Sunday, February 14, 2016

Rental Agreement From 1947

In 1922 Harold and Nell Whitsett Scott built their dream home at 5435 Pleasant Run Parkway East Drive. The couple enjoyed several wonderful milestones in the residence including the marriage of their daughter Martha to Edgar Baum in 1935.  The Great Depression had been hard on the couple, but they weathered through and kept the house. Nell Scott's world changed dramatically when Mr. Scott died on October 28, 1941, at the age of 54. In less than two months, the country would be at war.

Faced with an uncertain future, Mrs. Scott made the decision to convert her upstairs into an apartment in 1943. Renters were to enter through a side door on Whittier Place. Their address would now be 365 Whittier Place. Mrs. Scott dwelled downstairs.  The very first people to rent the upstairs apartment were James L. and Lillian Bassett Nulle. They did not stay for very long. James and Frances Ellsworth leased the small unit in 1945 and remained for two years.  In 1947, newly married Paul L. and June Crawshaw leased the apartment. Mr. Crawshaw, a decorated World War II veteran, signed the lease on August 2, 1947. Lena D. Vestal, who dwelled at 344 Whittier Place, served as a witness to the agreement. Mrs. Vestal and Mrs. Scott had been friends for years.

Mr. Crawshaw had received the Croix de Guerre from the provisional French president, Charles DeGaulle for his bravery in the Italian campaign. After returning to the United States, the divorced father of one, married June Cox. At the time that the couple rented the apartment, he worked at a gas station on Northwestern Avenue.  The Crawshaws stayed into the 1950s-- longer than most of Mrs. Scott's renters.  Others would follow and subsequent owners of 5435 continued to lease the upper rooms. The home is once again a single-family residence. Below is the rental agreement that each tenant had to sign. Mrs. Scott was very particular about noise and sanitation.

Indianapolis, Indiana
August 2, 1947

This is a personal agreement governing the renting of upper duplex at #365 Whittier Place.

One month's rent for two adults only, shall be $69 paid in advance.

If tenant gives two weeks notice and vacates before half of the month has passed, owner will return one half month's rent.

The apartment is limited to two adults. When it becomes necessary to take in a third party whether it be children, relatives, or friends, etc, then the tenant agrees to void the lease and vacate the apartment. 

After two weeks, a guest becomes a third party.

No pets can be kept in the apartment.

Tenant agrees that there will be NO WILD DRINKING PARTIES in the apt.

Radio or record playing is from 7:30AM to 10:30PM at a reasonable tone. Quiet after 10:30PM.

Because furnishings are the property of the owner, she reserves one key with the right to enter apartment if the tenant is not home, when repairs, cleaning or exterior work is to be done on the second floor, or when windows are left in open in violation of this contract. 

Windows must be CLOSED whenever the tenant leaves the apartment in summer or winter. The owner may close them to protect her furnishings, floors, and ceilings downstairs.

Tenant agrees not to drive nails or tacks in walls or woodwork.

Tenant agrees to replace any broken or misplaced articles or damage done to furnishings while renting the apartment.

Garage must be kept docked at all times because it is also the entrance to downstairs porch and apt.

Frigidaire will be oiled by the owner every three months. It must never be turned off. Turn low if you wish to leave it when away for any length of time. 

The upper decks of garage and downstairs sunroom are NOT porches and can not be walked on.

Vacuum cleaner in rear porch closet is for use on both floors. Please empty after each using and return to closet so that it will always be available.  

The heating plant in these apts. is an air temp. oil burner. Please keep registers wiped out once or twice a month so that dust will not circulate through the blowing system. 

Please watch dripping faucets. 

Because these two apartments are really a home, they offer many advantages not enjoyed in an apartment building, but they also make certain sanitary rules necessary. So that both apts. will remain clean and satisfactory to both occupants, it is necessary to state the rules for disposal of garbage, and accumulations of paper, tins, etc. 

     Please wash tin cans to prevent odors in the garage.
     Please empty step-on can upstairs daily.
     Please wash garage cans each week. Paper in the bottom of the can can keep can much more sanitary.
      An incinerator is provided to burn paper at the curb.

The tenant agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of this personal contract which was read and signed by the leasee and the leasor in the present of one witness.  

Mrs. Scott also provided the times for trash pick-up. Nell Scott seems to have moved out of the home by the late 1950s. She passed away in 1962.

The home of Harold and Nell Scott in 1922.  Mrs. Scott would later convert her upstairs into an apartment in 1943. 

The historic photo and rental agreement is from the Martha Scott Baum collection.  


  1. This is my house, and I had NO IDEA the upstairs had ever been used as an apartment. Thanks for the eye opener!

  2. This is my house, and I had NO IDEA the upstairs had ever been used as an apartment. Thanks for the eye opener!

  3. I may have some other items for you, Jennifer! Drop me a private e-mail and I will let you know what I have. (