Reader’s Question:

What can you tell me about Mary Stewart Carey’s Haverway Farm?  Do you know how big the farm was originally?  ~ Thanks, Steve P., Indianapolis 

HI’s Answer:

For readers who may not be familiar with her name, Mary Stewart Carey (1859-1938) was an Indianapolis civic leader, philanthropist, art patron, business woman, and socialite.  Best known as the founder of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Mary was also a founder of Orchard School, the Indianapolis Garden Club, Flower Mission, and possibly some of the other organizations to which she belonged.

In addition to founding the abovementioned organizations, Mary was a member of the Propylaeum, Dramatic Club, Indianapolis Woman’s Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, Indiana Historical Society, Matinee Musicale, Civic Theater, Art Association of Indiana, Society of Indiana Pioneers, Audubon Society, and the Progressive Club.  She was a member of Meridian Street Methodist Church, during the years that the building was downtown, first at New York and Meridian Streets and later at St. Clair and Meridian Streets.  In 1916, Mary Stewart Carey led the movement for Indiana to adopt a state flag during its centennial year, and she helped select the design for the flag.

Portrait of Mary Stewart Carey (photo courtesy of The children's Museum of Indianapolis)

Mary Stewart Carey, date unknown     (photo courtesy of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis)

Born in Greensburg, Indiana, in 1859, Mary Stewart Carey’s parents were Daniel Stewart (1824-1892) and Martha Tarkington Stewart (1836-1930).  Booth Tarkington and Mary “Hautie” Tarkington Jameson were Mary Stewart’s first cousins through her mother’s brother, John Stevenson Tarkington.  The Stewarts moved to Indianapolis in 1862, when Mary was three years old.  Although her father’s primary occupation was as a wholesale druggist, he also founded the Stewart Glass Company.  After Mary married John Newman Carey (1855-1926) on May Day in 1879, Carey went to work for his father-in-law.  Upon Daniel Stewart’s death in 1892, John N. Carey became president of the company, and it was renamed the Stewart-Carey Glass Company.

1915 Ad for the Stewart-Carey Glass Company (scan courtesy of

1915 newspaper ad for the Stewart-Carey Glass Co.

In 1903, John and Mary purchased a large brick house at 1150 North Meridian Street.  For the next two decades, the three-story mansion was the site of many family gatherings, as well as the location of numerous civic and social events.

In 1912, Mary learned of the availability of land known as the Sweetser Farm on the far north side of the county. It was common among successful citizens in those times to acquire land in the country, to have a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The property that caught Mary Stewart Carey’s eye had hills and hollows, towering trees, and the meandering Williams Creek running through it.

The story goes that husband John Carey was not completely in favor of the purchase, but the transaction occured nonetheless.  Mary Stewart Carey bought 103.75 acres of land in Washington Township, west of Spring Mill Road on what is today West 86th Street.  As a play on words for her determination to own the farm, the country getaway came to be known as “Haverway.”

November 18, 1912 item in The Indianapolis Star details the purchase of 103.75 acres by Mary Stewart Carey (scan courtesy of

1912 news item detailed the purchase of 103.75 acres

During the initial years that the Careys owned Haverway, it was primarily used as a place to which the family could go to relax.  As the years went by, Mary planted an apple orchard and began to raise Jersey cattle.  She also raised chickens and peacocks at their rural retreat.

1923 Indianapolis News article described activities at the summer homes of several city residents (scan courtesy of

1923 Indianapolis News article described activities at the summer homes of several city residents                        CLICK ON ARTICLE TO ENLARGE

Inspired by a visit to the children’s museum in Brooklyn, New York, in the spring of 1925, Mary convened a meeting of local leaders that led to the creation of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  After having briefly operated out of the Propylaeum’s carriage house at 14th and Delaware Streets and the Garfield Park shelter house on the south side, the museum sought a larger, more permanent location.The death of John Carey in 1926 prompted Mary to offer their home on North Meridian Street as a temporary site for the museum, until a new location could be found.  Despite its temporary location, the Children’s Museum remained at 1150 North Meridian Street for two decades before its board purchased the museum’s first building at 30th and Meridian Streets in 1946.

