Reader’s question:

There is a large white frame house on Kessler Boulevard, a couple of blocks east of the Monon Trail, that I have admired for years.  It appears to be much older than the homes around it, as well as on a bigger lot.  Would you have any information on its history? ~ Lois H., Indianapolis     

HI’s Answer: 

The address of the house to which you refer is 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive. At approximately 130 years of age and with more than 4,100 square feet on nearly two acres of land, it is definitely older and larger than most of the properties around it.

1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive (1 January 2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland

The one-of-a-kind residence at 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive has been a Broad Ripple area landmark since the 1880s                        ( 2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland )

The land on which the home was built was originally part of a larger tract that was purchased from the United States of America on July 28, 1821, by the Reverend William Rector (1792-1873) and his wife Elizabeth Smith Rector (1795-1851).  In 1826, the Rectors sold their 75 acres to Elijah Dawson (1781-1858) and his wife, Mary Ann Hardin Dawson (1785-1865).  It remained in the Dawson family for the rest of the 19th Century.

Born in Virginia, the Dawsons came to Indiana via Kentucky, more than a decade before Indiana became a state in 1816.  The first five of the Dawsons’ ten children were born in Dearborn County.  The remaining five children were born in Marion County, after Elijah and Mary Dawson moved to the center of the state.  Over the next few decades, Elijah and Mary acquired several large parcels of land in Washington Township.  As their sons and daughters grew to adulthood, the parents gifted each child with some of the land they had acquired.

The youngest of the ten Dawson children was Jackson Dawson (1828-1892).  When Jackson turned 18 years of age in 1846, his parents deeded the 75-acre property to him.  The undeveloped land was a short distance south and east of the Town of Broad Ripple.  In 1850, Jackson married Lucinda Pursel Johnson (1832-1892). She was the daughter of John Johnson (1798-1854) and Sarah Pursel Johnson (1802-1848).  The Johnsons, Pursels, and Dawsons are among the oldest and most prominent families of Washington Township.  They, their in-laws, and their descendants, developed many areas in the vicinity of Broad Ripple, Glendale, Allisonville, Nora, Ravenswood, and Keystone at the Crossing.

1855 Condit, Wright, & Hayden map shows J. Dawson as the the owner of 75 acres (courtsy of the Library of Congress)

1855 Condit, Wright, & Hayden map shows J. Dawson as owner of 75 acres in Washington Township, south of Broad Ripple   (courtesy of the Library of Congress)          CLICK TO ENLARGE

Since there were no directories for rural areas in the 1800s, as there were for Indianapolis and other cities, the exact physical location of Jackson and Lucinda Dawson’s home was not ever listed in that type of printed resource. Census records clearly placed them in Washington Township in 1860, 1870, and 1880, but did not indicate a street address.  The 1890 Census was lost in a fire at the National Archives, so it is not available as a reference.  The first Census enumeration to provide recognizable street names and house numbers for areas outside the city limits was the 1900 Census.  Unfortunately, both Jackson and Lucinda died in 1892, so they never appeared on a census that gave an address that might be deciphered today.

1880 Census showed Jackson and Lucinda Dawson in Washington Township (courtesy

1880 Census showed Jackson and Lucinda Dawson residing in Washington Township of Marion County, Indiana            (courtesy               CLICK TO ENLARGE

However, an 1889 Atlas of Washington Township shows a small black square on Jackson Dawson’s land that’s labeled “Res.” In the map’s legend, it indicated that this mark represented a dwelling.  As the icon was in the exact location of the subject property, it can be assumed with relative certainty that the residence that survives today was erected no later than 1889.  It’s possible that it was built earlier than 1889.

1889 Atlas of Washington Township showed the icon of a residence in the same spot as the present home (map courtesy Indiana State Library)

1889 Atlas of Washington Township showed the rectangular icon of a residence in the same spot as the present home stands (map courtesy Indiana State Library)        CLICK TO ENLARGE

Lucinda Dawson died on March 9, 1892, of heart disease.  Jackson died on July 5, 1892, possibly from typhoid fever.  Jackson and Lucinda Dawson had six children, three of whom preceded the parents in death.  The three surviving sons, Marcellus, Elmer, and Ulysses, plus young George Kirkpatrick, a grandson born to the Dawsons’ deceased daughter, Cenora Dawson Kirkpatrick (1854-1884), became the heirs to their property.

