Situated along the the Historic National Road (a.k.a. U.S. Route 40) is the historic city of Greenfield, Indiana. The birthplace of the Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, this small-but-vibrant community of roughly 20,000 has a rich history dating back to 1828.
Though technically a city, downtown Greenfield has a distinctly small-town charm, with its mom-and-pop shops, historic architecture and many fun things to do. The city as a whole offers a nice mix of arts, antiques, museums, and family centered activities.
Greenfield is the county seat of Hancock County, and enjoys convenient access to Indianapolis, via I-70. It is home to the ever-popular Riley Festival, more commonly known as “Riley Days,” which takes place each year in October.
From antique postcards and vintage furniture to bird cages, old signs and even the occasional working phonograph machine, antiquing is a fun pastime for many folks in central Indiana. Greenfield is home to s surprising number of antique stores. Here are a few examples.
JW Riley’s Emporium
Located at 107 West Main Street in downtown Greenfield, off the US 40 / Historic National Road, is JW Riley’s Emporium, an antique store that offers an eclectic variety of antiques, vintage, retro and other interesting items, most of which come from from Indiana and the Midwest.
There are typically around 60 vendor booths, spread over some 11,000 sq. ft. of space, between the the main floor and upstairs. JW Riley’s Emporium is owned and operated by Carol Ratliff & David Kuhn.
The Red Rooster
It’s not easy to miss “rooster” sign that sits off the corner of W. Main Street and S. Franklin Street. The Red Rooster is yet another fun Greenfield antique store that offers lots of interesting things, many with a country flair.
Greenfield is home to a number of popular historic attractions that draw a steady stream of traffic year-round. Here are a few of the more popular attractions.
Hancock Memorial Building
The historic Memorial Building was built in 1923 to honor Hancock County’s war veterans. Today the building serves as home to the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department as well as the Hancock County Mental Health Association and Family Services Agency.
James Whitcomb Riley House & Museum
Located at 250 W Main Street in downtown Greenfield is one of the most historic and popular attractions on the east side of Indianapolis. The “Riley Home,” as it is known, is the childhood home of the of famous Hoosier poet, American writer and best-selling author, James Whitcomb Riley.
Historic National Road (US 40/ I-70)
A marker planted in a downtown Greenfield sidewalk explains that the U.S. Secretary of Transporation designated the Historic National Road from Maryland to Illinois an All-American Road. Indiana is actively working to preserve its segement of the road, including the many structures and landscapes that exist along its corridor.
Willowes Basketry and Yarn Haus (Historic Building)
Each year, on the first Thursday of October, one of the largest craft festivals in the state of Indiana commences. Known as the Riley Festival, or simply “Riley Day,” the event is a celebration of the birth date of James Whitcomb Riley, the “Hoosier Poet.”
Over 500 homes in central Greenfield are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, many of which were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
While there is no shortage of nationally-recognized stores in Greenfield, it is the many small, independently-owned establishments that speak to the character of the city more than anything. This is particularly true in downtown Greenfield, with its many eateries, boutiques and other small businesses.
Located at 100 W North Street, is a fine-dining establishment called Carnegie’s Restaurant. Carnegie’s offers a nice craft beer menu and lots of locally sourced food. The restaurant was founded in 1999. But perhaps what stands out most about Carnegie’s is the fact that it’s situated in the basement of the Hancock County Public Library.
Family Fun & Fitness
Hometown Classic Pizza
Hometown Comics and Games
Located at 1506 N State Street in Greenfield is a locally owned business and comic book shop called Hometown Comics and Games. Thought small, they do manage to fit a decent selection into the store, such as comics, games, cards, dice, figurines, etc.
Jack’s Donuts was founded in 1961, and has served central Indiana for 3 generations. The first shop was located in New Castle, Indiana. The Greenfield location can be found at 1522 N State Street in Greenfield. They serve everything from Tiger Tails, Carmel Nut Rolls to Applesauce Donuts and regular glazed donuts. April 2011 marked 50 years for Jack’s.
Legacy 9 Cinema
Lincoln Square Pancake House
Lincoln Square Pancake House is a family-owned pancake house, founded by George Katris, a native Greek who moved to the United States many years ago, along with his family. His very first pancake house was located at the corner of Lincoln Road in Kokomo–hence the inspiration for the name, “Lincoln Square Pancake House.” The family has since added seven locations, including Columbus, Greenfield, and Westfield. They serve everything from homemade omelets, egg sandwiches, and buttery biscuits to french toast, waffles and, of course, pancakes.
Located at 2221 W Main Street in Greenfield is a locally-owned pizza place, founded in 1982 by Mark Lee and his wife Chris. Mozzi’s Pizza features a deluxe buffet in a cool basketball-themed dining room.
Orphan Annie’s Mercantile
That Fun Place
Located at 1618 N State Street in Greenfield is a unique entertainment center, appropriately named “That Fun Place.” They offer a variety of fun activities, like indoor blacklight miniature golf, black light laser tag, a full-service pizza parlor, a 3-story indoor playground, arcade games, a prize counter, in addition to bounce houses and gem mine.
The Harbour Cafe (Live Music)
The Harbour Cafe is a welcoming little coffee shop that offers a cafe menu, coffee, ice cream and live music. Located in downtown Greenfield at 5 American Legion Place, the restaurant has interesting look to it on the inside, and offers a variety of seating options, including tables and chairs, as well as several comfy looking seating areas with couches and chairs.
The Mug Restaurant
Located at 117 Apple Street in Greenfield is a destination eatery of sorts called The Mug Restaurant. This local establishment serves pasture-raised meats, straight from a local farm Tyner Pond Farm. They offer a variety of sandwiches and hot dogs, and other menu items, including tenderloins, cubans, hamburgers, and even an interesting ice cream dish served with maple bacon and husk sweet corn.
Two Sisters Cakery
Located at 19A W North Street in downtown Greenfield is a locally-owned establishment called Two Sisters Cakery that makes cakes gor all occasions, in addition to cake pops, cupcakes, oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies and more.
Greenfield Parks & Trails
The city of Greenfield contains 7 parks and 1 trail. These include Riley Park, Beckenholdt Park, Brandywine Park, Riley Park Shelter House, Mary Moore Park, the Pennsy Trail, Rover’s Run Bark Park, and Commons Park.
The Greenfield portion of the Pennsy Trail runs from 400 East to 150 West (south of and parallel to US 40/Main Street). The trail has a rich history, dating all the way back to the 19th century, when it was officially known as the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was over this railroad that the body of Abraham Lincoln was transported back to Springfield, Illinois on April 30, 1865, stopping at many points along the way for grieving citizens.
Located at 2770 North Franklin Street, Beckenholdt Park, contains a 1.5-acre pond, fishing pier, wetland, observation deck, 2 acre dog park, walking paths, interpretive signs, a picnic shelter, and much more!
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