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The Stately House on Sanders

The Stately House on Sanders is a classic example of Craftsman architecture with a local twist. Built between 1902-1904 by a German immigrant family, this home has borne witness to deaths, marriages, unique innovations, and more.

In the 1890s, an influx of German immigrants built houses on the recently platted developments in the Bates-

Hendricks neighborhood. This was followed by churches and commercial enterprises along East Street. Housing development continued well into the 1920s, which resulted in the large number of Craftsman style homes in the area.

We dug into the home’s unique past to uncover the stories of those who called this house home before its beautiful renovation.

Sanders Street was built by Martin Stumpf, a German immigrant who arrived in Indianapolis at the turn of the century. A building permit announcement was made in March 1902 in the Indiana Tribune, a German language newspaper exclusively catering to the German immigrant population of Indianapolis.

In April of 1906, Sanders Street was at the center of sensational international news. Ralph Trimble Morse, a direct descendent of Samuel Morse, was 15 years old and living in the home with his family. He successfully constructed a homemade wireless telegraphy machine, which he used to communicate with a friend of his who lived several hundred feet away.

By 1909, the house appears to have been occupied by the Burke family, and Miss Ida Burke entertained meetings of the B.E.S. Club at Sanders Street. The 1914 Sanborn Map depicts Sanders as a two story, single family dwelling with a single story front porch and back porch.

In September of 1941, the home was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brand and witnessed a joyous wedding breakfast for their daughter Helen and her new husband Otto Nielsen. The bride was described as wearing “an ivory satin gown...her circular veil of fingertip length and falling from a coronet of orange blossoms”.

In 1944, World War 2 was raging on and Sanders Street hit the market.

With World War II came a dark chapter for home. Like most households, it was not left unscathed. Seaman Raymond Augustus Knapp reported for duty in June of 1945, leaving his family behind at Sanders Street. His ultimate fate is unknown. The next casualty of war was seaman Harry Schaefer, age 31, who’s family resided at Sanders Street in the early 1950s. His ship was torpedoed during the war and he spent 18 days on a lifeboat before he was rescued.

Mrs. Schaefer, now a widow with three young children, put the house on the market only a few weeks after Harry’s death. The home then went through a steady succession of owners and remained vacant for some time before it was advertised for sale in 1984.

The historic Bates-Hendricks neighborhood has seen significant changes since 2010, with increased numbers of renovations and new families. Several houses in the neighborhood have now been successfully renovated and aired on HGTV’s ‘Good Bones’. Two Chicks and a Hammer took on this home in season four of Good Bones. We successfully transformed The Stately House on Sanders Street into a sleek and modern home while preserving its architectural character.


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