March 10, 1892 Indianapolis News clipping announcing the death of Lucinda Johnson Dawson (courtesy

March 10, 1892 Indianapolis News clipping announcing the death of Lucinda Johnson Dawson


May 5, 1892 Indianapolis News clipping announcing the death of Jackson Dawson

July 5, 1892 Indianapolis News clipping announcing the death of Jackson Dawson


A second notice of Jackson Dawson's death appeared in The Indianapolis News on May 5, 1892 (scan courtesy of

A second notice of Jackson Dawson’s death appeared in The Indianapolis News on July 5, 1892

Years before his death, Jackson Dawson had attempted to make arrangements for dividing the land equitably among his heirs.  However, he died intestate, so those plans were called into question.  Some documents were not clear.  Other documents were contested as fraudulent.  Still other agreements were verbal and not recorded. There were also leases with the Ohio Oil Company and the Indiana Pipe Line that had to be resolved.   In addition to the 75-acre tract south of what is now Kessler Boulevard, Jackson also owned a tract of land north of what is now Kessler Boulevard, a half-mile east of the home discussed here.

Elmer Dawson (1863-1964), the second-to-the-youngest of Jackson and Lucinda’s children, was named administrator of Jackson’s estate.  Elmer had already built a home for his family at 1602 Kessler Boulevard on the land that his father had promised to him back in 1884.  It was years before Jackson Dawson’s estate was finally settled.

On August 17, 1907, 25 acres of Jackson Dawson’s original 75 acres were deeded to Thaddeus R. Baker (1873-1956), who then deeded them to his sister, Florence Baker Holliday (1870-1947) just four days later. Thaddeus and Florence were the children of Indiana Governor Conrad Baker (1817-1885).  Florence was the wife of Jacquelin Smith Holliday (1867-1944), Chairman of the Board of W. J. Holliday & Company, a wholesale steel and iron firm founded in 1856 by his father, William Jacquelin Holliday (1829-1918).


On May 3, 1910, Florence Holliday sold the subject residence and 10 acres immediately surrounding it to Walter Jerome Goodall (1860-1934), who was secretary of W. J. Holliday & Company.  Florence retained the land alongside the Monon Railroad, which she later signed over to her son, Frederick T. Holliday (1897-1951).  Most of the latter parcel of land later became the Canterbury neighborhood.

May 3, 1910 Indianapolis Star listed the real estate transfer from Florence B. Holliday to Walter J. Goodall (courtesy

May 3, 1910 Indianapolis Star listed the sale to Walter J. Goodall

Walter Goodall and his wife, Lulu Osterman Goodall, resided at 2107 North Pennsylvania Street at the time they purchased the former Dawson property.  Their two-story frame home in the Herron-Morton Place Historic District, built around 1895, is still standing today.

The 1910 R. L. Polk Indianapolis Directory listed Walter J. Goodall at 2107 N. Pennsylvania Street (courtesy of

The 1910 R. L. Polk Indianapolis Directory listed Walter J. Goodall at 2107 N. Pennsylvania Street           CLICK TO ENLARGE

The Goodalls purchased the rural Washington Township property as a country retreat to which they could escape from the noise, dirt, and bustle of the city.  In those days, six miles from the center of town was out in the country.  The Goodalls only child, daughter Eleanor Josephine, married Ralph Clemens Vonnegut (1896-1985) in 1922.  Ralph was vice-president and treasurer of the Vonnegut Hardware Co. and a first cousin of Kurt Vonnegut Sr., the author’s father.  Living relatives of the Goodalls recall their elders having many fond memories of time spent at the family’s summer home.