The loan of the Carey residence for the museum also led to Mary’s decision to make Haverway Farm her primary residence.   She lived at Haverway Farm for the rest of her life.  The address of the farm was known in those days as RD 16 Box 241. “RD” stood for Rural Delivery.

The 1931 Wagner map indicates that the Carey Realty Co. owned three parcels of land at that time — 65 acres, 10.144 acres, and 46.90 acres, for a total of  122.044 acres.  Apparently, the Careys acquired an additional 18.294 acres after purchasing the initial 103.75 acres from the Sweetsers.

1931 Wagner map indicates the Carey land extended both north and south of West 86th Street

1931 Wagner map indicates the Carey land extended both north and south of 86th St., between Spring Mill and Ditch Roads    (Indiana State Library)                                         CLICK TO ENLARGE

The July 14, 1931 Indianapolis News reported that Herron Art School students spent time at Haverway Farm sketching (scan courtesy of

The July 14, 1931, Indianapolis News reported that Herron Art School students sketched at Haverway Farm

Mary Stewart Carey passed away at Methodist Hospital on June 14, 1938.  Her death made the front page of all of the Indianapolis daily newspapers.

The report of Mary Stewart Carey’s passing appeared in the Indianapolis Star on June 15, 1938 (scan courtesy of the Indiana State Library) CLICK TO ENLARGE

Mary Stewart Carey’s death appeared in the Indianapolis Star on June 15, 1938                      CLICK TO ENLARGE

A few days after her death, the contents of Mary Stewart Carey’s will were made known.  Besides her two surviving children and three grandchildren (the children of a deceased daughter), five local organizations were beneficiaries of her estate.

The contents of Mary Stewart Carey's will were announced on June 18, 1938 (Indianapolis Star scan courtesy of Indiana State Library)

June 13, 1938 article in the Indianapolis Star

Only two of John and Mary Stewart Carey’s four daughters survived both parents.  Oldest daughter Martha Stewart Carey died in 1925, and youngest daughter Mary Tarkington Carey Appel died in 1931.  Second daughter Eleanor, who had married Ernest Irving Lewis in 1916, resided in Washington, D.C. at the time of her mother’s passing.  Third daughter Ruth, who had married John Morris Haines in 1911, was the only child who still resided in Indianapolis.  The Haineses were the logical heirs to take over the property.  John and Ruth resided at Haverway Farm together until John’s passing in September of 1941.  The widowed Ruth stayed on for a few more years, but by the time of the 1947 city directory, Ruth was no longer listed there.

Circa 1940s photo of the home at Haverway Farm (photo from the personal collection of Ruth Adams Linsmith)

Late 1930s or early 1940s photo of the home at Haverway Farm during the years John and Ruth Carey Haines resided there      (photo from the personal collection of Ruth Carey Adams Linsmith)

Another late 1930s or early 1940s photo taken at Haverway Farm when the Haineses lived there (photo from the personal collection of Ruth Carey Adams Linsmith)

Another late ’30s or early ’40s snapshot taken at Haverway Farm during the time John and Ruth Carey Haines lived there    (photo from the personal collection of Ruth Carey Adams Linsmith)

Owners of Haverway from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s were named Tischer, Spivey, and Scott.  During that time frame, the property was no longer identified by a rural delivery route number and was assigned an actual street address of 881 West 86th Street.  Over the years, portions of the acreage were sold to developers, reducing the size of Haverway Farm to its present size of just under 8 acres.

In 1964, Donald J. Hargadon and his wife, Emily Snyder Hargadon purchased Haverway.  They and their children lived there for about 26 years.  Coincidentally, that was about the same number of years that Mary Stewart Carey owned Haverway.  During the years that the Hargadons were the stewards of the land, the city grew out to, and all around, the once remote location.  Nonetheless, the acreage allowed the Hargadons the wonderful experience of living in a rural environment yet being close to urban amenities.

