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Oh yeah, THIS is soooo much better than…

I know some of you will maintain it was the former County Courthouse, English’s or some other building, but my #1 “What the H*ll?!” in the destruction department–residence–will always be the Bates-Allen-Parry-McGowan mansion. The Northeast corner of Delaware and 13th (formerly, Home Avenue) was, until 1963, home to this magnificent castle. Mrs. McGowan made the horrible, fateful decision to let this fantastic castle go to the Knights of Columbus. Bad move.

mcgowan-pc

…THIS

After many years use as the Knights club house, this “fraternal benefit society” decided to tear down one of the most beautiful of historic Indianapolis homes. Designed by William Le Baron Jenney, known as the “father of the American skyscraper,” and the (inspiration) home of the “Magnificent Ambersons,” the loss of this imposing structure is a tragedy of the highest magnitude and nothing short of architectural murder. (Jenney also designed the long-gone Woodruff mansion as well–another ‘what’ or ‘how’ the h*ll…)
What makes this especially heinous is the feeble reason given for tearing it down: the heat bill and upkeep was expensive. If memory serves, the building was either donated or sold for a pittance to the Knights. When I had the privilege of speaking with Robert Braun, he said he begged and pleaded to save the building–to no avail.
And if that wasn’t disgusting enough, the nondescript brick box that remains on the property is dirty, smoke-filled and evidently does a booming bingo business. We always know when the game is on, because the sea of wavy asphalt is briefly transformed into a junky used car lot.

boltes-residence-w-t-jenney-from-american-architect-mag

The first floor floorplan is inset on this January 1876 “American Architect & Building News.” The orientation to the street in this rendering is off…

The castle that stood here deserved so much better. The Old Northside deserves better. Delaware Street deserves better. And Historic Indianapolis lovers deserve a h*ll of a lot better!
p.s. I could go on and on about this home; if you have any questions, please let me know–this is one of my favorite research subjects!