- Aug 27, 2015
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From the outset Washington Park was home to some of the most important men in the city. These residents were leaders in every aspect of the city’s business, politics, and culture.
Albert J. Beveridge
Born in Illinois, Beveridge graduated from Asbury College (DePauw University), came to Indianapolis in 1885 to read law, and then served as a clerk in the Indiana General Assembly from 1886 to 1887. He was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in city, state, and federal courts. While at Asbury, Beveridge became active in Republican politics and was a popular speaker for the party through the 1880s and 1890s. In 1898, he was elected to his first term as United Sates Senator and served until 1911. During his tenure in the Senate Beveridge’s Republican philosophy began to align with that of Theodore Roosevelt and, in 1912, he joined the Progressive Party, running for and subsequently losing a seat in the Senate in 1912. His third career as an author began while he was still serving in the Senate; he wrote six works of non-fiction. After leaving the Senate in 1911, he devoted much of his time to writing a four volume biography of John Marshall, which remains the definitive work on the 19th century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice. For this work, Beveridge won the Pulitzer Prize. Senator Beveridge and his second wife Catherine purchased two lots in Washington Park in 1906. Their home at 4165 Washington Boulevard was constructed in 1908.
Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr.
While Beveridge was influential on the national stage, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. (4050 Washington Boulevard) was no less important to the city and state. Lilly was the grandson of Col. Eli Lilly, founder of Eli Lilly and Company, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and joined the business as a young man. Lilly was responsible for developing the company’s personnel policies of fair wages and good benefits for which the firm was known. After serving as vice-president of the company he was named president in 1948 and Chairman of the Board in 1966. Lilly and his wife purchased the Eastman home, their first home, in 1919. Hiring architect and neighbor Lee Burns, the Lilly’s spent two years remodeling the house to suit their family needs. The Lilly’s remained in the home until 1932.
Joseph Schaf / Joseph Bloch / Lucius Wainwright
Dozens of influential businessmen chose Washington Park as home. The variety of their business pursuits is a testament to the booming economy of the city throughout the first three decades of the 20th century. Joseph Schaf (4101 Pennsylvania) made his fortune in the brewing business, while Joseph Bloch (4163Washington Boulevard) was president of Gibson Company, a manufacturer of automotive supplies. Lucius Wainwright (4014 Washington Boulevard) was an inventor and industrialist. His 1870 invention of the bicycle crankshaft helped advance the production of bicycles and, by 1890, he was president of Ben Hur Bicycles. In 1900, Wainwright began work on sprocket chain and chain drive transmissions; in 1905 he organized the Diamond Chain Company, which still operates within the city.
Julian Kiser / Melville Cohn / Martin McDermott
George Hilgemeier, Sr. / J. Dwight Peterson / William T. Cannon
Influential members of the city’s financial sector resided in Washington Park. Julian Kiser and Melville Cohn (4115 and 4111 Washington Boulevard) were officers in the family-run MeyerKiser Bank. Martin McDermott (4233 Washington Boulevard) was a founder of Bankers Trust Company as well as vice president and director of the firm. When Bankers Trust merged with Fidelity Trust Company, another of the city’s financial concerns, McDermott became a director of that institution. George Hilgemeier, Sr. (4266 Pennsylvania) was a founder, president, and director of the Madison Avenue State Bank on the city’s south side. Beginning as a bond salesman, J. Dwight Peterson (4014 New Jersey and 4200 Pennsylvania) went on to work for City Securities Corporation and served as its president for more than 30 years. William T. Cannon (4014 Pennsylvania) founded Railroadmen’s Building and Savings, one of the city’s first savings and loan associations; Cannon served as secretary- treasurer and president of the institution.