By the time the Hargadons made Haverway their home, the various structures built on the property over the years included the main house, a smokehouse, an arbor to the carriage house, an apartment over the 4-car garage, a barn, a pig shed, a milk house, an equipment shed, and a small one-room house.  Images of Haverway in different seasons appear below.

Haverway Farm during the winter holidays (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm during the winter holidays                         (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in spring (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in spring                                (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in Summer (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in Summer                                (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in autumn (photo on loan from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in autumn                                  (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in winter (photo on loan from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Haverway Farm in winter                               (photo from the personal collection of Cynthia Hargadon)

Steven Pettinga, the current owner of Haverway, grew up nearby on Spring Mill Road, a short distance south and east of the property.  When the farm was offered for sale in 2001, Pettinga purchased it with the intention of renovating the original farmhouse.  The farmhouse was believed to have dated to the 1880s.  An 1889 map of Washington Township appears to confirm that fact, as a small rectangular icon representing a residence is shown just east of Williams Creek.

An 1889 map of Washington Township indicates there was a residence close to the road, east of a bridge over Williams Creek (map courtesy of the Indiana State Library)

An 1889 map of Washington Township indicates there was a residence close to the road, east of a bridge over Williams Creek  (map courtesy of the Indiana State Library)                                           CLICK TO ENLARGE

Unfortunately, extensive termite damage to major structural components of the house doomed its survival.  A lovely new home now graces the grounds of Haverway Farm.  However, the original barn has been beautifully restored, and the grounds have been groomed and are well-maintained.

Handpainted metal sign at the entry to the property dates to the days of the farmhouse (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

Hand painted metal sign at the entry to Haverway Farm dates to the days when the 1880’s farmhouse was still standing    (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The barn at Haverway Farm has been restored (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)

The barn on the grounds of Haverway Farm has been beautifully restored by current owner Steven Pettinga                            (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)



15 responses to “HI Mailbag: Haverway Farm”

  1. Steven Pettinga says:

    I am absolutely thrilled to have the complete story of the farm’s legendary history. Thank you so much for filling in all of the blanks surrounding information we already knew.

  2. Lynne Helm says:

    Fascinating. Thank You so much for your diligent research.

  3. Cynthia Hargadon says:

    I echo Steve Pettinga’s comments…even though Haverway was my family’s home for decades, your article revived stories we learned about the property and filled in facts that I did not know. Thank you for your good work on Indianapolis history.

  4. Susie Root Ross says:

    Cindy – this is very random I know but…. This is Susie Root (now Ross). I came across this article about your old house and was intrigued by the history but even moreso when I saw your photos and comments attached. Believe it or not, I am still in Indianapolis and for the last 34 years have lived in the house we bought from John and Jane Stone. Yes, still on the river. 🙂 Hope all is well with you! It would be fun to catch up.

  5. Paul Boat says:

    Thank you so much for this article. My grandfather, Dr. E. Paul Tischer owned this property during the Fifties. Although he owned several properties around Indianapolis, as he liked, for some reason, to move around, this was a great family favorite, and my mother and aunt have wonderful memories of living there. My grandparents were avid gardeners, and there are tales of lots of gardens around the property, some of which the Botany students from Butler used to use as a sort of outdoor laboratory. There were also memories of barn parties and even a creek, full of leeches, that they were warned away from but still found irresistible during their meanderings. Anyway, I have long looked for the history of that house, and I had no idea of the name, although I’m sure my grandfather probably told me at some point, but he passed in ’82, and grandmother before I was born.

    I have thousands of my grandfather’s to go through, but I think that there might be some good shots of the house and gardens. I’ll share some good ones with you.

  6. Paul Boat says:

    Slides, that is.

    Thank you again for this, and so many other, wonderful posts.

  7. Peter scott says:

    Periodically, I scan the internet for new information on Haverway Farm – apparently not too often, as Sharon Freeland’s lovely piece, discovered just today by me, was written in 2014. Although I am late to the party, I am happy to have found her article, and I hope it is not so late that I can’t add a story of my own. It has Haverway at its heart and speaks of family remembrance. But first, I will add my thanks to Ms. Freeland for such a thorough and lovingly-told history of the property.

