I’m curious if you know anything about the old Parry Mansion in Golden Hill. I cannot find a record of the house’s address, as most folks refer to all of Golden Hill as his estate, which it was at one time. Google Earth shows the home overgrown, even in the time of the photo. ~ Mindy H., Meridian-Kessler
The Golden Hill mansion that started its distinguished life as the home of the Parry family is located at 3650 Spring Hollow Road. When it changed hands in the fall of 2012, the residence had previously had only four owners in more than a century of its existence. Only three families have actually occupied the home. The property received little maintenance in the four decades that the most recent of the previous owners resided there. The home and its grounds are now undergoing an extensive renovation by its new owner, Jerico Properties.
In 1900, Indianapolis manufacturer David MacLean Parry purchased 100 acres of land four miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis. The densely wooded tract was in the vicinity of what would later be known as West 38th Street and Michigan Road. It was just west of Crown Hill Cemetery and just south of the original location of the Indianapolis Country Club. In 1914, the membership of the ICC split, with Woodstock Club remaining at the original site, and the Country Club of Indianapolis building a new facility on the far west side of Indianapolis. The Central Canal and towpath are immediately adjacent to the grounds, and the property overlooks the White River, as well.
David Parry made a fortune with his Parry Manufacturing Company, which was established in Indianapolis in 1886. The company first made carts, then buggies, and then automobiles. At the time Parry decided to move to the outskirts of town, he and his family were living in another magnificent Indianapolis home at 1305 N. Delaware Street. Built in 1874 by Hervey Bates, Jr., the castle-like property later became home to the Knights of Columbus. Sadly, that noteworthy residence was demolished in 1963.
As noted in the “HI Mailbag” question, David Parry named his country estate “Golden Hill.” He built an incredible residence that with additions by the subsequent owner eventually reached more than 16,000 square feet of finished rooms above ground, as well as a full basement below the living areas and a 1,100 square-foot garage. The Parrys moved into the home in 1903 or 1904. In 1915, David Parry fell ill after returning from a trip abroad and died at the age of 63.
Following his death, Parry’s widow and children divided the 100 acres of Golden Hill into residential building lots, but retained about 4.5 acres surrounding their own residence on Spring Hollow Road. After about a quarter of a century in the home, Parry’s widow, Hessie (Maxwell) Parry, sold the estate in 1927. She, as well as some of her children, lived in other nearby Golden Hill residences in subsequent years.
The second owner of the Parry-built residence was William Avery Atkins, nephew of Elias Cornelius Atkins. Members of the Atkins family operated E. C. Atkins & Co., the world’s largest manufacturer of saws and other related cutting tools. Coincidentally (or perhaps not!), a few years earlier, E. C. Atkins & Co. had purchased the city-block-long building at S. Illinois and W. South Streets that had formerly housed David M. Parry’s company, Parry Cart Works. Today, that downtown block is the location of the Main Office of the U.S. Postal Service.
William A. Atkins’s first wife was Suemma Vajen Coleman, who died in childbirth in 1924. The Suemma Coleman Home for Women was named for her. William Atkins married two additional times, to Eunice P. DuPuy and Mary Helen Sayles. Atkins remained in the Golden Hill property for the rest of his life. He hosted many memorable parties at the home over those three decades. His guests included local movers and shakers, politicians, and celebrities. During the years Atkins was the owner of the property, he made changes to both the exterior and the interior of the home that altered its original appearance considerably.
After William Atkins’ death in 1958, his third wife turned the property over to Indiana University, who sold it to its fourth owners, Jack and Betty Taube, in 1968. Jack Isadore Taube was an ophthalmologist. He was born in 1923 in Toronto, Canada. He came to Indiana for an internship at St. Vincent Hospital and a residency at Indiana University and wound up remaining in Indianapolis after completing his education. The Taube family household consisted of five daughters, all now grown. After first residing in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood, the Taubes moved to Golden Hill. They owned the home for more than four decades.
Dr. Taube passed away in October of 2010, and his widow sold the property to its present owner in November of 2012. Of the four past owners, the Taubes owned it the longest, about 44 years. The Atkinses lived there more than 30 years and the Parrys about 25 years. Nonetheless, it will likely always be referred to as the Parry Mansion.
When renovations are completed, the home will be a single-family, 8 bedroom, 8 full bath, and 2 half-bath residence. The third-floor ballroom is also being restored, reducing the number of bedrooms the home had in the past.
If you have a question about Indianapolis history, please send it to historicindianapolis(at)yahoo(dot)com, with “HI Mailbag” in the subject line, and I will do my best to answer it. ~ Sharon
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