Lauter Residence Keeps Appearance
Of Well-Being From Early City Era
613 EAST THIRTEENTH STREET.
BY AGNES McCULLOCH HANNA.
Chauncy Butler, brother of Ovid,
owned the land which included the
present property at 612 East Thir-
teenth street, after it had passed
through many ownerships since 1821,
when Robert Culbertson bought it
from the government. The original
tract reached from what we call
Tenth street to Sixteenth street and
from Central avenue to the railroad
on the east. The land on which this
lot faced, after the land was platted
as an addition, was called Forest
Home avenue for many years, then
it was shortened to Home avenue,
and now it is Thirteenth street.
The handsome home of Ovid Butler,
built in 1847-8, was in the quarter-
square to the west, between Western
avenue (now Central) and
Buckeye road (now Park avenue). The
experimental or propagation gardens
maintained by the Butlers for their
Scots gardener were in this block
In 1873 Richard M. Cosby, a dealer
in real estate, built this solid,
handsome, well-proportioned house with
two windows in each story. The
decoration of stones is unusual. It is
possible that Cosby built the house
somewhat earlier than 1873, but the
transfer of title was made in that
To the west, on the corner, Scot
Butler, one of the sons of Ovid, built
a charming small house and. Mrs.
Butler says that this house. was
standing when she and her husband
came to their new house. Mrs. Louis
Meier tells of delightful taffy-pulls
and frolics in the large kitchen with
junior members of the Cosby family.
The house was sold to Elwain
Moore in 1880 and more than a decade
later it was transferred to
Herman Lauter. When the Lauters came
to live here Mr. and Mrs. Daniel
Bradbury were living in the Scot
Butler house immediately to the west
as the Butlers and Bradburys had
exchanged houses, the Butlers going to
Irvington with the university and the
Bradburys taking this town house.
The Butlers had been abroad for
study and travel.
Came From Bublitz, Germany.
Herman Lauter came to this country in
1868 from Bublitz, Posen, Germany,
in a sailing vessel. He had
been interested in glass making and
had expected to enter that business
here, but on landing he discovered
that he had been robbed of all his
money and was actually penniless.
Friends to whom he confided his
moneyless condition taught him the
trade of wood carving, and in that
he become proficient.
He had descended from seven generation
of rabbis, was courageous,
thrifty and able, and soon opened a
furniture factory in New York state.
Before many years he was employing
300 men. He came to Indiana
to buy native hardwood, walnut,
butternut and yellow poplar trees. To
be in the center of the lumber
industry he closed out his New York
factory and came to Indianapolis.
Five Daughters, One Son.
Shortly after landing in New York
he had met Helena Lauterbach of
Alten-Kunstadt, who was living with
cousins and who was willing to
exchange her family name of Lauter-
bach for the shorter form Lauter.
She came west with him and here
they made a home and reared a
family of five daughters and one son.
With her, from the old country, Mrs.
Lauter had brought linens and laces
and her stories of life in an old
civilization. Here she practiced the
housewifely arts she had known at
home, going always to market and
looking well to the ways of her
household. After their business had
developed the Lauters bought this
large house for their family.
Between the yard and street ran a
picket fence with a charming
recessed gate. A long, narrow porch
was on the west side of the house
and a fine door opened into the
square hallway, where a long flight
of stairs was seen, the sort young
children like to slide down.
The lot was remarkable for the
many fine trees on it—locust, hack-
berry and walnuts in profusion— a
part of the virgin forests which
covered this part of the town site.
Soon after Mr. Lauter bought the
house he made certain structural
changes. The square entrance hall
was extended the full width of the
house and the old flight of steps
was changed for a boxed-in stairway
in a circular extension.
Mantels and grates were changed for
newer models, small rooms thrown
together to make larger ones and
some other conveniences added.
Miss Flora, one of the daughters,
early developed her very real genius
as an artist and went to Europe for
study, living from time to time in
unusual communities such as Volen-
dam, Holland, where she painted the
local men and women in their
Pictures By Noted Artists.
It was there that she had as
guests Robert Henri and his wife,
and one of Henri's most characteristic
paintings, a young Holland boy
smoking a pipe, was produced. This
picture hangs in the libarry at the
Lauter home, together with examples
of the work of local artists, Simon
Baus and Wayman Adams. For
many years after her return to this
country Miss Flora had her studio
in New York, but she is at present
in her own city.
Because of the family interest in
woman suffrage, the leaders of that
work were entertained at this
hospitable house, Mrs. William Jennings
Bryan and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw,
among others, speaking here on
more than one occasion. Miss El-
dena has been interested actively in
the family business for many years
and Miss Sara has been the housekeeper.
Walnut Table Heirloom.
One sister is married and living on
the West coast and another is Mrs.
Robinson of this city. The only
brother has two children, both mar-
ried. As proof of the fine work their
father did in his early days I was
shown a walnut sewing table which
he made by hand for a friend of his
wife, who returned it to the daughters
as an heirloom.
This house has been kept up
throughout its existence and always
has attracted attention by its look of
well-being. Forest Home avenue
has been called Thirteenth these
many years, but this house has defied
time and keeps its air of solid
worth. In the early days the James
Wallaces, the Bradburys, the Von-
neguts and Shaws were neighbors,
and the air of the neighborhood was
spacious and prosperous, a character
it largely has maintained.
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