    Haverway was owned by my parents from 1958 or 1959 to 1964, the year my father’s employer transferred him to the United Kingdom. My wife and I live in Georgia now, but we started our married life in Indianapolis. Years after we moved to Georgia, during the summer after she graduated from college (1999), our older daughter moved to Chicago. In a rented truck with a starter set of furniture, the three of us made the trip north from Atlanta. We decided we could make it as far as Indianapolis on the first day, and I thought it would be fun to show our daughter the places I lived as a boy and the houses her mother and I lived in the first years of our life together. The last stop was Haverway. We parked across the street, and I took a “tour” of Haverway from outside the brick wall. Walking up and down the wall from the creek on the western border to the barn on the eastern end of the property brought back many memories.

    Four years later the same trip was repeated when our younger daughter, freshly post-college herself, also moved to Chicago. This time we were in for a surprise. Approaching the property from the east on 86th Street, we saw that the farm house was gone and in its place, in the late stages of construction, was a beautiful new house. Once again, I “walked the wall,” which I was happy to see was still there. I noticed a couple other details that tempered the sadness I was feeling about the house being replaced. The new owner, I decided, had a sense of the property, which still was intact. The grounds had been cared for meticulously, and on the brick pillar next to the front gate was a plaque declaring this to be (as I recall) “Haverway Farm – Old State Road 100.”

    So the historic property where my twin brother, our sister, and parents had spent so many fun and meaningful times together is still with us, and I am grateful for that. Thank you, Steven Pettinga, as it is obvious that you love Haverway as much as we Scotts! And thank you, Cynthia Hargadon, for providing Ms. Freeland with the wonderful photos embedded in her article. The through-the-seasons reality they depict from the ?1970s, ?1980s confirms for me that my memory of the Haverway landscape from years earlier remains crystal clear.

  8. David Buchanan says:

    I’ve always wondered where the wonderful ornamental ironwork atop the brick wall originally came from. It looks much earlier, like it might have been part of a large, grand commercial or governmental building. Is any history of it known?

  9. Anonymous says:


  10. Steven Pettinga says:

    The Tischer mailbox ID is still in the barn. According to Don Hargadon, the gentleman I purchased the Farm from, I’m probably the 6th caretaker of this very special place since the 1800’s. Don told me, “you don’t own this place, you’re the Caretaker”; and he was correct. It’s an honor to protect this place and keep it up. When we were cleaning out the debris from the barn, because they didn’t have trash service back then; if you couldn’t burn it, you’d store it in or behind the barn. Since I knew that (was it Dr. Tischer?) the Tischer’s had owned the farm, I kept it. If you’d like it, contact me. I’d love to show you around. CL1-7009. – Steven Pettinga

  11. Steven Pettinga says:

    I’d love to see those slides Paul. Please contact me. -Steven Pettinga

  12. Steven Pettinga says:

    The iron work was from Mary Stewart Carey’s home at 11th & Meridian. She donated it and started The Children’s Museum in that house. She basically only took the iron work and the beveled glass dining room windows and the beveled glass around her former homes front door. They now adorn the barn, as well as the sliding doors from the Carriage House / Dormitory for the farm workers. When I got here, I had the iron work checked out, repaired, and secured. The Iron specialist who did the work said that it would most likely last another 100 years. The rust protects the iron, so don’t remove rust from iron if you can help it. – Steven Pettinga

  13. Mike Berkowitz says:

    COMMENTPete Scott, Mike Berkowitz saying hello. Would love to hear about your exploits. Best regards, MB

  14. Steven Pettinga says:

    Pete Scott, Mike Berkowitz If you are ever passing through Indianapolis, call me at Clifford one – seven zero, zero , nine. If you have photos, please bring them. The same goes out to others who have had a connection to the Farm, or have just had an interest in it over the years. I’m retired, so, most days after 10 or 11 AM work. – Steven Pettinga

  15. Brad Skiles says:

    Phenomenal story. I love this history.

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