As World War II raged, a gentleman from White County was elected Governor of Indiana. The previous year, the Indiana General Assembly purchased a private home at 4343 N Meridian Street to be used as the residence of Indiana’s First Family. Governor Ralph and Mrs Gates (Papa and Mimi to their many grandchildren) moved in within days of his swearing-in ceremony beneath the Capital Rotunda.
Previous to the Gates’ (and the State of Indiana) the beautiful buff brick and green clay tiled house was home to the Thompson and then the Trimble family.
The first owner, William N Thompson, was president of the Stutz Motor Car Company. The most famous model manufactured by the Stutz Company was the “Bearcat.” He’d hired Frank B Hunter to design the attractive mansion in 1920. The new Thompson home was positioned in front of a small summer retreat built around to the turn of the century by the Harry D Lane family. The cottage in the country was as an escape for the Lanes from the noise and bustle of railways, and factories churning out soot, raw waste and toxic vapors.
The “summer cottage” still stands behind 4343 in an expanded version. It now serves as a garage with a full living space above.
Note: Click on the “Bearcat” link above to read the story about this prize-winning Stutz restoration on Hemmings