FisherMansion in 2005
It’s no surprise that the extravagant entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher also had an luxurious home.
In late 1909 or early 1910, Fisher and his wife Jane purchased the old 20-acre homestead that they renovated and adapted to their lifestyle. Renamed Blossom Heath, its 60-foot living room featured Oriental rugs, with a billiard table in one end of the room, a piano in the other, a big desk for Carl, a comfortable divan or two, and some arm chairs, with a huge fireplace where logs burned all day long. Fisher’s added 12 bedrooms upstairs to allow for plenty of guests especially on Speedway race days. There also was a spacious glass-enclosed porch. It had a 10-foot fireplace, along with swings, couches, writing desks, bookracks, wide window ledges full of magazines, a piano, and a Victrola.
The estate was extensive with a carriage house built for Carl’s mother, gardens, a polo field, stables for riding horses and polo ponies, a greenhouse, an indoor swimming pool, a glass-enclosed tennis court, grass and clay tennis courts, and a swimming pool for the dogs.
Blossom Heath was featured in an Indianapolis Sunday Star newspaper article on February 12, 1913. Betty Blythe wrote “I think that what pleases me most is its simple dignity. There is absolutely no suggestion of the ornate, no display of highly polished wood, no gingerbread work apparent, as to either house or furnishings.” The greenhouse, she noted “…is one of Mr. Fisher’s pet fads, and it serves a utilitarian purpose in addition to supplying the house with beautiful flowers the year round. Hot house delicacies have been appearing on the family table regularly all year.”
Of the living room Blythe said “It’s a room to live in, to work in, to play in – to be happy in.” She was impressed that the Fishers had remodeled the homestead after their own ideas of what a home should be.
After the Fishers’ divorce, Carl permanently moved to Miami Beach, FL, in 1922. Sometime in the mid-1920s, the Indianapolis property was leased to the Boys’ Preparatory School, which later became ParkSchool for Boys. ParkSchool bought the property in 1949. The school sold the parcel to MarianUniversity in 1968.
Through the years, the house was adapted to academic use. Today, the main house and two of the outbuildings are used for offices and art studios.
Dennis — neat story on what is becoming a major institution of higher education on the near northwest side.
Do you know if groups other than MU connected groups may “pay” and use any space in this building — say for a reception, or a money raiser?
I was able to attend only one home football game of MU last fall, but was pleased to run into Steve Downing or Washington H.S. and I.U. basketball fame who is now the athletic director at MU. Steve is a fellow who is very cordial and it is great to see how his bailiwick is unfolding at MU
Love to stay this blog about these mansions along Cold Spring(s) Road! Including the Holcomb estate further up and the Japanese gardens landscaping above Lake Sullivan!
Hi Norm & Basil:
Thanks for your comments.
I know that in the past, Marion University rented out some of the Allison Mansion facilities for functions like receptions and conferences. I am not aware of their current policy. The Allison and Wheeler Mansions are interesting to visit if you get the chance. The nature habitat just north of the Allison Mansion is open for visitation. We spent an enjoyable Sunday afternoon there last summer. We also visited the Japanese gardens west of the Wheeler Mansion. It is interesting to see the campus develop over the years.