HOME OF CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
PROMINENT IN SOCIAL HISTORY
(Photo by Star Staff Photographer.)
THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM.
BY AGNES M'CULLOCH HANNA.
The house in which the Children's
museum of Indianapolis is main-
tained is known to most of our citizens as "the John N. Carey house,"
and it is through the interest of
Mrs. Carey that the museum is allowed to occupy it.
The house has had a long and gay
part in the social life of the city.
It was built in 1873 by Capt. John
A. Lord, a man of wide business
interests, especially in rolling mills.
Mr. and Mrs. Lord came here
from Madison and made their first
home on Pennsylvania street near
North. Then in 1872 they bought this
property in Hubbard's subdivision of
the Arthur St. Clair addition. This
house, which cost not less than $90,000
to build, was constructed with
great attention to all structural details. All floors were deadened so
that no sound can travel from story
to story. The mansard roof was surmounted with a beautiful wrought
iron fence more than two hundred
feet in length, which is now mounted
on top of the brick wall at Mrs.
Carey's country home, Haverways.
All Rooms Large.
The rooms are all large, and there
is a ballroom on the third floor,
which has been the scene of many
parties. Mr. and Mrs. Lord furnished
the entire house beautifully. It was
said that the drawing room furni-
ture was covered with white satin,
and that the curtains and draperies
at each of the front windows cost
$1,000. Handmade lace curtains were
not unknown for some few houses
here at that time. It is a comment
on the clean atmosphere of the city,
that such delicate and elaborate
materials were so used.
In the year 1876 or 1877 Mr. Lord
sold the house to Robert McOuat,
and moved to Chicago. Mr. McOuat
was interested in a factory making
tinware and later joined with other
local business men in manufacturing
"sarven" wheels. He is said to have
been a man of very liberal views,
with an indomitable energy, working
hard, and when opportunity came.
enjoying fishing and hunting to like
degree. He spent much time at
home, however, and his family entertained often with beautiful parties. His family also traveled a great
deal and brought home many rare
and beautiful things from abroad.
They had a great many carved
Italian frames for the copies of "old
masters" which were the form of art
most admired here in those days.
The McOuat family had a large part
in the gayety of the city in the last
quarter of the last century.
New Owner Makes Changes.
In 1887 Mr. McOuat sold the house
to R. B. F. Pierce, whose daughter,
afterwards Mrs. Hughes, was the
hostess of the Hotel McAlpin. Mrs.
Pierce had a daughter by a previous
marriage, Susanne VanValkenberg,
and the house was the setting for all
sorts of entertainments. Mr. Pierce
spent a great deal of money in alterations to the house. He installed
beautifully made mahogany paneling
in the dining room, and made comparable changes in two rooms upstairs. More real lace curtains were
put up at the windows.
Mrs. Pierce was a notable housekeeper, and a woman of marked social gifts. At different times she entertained such guests as the well-
known actors, Edwin Booth, Ellen
Terry, Otis Skinner, Julia Marlowe
and E. H. Sothern, as well as men
and women not connected with the
stage. She was at home in any society. After leaving Indianapolis,
she lived for some years in London,
where her daughter married an Englishman who was a great traveler
and a connoisseur of oriental works
of art. Later she married Edward
Ziegler, general secretary to M.
Gatti-Cazza, director of the Metropolitan opera, and she now lives in
In 1903 Mr. and Mrs. John N.
Carey bought the house. They had
been living for several years in the
house just north. Mrs. Pierce said
she was glad that the house was to
know young people's interests again.
Mrs. Carey brought Frederic Law
Olmstead here to direct the planting
of the grounds and it was at his sug-
gestion that shrubs were placed
against the high foundations of the
house. He also planned the semi-
formal garden in the rear with the
first pergola and wall fountain in
the city. That fountain is now in
the garden of Mrs. Carey's daughter, Mrs. Ernest I. Lewis, in Wash-
Harvest Home Dance.
The ballroom was again the scene
of many parties. One of the most
interesting was a harvest home
dance. Some of Mrs. Carey's friends
gathered to help prepare the decora-
tions, corn stalks, pumpkins and fes-
toons of green and red peppers,
which were strung on cords. An
amusing aftermath was that blistered hands resulted from handling
the peppers. However, the peppers
were so attractive a decoration that
the blisters were felt to be worth
while. Many rehearsals of the Indianapolis Dramatic Club were held
in the ballroom, among them those
for the operetta composed by Mrs.
George O. Rockwood (Marie Rich).
Mrs. Cary's guest book is most interesting as a register of persons
and personages who have been in
the city for various purposes. On one
occasion Mrs. Carey entertained at
luncheon the wives of the members
of a Japanese commission on industry, that visited the city some years
ago. Mr. Carey was president of the
board of directors of the Young
Men's Christian Association, and for
many years the annual dinner was
held there. Among clubs that have
held meetings at one time or another, are the Women's Rotary, the
progressive and the national leaders of the Womans Suffrage party,
in which Mrs. Carey's daughters
were all deeply interested.
The General Arthur Saint Clair
chapter of the D. A. R. was organized there. Mrs. Daniel Stewart held
the meetings that were preliminary
to the organization of the Methodist
hospital. Martha Carey, whose ardent devotion to Christamore settlement is well known, held there meetings for the enlargement of the new
and more useful Christamore in this
Banner Picked in Home.
The north room was the meeting
place for the members of the commission appointed by Governor
James P. Goodrich to select a state
banner. They examined more than
two hundred designs and finally selected that of Paul Hadley, local
artist. This banner hangs on the
wall of the historical room and is
one of the most highly valued objects in the museum.
At one of the parties given by
Mrs. Carey after her daughters were
out of school and college, the celebrated violinist, Francis McMillan,
played for the pleasure of the many
guests. The decorations for that
party were especially elaborate. The
house has always echoed to happy
voices, and that is still true, for each
day sees many young folk in the
house to enjoy the thousands of objects brought together for their education and pleasure under the care
of the children's museum.
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