Camp, Louis Hughes Sr worked as a truck driver for multiple companies including Oberholtzer Construction, Northside Trucking, and Roger Group. Louis Sr lived in the house until his death in 2010.
Melanie Hughes was born August 23, 1955 and attended Crispus Attucks. She was a very active high school student serving as secretary of her senior and freshman class and as a member of the student council. She also served as an editor and reporter for the school's student newspaper, Tiger Topics. Following her graduation from high school, she attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Following her graduation from Indiana University, Melanie returned to Indianapolis and became a celebrated teacher. She worked at Belzer Middle School for 25 years and won multiple awards. Unfortunately, Melanie Hughes unexpectedly died before her parents in 2002 at the age of 46.
813 Camp Street Today
As it is located in the Ransom Place neighborhood, the house at 813 Camp Street is still standing today. This neighborhood is one of the few physical remnants of the African American community displaced by IUPUI. Currently the house is a rental.
Written and Edited by Hannah Ryker, April 29, 2020
With contributions by Azariah Lonberger