Abstract of Title prepared for Walter J. Goodall when he purchased 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive (document courtesy of AliceAshby Roettger)

The Abstract of Title prepared for Walter J. Goodall and passed on to Albert Worm in 1915 is still in existence today      (document courtesy of Alice Ashby Roettger)

Street view of the home 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive taken from the northwest and looking towards the southeast (2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Street view of the home at 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive taken from the northwest and looking to the southeast (2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

1913 article in the Indianapolis Star (courtesy of

1913 item in the Indianapolis Star         

In 1913, the Goodalls purchased a lot at 4156 Washington Boulevard.  In 1914, they began construction of a much larger home than their Herron-Morton Place abode.  The new Goodall residence was in the area that organized as the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood in 1965.  In 2008, a portion of the MKNA area immediately around the home was designated the Washington Park Historic District.   The home was a 5-bedroom Prairie Style brick home with a ballroom on the third floor and servants quarters, situated on a 300′ deep lot.

In 1951, 4156 Washington Boulevard mysteriously disappeared from city directories and area maps.  Some creative sleuthing resulted in the discovery that 4156 Washington Boulevard had been renumbered to 4106.  The new owners of the Goodall residence in 1950 were Sampson B. Moxley (1912-1988) and Lucina Ball Moxley, who chose a different address for the property using numerology.

Walter and Lulu Goodall purchased a building lot in the 4100 block of Washington Boulevard (courtesy of

The Goodalls purchased a building lot in the 4100 block of Washington Boulevard

May 9, 1914 clipping from the Indianapolis News (courtesy of

May 9, 1914 clipping from the Indianapolis News  

On December 18, 1915, the Goodalls gave up their country getaway and sold it to abattoir Albert R. Worm (1870-1944) and his wife (“et ux”).  More information about Albert Worm, his businesses, and the home can be found in a 2015 Historic Indianapolis article by Libby Cierzniak here.

1915 Indianapolis News clipping reported the transfer from Goodall to Worm and wife (courtesy

1915 Indianapolis News clipping reported the sale to Worm and wife

A 1931 newspaper article by Agnes McCulloch Hanna mentioned two Dawson properties that were still standing at that time.  The Dawson home that was on East 62nd Street / Broad Ripple Avenue, west of Keystone Avenue, was demolished in the late 1950s.  A Kroger Supermarket, Haag Drugs, and Huddle Restaurant were built on that corner around 1960.  In more recent years, a Marsh Supermarket was built on that site.  The other Dawson home mentioned in the 1931 article was 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive.

April 4, 1931 Indianapolis Star article mentioned two Dawson residences (courtesy of

1931 Indianapolis Star article by Agnes McCulloch Hanna mentioned two Dawson homes              CLICK TO ENLARGE

In 1934, Margarethe D. (Lockhenhoff) Worm passed away.  She was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.

December 18, 1934 obit in the Indianapolis Star (courtesy of

December 18, 1934, funeral notice in the Indianapolis Star

Two years after his wife’s death, Albert Worm placed a personal notice in the newspaper.

(courtesy of

On April 10, 1937, Albert Worm married Anna Kupfersberger.  Anna had been the Worms’ live-in housekeeper since the early 1920s.  The Worms and Kupfersbergers, all of whom were German immigrants, were members of Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ at North and New Jersey Streets.

The 1941 Baist Atlas showed the 10 acres that Albert Worm bought from Walter Goodall, as well as the land west of it and south of it that had once been part of the Dawson farm.

1941 Baist Atlas shows the 10 acres surrounding 1215 Kessler Boulevard E Dr adjacent to the Holliday's acreage of 43+ acres (map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Archives)

1941 Baist Atlas shows the 10 acres surrounding 1215 Kessler Boulevard E Dr adjacent to the Holliday’s acreage of 43+ acres (map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Archives)         CLICK TO ENLARGE 

In 1943, the Worms divided their 10 acres into 31 residential building lots, which they named Oakridge Addition. Seven of the lots — Lots 3, 4, 5, 6, 28, 29, and 30 — are part of the property at 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive.  The remaining lots had homes built on them in the 1940s and 1950s.

1949 ad touts a home in the new Oakridge Addition of which 1215 Kessler Boulevard is now a part (courtesy of

1949 ad for new Oakridge Addition, of which 1215 Kessler Boulevard is now a part

In 1944, Albert Worm passed away.  He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery alongside his first wife, Margarethe.  His second wife, Anna Kupfersberger Worm, was his only survivor.

