Chinquapin Oak Park
Date created: 2016
In 2016, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s IPL Project Greenspace transformed a vacant lot in the Springdale neighborhood into a place of honor for one of Indianapolis’ oldest trees, a chinquapin oak dating back about 300 years, complete with a historical marker and neighborhood storytelling about what the oak has “seen.” In conjunction with the pocket park, and with independent funding, the neighborhood commissioned two artists to create works highlighting different aspects of the initiative.
Sculptor Nick Gehlhausen, a Springdale resident, created a hillside installation using pieces of a neighbor’s old concrete patio. The piece resembles roots, and aligns well with the base of the chinquapin oak tree (the Nowland Oak) at the space. The intention of the piece is to also help draw attention to the place, create awareness of the need for tree root protection, and connect with how the tree was preserved.
Mosaic tile artist Barbara Zech created two different designs for sidewalk markers to help people find the pocket park and, once there, to help welcome visitors. The smaller markers are embedded into sidewalks and run for two blocks along Nowland Ave. and Brookside Parkway S. Drive, allowing visitors to discover another large, even older (about 450 years old–likely the oldest in Marion County) chinquapin oak tree in the neighborhood called the Temple Oak.