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Restoring a Community Amphitheatre


May 24, 2022

Indianapolis Garden Club Works with Parks Alliance of Indianapolis to Repurpose Thomas Taggart Memorial

In celebration of its ninetieth anniversary in 2020, the Indianapolis Garden Club (IGC) wanted to mark this milestone by helping breathe new life into the Thomas Taggart Memorial. The long-neglected two-story limestone structure had stood for ninety years in Indianapolis’s 862-acre Riverside Regional Park, the city’s second-largest park. Working with the Parks Alliance of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Garden Club was able to give a $100,000 grant to add native plantings to help beautify the restored Taggart Memorial in its new incarnation as a community amphitheatre. The landscape now includes almost two dozen large caliper trees, all native to Indiana, as well as beds of hardy perennials like swamp milkweed, purple coneflower, oak leaf hydrangea, and winterberry.

The memorial was named for Indianapolis Mayor Thomas Taggart, who established Riverside Regional Park in 1898 as part of the City Beautiful Era. Then park superintendent J. Clyde Power oversaw the park’s development, incorporating prior comprehensive park planning efforts in Indianapolis by Olmsted, Olmsted and Elliot, George Kessler, and Lawrence Sheridan. 

Beautifully restored to its former glory and framed by native plants, the Thomas Taggart Memorial Amphitheatre is once again a lively focal point in the park and the new home of the Indianapolis Shakespeare Theater Company. As COVID restrictions lift, it is fast emerging as a popular spot for concerts, plays, and other cultural events. 

The restoration of the park, including structures like the memorial, is part of the 2017 master plan for the park developed by Indy Parks and Recreation. It is the hope of all that Riverside Regional Park, the Taggart Memorial Amphitheatre, and the Indianapolis Garden Club will be going strong for the next ninety years.

Photo credit: Michelle Pemberton/INDYSTAR


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