1944 obituary for Albert Worm appeared in the Indianapolis Star (courtesy of

1944 obituary for Albert Worm appeared in the Indianapolis Star      

View of 1215 Kessler Boulevard taken from the southeast and looking northeast ( 2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland )

Side view of the home at 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive, taken from the southeast and looking towards the northeast  (2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Since the 1960 death of Albert Worm’s second wife, Anna, the home at 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive has been passed on to later generations of Anna’s family.

Niece of Albert Worm's second wife inherited the property upon her death (courtesy of

Albert Worm’s second wife passed away April 2, 1960

Obit of William Hubert, brother-in-law of Alfred Worm's second wife (courtesy of

June 28, 1973, obit of William Hubert, brother-in-law of Alfred Worm’s second wife

1981 obituary of Anna Kupfersberger Hubert's niece (courtesy of

Jannuary 5, 1981 obituary of Anna Kupfersberger Worm’s niece, Elsa

2013 obituary of Elsa M. Hubert (courtesy of

April 12, 2013 obituary of Elsa M. Hubert          (

Upon the death of Elsa M. Hubert in 2013, the property passed to her nephew.  Out of respect for his privacy, I will not publish his name here.  Although there were attempts to sell the landmark home in 2015, it would appear from public records that the nephew is still in title to the property.

View of 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive from the east (1 January 2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

View of 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive from the east side and looking due west  (2016 photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

60 responses to “HI Mailbag: 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive”

  1. Joyce Bradley says:

    Thank you for this article. I found it very interesting. As a history buff and amateur genealogist, I enjoyed following along the family lines of these families and this house. I used to pass this house for years,,,but really never noticed it.
    I enjoyed seeing names of these people who helped grow and shape Indianapolis. Very interesting!

  2. George Starkey says:

    Now that’s what I call history! What a wonderful article and fascinating tale of the area. I’ve seen this beautiful home since the 70s, and am thrilled to learn so much about it. I hope one day it is on one of the Home Tours.

  3. Steve R. says:

    I wonder if the Reverend Rector who first owned the property is part of the Rector family for which Rector Hall and the Rector Scholar award at DePauw University is named?

  4. Bev Thompson says:

    Fascinating research. Thank-you so much!

  5. Julie Dunlap says:

    As a kid, I remembered being told that this home (or perhaps another older home nearby) had been part of the Underground Railroad. Not sure how well that story fits into the timeline of the home if it wasn’t built until 1880. Any ideas?

  6. Victor Prince says:

    Great article. Thanks for taking the time to write it and share it.

  7. Scott Shoemaker says:

    I loved learning more about the history of that house. One thing left out, however, is that the United States originally acquired the land from the Miami Nation, who ceded it to them in the Treaty of St. Mary’s in 1818. I am a citizen of the Miami Nation, and my ancestor Mihtohseenia was one of the several leaders who signed that treaty.

  8. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you for that correction. You are absolutely right. Historians tend to start their discussion of a property at the point a pioneer bought the raw land from the federal government, which does not begin to tell the whole story.

  9. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

  10. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I don’t pretend to be very knowledgeable about the Underground Railroad, but it would seem to me that it would have ceased its operations when the Union Army won the Civil War. There would have been no need to hide slaves, once slavery was abolished. The two large homes on large lots on Kessler Boulevard between the Monon Trail and Keystone Avenue are this one at 1215 and a brick home at 1315. The subject home was built in the 1880s, and the other home was built about 1906. I think people who have always wondered about these two landmarks may just have active imaginations.

  11. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write.

  12. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I wondered the same thing. My mother went to DePauw (Class of 1942), so of course I knew about the Rector Scholarship. I did a little searching for information on Reverend Rector, and it looks as if he wound up in Iowa after leaving Indiana. Since he was a Methodist minister, and since the name Rector is not that common, I would bet there is a connection somewhere between William Rector and Edward Rector. I’ll let you know if I find anything to support that.

  13. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks, George,
    When I was Executive Director of the Broad Ripple Village Association, we attempted to get 1215 Kessler Boulevard on our annual Broad Ripple Historic Home Tour. Elsa Hubert always politely declined.

