Reader’s Question:

Do you have any history on the house on the SW Corner of 75th and College?  ~  Ed Alexander, Indianapolis

HI’s Answer:

The house that’s located on the southwest corner of E. 75th and N. College Avenue has captured the attention of passersby for many years.  Perched on a hill, the imposing brick home has more than 6,000 square feet, when the space in the attic and basement are included in the calculation.  The current owners, a local attorney and his wife, bought the home in 1983 and have reared four children there.  They have enjoyed the feeling of being in the country, while actually living in the city.  Their wooded lot is well over an acre in size, plus it is directly across the street from the 84-acre Marott Park Woods Nature Preserve.  All kinds of wildlife regularly visit their property.

The three-story residence at 7566 N. College Avenue is more than 100 years old

Even in the dead of winter, the large home at 7466 North College Avenue is mostly hidden from the street by mature trees    (photo by Sharon Butsch Freeland)                                           [left click on photo to enlarge]

The very first owner of the property at 7466 N. College Avenue was James Bunnel (1780-1836).  Bunnel was born in Ohio and came to Marion County in about 1823, whereupon he purchased several tracts of land in Washington Township from the U. S. government.  Although Bunnel and his heirs owned this piece of land for a number of years, they did not ever construct a home on it.  He, his wife, and their children lived on another tract of land Bunnel purchased, just slightly north and east of this tract, near what later became Sutton’s Corner and later still, the community of Nora.

1823 Land Patent from the U. S. Government to James Bunnel

October 17, 1824, Land Patent from James Monroe, President of the U S of A, to James Bunnel (    CLICK TO ENLARGE

Unfortunately, James Bunnel did not live for very long after all of his land purchases.  Bunnel died in 1836 at the age of 56, and his wife Elizabeth died in 1845 at the age of 55. The couple and several other family members are buried in the Union Chapel Cemetery, near 80th and Keystone Avenue.

The original owner of the land at 75th and College is buried in the Union Chapel Cemetery

The original owner of the land at East 75th Street and College Avenue is buried in the Union Chapel Cemetery  (photo courtesy of FindAGrave)

About a decade after the deaths of James and Elizabeth Bunnel, their oldest son and primary heir, Ellis Bunnel, also passed away.  A page from the property’s Abstract of Title shows the legal transactions that occurred in the early and mid-1800s.  As the son died without a will, arrangements had to be made for the care of his minor children.

A page from the property's Abstract of Title shows the early legal transactions

A page from the property’s Abstract of Title shows early legal transactions     (document provided by the current homeowner)

As shown on an 1889 map of Washington Township, subsequent owners of the land included Joses H. Campbell and Margaret Featherston Campbell.  It’s possible there were other owners of the property while the acreage was still unimproved land, but those records are not readily available at this time.

Am 1889 map of Washington Township indicates the owners at that time, J. H. and M. Campbell

An 1889 Washington Township map indicates the owners then were J. H. and M. Campbell (map courtesy of Alan Hague)   CLICK TO ENLARGE

On March 24, 1908, Edward G. Peck and Olive H. Peck, husband and wife, and Thomas F. Hudgins and Lila P.  Hudgins, husband and wife, acquired just over 4 of the 80 acres of the original land grant to James Bunnel.  Lila Hudgins was the daughter of Edward and Olive Peck.  She had married Thomas Hudgins on 24 Jun 1903.  It’s possible the bride’s parents assisted the young couple in buying the land and building the home as a wedding gift.  The house was completed in 1909 or 1910, following which the Hudginses occupied it for about a decade.

In October of 1919, John Frederick Kassebaum and his wife Bertha DeVaney Kassebaum took title to the property, whereupon Thomas and Lila Hudgins moved to 3964 N. New Jersey Street.  During the years the Kassebaums resided at 7466 N. College Avenue, they built the eponymous mixed-use Art Deco property in Broad Ripple Village on the southeast corner of E. Westfield Boulevard and Guilford Avenue.  Built in 1928, with storefronts below and offices above, the building today houses Usual Suspects and Casba Bar, Periwinkle, Artifacts, Corner Wine Bar, and Ambrosia Ristorante.  When Kassebaum passed away in 1937, Mrs. Kassebaum was his sole heir.  Their only child, Paul DeVaney Kassebaum had died in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1915, at the young age of 22.

