Since 1986, the Indiana Humanities office has been located in the Meredith Nicholson House, a historic home in the Old Northside neighborhood of Indianapolis. Named for the original builder, an Indiana author most famous for his novel The House of a Thousand Candles (which he wrote while living in the house on 1500 North Delaware Street), the house was built in 1903-1904 and is believed to be the first Georgian/Colonial Revival style home in Indianapolis.
Architect Anton Scherrer (whose father designed the Indiana statehouse) submitted a short piece titled “The Three Best Houses in Indianapolis, Indiana” to House Beautiful in June 1920. In the article Scherrer writes: “Mr. Meredith Nicholson’s home has personality. Indeed it would be difficult to conceive of Mr. Nicholson living in any other kind of house. Colonial, in architectural style, its lines are calm, and its general tone is dignified and serene. Formal as it is, it has an air of graciousness. I never pass it but I am grateful for the well-disciplined battalion of its second-story windows.”
When the house was built, the Old Northside was home to some of Indianapolis’ most prominent citizens. Now, the active neighborhood includes residents, nonprofits and businesses that have a profound interest in protecting the quality and aesthetic character of this historic district.
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. Bob Beckmann, Jr., purchased the house from the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indianapolis (now Indiana Landmarks) in 1979 and extensively refurbished the property before Indiana Humanities acquired it.
Today, we regularly welcome other nonprofits in for meetings and discussions, host lectures and conversations, and open our doors for humanities-inspired programming.
To help preserve this important landmark and ensure it remains a vibrant cultural center, this summer and fall Indiana Humanities will conduct a major renovation of the house. Work will include exterior projects to restore its original grandeur (including re-creation of original architectural features) and interior updates to increase the functionality of the space as an office and humanities hub.