  14. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks for writing, Joyce,
    I find it fascinating to learn how the various areas of town — and the landmark homes within them — developed over the years.

  15. Mike O'Banyel says:

    Sharon – First, thanks for this site! I didn’t realize you did this, but I’m so glad you do, and i’ll be checking back often. Second, I’m sure you connected that Walt Vonnegut, from Tab, was also a cousin of Kurt. His daughter is married to one of the McDonald boys. I wonder if any memories were passed down on that side of the family. Thanks again – great research and article!

  16. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Hi, Mike,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
    Yes, I am aware of Walter Vonnegut’s connection to his more famous cousin. Walt was actually the grandson of the people who owned 1215 Kessler Boulevard East Drive from 1910 to 1915, that is, Walter and Lulu Goodall. I believe Walt was named for his grandfather. Also, Walt’s middle name was Goodall, his mother Eleanor’s maiden name. I did get to speak with Nonie Vonnegut-Gabovitch and Richard Vonnegut about their ancestors’ summer home prior to writing the article. They are our contemporaries, so they weren’t alive when the Goodalls owned the property, but they grew up hearing stories about it.
    I have written more than 90 articles for Historic Indianapolis. I’m sure there are a number of subjects that would interest you (like the one I did on Tab’s Recreation Department). If you want to see a list of the topics, here is a link to all of the “HI Mailbag” pieces I’ve done:
    Best wishes to you and your family for a great year.

  17. Shalyn says:

    We live right near this house and my fiancé and I pass this place every day on the way to our respective workplaces. I know it was for sale at the tail end of 2015. Do you know if it ended up selling?

  18. Shalyn says:

    Ack! I am very sorry, I stopped right before the last paragraph where you addressed this! Thanks for a great article!

  19. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    It did not sell. The nephew of Elsa Hubert is still the owner.

  20. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    No problem.

  21. BILL BIRSFIELD says:

    My parents built a home at 5815 Norwaldo Av in 1941, not very far east of this home. I was six years old. I have gone by this house thousands of times. I passed this Kessler house every time I went to BRHS, Butler U, and going to work in downtown Indy. I now live in Moab, UT. If you ever get to Moab, please call me. I will give you files that will keep you busy for a long time.

  22. Nancy Broyles says:

    My husband and I have always wondered about the Kessler Boulevard house. We have lived in the Goodalls’ Washington Boulevard house for many years and did not know of the connection. The article actually provided us with more history of our house than we had previously. Thanks for your research and writing. It was fascinating.

  23. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you for posting a comment. I was really pleased to figure out which home in the 4100 block of Washington Boulevard was the Goodalls’. I had been scratching my head for a couple of days, since all of the records on the Goodalls’ home from 1913 to 1951 had the address of 4056 Washington Boulevard. I was beginning to think that the house had been demolished, and that neighbors on either side had taken some of the land to widen their own lots. Because the next even number south of 4056 in later directories was 4016, that number seemed too much lower than 4056 to be a plausible change in numbering. I began scouring the 2012 Historic Meridian Park book and finally found the answer. In the (rather small!) paragraph about 4016 Washington Boulevard, I found the answer. Do you have any notion of why the address was changed?

  24. Nancy Broyles says:

    Hi Sharon,
    We have no idea why it was changed. Someone else asked yesterday. It would be interesting to know as we, too, are curious.

  25. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    If someone else asked you yesterday, that may have been the result of my asking questions. I was a real estate broker for many years, and I still have a lot of friends in the business. I reached out to some of them for help, when I couldn’t figure out what became of 4056 Washington Boulevard.
    Since I was up against a deadline, I had to let the unanswered question go. In reflecting on it since the piece was published, it occurred to me that the owners at the time of the address change would probably have an idea. The new owners in 1950 were Sampson B. and Lucina (Ball) Moxley. Sam was owner and president of the Haag Drug Co. He passed away a number of years ago.
    Lucina was the daughter of William H. Ball of the Muncie glass jar company, and the last I knew, Lucina was still living. I would guess she is about 97 years old now. Maybe Lucina can shed some light on this puzzle? Or one of her daughters could? I will try to locate her.

