February 21-29, 2004: Our Winter Trip to Florida
February 8-13, 2004: A Trip to Portland, Oregon
Return to Index for 2004


February 19, 2004
A Return to Fort Harrison, Indiana


 


This week I am here in Indianapolis teaching a class for a health care company downtown. The company and the class were quite forgettable, and I took no pictures related to the business part of this trip. Hence, you will not find any reference to this trip on the business album page.

But since I was in Indianapolis, a town that I once lived in, I thought I would drive out to Fort Benjamin Harrison, where I used to work, to see what I could see.


 

A Visit to the Finance Center

If I have been able to work my way backward in this photo album to the beginning (and I am not at all sure I have enough time left for that), you will already have read about my Army service. But to fill you in, I entered on active duty at Fort Harrison in July, 1968, shortly after graduation from Davidson. My first training was at the U.S. Army Finance School, which was located here at Fort Harrison. During my training, I lived in some bachelor officer's quarters on the post. After eight weeks, I was transferred to Fort Lee, Virginia, and from there I went to Korea for a year. When I returned, I was posted again to Fort Harrison for my last year, and during that time I lived off-post in the Park Harrison Apartments.


This afternoon, I want to return to Fort Harrison to see what has happened to it, and to the Park Harrison Apartments to see if they are even still there. What I did find out earlier in the week, after talking to some of the class members, was that Fort Harrison had been deactivated over ten years previously, and the functions of the Army Finance Corps subsumed into an Administrative Corps located in Washington. Computerization had obviated the need for the thousands of people who used to be engaged in paying military personnel.

The Post itself had been sold to private developers. They had retained some of the original buildings (mostly upper-grade housing) and turned them into private homes and shopping areas, and then built out the rest of the post with new housing and new shopping. It's like a new little town out here. The Finance Center itself was turned into commercial space, and is now used by a number of different companies. I did not know what I would find when I drove out here after class, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I began by driving directly to the Finance Center main entrance from my training class downtown, following routes and streets that were still largely familiar. My tour of Fort Harrison will begin on the lawn of the front circle of the old Finance Center building.


My first movie begins by looking east down 56th Street, and then pans south and west to take in the broad front of the Finance Center itself, while I give just a bit of the history of my two stays here. You should watch that movie with the player at left.


My second movie begins by looking west down 56th Street at what used to be housing for colonels and above, then pans across to the north and west to show some of the building out that has been done here since the government sold the post to private developers. You can watch that movie with the player at right.


Next, following the route I have traced on the aerial view at right, I drove west along 56th Street to show you the on-post housing that we used to call "General's Row," because of the large number of colonels and one-star generals who used to occupy that housing. Watch the movie at left to follow along.


Just at the end of this row of houses, I made a U-turn on 56th Street and then headed back east, again filming the Finance Center as I passed by. You can watch this movie with the player at right.


I continued on east to the end of the building and came to the intersection with Post Road. I turned right to head south towards my old apartment complex, noting as I drove down Post Road that the old entrance station for the Fort had been completely removed (it had been rarely manned even when I worked here in 1968 and 1971). Watch this movie with the player at left.


 

The Park Harrison Apartments


I continued down Post Road, across the old familiar railroad tracks, and came to the entrance to the Park Harrison apartments on my left. You can see the entrance in the movie below:


I turned in and then drove around to the entrance for my old apartment. I parked my car and then walked across the lot to the front door for the building in which I lived- 9030 Eldorado Drive. I made a movie here at the entrance to describe to you just which apartment I occupied, and you can watch that movie with the player at left.


Being here brought back a lot of memories, almost all of them quite good ones, and I spent about a half-hour just leaning against my car in the parking lot mentally reminiscing about the times I spent here at Fort Harrison. Just before I ended my "old home week" tour, I made a movie to try to express some of what was going through my head, and you might want to watch that movie with the player at right.


February 21-29, 2004: Our Winter Trip to Florida
February 8-13, 2004: A Trip to Portland, Oregon
Return to Index for 2004