Have you driven past the Naval Armory on White River Parkway and wondered what it was like inside? Unless you’ve been in the military, you probably haven’t been in the sparkling white building that looks like a stylish cross between a bunker and an ocean-going ship.
Before construction gets underway to repurpose the armory as Riverside High School, Indiana Landmarks hosts a timed guided tour to show off the Art Moderne landmark built in 1936-38 by the Works Progress Administration. Tour times are 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. with limited tickets for each hour.
You will see elements that reflect the original use—navigation bridge with signal hoists, magazine, lights, ship’s ladder, porthole windows in interior doors, stair rails ingeniously wrapped and knotted in nautical rope, a nautically inspired terrazzo countertop, and unusual light fixtures in the officer’s mess hall overlooking White River.
In the drill hall—a double-sized gymnasium—artist Charles Bauerle, under commission by the Works Progress Administration, painted four 12x15-foot murals depicting famous naval battles. The high school will keep nearly all of the historic nautical elements, with the drill hall serving as home gym for both Riverside and Herron high schools.