  26. Sam Jacobs says:

    Hi Sharon:
    A fascinating article. I grew up in the 1950s not too far from there on Primrose near Broad Ripple Park. I don’t remember that house at all, but I was always curious about another much more modest old house at 1501 E. Kessler Blvd. where they sold plants in the summer. It appeared to be much older than any other house in the neighborhood, and I was wondering whether there might be an interesting story behind it also.
    I just looked it up and saw that it was built in 1890. Our former house and the others around it weren’t built until 1927.
    Also one of your other readers was asking about the Underground Railroad. I remember that when I was in high school, I knew a girl who lived in a house on the southeast corner of 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard (right near North Central High School) that she said had once been a stop on the Underground Railroad. I know that house is long gone, but it could be the subject of a future article.

  27. Ginny Walsmith Hart says:

    Hi Sharon!
    Have not seen you for 50 years!?
    Great article…answered a lot of questions I had about the property.
    One bathroom? Really?

  28. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Hi, Ginny,
    Thank you for posting a comment. Yes, it’s been a while since we last saw one another, although I did see photos of you at your NCHS reunion last summer on Fred Jones’ Facebook page. Great cheerleading!
    Despite exhaustive research on the history of the Kessler Boulevard property and its past owners (only about half of which made it into the article), I have not been inside the home. When I was Executive Director of the Broad Ripple Village Association (2006-2012), we contacted Elsa Hubert several times about having it on the Broad Ripple Historic Home Tour, but she always declined.
    Since I’ve never been inside, I was not aware that it has only one bathroom. You must have learned that detail when it was for sale last year.
    I hope life is treating you well. Maybe we could get together some time?

  29. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Mystery solved! I spoke with Lucina Ball Moxley this morning. She told me that she and her husband, Sampson B. Moxley (1912-1988), were responsible for the change in the address. Their decision to change the house’s original number was based on numerology. She did not elaborate as to which method of numerology they used to select 4106 or why that number was significant to them.

  30. Marian Ely Ward says:

    What fun to read that article! Our first home when we married was at 1607 Kessler. That home itself was quite a bit older than its surrounding neighbors. We bought it from the estate of the three sisters who built it after WWI, and lived there until they died in the 80’s. We loved that we were in a little bit of history, and reading your article shed so much more light on the many names still familiar to those of us who have lived in the Broad Ripple area all our lives. Thanks for all your hard work on this.

  31. Mary O'Shea DeCabooter says:

    Sharon, I was most impressed with the comprehensive overview and research done for this article. I found it extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing a part of Indianapolis history with which I was unaware (out of the tons I don’t know). Thanks for your diligent work.

  32. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Mary. I find the many interconnections among people, their relatives, their homes, their friends, and the events that occurred during their lifetimes to be quite fascinating. Let me know if/when you visit Indy. We missed you at our (fabulous, in my humble opinion) class reunion last summer.

  33. Shirley Rust says:

    The house was up for sale at the time of the Broad Ripple Home Tour. It was open for viewing that day, so I went through it. The house is still beautiful but needs updating, especially the kitchen. The main entry and staircase are still beautiful to this day, with a very interesting stained glass artwork at the top. There are two or three bathrooms that look as if they have been recently added.

  34. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks for your report, Shirley. A comment from an earlier reader indicated that there was only one bath in the house. Sounds like the seller realized that was a stumbling block and remedied it.
    Look on the bright side. It may have had NO baths when it was built. 🙂

  35. Greg says:

    Interesting article! Out of curiosity, I looked up the property card, which does show only 1 bathroom. The card also says that the year of construction was 1880.

  36. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment, Greg.
    A reader commented earlier on there being only one bath in the house. She didn’t elaborate as to whether she read that somewhere or saw it herself, in person. Another reader commented on Facebook that she had toured the house when it was on the market last fall, and there were three baths, two of which looked pretty recent.
    While the property cards are a guide, they are not always accurate. Or maybe they were accurate at one time, but haven’t been updated. Since this property has been in the same family for more than a century (1915 to present), its record probably hasn’t received the same attention that a home that’s changed hands has. A home that has sold has a better paper trail, plus each time it was on the market, there was an opportunity to update its information.
    Regarding the year of construction, I conceded in the article that the home could have been built prior to 1889, but I could find no document that stated that fact. All I could confirm is that it existed by the time of its appearance on the 1889 map.

