Explore the history of each home and compare photos from the early 1980s vs 2021.
The Shelton (1925) is the first of four large downtown apartment buildings constructed by the collaboration of developer and investor F. Rolland Buck and the Foster Engineering Company. Buck was the son of a wealthy Michigan industrialist. He used capital that he received from his father to form a corporation for the financing and management of The Shelton. Charles B. Foster was a mechanical engineer who worked with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright prior to his arrival in Indianapolis in 1919. Foster was the designer and patent holder on a structural concrete system called "unit slab construction." This system allowed for such speed and accuracy that the outer shell of The Shelton was completed in only twenty-one days. Controversy delayed construction when a variance was sought to erect the apartment building. One determined zoning board member contested the application because he wanted to maintain North Delaware Street as a location fo single-family residences. Photos from 1925 vs 2018.
Constructed in 1869, the Bals-Wocher House was built for Charles H. G. Bals, a German immigrant who developed a prosperous wholesale liquor business. Bals' prominent position in Indianapolis society and his ability to build this house is indicative of the growing acculturation and acceptance of the German community and as well as the declining influence of the temperance movement in the city. Upon Bals' death in 1876 the house was inherited by his daughter Mrs. John Wocher, who husband was president of the Franklin Insurance Company. For most of the twentieth century (1916-1975) the house was used as a funeral home by Hisey and Titus Mortuary. It is occupied by an attorney office as of 2021. Photos from 1980s vs 2010s.
The Marmon House was built in 1921 and is significant for its architecture as well as its historical associations. The residence was designed by the distinguished Indianapolis architectural firm of Osler & Burns, for Daniel and Elizabeth Marmon, replacing the original family home on the same site. In 1921, the Marmons were a prominent Indianapolis family, headed by Daniel, a leading local industrialist and founder of Indianapolis Light & Power. He was president of Nordyke and Marmon, a manufacturer of milling machinery and later automobiles, including the famous 'Marmon Wasp,' driven to victory at the inaugural Indianapolis 500-mile race by Ray Harroun. In 1940 the Marmon House was purchased by The University Club of Indianapolis and it continues to serve as the institutions' clubhouse. The University Club has been on of the preeminent social organizations in Indianapolis since its founding in 1898 under the guidance of former United States President Benjamin Harrison. Older photo date is unknown. Present view is from 2010s.
Milton Cox constructed the home in 1876, opposite where St. Mary (10th) St dead-ended at Delaware. The home's nickname was "St. Mary's Shrine". Cox went west and Daniel Stewart and Martha Tarkington Stewart purchased the home in 1877. The family owned it until 1905. One of their son-in-laws, John Carey would go on to found the Children's Museum. After several ownership changes, it was converted into apartments and spent the last stretch of its life as a commercial space, hosting several businesses. If you've ever wondered why 10th St jogs as it crosses Delaware, it's because this home was cleared to make room for the road to connect to Pennsylvania around 1984. There's an article covering the full background on Historic Indianapolis.
Pictured in 1962 when owned by Universal Auto Insurance. (Source)
Delaware Court was constructed around 1916-1917 by successful local developer, George W. Brown. Brown, the son of German immigrants, was an influential leader in Indianapolis social and political life. His early career in Indianapolis business included jobs as bookkeeper at Bowen & Stewart Bookstore, int he family grocery, and establishing a family shoe store. He did not become active in the local restaurant estate market until 1890 when he organized the German-American Building Association. Brown served as the secretary of the company for over twenty years during which time it was active in the construction of a number of apartment buildings, including The Pennsylvania (1906) and the Vienna (1908). Brown financed the $110,000 needed for the Delaware Court project through investment by local businessmen. Construction began in 1916 and the building was ready for occupation late in 1917. The completed units were particularly popular with professional women like nurses, teachers and accountants.
Construction of this house was commissioned by local businessman Charles C. Pierson in 1873, who sold it after only one year of ownership to the family of another businessman, William M. Jilson. The most prominent owner of the property was John Lewis Griffiths, a notable Republican politician and orator. Griffiths owned the house from 1897 to 1914. Griffiths' distinguished career included service in the Indiana House of Representatives (1886 and 1887), and tow spirited though unsuccessful bids for Governor (1892 and 1896). Campaigning for Theodore Roosevelt's presidential election in 1904 garnered for Griffiths appoints as Consul General of Liverpool and later London. The house was purchased by noted Indianapolis industrialist and philanthropist Eli Lilly in 1962. Lilly financed the restoration and refurnishing of the property and donated it to Episcopal Diocese of Reverend Jackson Kemper, pioneer Episcopal bishop to Indiana. In 1977 the Diocese granted title of the property to another organization import to Mr. Lilly, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, with the stipulation that it continue to be called Kemper House. Historic Landmarks used a portion of the house as the site of their Indianapolis office. Currently it is occupied by Indiana Landmarks chairman Marsh Davis and his wife. Photos from 1978 vs 2018.
The Wyndham was constructed for businessman/developer F. Rolland Buck by the Foster Engineering Company. It was the last of four significant apartment buildings developed by Buck in the 1920s. Its construction followed that other Shelton (1925), The Rotherwood (1927), and The Marleigh (1928). Noted for their "unit slab construction," Foster Construction enhanced their already sterling reputation for efficiency and accuracy by completing The Wyndham ahead of schedule. In fact, the rapid pace of construction became the talk of Indianapolis, with downtown workers pausing on the way home to review the day's progress, posted prominently on signs. The twenty-four efficiency and twenty-four one-bed room units in The Wyndham were immediately popular with single tenants and widows when the building opened for occupation in August 1929. Photos from 1929 vs 2018.
This house is one of the few remaining reminders that Delaware Street was an avenue of large upscale residences, Christopher Rafert, who was responsible for other structures in the district, constructed this house for Mr. and Mrs. William P. Fishback. Fishback was an attorney who was active in public service. He was a law partner of Benjamin Harrison, author and newspaper owner-editor. Fishback sold the house to Aaron Blair in 1884. The Blair's daughter sold the house in 1908 to Mr. and Mrs. William J. Brown, another prominent family that lived here. The Browns rented the house to Mr. and Mrs. Anton Vonnegut, of the prestigious Vonnegut and Hollweg families in the early 1920s. The Browns sold the house in 1923 to Mr and Mrs. John C. New. New also led an active public life asIndiana Quartermaster General during the Civil War, Treasurer of the United States in the Grant Arthur Administration and Consul-General to London. The News lived here until the mid 1930s, selling it to be the home of the Indianapolis Business and Professional Women's Club. R.B. Annis Company occupied the house from 1941 for at least 50 years. It's still used as office space.