Monday, May 28, 2018

The Final Days of the International Harvester/ Navistar Plant

Irvington has gone through many changes over the years. The neighborhood began as an exclusive enclave, morphed into a college town, and by the mid-twentieth century it had transitioned into an industrial era. While the original founders might have chafed at the notion that factories might be constructed near the community, it would be enterprises like the addition of the International Harvester plant at 5565 Brookville Road in 1938 that would keep the area stable for the remainder of the twentieth century.

Shortly after its construction, factory workers and management began to purchase or lease residences throughout Irvington. It would be an easy walk or a quick drive to work. During World War II, the factory became instrumental into contributing to the "arsenal of democracy."  Sons followed their fathers into the plant as workers brought home decent wages. A similar story unfolded when Navistar moved in.

Today, the factory is silent as are many nearby. In the spring of 2018, demolition crews have been working around the clock to dismantle this once vibrant place. The Irvington Historical Society has been documenting the lives and stories of the workers at the plants. If you are in the Indianapolis area, be sure to stop by the Bona Thompson Center and check out the rooms dedicated to this era of Irvington's history.

The former International Harvester/ Navistar plant in the spring of 2018

Coming Down: The International Harvester/ Navistar factory at 5565 Brookville Road (spring, 2018)



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