  37. Alan Goebes says:

    Always impressed by your research. My only minor quibble—must be a typo on the date Albert Worm married for the second time. The date given is 1947–since he died in 1944, I wonder if that second marriage took place in 1937.
    Re the Underground Railroad, there are many supposed sites, but relatively few that can be documented in any way. Obviously, no post-Civil War house could have been involved. What to do with run-away slaves became a problem early in the war for Union officers, as slaves sought shelter behind Union lines. Union General Benjamin Butler, who occupied New Orleans in May of 1862, declared them contraband of war, and refused to return them to their owners. Many other officers followed suit. As I understand it, this idea essentially became law under the Second Confiscation Act, passed in Aug of 1862.

    The expert on this topic is Jeannie Regan-Dinius of the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (Department of Natural Resources), who has been studying it for several years now. I saw her give a presentation at the Indiana State Fair last fall and was very impressed. She is evidently doing a program on “the Underground Railroad in Indiana” in several locations in the upcoming weeks—see the list of “Upcoming Events” at the DHPA website here–

  38. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you, Alan,
    You are absolutely right about the date. Albert Worm’s marriage to Anna Kupfersberger was on April 10, 1937. I can’t believe I didn’t catch that when I proofed it.
    Thanks also for the heads up about Jeannie Regan-Dinius. I will try to catch one of her programs in coming weeks.

  39. Betty Hollingsworth says:

    Wonderful job of research. My family lived a few blocks east of this beautiful old home, and I wondered about it so many times when I passed it by. Thanks so much for the info!!!

  40. Scott Goodwine says:

    Sharon, Your articles are all very fascinating. My Family has been in Indianapolis since the early 1900’s, with the oldest residence still standing on East street in the Lockerbie area. I attempt research now and then, but have yet to get it all organized. Again, thank you for your articles.

  41. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Thank you, Scott.
    I appreciate your taking the time to write, especially since your comments were positive ones. 🙂
    My family has been in Indianapolis since 1840, which I didn’t learn until I was in my mid-40s. Now I’m hooked on Indianapolis history!

  42. Wendy Adams says:

    Would you happen to know the name of the architect who designed the Goodalls’ Washington Blvd. house? I’ve heard that it was possibly someone named Sanford White, but I can’t find anything on anyone named “Sanford White.”

  43. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Interesting question. I do not know who the architect was for 4156 Washington Boulevard. I just now searched the 1913 and 1914 Indianapolis city directories for the name, Sanford White. There was no one by that name listed. I also searched those same directories for their lists of architects. There was no one by that name listed there, either. I will try some other searches and let you know if I find anything.

  44. Sam Jacobs says:

    There was a famous architect named Stanford White, who was shot to death in 1906 by a man named Harry K. Thaw because White had been having an affair with Thaw’s wife, Evelyn Nesbit, also known as “The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing.” It was a very famous murder case.

    I have no idea whether Stanford White ever designed any buildings in Indianapolis.

  45. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    If Stanford White died in 1906, then he could not have been the architect for the Goodalls’ residence. The Goodalls bought the lot at 4156 Washington Boulevard in 1913. Construction on the home began in 1914. The house was completed by 1915. The Goodalls were in the society pages of the newspapers, entertaining in their new home in 1916.
    Since Walter Goodall was partners in a company with members of the Holliday family, and since Walter and Lulu Goodall’s daughter, Eleanor, married a Vonnegut, my guess is that the architect for the Goodalls’ home was someone in one of those circles of friends or relatives.

  46. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I’ve just done a search of newspapers from 1890 to 1910, and I could find no mention of Stanford White ever being in Indianapolis. I did, of course, find lots of articles on his 1906 murder. What a piece of work Harry Kendall Thaw was.

