Workers on the Norfolk Southern Railroad were the first to settle in Brightwood and Martindale in the 1870s.
The towns thrived as the railroads did. But the area declined as the rail companies relocated south, then worsened when the modern interstate system divided neighbors from each other.
People fled, then businesses, and by 1967 Martindale was a federal poverty target area.
Today, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis, is working to renew Martindale-Brightwood.
Where once 13 vacant lots and one abandoned home marked a blighted neighborhood, today 14 affordable homes stand occupied by first-time homeowners – all of them purchased through a land bank.