Hawthorne’s History in the Community

1923 – 50 neighborhood residents form Hawthorne Community Center from a strip of land called Flack’s Pasture. Instead of becoming a railroad coal dump, it is turned into a resource for the community.

July 26, 1923 – West Park Social Service Association is chartered by the State as Hawthorne’s official name.

Reverend Clarence Baker organized the first Center program for $1,500 a year.

March 2, 1924 – The first building is dedicated. Its completed cost is $20,000. Friends and neighbors pledged necessary funds, some as little as 25 cents.

1966 – Fire damages the center. Reparations are made through local fundraising efforts. The majority of contributions come from the neighborhood.

1975 – A second fire destroys the building. Insufficient insurance money is supplemented by neighborhood donations and funds from the neighborhood.

1975 – 79 – Hawthorne programs are temporarily moved to the Central State Campus, School #50, and two houses owned by the agency.

May 1979 – The completed building is twice the size of the old one. The furniture and office equipment is donated or purchased with the help of the Indianapolis Parks Department, Eli Lilly and Company, and, of course, friends and neighbors of Hawthorne.

1992 – Hawthorne becomes a member of the federation of centers known as CCI.

1999 – Discussion between Southwest Multi-Service Center and Hawthorne take place regarding a merger of the two agencies.

2000 – Hawthorne obtains the Carnegie Library Branch #2 located at 70 N. Mount St. and renovates it into an education annex and a valuable resource for the community.

2001 – Southwest Multi-Service Center merges with Hawthorne and its service area is combined with Hawthorne’s.

2004 – CCI dissolves and Hawthorne returns to a United Way certified agency.

October 2010 – Hawthorne’s Project Phoenix Learning Center (Computer Lab) opened, funded by the Jim and Cheryl Caldwell Foundation.

May 2011 –  Spirit of Philanthropy IUPUI awarded to Near West Collaborative

2012 – Hawthorne’s Executive Director Diane Arnold is listed among the Top 20 Neighborhood Visionaries in 2012

2013 – Hawthorne’s Executive Director Diane Arnold is awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the state’s highest awards, for her service on the IPS board and her 45 years with Hawthorne (25 years of which she has served as the center’s executive director).

2014 – Hawthorne completes renovation early childcare rooms, which was the first phase of the Center’s renovations. The new early childcare rooms make Hawthorne a leader in the United Way of Central Indiana Path to Quality initiative to offer affordable high quality full-day licensed early childcare throughout the city.

April 2014 – Hawthorne kicked off a $3.5 million capital campaign for building renovations to enhance services to the community. Indiana Pacer Paul George will served as the capital campaign honorary chairperson.

May 2014 – Indianapolis’ Near West Collaborative was named Neighborhood of the Year Grand Prize Winner by Neighborhood USA.

June 2015 – Hawthorne broke ground for the $3.5 million renovation of its main building.

June 2016 – Hawthorne’s capital project was completed and we moved back into the main building. Preschool reached Paths to Quality Level 3

2016 – Hawthorne Endowment established.

December 2016 – The Hawthorne neighborhood was named City of Indianapolis Neighborhood of the Month #INDYNOM