Grotesque. A grotesque is a sculpted or molded ornament usually depicting a fanciful creature or distorted human. Grotesques are typically placed high on the exterior of buildings beneath the eave or at the top of columns, giving the impression that they are leering down at the humans below them. Not to be confused with gargoyles, which are part of the gutter system of a building and act as water spouts, grotesques are purely decorative.

The grotesque in the photograph is one of several found on the interior of a residence in the 8000 block of Springmill Road. The house was designed by Avriel Shull and constructed in the 1960s. The local lore behind the source of these grotesques holds that they came from either the Hotel Lincoln’s or the Claypool hotel’s bar and were salvaged before those buildings were demolished.

It is an interesting story from a credible source. But so far it’s a story that cannot be confirmed. Perhaps a “Historic Indianapolis” reader recognizes this grotesque fellow and can settle the matter for us.

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