This is an example of a house history I wrote for a 1948 Tudor Revival style home located on the east side of Indianapolis in the Community Heights neighborhood. The complete version is fully notated. Here, I am posting a shortened version.
In the late 1940’s, following World War II, Indianapolis and many other cities across the country experienced severe housing shortages as soldiers returned to the states and looked for a place to settle down. To combat this problem, the Federal Housing Administration helped finance the construction of new homes. Many middle-class Americans were able to buy these homes with financial assistance from the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights). During the housing boom that resulted from this legislation, the Justus Realty Company planned and built over 1000 homes in greater Irvington. Before this time period, America had been primarily a nation of renters.
As the popularity of the bungalow finally gave way, many Americans began to build modest revival-style homes in the suburbs. Period revivals may have been popular at this time because of the comfort that could be found in familiar, traditional styles following a tumultuous period in American history.
The Tudor Revival style features high-pitched, gabled roofs of medieval origin, and decorative details borrowed from Renaissance traditions. Other identifying features include:
- Patterned brick or stucco exteriors
- Prominent, broad chimneys with decorative flues
- Angular house plans
- At least one outside living space
- Arched doorways
- A breakfast nook or alcove in the kitchen
- A projecting vestibule covered with a steep gable
- Sweeping vestibule gables carried almost to the ground
- Intersecting gables with eaves of varying height
- Plain or decorated bargeboards
- Clipped gables
The first owner of the home, Ralph Rubush Clark, who lived there from 1949-1978, was born March 7, 1887. He served in the military during WWI, and married Hazel Fay Speedy in 1917. Hazel was born in Crawford County, Indiana, in 1898. Ralph and Hazel raised two sons, Max (1921–1985) and R. Wayne (1925–2010) on Eastern Avenue. When Max and R. Wayne were in their 20’s, Ralph and Hazel moved into their brand new Justus home.
Ralph worked as a bookkeeper for several different Indianapolis businesses throughout his life, including the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), the former Indianapolis Public Welfare and Loan Association, and the Columbia Investment Corporation. He was also a Republican precinct committeeman. He retired in 1957.
Hazel passed away in 1969. Ralph passed away in 1978 at an Indianapolis nursing home. After his death, the house was purchased by the McKeons, who sold it to Lindsey Ross in 1999. She sold the home in 2008. In 62 years, only four different owners have occupied the home, and the shortest period of ownership so far has been 9 years.
The Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana identified the Community Heights Justus Addition as a potential historic district in 1993, although at that time it was too “young” to meet the criteria for designation. Staff at Indiana Landmarks indicated that, in 2011, the 63-year-old district very likely qualifies as a historic district.