Historic Washington Park • Meridian~Kessler
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August 12th, 2015
Lee Burns

The career of Lee Burns was varied and long. He was born in Bloomfield, Indiana, but grew up in Indianapolis. Not only was Lee Burns an architect but he also had his own real estate and construction business, Burns Realty. Early in his career he partnered with William Osler, but from 1929 to 1949, his partner was Edward James. Although Burns is known for his residential work he also designed fraternity and sorority houses at Indiana University and Butler University and with partner Ed James designed the Thomas Taggart Memorial at Riverside Park. A resident of Washington Park Historic District, he designed his own home in 1914 (4205 Washington Boulevard). Although the exterior has since been altered, Burn’s fine Colonial Revival design is still evident. Two years later he designed the home of Dr. Fred Wynn (4047 Pennsylvania Street) which he estimated could be built for $14,000.69 The unaltered exterior demonstrates Burns’ love of American Colonial architecture. His files also note the 1918 plans for “four kitchenette apartments on 40th Street.” This is most likely the four units building at 18 E. 40th Street at the southwest corner of the district. Burns estimated that the building would cost about $11,000. The home at 4190 Central designed for Thad Baker is a large American FourSquare with Colonial detailing. Burns’ files indicate that the house was built for about $17,000 in 1919. That same year J.K. Lilly hired Burns to remodel the Eastman home to accommodate his family’s needs. The home Burns designed for Douglas Pierce (4030 Pennsylvania) was a stucco English Tudor that ultimately cost $26,446. Burns’ most ambitious project in Washington Park was the Roy Adams home (4145 Washington Boulevard) constructed in 1927-28 for the princely sum of over $85,608.05.

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