Fred and Bertha Kassebaum's only child died from tuberculosis

Announcement in The Sheridan News that the Kassebaums’ only child died from tuberculosis

In March of 1938, Dr. William W. Peet, a prominent Indianapolis dentist, his wife Irene Burkhart Peet, and their two children, Elizabeth and William Jr., became the third family to live in the home at 7466 N. College Avenue.  Interestingly, the Peets lived at 4455 Central Avenue when they purchased the Meridian Hills property, and the address to which Bertha Kassebaum moved when she sold the home to the Peets was 4455 Central Avenue.  It would appear the Peets and Mrs. Kassebaum worked out some kind of an arrangement to trade homes.

Dr. and Mrs. Peet owned the home for 45 years.  Following William’s death in 1972 and Irene’s death in 1982, the family conveyed the property to its present owners.  In its 102-103 years of existence, the house has had only four sets of occupants!

A line drawing of the home at 7466 N. College Avenue hangs in the residence

A line drawing of the home hangs on a wall in the residence    (photo of artwork provided by the current homeowner)

12 responses to “HI Mailbag: House at 75th and College Avenue”

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Sharon, you did a fine job here! Always wondered about the Kassebaum building in Broad Ripple…know where it is. Not bad knowledge for someone who grew up at East 21st and Emerson…

  2. Marilyn Jacobs says:

    We have loved this house too. It looks likes it is having some issues now. I looked at it on Zillow on my iphone which first says it is not for sale, but when you click on picture is shows Pre-Foreclosure (auction). This may be old. I hope someone got it and is fixing it up.

  3. Norm Morford says:

    Sharon — you are fantastic!

    Now, would you care to do the same kind of run-down on the house on the southwest corner of 96th and College.

    Some years ago I was trying to find a house for a very large family at a low price, and the house at 96th and College was empty — owner lived just the next house south. He said, “No.” I think it still sits just as it was at least two decades ago.

    Speaking of trades, do you know anyone in Raton, NM, that wants to trade with an old codger in Indy.

  4. Kevin M See says:

    Fascinating piece Sharon!

    When I was in high school, working for a little BMW/Mercedes garage, I had to drop off a customer’s vehicle at this house. I always was curious about who lived there, what the story of the home was, etc…. Now I know the whole story of the house!!! Superb! Thank you!

    Hope you’re well


  5. Kevin J. Brewer says:

    Loved the early Abstract information.

  6. Elizabeth Hague says:

    I’ve loved that house since I was little. I remember there were cherry trees in the yard. Thanks for your article, Sharon.

  7. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I thought it would be fun to include a page from this property’s abstract, for those who haven’t seen one in a while, as well as for those who have never seen one. When I started in the real estate business more than forty years ago (yikes!), many homeowners still had the abstracts on their homes. Although the practice of updating the abstracts had been replaced by title insurance policies by that time, people still kept the abstracts as historical documents. One of the traditional activities at the real estate closing table was the handing over of the bulging wad of papers that was the abstract, from the seller to the buyer. I think abstracts are becoming less and less available these days. People who don’t appreciate history are probably just pitching them when they move. And, of course, newer houses never had abstracts in the first place. However, virtually every home in the older neighborhoods would have had one at one time.

  8. Norm Morford says:

    Sharon — 40 years in real estate? What? Did you start when you were five years old?

  9. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Although I started in the real estate business more than forty years ago, I have not been in real estate for forty years. In reality, I have been out of the real estate business for longer than I was in it (20 years in it versus the 22+ years since then). In my twentieth year of working at my family’s real estate firm, 1990, my husband’s company relocated its operations from Indianapolis to Boulder, Colorado. During our fifteen years in Colorado, I did genealogy research and wrote a column for the Boulder Daily Camera. Upon my husband’s retirement late in 2005, we returned to our hometown of Indianapolis. From 2006 until 2012, I was the Executive Director of the Broad Ripple Village Association. I resigned from that position last year.

  10. basil berchekas jr says:

    That’s a good question, Norm!

  11. Amy Brink says:

    I used to live very close to the house that you are referring to. I was told by someone that had lived in the area for many years that at some point a house was moved from the NW corner of 96th and College to build the large office park there. That house was adjoined to the existing house on the lot on College but was done without city / zoning approval. The owner was unhappy with the city and continued to pay fines and property taxes on it but the issue has never been resolved. It may be urban legend and untrue but that’s what I was told. Several years ago I noticed that the windows and doors were replaced and some remodeling began to take shape but nothing has been done since.

  12. Norm Morford says:

    Gracias, Sharon. Have a good weekend.


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