Franklin Vonnegut / Fred Hollweg / Charles Reese
Stuart Dean / Charles Mayer / Louis Deschler
Family owned businesses in the city flourished throughout the first decades of the 20th century and the neighborhood was home to many of the owners. Franklin Vonnegut (4011 Pennsylvania) partnered with his brothers to establish the family hardware business in stores throughout the city, thus making it the leading hardware enterprise in Indianapolis. Fred Hollweg (4171 Washington Boulevard) also was involved in a successful family business. Hollweg and Reese, founded by Ferd’s father Louis and his partner Charles Reese, imported fine china and glassware. Dean Brothers Steam Pump Works was a thriving business operated by Stuart Dean (4207 Pennsylvania) and his brothers. Charles Mayer & Company was known throughout the city as a purveyor of the finest gifts and toys. Grandson of the founder, Charles Mayer (4020 Washington Boulevard) became president of the company in 1929. Louis Deschler’s (4014 Washington Boulevard) three cigar stores sold the finest imported cigars. His wholesale and retail business established him as the leading cigar dealer in Indianapolis.
Construction / Design / Building
Ralph G. Ittenbach / Henry Dollman / Edgar W. Hauser, Sr.
Fermor Cannon / Lee Burns / James Weddel
Washington Park was home to a variety of men involved in various aspects of the building industry. Ralph G. Ittenbach (4014 New Jersey) joined the family stone contracting business after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. The firm provided stone for Indianapolis City Hall, Indiana National Bank (destroyed) and Merchants National Bank buildings in downtown Indianapolis. Henry Dollman (4243 Washington Boulevard) followed his father and older brother into the business of general contracting. The construction firm of Edgar W. Hauser, Sr. (4243 Washington Boulevard) was contractor for the Sears, Roebuck & Company in the city, as well as industrial buildings and apartments. Architect Fermor Cannon lived in a home of his own design at 4235 Pennsylvania. Lee Burns, architect, builder, and realtor, lived at 4205 Washington Boulevard. James Weddel owned his own construction firm, Hoosier Homes, and built his own home at 4102 Central Avenue.
Dr. Joseph Eastman / Dr. Goethe Link / Dr. Frank B. Wynn
Dr. William Morton Herriott
The medical field was well represented in the neighborhood from its inception. The first homeowner, Dr. Joseph Eastman, internationally known for his surgical and gynecological techniques, was the inventor of several surgical instruments. As the first surgeon to successfully save child and mother from extra-uterine pregnancy, Eastman and his technique were documented in countless medical texts. At the time of its construction in the 1880s Dr. Eastman’s Indianapolis sanitarium was one of the foremost for women in the U.S. Dr. Charles Hume (4048 Pennsylvania) was a neurological surgeon and teacher at IU Medical School after serving in World War I at the Lilly Base Hospital in France. Dr. Goethe Link (4207 Pennsylvania), a surgeon, was a faculty member of IU School of Medicine. Frank B. Wynn (4047 Pennsylvania) began his medical practice in Indianapolis in 1893. As a staff member of the Medical College of Indiana, he was instrumental in developing its library and founding a pathology museum at the school. Along with Dr. William Wishard, Dr. Wynn consolidated the three city medical schools into the Indiana University School of Medicine and helped to develop its curriculum. His life-long interest in nature and history led to his involvement in the establishment of the Indiana state park system. Finally, dentist William Morton Herriott (4170 Washington Boulevard) inherited his father’s dental supplies firm and expanded his business regionally.
Albert Beveridge / Walter Meyers / Joseph Daniels
James Fessler / George Denny
The city’s legal profession had several outstanding representatives residing in Washington Park. All of them were heavily involved in local, state, and even national politics. Albert Beveridge, who opened his practice in Indianapolis in 1888, was a leader first in the Republican Party and then the Progressive Party at both state and national levels. Walter Meyers (4165 Pennsylvania) attended Yale Law School and graduated from Indiana University. He entered practice in the city in 1907 and became a respected attorney. A Democrat, Meyers became active in state politics and eventually served on the Democratic National Committee. Joseph Daniels (4201 Washington Boulevard) was a founding partner in Baker and Daniels, a distinguished law practice that survives to this day. Daniels, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law, also was active in state Republican politics throughout his life. James Fessler (4035 Pennsylvania) not only headed a thriving Indianapolis law firm but also worked in state Republican politics. George Denny (4201 Pennsylvania), son of two term mayor Caleb Denny, was a tax attorney. Always active in city politics, he was appointed City Comptroller in 1947 and, upon the death of Indianapolis mayor Robert Tyndall, moved into that position to serve out the remainder of the term.