  47. M. Richter says:

    Exceptional post. Great research.
    In the late 1960’s, I worked as the mail boy at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company located at 3333 N. Meridian St. There was a very sweet and very pretty young clerk working there named Jacqueline “Jackie” Prange. I once gave her a ride home to – 1215 Kessler Blvd. She lived there with her family.
    I passed the house frequently through the years and remember how beautiful it looked with the fall colors. Seems like they used to do a big Halloween pumpkin display on the front steps.

  48. Roy Schroeder says:

    Although there were attempts to sell the landmark home in 2015, it would appear from public records that the nephew is still in title to the property.

    For clarity. There were no “attempts”. There was one attempt and it sold. At slightly below asking.

    Roy W. Schroeder

  49. Liz says:

    Do you know if the Holliday property (I believe the children of Frederick settled in Zionsville – at Holliday Farm) is the same family as the family who dontated Holliday Park? (Both it appears were owned by John Hollidays but were different people) — wondering if any relation. I always thought they were separate but if the Zionsville Holliday Farm had roots in Meridian Kessler perhaps they are related afterall…


  50. Anonymous says:


  51. Mary Ann says:

    In the information provided about the Worms’ you said they were long time members of the Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ. Was that not the Zion Evangelical and Reform Church during that time becoming the United Church of Christ around 1952 or so? Very interesting information. Passed by that house so many times through the years and wondered about its past. Thank you for such an inclusive article.

  52. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    It also looks like the IBJ should be a HI supporter since the bulk of his article is lifted from this article. Sharon should have gotten credit in that article as well. I heard that this article helped persuade the buyer to purchase the house.

  53. Anonymous says:


  54. G. Ripple says:

    Love your articles and love this site. Since you wrote this article, the home was purchased by a well known realtor. It’s rumored that he’s had an offer from a builder/developer to raze the whole block and he’s been telling colleagues that he’d entertain that offer in the future, as part of his retirement plan. That would be devastating!

  55. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    That WOULD be devastating. Let’s hope this person is not that ruthless.

  56. DAN H DAWSON says:

    Very interesting article. I remember growing up in the Broad Ripple/Glendale area. My grandparents: Charles & Ester Dawson owned the house/property at 62nd & Burlington. Still there today as Joy’s House. The neighborhood in between 62nd to 65th streets and Keystone to Evanston was named after my family: Dawnbury. And subsequently: Dawnbury Shopping Center. I used to maintain the property, i.e. snow removal, grass cutting etc for my/the Dawson family. My grandfather, Chas M Dawson had 3 sons: Bob, uncle, Joe, uncle, and my dad, Howard. All born and raised at 62nd & Burlington house. My grandfather used to grow corn on the property now known as Glendale Shopping Center. He was also the Republican Lt. Governor of Indiana from 1941 til 1945.

  57. Judith L (ALLISON) Milligan says:

    Sharon: I have been doing some amateur searching for family history in the Indianapolis and Marion County area. Could you advise some places to search for families in the Garfield Park area. The names are Schlegel, William, Frederick, Robert. I believe Frederick came from Denzlingen, Germany – date ? and other information.

  58. Stephanie Anne Dawson Janicek says:

    I have been fascinated to read about the Dawson history. My Father was Grover William Dawson 1912-1980, Grandfather was Richard Francis Dawson, preceded by Grandison Marion Dawson and Squire Dawson. My 3 Greats Grandfather was Elijah Dawson who bought the acreage in 1826. I lived in West Lafayette and Rochester, Indiana, between 1966 and 1978 before moving back to my home state of Washington. Sadly, at the time I had not begun my family history search, and did not know about all the Dawsons who lived in Indiana. Now I’m trying to play catch-up. Thank you for all of the great history. I did get back for a visit before the little yellow Dawson building was demolished at 916 Westfield Boulevard. I had a photo of it, but my camera was stolen. I would love to obtain a picture of that building!

  59. Adeline Nicholas says:

    My great grandfather was Elmer Dawson. His daughter, Edith Camille Dawson was his daughter and my dad, Jack Dawson Nicholas’s mother. His dad Wilber H. Nicholas built lots of homes in Broad Ripple. My dad,in turn built homes in Nora and surrounding areas.

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