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425 E. Kirkwood Avenue

From Bloomingpedia
Panda Express

425 E. Kirkwood Avenue is currently the address of a three-story residential and commercial brick and metal building. The first floor was occupied by the Panda Express restaurant, with two- and two three-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. The first floor is now a Five Guys restaurant.

In the early 1900's, the address was the location of a rooming house operated by Mary Spaulding. The rooming house became famous for being the birthplace of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity on Jan. 5, 1911, when 10 men gathered at the location to form the fraternity. There are now 400 chapters worldwide.

The Bloomington Evening World reported on July 18, 1913 that William R. McCune had purchased the Spaulding house for $4,000 and planned to build a home on the site. The Evening-World reported five days later that McCune planned to move the Spaulding house to a lot he owned on Smith Avenue. It reported on May 22, 1915 that architect John Nichols had prepared plans for a brick veneer residence for McCune. "The residence will be located on the lot Mr. McCune recently bought of Mr. Spaulding, just west of the Booth residence... He will occupy the Kirkwood Avenue property as a home". An examination of tax records and insurance maps fails to produce any evidence that the Spaulding house was relocated as reported. The house that was built on the site was a concrete block house, not brick veneer. The IU Archives photograph collection includes a photo in which the Spaulding house and the Booth house appear in the background. The Booth house, though much changed, still stands at the northwest corner of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street. Spaulding's house appears on 1907 and 1913 fire insurance maps as a one story house with no porch built on the lot line on Kirkwood Avenue. McCune's house appears on the 1927 map as a two story house with a front porch set back from Kirkwood Avenue.

Later, a commercial storefront was added to the house built by McCune, more or less on the front porch. In this state the building can be seen in Breaking Away, operating as a Baskin-Robbins franchise.

Afterwards, it became a Jiffy Treet. In August 1986, in conjunction with a national fraternity convention in Indianapolis, members of Kappa Alpha Psi visited the location and placed a memorial on the sidewalk in front of the Jiffy Treet to mark the historical significance of the site.

In 2006, the McCune house was purchased and demolished by developers Tartan Realty Group of Chicago, the same firm that demolished and renovated the Von Lee. The Jiffy Treet reincarnated as Hartzell's Ice Cream on Dunn Street when the owner anticipated rent increases in the current building, which was erected the following year.

Jiffy Treet

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