From the Suburbs to the City

It’s been nearly a year since we moved from Suburbia to the City. When I tell people we live downtown, I get some raised eyebrows, lots of questions and a few encouraging comments. It seems so natural that we moved here. But it wasn’t always that way.

It all started when we sent our kids to The Oaks Academy. Many people couldn’t understand why we would send our boys to this school, 40 minutes away, when we had stellar schools in our backyard. True, many families moved to the suburbs because of the  schools, but they still weren’t the Oaks. For reasons I do not fully understand myself, I welled up with tears every time I heard of this school in the crime-ridden, economically depressed neighborhood. The simplest way I can explain enrolling our kids at the Oaks is this: God stirred our hearts with such force that there was no way we could ignore it any longer. We were drawn to its mission of offering a Christ-centered, classical education while promoting reconciliation across societal boundaries.

So, for six years, I drove the 40 minutes one way, for one, then two, then three and finally all four of our boys. And the more we developed relationships with the families at school, the more our hearts were burdened for the urban neighborhoods which we drove through each day. Living in the suburbs made it difficult to cultivate the relationships at school. We started feeling like we were living two lives. The life of the suburbanite, comfortable with our large, manicured yards, deluxe automobiles, upscale shopping centers, million dollar homes and competitive sport leagues, and the life of the urbanite, concerned with homeless men and women wandering the streets, independent store owners, sustainable living, and reconciliation among races and cultures.

I believe one of the first decisions we made towards a physical move came when we switched churches. It was heartbreaking to leave our church home of 11 years. The church felt like family. All four of our boys had been dedicated there. We had participated in several ministries and made lifelong, sacred friendships. However, we felt like it was time to have our kids go to a church where they would be with friends from school. While the church wasn’t as far as school, it was still a commitment to be involved since most of the families in our small group lived nearly 30 minutes away from our suburban home.

Little by little, I became more comfortable with the idea of moving closer to our new community of friends and our usual activities. By now, we were fully committed to the school community and mission, and we yearned for a simpler life. My husband’s Multiple Sclerosis was proving a challenge in the upkeep of a large home and yard. So, together we decided it was time to pursue the idea of moving to the city.

We put our house on the market mid-summer, praying that if God wanted us to move, he would make it clear by selling our house right away. Not an easy task in the market we were experiencing. Within a month, our house sold. Three weeks later, we found our house in the historically protected neighborhood we now call home.

Instead of writing about all the changes, I’ve taken photos to show what I love about living downtown, along with some of the challenges that come with it.

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We ride our bikes everywhere, like to Jaden's soccer game which was only a few blocks away from our house. It's so nice not to be as dependent on a car to get places.

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I love the original pavers in some of the alleys along with the original and restored carriage houses that dot the alleys. Having a detached garage takes some getting used to. But even this winter, when we parked on the street, I witnessed neighbors from all walks of life helping one another dig out of snow drifts and push cars who had gotten stuck.

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This house was on the market when we were looking, but our boys threatened our lives if we bought a pink house. 🙂

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I also love the variety of architecture and the stories these homes hold.

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Another old home a few blocks away.

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Even though most homes in the area are historic rehabs or rebuilt to look historic, there are some that are modern. Here's one on the street right behind us. There are also several still boarded up, in need of rehab. If you're looking for a great deal, you are sure to find one behind the boarded up windows and doors.

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There are three Bed and Breakfasts in the neighborhood. Pictured here are Stone Soup and the Looking Glass. The other, the Villa Inn on Delaware, is a gem.

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Staying at one of these B and B's truly feels like you are outside of Indy, on a lovely vacation somewhere removed from your everyday life.

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Because the yards are fairly small, most of our neighbors walk to the local parks to play. This gives or kids a sense of community, and it's a great way to meet people in our neighborhood.

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This park is right next to the pink house we looked at purchasing. I'm not sure how peaceful this park would have remained if our family had moved in next door.

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We crammed a pool into our backyard. Pictured here are kids from The Oaks. I love that there are kids of all races and socioeconomic status here and yet all of them become friends regardless of these differences.

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When we lived in the suburbs, we were surrounded by Republican, right-winged people. I leaned way right as well. Living downtown has opened my eyes to the issues that many Democrats have fought for, as well. I now consider myself more independent on my political views. The sign above says, "Another household for Health Care Reform." You wouldn't find this in the 'burb I used to call home.

One of the many liquor stores that dot the outskirts of our neighborhood. This one, located two blocks from the kids' school, is open when we drive by in the morning. Morning and night, there's always a crowd lingering there.

One of the many liquor stores that dot the outskirts of our neighborhood. This one, located two blocks from the kids' school, is open when we drive by in the morning. Morning and night, there's always a crowd lingering there.

The downtown life has taught us so much in the year we’ve been here. I look forward to discovering more as we make our home here. Whether we are attending the sporting venues nearby, an outdoor festival or a museum, it seems we have only a few minutes drive or walk.

The culture of downtown is a diverse one, making it a vibrant and interesting place to live and play. Here are some more of my favorite places, all within walking or driving distance of my home.

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When we lived in the suburbs, we often had only chain restaurants and coffee shops from which to choose. Living downtown gives us the chance to try many of the independent restaurants and shops within walking distance or a short drive.
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The inside of Tea’s Me, a great place for lunch or to work on my laptop for a couple hours.
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The side porch of our house is one of my favorite places to read or write. It’s also a fun place to share a quick moment with one of my kids before they hop the little railing and join the others for a game of soccer on the side yard.
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This theater is home to Footlite Musicals, which performs several shows throughout the year. It is half a block from our home.
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The courtyard at Harrison Center for the Arts, which is connected to Redeemer Presbyterian Church. HCA houses over 20 artists’ galleries and hosts art shows every first Friday of the month. Each show centers on a theme. The shows are typically family friendly and accessible to everyone. Above, the kids take a break from wandering the gallery and play a pick-up game of football.

The only photo I wish I would have included is one of Mass Ave. This street offers several of my favorite shops, including our neighbor’s stores, Silver in the City, At Home in the City and Nurture. There’s also a Starbucks adjacent to a small park with some fun public art displayed. I’ve spent several dollars and hours with friends at that Starbucks.

I feel blessed and incredibly rich with these experiences and wait in anticipation as God shines light on even more that he has in store for me and my family.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “From the Suburbs to the City

  1. lynnhouse

    I have tried for way too long now to correct the issues with the text going with the photos. Not sure what is happening, but I hope you can get the gist of the story here.

  2. We’re all glad you made the move, too!

  3. R.T. Brown

    OMG! I grew up at Footlight Musicals (Hedback Comm. Theatre). Some of my fondest memories are within those walls…great to know it’s still there…

    • lynnhouse

      R.T.,
      Yes I remember. Were you in the Pajama Game there?

      It’s still alive and thriving. New shows all the time. It’s literally half a block from our home. I love the neighborhood. It’s so eclectic. Who knew that this northside girl would ever live downtown?

      Take care!

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