One of the prominent "objects of interest" is the United States Arsenal building and grounds, situated on a commanding eminence east of the city, about half a mile north of Washington street, and one mile and a-half east of Circle Park.
The location of an Arsenal at this city was authorized by act of Congress, early in the Rebellion. Its establishment here was in March, 1863, and, pending the erection of the present buildings, a rented building, on the corner of Delaware and Maryland streets, was used for the purposes of the Arsenal, Captain William Y. Wiley O. S. K., in charge. Captain Wiley resigned his commission on the 14th of October, 1870.
The site of the Arsenal was selected by General Buckingham, and work on the buildings was commenced in August, 1863. These, with the exception of some minor details, have been completed and occupied some years.
Of these buildings the following is a brief description:
Main building--Three stories high, one hundred and eighty-three feet long, and sixty-three feet wide; for the storage of arms, &c.
Artillery Store-house--Two stories high, two hundred and one feet long, and fifty-two feet wide; for the storage of artillery, &c.
Magazine--One story high, fifty feet long and thirty-four feet wide; for storing powder.
Office--One story high, forty-three feet long and twenty-two feet wide.
Barracks--Two stories high, one thousand one hundred and five feet long and forty feet wide.
Two Sets Officers' Quarters--Two and a half stories high, eighty feet long and forty feet wide.
One Set of Officers' Quarters--One story and a half high, forty-seven feet long and twenty-eight feet wide.
All of these buildings, with the exception of a portion of the officers' quarters, are built of stone and pressed brick, and are both substantial and imposing in appearance.
The grounds consist of seventy-six acres, and have great advantages in respect of beauty as well as of utility. Nature has given the site a commanding elevation, an undulating surface and numerous forest trees. To these art has added the beautifying auxiliaries of shrubbery, fine drives and walks, &c. A stream of running water passes through one corner. About twenty-five acres are used for pasturage and garden purposes; the rest for the buildings and surrounding grounds.
The grounds and improvements--especially in summer and autumn-time--units in forming one of the most picturesque and attractive localities in the vicinity of the city.
The several commandants from the beginning have been: William Y. Wiley, Captain and O. S. K.; T. J. Treadwell, Captain of Ordnance; James M. Whittenmore, Captain of Ordnance; William H. Harris, Captain of Ordnance and Brevet Major U.S. A., the present commandant.
Holloway, W. R., Indianapolis, a Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City, a Chronicle of Its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress, with Full Statistical Tables, © 1870, pp. 257-258.