Indiana Humanities is located in the house of the late Meredith Nicholson, an Indiana author most famous for his novel The House of a Thousand Candles, which he penned at 1500 North Delaware Street.
The Meredith Nicholson House, built in 1903-1904, is believed to be the first Georgian/Colonial Revival style home in Indianapolis. Indiana Humanities acquired the house in 1986, after extensive refurbishing by Bob Beckmann, Jr., who purchased the house from the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indianapolis (now Indiana Landmarks) in 1979. Since Nicholson sold the house in 1923, a variety of families and businesses have called it home, including: the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, a doctor’s office, a restaurant (Meredith Manor Dining Room) and an apartment building.
Today, it serves as the Indiana Humanities headquarters and several other nonprofit organizations. In addition, the house is an active humanities hub, welcoming other nonprofits in for meetings and discussions, hosting lectures and conversations, and opening its doors for humanities-inspired programming.
During the last half of the 19th century, the Old Northside was the home of some of Indianapolis’ most prominent citizens. As a current Meredith Nicholson House resident, Indiana Humanities is part of an active neighborhood whose residents have a profound interest in protecting the quality and aesthetic character of this historic district.
The historic home is beautiful inside and out. The symmetrical facade boasts brick laid in Flemish bond, quoins, multi-paned windows and pedimented roof dormers. An elliptical fanlight greets visitors as they enter the house. Three distinctive native Indiana hardwoods grace the floors of the house. Moldings, doors, interior pillars, multiple fireplaces and original mantelpieces grant a unique character and a special feeling to the structure.
Meredith “Nick” Nicholson would likely enjoy the state of the house now. He was a great believer in community service, a man of letters, who was happiest when he was in his native state of Indiana. Nicholson often said that the key to success is to stick close to home. In one of his better-known works,The Hoosiers, Nicholson commented on the social and cultural history of Indiana. In 1941, the Indianapolis Times reported that he loved to reminisce, allowing listeners the opportunity to live through his era.
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. BH