The Twelve Points story is an epic tale of courage and tragedy. It compels us into its journey through days of decline and ruin into triumphant rebirth. It’s the story of hope every small town or sinking neighborhood dreams of. Through a series of small efforts, the harmonizing of a community, once believed to be forgotten, brings revitalization back into this corridor on the city’s north side.
Twelve Points is named for the twelve points of intersection as Lafayette, Mapel, and 13th streets crisscross with a small triangular block at its center. Near the turn of the 20th Century, Twelve Points began to develop much the way most small communities do. There was a Post Office, grocery and dry goods stores, a church, school, and Terre Haute’s first park. By 1912 this northside neighborhood was as vibrant as downtown and full of promise. A hotel drew the traffic of travelers and businessmen through this part of town. But all that changed when city developers made changes to the major roads through Terre Haute in the 1950’s and the consolidation of local schools in 1971. Main routes were directed around the northside completely bypassing the Twelve Points area. This resulted in a decrease of revenue for local businesses and eventually the closure of many shops. Buildings were left empty, conditions worsened, the school was closed after a citywide consolidation, and Twelve Points was practically a ghost town.
Northside industrial businesses such as Terre Haute Glass Manufacturing Co., Columbian Enameling and Stamping, Indiana Milling Co., and Coca-Cola Bottling Company saw first hand the staggering effects on surrounding neighborhoods. It would take the determination of a steadfast organization to pull the Twelve Points historic district back to life.
What started with a handful of volunteers working to clean up litter from the Twelve Points streets grew into the recently-formed Revitalization Initiative. The organization was designed to inspire economic development in the historic Twelve Points neighborhood. The goal is to preserve the past while making way for new opportunities and development. The organization works with local politicians, business owners, and city philanthropists to rebuild interest in this community treasure.